Our Cross-country Odyssey – days 19-21 – Niagara Falls, ON to Potomac, MD (July 15-17, 2010)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 19: Niagara to Bear Run (PA)

We went back to the falls on our way out of Niagara and got some good views of the falls in daylight. We drove in circles for a while, trying to find the entrance to the bridge (any bridge….) over the river to the US. Did you realize you get your picture taken as you go through the gates into the US? Makes you wonder what they are doing with all those pictures….

Went over to Goat Island (between the two waterfalls) and walked a little. It was cool to be upriver from the falls.
We were just leaving town when James saw a very welcome sign: “Maharajah Indian Buffet.” We had really been missing Indian food and this was real home-cooked Indian. The mother came out and chatted with us for a little while. It was excellent, if hotter than we are used to. Went on a very hot and frustrating search for the AAA office to get the campbook for the area and eventually found one as well as a Pannera to get (you guessed it) ICED decaf mochas.

Continued south through Buffalo and west across northern PA towards Erie. You follow the edge of Lake Erie and get intermittent peeks at it. It’s quite nice, with nice little towns along the way. In general, we have seen a LOT of little towns this trip. I guess it’s the “Main Street tour.” We were surprised to see miles and miles of vineyards and eventually stopped for a wine tasting. Californians, you know, are used to that sort of thing. Went into Penn Shore winery and ended up with a lovely bottle of sweet white wine for dinner. We got 5 tastes for $1. You would never get that kind of a deal in California!

Continued through Erie, PA and down the western side of the state. stopping near Moraine State Park to look for a campground. We followed signs to Bear Run cg., the “Jekyll and Hyde” of campgrounds. It was astonishing- at the front, there were rows and rows of RV’s, many of them clearly permanent residents, with patios, potted plants, basketball hoops and so forth. We continued on up and around a little hill and suddenly we were alone in the woods. It was us and the bugs and a few critters scurrying in the underbrush. Trippy. Gwen did something new- actually stood at the door to the tent looking at it, asking us to be let in. We think she finally figured out that bugs don’t get into the tent (well, not many) and was so fed up with the mosquitos that she wanted in!

Day 20: Bear Run to Potomac, MD

We headed down western Pensylvania to Laurel Highlands and visited 2 Frank Lloyd Wright homes- Fallingwater and the house on Kentuck Knob. Highly recommended. These were very interesting houses and well worth stopping for. Unfortunately it was brutally hot and humid and it tested all of our mettle. We were driving through thunderstorms and when we stopped, it was HOT and HUMID. I don’t mind humidity when you just sit around and talk and fan yourself. When you have to actually MOVE in it, it gets pretty bad. We came on to Laura’s (my sister’s) house in Potomac, MD, had a nice dinner and sat up too late drinking lovely wine and talking to her and John. The thunder and lightning started and I just had to go out and soak in the rain and fireworks. We don’t really get thunderstorms in our part of CA and it was great to enjoy the show.

Day 21: Potomac

Had a hot, indoor, family-filled day. Celebrated Mom’s 70th birthday early and sat around and ate and talked a lot, which was just perfect for the 95 degree (and humid) day. Had a good rest and are ready to go on tomorrow.

James’s favorite town name: Lackawanna (south of Buffalo, NY) – I still prefer “Spink”

Fluffy Puppy Spa – makes you wonder what the puppies are doing- mud baths? jacuzzis? cucumbers over the eyes? – on route 5 south of Buffalo

The Doghouse- bar in Erie, PA – especially liked “Bike Night Tuesdays” Favorite PA town names- Eighty Four, California and Ohiopyle

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