After 3 months living the funemployment life in Portland, I flew out to Boston to watch Sarah become a doctor real quick before starting our road trip. Immediately after the hooding ceremony, we grabbed some free food at the reception, escorted Sarah’s directionally challenged mother (sorry Val, it’s true) to her car, and head off to our first stop – Saratoga, NY.
After a quick (for us at least) three and a half hour drive, we arrived in Saratoga starving and ready for Cinco de Drinco…or Cinco de Mayo or whatever. We celebrated this fine example of cultural appropriation as any good American would – with margaritas and Mexican food. As it was our first night out on the road and Sarah just graduated, we were in need of a celebration. And by celebration I mean beer. After a few hours and a few too many drinks, it was time to call it a night and get ready for an early morning.
Bright eye and bushy tailed Hungover and struggling, we checked out and packed up the car. Two older ladies were hanging out on the motel balcony and watched us play luggage Tetris with the back seat. After that struggle, we were ready to go – except my water bottle sitting on my seat was leaking and I sat in a good sized puddle before noticing this. At this point the older women were verbally making fun of us. Give us a break, we’re hungover. Off to Canadia land!!
Next stop was Niagara Falls. Sarah was able to get her passport sorted out in time for this trip, so we went to the Canada side of the falls (which I HIGHLY recommend). When we were 20 minutes away from the border, it only then occurred to us that were going to another country and our phones probably won’t work or we’re going to get really angry calls from our mothers about our data usage charges. After calling AT&T and finding out how expensive international data is, we turned our data off.
No data means no Google maps. We were only staying a few minutes and a few turns into Canada, but still managed to get lost. After consulting
a good old fashioned map the map I downloaded on my phone earlier, we found our hotel and settled in.
When we headed down to the falls, I was nervous I’d be underwhelmed. We’d both heard from people that the falls were cool and were something you should see, but hadn’t heard anyone freak out about it. Let’s just say we weren’t disappointed. There’s a reason Niagara Falls are so well known.
The falls are MASSIVE and the amount of water flowing over them is mind blowing. Millions of liters are pouring over each second. I asked Sarah what she thinks the force of the waterfall is and she responded with, “You know that math problem if someone drops a penny from the Empire State building…well I would say this is more.” It would be cool if you could walk underneath the falls, but I’m pretty sure you would die.
Fortunately, you can go super close to Horseshoe Falls down on a observation deck and go behind it through a tunnel. It’s about $14USD and sooo worth it. Me and Sarah geeked out about it pretty hard. From in the tunnels you can feel the how strong the current is. Outside, directly next to the side of the falls, you can see the crazy volume of water spilling over the falls. This was by far the highlight of Niagara. You get pretty wet but they give you a sexy yellow poncho to wear, so all is well. As Sarah put it, “it’s worse than Splash Mountain” – that’s a water ride at Disney World for anyone who didn’t have a childhood.
The town of Niagara is pretty hilarious in and of itself. It reminded me a lot of Orlando. Discount souvenir stores make up half of the business on the main strip. The other half is a mix of wax museums, arcades, rides, and restaurants like the Rainforest Cafe -a requirement of any tourist town. I was not expecting this next to one of the most beautiful natural phenomenons I’ve ever seen, but oh well. It didn’t take away from the experience of Niagara Falls at all. It was just funny.
We got some food and beer at Niagara Brewing Company – a flight of all 8 beers on tap, a charcuterie board (cured Italian meats as Sarah would put it), a cheese board, followed by more beer, and accompanied by a beautiful, bearded man playing guitar. Their beers were pretty good. They had one that was a ice wine beer- made with grapes that have frozen on the vine, making them syrupy sweet. It wasn’t too sweet and was very drinkable for being over %9 abv. I’m not usually a huge fruit beer person, but the peach radler was bomb. Dining review complete.
We went to the falls one last time for sunset after dinner. The clear blue of the falls disappeared and was replaced by the pink sunset reflecting off the falls. After dark they put spotlights on the falls that looked pretty cool. There was supposed to be colored lights on the falls at night, but we waiting freezing long enough to give up on it. Exhausted, we called it a night. We did have to be up around 4 the following morning to get back on the road anyway.
Next stop: Chicago