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September 1st, Thursday

London to Livingstone Manor

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There will be a map here some day :-)

Scroll down for Cor's strory in Dutch

The room of the New London Super8 motel was spacious and tidy. The restaurant for breakfast in Japanese style was a bit odd but looked OK for me (as long as one can avoid to study the plastic plants from too close by). Breakfast itself was poor quality again.

Back to the highway. 100 km/h all the way, the signs repeatedly said. Maybe the Canadians consider this as the minimum speed? Really no one seemed to pay attention, so we also pushed the pedal a little deeper, cruising at 120 km/h. Better not spend too much time at this spot (although Fred organized a little detour by missing the exit. How exciting! (not). There MUST be better places in Canada.

So we wanted to get out of Canada asap. My passport in my bag in the trunk, I decided to stop just before the Canadian-US border to take it out. The exit led us straight to the parking for the Niagara Falls. OK, let's look at it from this side, although the original plan was to visit the US side with the sunlight from the back.

This decision was punished by a $20 parking fee. I guess the revenue is used for the park rangers who tell you not to stand on any wall or not to cross the street at the wrong side of the line. They might yell at you even if you're just one feet beyond. I'm starting to get a bit sick of being treated like a school boy, but for Americans and Canadians this seems to be part of all day life. (Making it even more strange that everybody went over the 100 km/h limit on the highway.)

The Niagara Falls themselves are really impressive. Originally a visit was not planned but I'm happy to have seen it. It would have been fun to go on the boat to have a closer look (and get sprayed), but that was too much time (and money...) consuming.

Re-entering the US should be easy as about 20 customs booths were open and the number of cars waiting in the lines were not too long. Forget it. It took a long time for each car to pass and we were unlucky to be in a line where the person in the first car seemed to be questioned very thoroughly. A quick lane change helped, but only for 10 minutes. Then our previous line started to move much quicker. The young officer wanted to know how much time we spent here, there and everywhere, the size of our shoes, the names of our pets, and what my father did for a living. Then we were granted to pass the Guantanamo entrance. 'Ow, by the way, do you know a good coffee shop around here?' Fred asked. 'No' the man said, with a big smile.

OK, no coffee at that moment then and we hit the road again. We had it later in a shop with all kinds of home made sweets, cakes, toppings and a lot of religious aphorisms on walls and tables. The girls behind the counter looked like they just returned from an episode from Little House on the Prairie. Anyway, they do know how to bake a sugar free apple pie!

Fred had called his friend Vic who was at his house near Livingstone Manor. Cor and I knew Vic from his visit to the Netherlands two years ago. We were welcome to stay overnight. This turned out to be a very relaxing and comfortable visit. Nice to cool down by swimming in the pond next to the house.

The four of us had dinner at the Lazy Beagle. I had trout (local) with sauteed vegetables, my best dinner since being in the US. Nice beers too. No time spent online, the signal was too weak.

Vic, many thanks for your hospitality!


Dag 16, 1 september: London – Vic's place, somewhere in the mountains (New York)

De vakantie loopt nu toch wel rap naar z'n eindbestemming. Maar eerst weer een saai stuk snelweg tot aan de grens, eerst via de 401 later via de 403 naar de attractiestad Niagara Falls, parkeren kost er 20 Dollar om de toch wel indrukwekkende watervallen te kunnen bekijken: zéééééééŕ touristisch, maar goed, het lag op de route :-)

Via een brug passeren we de Canadees/Amerikaanse grens, we hebben Fred nog niet zo blij gezien als op dat moment...We pikken route 17 op en al gauw zien we 'New York' op de borden.

Dit is weer een fantastisch gebied, beetje Zwarte Woud qua hoogte en bossen. We laten het bekende circuit Watkins Glen links liggen http://nl.wikipedia.or/wiki/Watkins_Glen_International en tuffen vrolijk verder, ca. 17,50 mile in de verkeerde richting..

Onderweg zien we veel wrakhout bij de weg en in de dorpen, electrici hebben er al lang de handen meer dan vol aan en nog steeds werkt alles nog (al!) lang niet... Tja, zit je in een super power land zie je dit, het heeft iets paradoxaals.. Onderweg vooral ook veel dood (groot) wild langs de weg, in de vroege avond ontsnapten wij aan een botsing met een volwassen overstekend hert (kwam van rechts, en had dus voorrang..).

Het laatste stuk ging binnendoor via smalle, door bossen en naar boven slingerende, weggetjes. Fred heeft dan de neiging om meer gas te geven, ondanks dat ik links en rechts heel wat herten zag, zal iets met de stalgeur te maken hebben, vermoed ik..

Laatste stukje is onverhard en we stoppen voor Vic's zomerhuis aan 'Sand Pond', een schitterend huis aan een even schitterend bosmeer, een kilometer of 6 ten zuidwesten van Livingston Manor. We worden als ware helden ontvangen, zo in de dagelijkse flow hebben we dat denk ik niet altijd even goed door.

Vic spreekt z'n bewondering uit: 'het is een échte prestatie en grandioos avontuur!'

Vic wees ons op het 'buitenbad' (het bosmeer), waar we ons lekker konden opfrissen, het water was lauw, glashelder en rimpelloos: heerlijk! Dit zou dé ideale plek zijn om een paar dagen bij te komen van een vermoeiende trip, het vliegtuig zal niet wachten op ons.

Nadat we eerst nog even de gestalde peekaa's (Bertone, Ferrari en Spider), hebben bekeken,

's avonds een meer dan voortreffelijk diner + een goed glas bier in Livingston Manor gehad, ook hier weer de nodige belangstelling en 'awesome' opmerkingen :-), ja, doet je toch wel wat!

't Juultje houdt zich ondertussen hartstikke goed! Onderweg veel duimen en verdraaide nekken.

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