Welcome to our Travel Blog!

Hi, and welcome to our RV Travel Blog! We hope you enjoy our writings. If you are a camper, I hope you find them helpful. The posts are list in order from recent back to earliest.... so if you want to read in order that they were written, scroll down or click the "Previous Posts" on the right. Also look at the "Archive" links on the right. Our trip and family photos are in the Dotphoto.com site in the links section on the left.
We welcome your comments: please sign the GuestBook by clicking on the link at the left.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Niagara Falls

We are finally going to get to see Niagara Falls!

After a restful night, it is time to get going so that we can get to Niagara Falls. Our original plan called for us to get to Niagara Falls yesterday, take the Peace Bridge into Canada and stay at an RV park along the river just south of the falls. However due to the driving and all of the scenery in PA and along Lake Erie, why rush?

So as 9:30 rolls around we disconnect the electricity, reconnect the Tracker and head East. We decide that since it was such a nice drive along the Lake Erie coast last night, we should continue that today. We head up route 5 retracing our track from Dunkirk last evening. But the drive is pretty slow so we decide to cross the NY Thruway and get on Route 20. It is a little faster and will take us to Buffalo a little quicker. Looking at the map it looks like we should stay on 20, to around the east side of Buffalo, then head north. There is a campground I found in the campground guide in Lewiston NY just north of Buffalo. I'm thinking that we should not waste time trying to take the RV into Canada. Lets just find a RV park near the falls on the US side then take the Tracker over to view the falls.

As we get nearer to Buffalo, I decide to get back on Route 5 which will lead us to I-190 back across the river and Grand Island, then north to Lewiston and the Niagara Falls North KOA. The weather is nice today with no rain. Headed north we pass Buffalo with the Niagara River on our left and soon we are out of the city and near Lewiston where we soon locate the KOA. It is on a back road that backs up to an Indian Reservation.

We check in and get settled, have some lunch, then back in the Tracker for our trip to visit the falls. The Robert Moses Parkway follows the river all the way to the Niagara Falls State Park. It is a beautiful drive and just before the State Park entrance is the Rainbow Bridge to Canada. We don't have passports, but according to all the information we could find, a valid picture and original birth certificates to prove citizenship is all we need. I understand that that will change at the end of 2007 and passports will be required. But we have what we need for now so here we go.

The border crossing was simple; a few questions about what we are here for and when we will be leaving, and a "Welcome to Canada."

The falls are awesome! The parkway winds along side the river heading south. Even this time of year there are a lot of people here! The mist from the falls is heavy, and since the wind is blowing from the east, it is like a hard rain as you are just passing the falls. We drive on a little, about half a mile from the falls and find a parking spot. Hourly parking fee listed in both US and Canadian dollars.

We spend the next couple of hours walking around the falls area. It is really difficult to take your eyes off of the site. As we approach the falls from the upriver side the sheer volume of water rushing down the river toward their eventual crash into the chasm below leaves you speechless. This is so much more than just a tourist attraction, it is truley a natural wonder of North America, if not the world. Check our some of our pictures at our Dotphoto.com site.

Pam at Niagara Falls, with the falls in the background.

Looking down into the falls, an unbelievable sight!

I would NOT want to be on that boat, but it was full of people (that paid a lot of money) to take that ride. And just like they show on TV, they were all wearing their blue plastic rain ponchos. Wonder why?

After a walking to the falls we decide to cross the street to the gift shop and food court. There is a large area of the park with flower gardens and a building housing the food court, gift shops, rest rooms, and the tick window to buy tickets for the Maid of the Mist (picture above) and the "wind cave" tour. This is a cave that takes you down to an area behind the falls. We decided to forgo that little trip in favour of some ice cream and some souviener shoppping. We found a few tee shirts and of course, a set of Niagara Falls thimbles to add to Pam's collection.

Soon we were on our way back across the bridge, birth certificates in hand. What a surprise with the US border guard only asked us for picture IDs. We gave him our driver license and our license tag number. "Have a good day!", and we are back in the US. Soon we are back to the campground. It is dark and getting a little chilly, so instead of going back out to eat, we finish up the tuna casserole we started last night and call it a day. Ummmm , now I have to decide where to to tomorrow. We'll have all day Sunday and Monday until 3:00 PM before our friends from Texas meet us in Vermont. We'll just take it easy tomorrow and not try to drive too late in the day.

Campground Review:

Our campground is the Niagara Falls North KOA. Here is there website: Niagara Falls North KOA. All in all, it was a nice if a little overpriced, overnight stop. It is located very close to the Robert Moses Parkway that goes right to the falls. The parkway is like the Blue Ridge Parkway in that it doesn't allow commercial traffic.

The campground owners were very friendly and offered information on the area and touring the falls. They also pointed out local stores and gas station where we could fuel up. The campground was a little tight though. We had a pull through site that made it very easy to get in and out without unhooking the Tracker. The trees were very close though, and I had to drive very slowly and carefully to avoid the trees. Anyway, it didn't take long to navigate through the campground and into our space. Getting out the next morning was a little worrisome. The road in front of us was very narrow and there were campers in the site across from us. With a tree right beside us on our site, I wouldhae to pull straight out as close to our across the street neighbor as I could before making the left turn out to avoid the tree. With a little careful watching and not getting in a hurry, I made it just fine. This really is a convenient spot as a base for touring the falls and I would definitely consider it again if in the area.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Home to Lake Erie.

Well, it is finally Thursday evening and time go get going. We both had to work today, so we didn't get started until about 7:30 PM. We already had everything loaded into the camper, and I hooked the Tracker up behind the Bounder last night, so we really are ready to go.

Pam got home at about 6:30 so after getting a bite of supper we loaded the cat, locked up the house and off we go. We had planned on going up I-77 into West Virginia, taking US-19 at Beckley WV to I-79, then staying on I-79 all the way to Erie PA. Depending on the time we arrive on Friday, we may go into Canada and stay at a campground near Niagara Falls, or if we don't make the time that I think we should, we can stop before getting to Niagara Falls, then go there on Saturday.

It took an hour just to get through Charlotte and northbound on I-77. Rolling north on the interstate we finally feel like we are really going somewhere! By 10:15 PM we are passing through Fort Chiswell and were going Northbound on I-77 AND Southbound on I-81.. really.. check the map! Finally after a slow uphill pull into West Virginia, we were near Princeton WV. I was hoping to get a little farther tonight, but it is about 11:00 or so, and we are tired. There is the sign of a Wal-Mart supercenter just up ahead right off the exit. Pulling in there are a couple of tractor trailers parked but we are the only RV. I check with the manager on duty just to be sure it is ok to park for a few hours to be greeted and assured that it is no problem, just park out in the front of the lot where we will not interfear with customer parking. With that, we hit the sack and wake on Friday morning to a cool West Virginia morning.

Through WV, PA, and into NY

Friday was a full day of West Virginia Mountains (wheew!) and through Pensylvania. With it raining off and on during the morning, we pulled up and coasted down the mountains through WV. Our route took us up I-77, US-19, and I-79. US-19 had some pretty steep hills with plenty of 6% and 7% grades. Just don't get in a hurry when you are driving a gas powered motorhome in those conditions. We frequently slowed down to around 45 on the steepest areas.

We pretty much took our time going through PA. Around Pittsburgh on I-79 was pretty uneventful. We didn't really have any side trips or interesting things we wanted to see in the area, and we were trying to get all the way to Niagara Falls if we could. But after lunch breaks and a fuel stop, we made it to Erie PA at about 5:00 PM.

We pulled off the interstate and took Route 5 into NY right along the Lake Erie shore. Comming over a large hill we saw Lake Erie in the distance merging with the cloudy horizon in the northern distance. Well, it is decision time. Push on past dark to Buffalo and make a border crossing at night without knowing how long that will take, or find a place soon and go the next couple of hours to Buffalo/Niagara Falls tomorrow morning. After a little discussion and consulting the campground guide, we make our decision.

We decided to stay near Erie PA that night instead of pushing all the way to Niagara Falls as I had planned. Lake Erie State Park in near Brocton NY looked like a nice stop and it was. A beautiful park right on Lake Erie.

Lake Erie at Sunset

The drive into Lake Erie state park was a beautiful drive. Large vineyards in the large fields bordering the lake, large cattle farms, and fruit orchards. The homes and villages in the area are very scenic. As we approached within a few miles of the state park we saw a detour sign ahead. So here we go back down a little side road with our little Chevy in tow, hoping that the road is wide enough to accomodate us. Finally we get to Hwy 20, a four lane road that takes up closer to our destination.

Low Bridge.. Everybody Down - remember that song from Captain Kangaroo when you were a kid? Well maybe you do if you are as old as me! I kept humming that song as we rode along Lake Erie. Lake Eric State Park is actually close to Brocton NY. We enter Brocton and at the light on Main Street we see a sign pointing left directing us to the state park. But I also notice that the sign says "No Trucks". Ummm.. wonder why? Before committing to the left turn I look down the road and see a sign saying "Clearance 11Feet Ahead". Whoops!... our Bounder is 11 feet 6 inches. I wouldn't want to leave our roof AC units stuck to the bottom of that bridge... so we keep headed north looking for the next truck route to take us back over to Route 5. Finally a few miles up the road we reach Dunkirk NY with a sign pointing north to Route 5. Half mile later we were turning back south on route 5 headed back to the Lake Erie State Park about 6 miles down the road.

It's nice and chilly tonite and it has really rained a lot today before we got to the State Park. Water is standing everywhere, and the wind is blowing right off the lake, making it seem even colder. We check into the campground and get an electric hookup. We didn't realize that the there were no water hookups at this campground, only electricity. There are a few water spigots located randomly around the campground so if you have a long hose or happen to be near one, then you can hookup. But otherwise, you better have a tankfull of water or be prepared to shower in the very cold showers at the bathhouse. Fortunately, we had plenty of water in our tanks. After a short walk around the campground and dinner,we hit the sack after a long day of driving.