Friday, August 28, 2009

New York Trip - Part 2

After the wedding and reception, we spent the night at a hotel and got some much needed sleep after being up for 38 hours straight! The next morning, we hit the road again to do some sight-seeing before heading home.
Even though we all offered to give him a break, Jason was our driver for the entire trip. I think the total for the whole weekend was around 25 hours.
We picked up Amber at her hotel so she could join us on our trip to...
this famous site..
Crossing the Niagara River
Originally we were only going to ride the Maid of the Mist boat, but we ended up deciding to take a tour bus around to all the different sites. It was really nice because we didn't have to worry about finding our way or paying to park anywhere. Our tour guide, Big Jim, was quite a character! I wish I'd gotten a picture of him, but I didn't, so here's a picture of some of the tourists on the bus.
Our first stop was the Whirlpool.
The water was a gorgeous color!
Here's a picture of the river between the Falls and the whirlpool.
We were still dry in this picture!
From the Canadian side, people could view the whirlpool this way if they so desired.
Recently a helicopter crashed into the line. I bet the people inside trolley car had the ride of their life.
We were all in blue that day. It made for good, color-coordinated pictures!

A view of the Canadian side.
We had to get a picture by the beautiful landscaping!
Our next stop was at the Daredevil museum. The walls of the convenience shop were lined with pictures of people crazy enough to go over the Falls. After telling us about a couple of people who were killed in their attempts, our tour guide related the story of a guy who challenged the Falls 4 times--2 successful tries and 2 not. We couldn't figure that one out. Was he like a cat with 9 lives or something? Finally we asked. The man was caught and stopped before he could go over on the last two attempts.

This is the actual barrel from the previous picture. These guys were successful.
This one made it too. We looked inside and could not believe someone would actually fit in it! I would have been feeling a little claustrophobic.
The guy riding this jet ski didn't survive. He planned to drop the jet ski and open his parachute once he went over the Falls. The parachute opened but slipped right off him.
One man made this contraption of tire inner tubes in his backyard, and it worked. It is illegal now to make an attempt, and anyone who tries is fined and sent to jail.
This is Rainbow Bridge connecting Canada and the US.
This was the view of our boat from the top of the observation tower.
The observation tower
We were given rain ponchos to help keep us dry.
The Bridal Veil Falls
You can see why nobody ever attempts a stunts over the American Falls. The rocks at the bottom are quite a deterrent.

We weren't too wet...yet!
Jason was. He didn't put his hood up.
It was gorgeous!
The pictures do not do the Falls justice!
They look so small in the photos, but the height was incredible! See the people on top of the cliff on the right side?
Our first view of the Horseshoe Falls
The Canadian side
The mist was really pretty!
Now we're wet!
On the ride back, we could see both sets of falls.
This one reminds me of Ireland pictures I've seen.
From the top of the observation tower--Bridal Veil Falls .
It was quite windy up there!
I know we have quite a few pictures, but it was really hard to choose which ones to post!

The Niagara River
The rapids above the Falls.
Our next stop on the tour was to Cave of the Winds. We received yellow ponchos and sandals this time.
Quite cute and fashionable, aren't they?
Jason kept his sandals for the drive home since his regular ones were soaked. He had to walk into the restaurant and gas stations with them on!
Cave of the Winds

The power of the water was amazing!

The water in this picture was splashing onto my feet.
I was in awe the whole time we were down there. I don't know how anyone could see the Niagara Falls and not believe in God! His creation speaks of His majesty!
A little farther up the steps from where Jason was standing, there was a platform right under the Falls. You could walk right next to them, and Jase even stuck his head under the water.
Because the mist was everywhere, I had to bring the camera up the inside of my poncho and take the next two pictures through opening for my face. I didn't want the camera to get too waterlogged.
Can you see the faint double rainbow?
Behind us is the platform right under the Falls. I didn't notice the sign that day, but I laughed later when I read it. "No Smoking." I don't think that would have been possible even if a person wanted to. It was too wet up there!

Amber and Jason didn't have many dry spots on them by the time we were done with this part of the tour.

We were glad the sun came out later in the afternoon. It made everything even more beautiful, and we were able to dry off a bit too!
Next we went to the other side of the Niagara River.
Bridal Veil Falls from the other side.
I loved the contrast of the white falls and the pretty blue water at the base!
Our next stop. Look at the flow numbers!
Amber and Mel

Last stop--The Three Sisters Islands
My handsome bro.
The rapids above the Falls were pretty.
Our tour guide told us he'd done his job after the 5 hour tour if we were wet, hungry and tired. We were, so I'd say he did well.

When we got back in Jason's car, he punched in our home address on the GPS. It told us to turn left out of the parking lot. We didn't get very far before Melody said, "Um, Jason...I think this is the border crossing..." Yes, going through Canada was the shorter route home, but GPS didn't know we didn't have passports! Uh oh! We realized our mistake a little too late and had to turn into the small customs parking lot. We couldn't go back the other way because there were things in the pavement that would have ruined our tires if we'd tried to return. He went inside, and they told him we'd have to go across the bridge into Canada.

The US customs inspector asked us why we wanted to go to Canada. Our reply, "Well...we really don't want to. You see, we made a wrong turn." He then ran through a list of things to declare - "Do you have any weapons or firearms? Tobacco products? Drugs? Pepper spray?" To each question, Jason shook his head...Until Melody poked him in the side. "Uh, Jase, I have pepper spray in my purse!" The guard looked at us with raised eyebrows. "You do realize that pepper spray is an illegal weapon in Canada, don't you?" How were we supposed to know that?! Thankfully, they didn't give us too much trouble since we weren't intending to stay in Canada.

We paid the toll, crossed the bridge and went into the Canadian customs. Jason put our driver's licenses and the yellow slip of paper saying we'd committed a 16(1) on the counter in front of the man. It was 2 inches from the man's hand, but he said, "Hand it to me! Go over to that line." Whoa! We were a little surprised. We didn't dare take any pictures to chronicle our visit a foreign country lest we commit another mis-demeanor! After waiting in customs for about an hour, we were finally set free to come back to the U.S. We all joked about what would have happened if they had kept us there...Phone call home - "Uh, Dad? I guess we'll be starting a new life here in Canada. Apparently, we are illegal aliens of a most suspicious nature..."
At least now we have an interesting story to tell!

So...we got to cross Rainbow Bridge after all!
Four tired travelers arrived safely in Dixon on Tuesday at 3:00 a.m. ready for a good night's (or should I say morning's) sleep. It was an awesome trip with so many fun memories!

These last two pictures are my favorites!
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?...
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
Isaiah 40:12a,28a