Greetings from buffalo ny jenn's mom betty ...

Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
Trip End Apr 01, 2003

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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, July 28, 2002

Greetings from Buffalo, NY

Jenn's mom, Betty, flew to Buffalo for a two-week vacation. We met up with her at her friend John's house. We stayed at his apartment during the next six nights while our RV was parked down the street in his church's parking lot. Betty and John first met each other when they were in the Peace Corp. Betty had already planned out our days together and we knew we were in for a whirlwind of adventures. I will try to remember all of the stories.

Friday - Meet Betty at John's house. Jump into John's car and take off to the Carrousel Museum. The big thrill and highlight was riding the antique carrousel which dated back to 1916. Wheee! Next, we arrived at Lake Erie to ride a boat through the system of locks connecting the higher part to the lower level of the river. They have a similar system on the Panama Canal. One of the locks raised us 60 feet before the gates opened in front of us. Then, we took a guided tour through an old water duct of an abandoned paper mill from the early 1900's. It was just like walking through a cave because it had the cool weather, the stalactites and stalagmites, an underground river, and water dripping from the ceiling. Jenn was the only intelligent one of the group who accepted a free plastic poncho. The rest of us got dripped on the entire trip, and did I mention that the cave is a constant forty-five degrees. Brrrr. After dinner, we headed out to Niagara Falls to view them from the American side. We drove through some intimidating neighborhoods, but John's car had a broken muffler and we fit right in. They were a sight to see especially after dark when Canada lit them up with colored light. Ooooh Ahhhh We hadn't had enough of a day, so we signed up for this attraction there called Cave of the Winds. Now what you do is put on a plastic poncho, slip your feet into rubber shoes, and take an elevator down to the base of the falls. We were at the bottom looking up at the water falling over the edge and crashing onto the rocks in front of us. Just as we thought we had experienced the full power of the falls, we climbed a flight of stairs to a platform appropriately titled Hurricane Alley. After the water fell, it reflected off of this giant rock and leaped straight towards us at 70 miles per hour. The poncho could not stop the attack and we were happily plummeted with gallons of water. What a RUSH!

Saturday - We woke up early and headed out to the Penn Dixie archeological site to dig for fossils. We found trilobites and other fossils that last saw the light of day 360 million years ago. We were the first to see them, excavate them, hold them in our hands, and take them home. It made us all feel very young. Next, we drove to the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum to learn about the history and the evolution of the bicycle. They had wooden bikes, bikes that would float in water, bikes with machine guns mounted to them during WWI, and a bike that sat seven people. After lunch we visited the company responsible for inventing the famous kazoo. We learned how they are made and we even got to make one for ourselves using their machines. Afterwards, we walked through this neighborhood where participants were showing off their gardens to the public. Their gardens were absolutely beautiful and colorful and some were quite extensive with themes. The comfortable weather made it all the more enjoyable. We ate dinner outdoors at a town event called the Hot Luck festival. You guessed it, our food was spicy but flavorful. Our day was not over just yet. As the sun began to set, we sat in front of an outside amphitheater in a park and watched Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors. I became possessed with Shakespeare's spirit and spoke in rhymes the rest of the night. The night ended with a trip to the home of the original buffalo wing at The Anchor Bar. I have easily handled all strengths of spicy food, or so I thought. I ordered the suicidal wings and I have to admit defeat. They burned me so bad, that I stopped eating and even thinking about spicy foods for the next week. My mouth would not stop burning until I woke up the next morning.

Sunday - We spent the entire day hiking at Letchworth State Park. We hiked to the Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls. They were not as mighty as the Niagara Falls, but we were still impressed with the beauty and strength of the falls. I found a hidden trail that Jenn and I climbed down and we found ourselves a lot closer to the falls than anyone else. Later that night we stopped at an ice cream parlor and treated ourselves for all the hard exercise we did earlier.

Monday - Only Jenn, Betty, and I drove to the city of Toronto, Canada and began with a self-guided audio tour of the Casa Loma. The Casa Loma was a residential castle built by a wealthy realtor. Some of the rooms had hidden doors that led to the wine cellar and to the master bedroom. Next we went on a tour of the Sky Dome where the Toronto Blue Jays play. It is the first stadium to feature a retractable roof. We were very hungry afterwards and we decided to give an Ethiopian restaurant a chance. The food was very very good and eating it turned out to be just as unique. You use your fingers and everyone's meal arrived on the same large plate. We ate it by ripping off a piece of this spongy, thin bread (think of a large pancake), picked up pieces of meat or beans with it, and shoved it into our mouths before the filling fell out. We spent the night in a dorm room at Victoria University. We were the only ones in our corner, so we had our own bathroom but unfortunately no college cuties to party with. It brought back memories.

Tuesday - We started the day with a city tour of Toronto on a big city bus. Our guide was very funny and we were laughing the whole way. We spent the rest of the day waiting in lines at the CN Tower, which is the highest observation deck in the world. As a note, we arrived in Toronto the day after the Pope left during World Youth Day, but many of those young people remained to visit the city's attractions. We were standing in line to go up to the second observation deck when Betty decided her time would be better spent at the Royal Museum. She gave us her combo ticket in case we wanted to go on the simulator rides more than once and then she left. It took us almost two hours to reach the front of the line, when the young man in front of us noticed that his ticket did not include the second observation deck and began to worry. He asked the people in front of him where they purchased their ticket to go up, but they had the combo ticket which includes everything. He turned to ask us and we did not know either but I told him to quickly ask the security officer and that we would save his place in line. This is when Jenn reminded me that we had Betty's ticket. I then told the young man that today was his lucky day because I had a free ticket for him. He came all the way from Germany to see the Pope and he could not believe his luck. Well, he told me that I would have to accept a gift from him in exchange for our kindness. I do not believe for a second that it was luck or coincidence that we were standing right behind him in line the entire time. I accepted his good luck charm and attached it to my key chain. We met with Betty at the museum afterwards and drove back to John's house.

Wednesday - Jenn and I crossed the border again and went to visit Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I did not see any bad looking neighborhoods on this side of the falls. We first went to Journey Behind the Falls where we viewed the falls from behind. Then we went on the Maid of the Mist where we boarded a vessel which took us to the choppy waters in front of the falls. Afterwards, we went to visit the mosaic culture gardens and greenhouse. We saw life-size Canadian geese, buffalo, elk, and bear topiaries. Next we drove to Niagara on the Lake and stopped at the St. Joseph's Winery for some wine tastings. We tried wine made from Bartlett pears for the first time and it was so good that we bought a bottle. We had dinner at a historic tavern, The Old Angel Inn, and on our way back to the truck we passed a sign that read Lawn Bowling so, we entered. The nice gentleman was eager to explain the game to us and we watched a few rounds. Briefly, it is like shuffleboard but instead you roll balls that are purposely lopsided to give them a curved trajectory. This night would be our last at John's house, so we had long goodbyes with great memories with John and Betty.

Thanks for all the nice comments about our website and we are glad you are following us around.
Love Dave and Jenn
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