Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Road Trip, Day 11

Riding Into the Mist, Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
We spent the night at Niagara on the Canadian side. We left the hotel early enough this morning to ride the first outing of Maid of the Mist V. It was one of those bucket list items that we both wanted to check off. My wife had actually been up to Niagara with her mother in 1980 along with a mutual family friend, but she had never had a chance to ride the Maid. And then she married me, and life with all its complications sped by from our marriage until now, when we finally decided to take these two weeks and roam around the eastern seaboard up to Toronto. Niagara was the last place to visit on the Canadian side because it afforded the best view of the falls (America may own part of the falls, but Canada owns the better falls and the best viewing).

When we got to the park we made our way over to the ticket area, waited until they opened at 9:30am, purchased our tickets, put on our complementary Maid of the Mist ponchos, then wound our way down to the edge of the river where the boats waited for us all to board.
No video, no Disney-esque movie, no photograph or written word can convey the true power of the falls. You have to go there, board one of the boats, and let it carry you into the face of the falls in order to really appreciate the power of all that water roaring over the edge. I recorded two videos in addition to all the photos, and while they are a wonderful reminder of our time on Maid of the Mist V, it will never be the same as being there in person.

The top-most photo was taken almost by accident. It was so misty, my glasses were so coated, that all I could do was hold up my hand, aim in a general direction, and then trip the shutter. Every once in a while I'd wipe water off the front and the back, then shoot some more. It's amazing I got anything at all, but then, that's sorta the story of my photography in general.

We ate an excellent lunch back at Johnny Rocco's, then hit the road out of Canada and down into Emporium Pennsylvania where he dad is buried. She wanted to check the grave site, then make contact with the local Methodist minister about getting her mother's dates on the same headstone with her father. She also wanted to look around a bit, first at the church her dad preached at right before he died, and then to look at other places that were special to her. Her trip to all of the locations in Pennsylvania were to recharge her internally. Going back wasn't an attempt to somehow recapture the past, it was a way for her to explain part of her life to me by showing me some of those places still very special to her.

By the way, I queried Google Maps the night before to see how long it would take to travel from Niagara to Emporium. Google Maps gave a travel time of two hours seventeen minutes. That turned out to be a joke. Between all the little towns up in the rugged mountains of Pennsylvania with 35MPH speed limits and all the road construction on the various two-lane roads the road crews are trying to finish before winter, it took us four and a half hours to travel to Emporium. When we left it took another three and a half hours to travel out of Emporium to where we're spending the night in Milton Pennsylvania, near the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. Tomorrow we get up early to drive down to Gettysburg, where I get to fire up the Pens once again.

Oh. And in spite climbing into and through the mountains, the Prius maintained an average of 52MPG or more. There were times as we were coasting down a long grade that the regenerative system charged the internal battery to 100%. I have never seen that happen before, with either the 2009 Prius or this one. Basically I'd burn energy getting up a grade, then get the majority back coasting down the other side. And don't think for a moment that the Prius was slow. With my foot off the accelerator the Prius still reached speeds of 65MPH (+100 km/h) or more down long and sometimes twisty roads.

Traveling through the mountains in that part of Pennsylvania was enchanting. The views were beautiful, except for those sections of forest where the gypsy moths have really gotten hold of the trees. There you'd see who sections of forest dead and grayed from their caterpillar nests up in the tree crowns.


All photos were taken with a Panasonic DMC-TS20, the cheaper version of the DMC-TS4. I had purchased this rugged and waterproof camera about a month earlier when it went on sale at Amazon for $99. I figured you couldn't go wrong at that price. I've since discovered that at $100 it's a stellar performer. In a number of ways it actually out-performs the Pens, especially when focusing and shooting. It was the perfect camera for the falls. It's simple enough that even my wife likes it (I really got it for her). However, she made sure I was the one running the camera on our trip through the mist.


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the Maid of the Mist. It's now on the list for me and Penny to do as well.

    But the big unanswered question: how on earth were you carrying a waterproof TS20 without me knowing about it?

    1. ...how on earth were you carrying a waterproof TS20 without me knowing about it?

      You never asked.


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