In the beginning of October, we set off from the Adirondacks towards Niagara Falls--choosing to go through the Canadian side not only because the view is better, but because we could cut through Canada to Michigan, rather than loping back underneath Lake Erie, through Pennsylvania. We stopped in Rochester, NY and went to the best little coffee shop/roaster/bar we've found since we left--called Joe Bean. It was inside of a weird little building, but the inside of the shop itself was really cool with brick walls, neat wooden tables and a great bar--even their espresso machine was hammered copper. We spent an hour or so in there drinking coffee, working on the blog and charging our many devices before we drove a little bit more to Niagara Falls, NY for the night. We learned while going into Canada the first time that we did not like going over the border at night, so we found a WalMart about 15 minutes away.
In the morning we looked across the parking lot at a van that was parked nearby who had also stayed the night--their van was white with a blue stripe down the middle, and on the side was painted JESUS. THE WAY. THE TRUTH. THE LIFE. Walking towards us was a younger guy with a coffee cup in his hand and a string holding up his jeans. He introduced himself as Brent and said that he and his wife had been traveling in their van for 11 months as missionaries. He himself had lived in vans for about 5 years, and they were planning on moving to another country (maybe Argentina?) in the next year. We probably talked to him for about an hour exchanging van life "hacks" and what not, when another guy pulled up to us and asked about Penny and suggested some places for us to visit in the area—Penny felt popular that day.
That guy told us about a place nearby called Devil's Hole, so we decided to check it out, but once we got there we realized that it would take a long time from where we were to get to the heart of Devil's Hole (major rapids that all collide together in the same spot), so we set off for the border instead. Getting into Canada at the Niagara Falls border is such a fast and easy process—probably because so many people are passing through every day, they can't be too picky. We found a place to park and started walking towards the falls--there were people everywhere, but I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it gets in the summer. It was a pretty cloudy and drizzly day, but to me it only made the falls look more beautiful! The color of the water was almost turquoise, which I noticed was also the case with some of the Great Lakes--our lakes at home are always brown. The body of water leading up to the falls looked so shallow, it was unbelievable that there was so much force and water coming down. Apparently there are 3,160 tons of water flowing over the falls per second, which is absolute craziness.
We walked along the ledge looking out over the falls, taking pictures and trying to avoid getting in other people’s selfies. We went in a souvenir store to find a sticker, and then walked down to the Hornblower to get tickets--the Hornblower is the Canadian version of Maid of the Mist, which is a boat that takes you into the horseshoe of the falls. We got our tickets and soon after were boarding the boat with our red ponchos at the ready. We didn’t get the best spot at first, but we got on the side where we would see all the good stuff on the way back to the dock. We started out towards the horseshoe, and the power of the falls to our left was whipping around the ponchos of the people across from us. We slowly came up towards the horseshoe and lingered there for a while, getting covered in mist and the wind blowing us all about. The falls were amazing and mighty in front of us, and we couldn’t stop laughing--I’m really glad we decided to experience that.
After our boat ride we decided to check out the main street, which we didn’t expect to look like a mini Vegas (or Wildwood, NJ). Every store and restaurant had flashing lights, a big gaudy statue outside and music blasting--luckily none of this was really seen or heard from the falls. We walked until it went from flashy stores to sketchy souvenir shops and buffets. We stopped at a place called Smokes Poutinerie and got Philly Cheesesteak Poutine (which obviously was awesome), and sat there for a while figuring out our next move. We walked around the area--well, we got lost a little--and went back to the falls for a final look and farewell.
The drive to our next WalMart was a few hours away--we wanted to get close to the border and drive into Michigan the next morning. Our surrounding scenery quickly became flat and filled with vineyards, and soon turned to total darkness. It was the longest feeling drive we had so far in the van driving almost 4 hours with a top speed of 55 in total darkness--we couldn’t wait to just get there and go to bed. We didn’t arrive until about 9:30, the town being around 15 minutes from the border. We were ready, already, to be back in the United States.