Grandpa’s Epic Canadian Adventure – Part 1

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I have now been on the road for eight days, travelling with my dad and my two boys.  My husband stayed behind to work, which has been fine, but hard at times as well.  We all miss him.  I miss him.  Our youngest seems a bit easier to tear up than usual, and I think he misses his Dad and his friends and his routine.  The oldest boy is handling travelling quite well, rating the various hotels according to their pools and breakfast choices.  I hate my father’s outdated GPS.  Neither of us has an international data plan. Being the only female and not a big breakfast person, waking up morning after morning to an immediate call for eggs and bacon and bowls of oatmeal has got me feeling a bit weighed down. Also, in the beginning, Dad said we could not eat or drink anything in his car, which we have respectfully ignored.  Eight days together in a car over a sixteen day period requires a little bit of rule breaking.  Kelly spilled water in the backseat with his Sprite bottle.  Luckily it wasn’t the other way around.  We finished the first Harry Potter as read out loud.

So far we have driven through beautiful north country and we favor the rural landscape to the cities. I had expectations of various groups, thinking NYers would be brusque and Canadians quaint.  What I have found is that most all people are kind.  And southern accents don’t stand out like I had thought they would.  To Canadians, apparently we all sound the same, which would be – not –  Canadian.  They really do say, “Ey!” quite a lot, and, “y’all” is the give away for where I am from.  Canada is much like the United States.  It is cleaner in many ways, but there is still some litter along the interstates.  Most smokers are seemingly foreigners, though I may be misjudging here.  Hockey rules all other sports.  We know nothing about hockey.  A fellow from Montreal told us soccer is for fairies.  I made fun of his need for so much protective gear for his sensitive physique.  Many brands are the same.  There has been a trade of Dunkin Doughnuts for a Tim Horton’s, and I hate to admit Tim Horton’s is better.  (No offense, DD.)

States we have hit so far include: SC, NC, VA, WV, MD, PA, NY.

Countries: USA, Canada

Provinces: Ontario (Tomorrow we step into Quebec)

Places worth mentioning for your Google search as a vacay spot: Bedford, PA, Watkins Glen, NY, fingerlakes region, Niagara on the Canadian side.

Bedford is a quaint town with a resort, golf, large and adorable downtown with restaurants and shopping, and hiking.

Watkins Glen has the state park, and let me be the one to fill you in on a little secret.  This is not a simple nature trail.  This is a wonder of God’s creation.

The finger lakes have the wine and the lakes.  Those just go together well.  And there’s lots of both.

Niagara Falls is the Gatlinburg/ Myrtle Beach/ Las Vegas of Canada.  Worth doing for about two or three days.  We drove out to Niagara on the Lake, which is the rich people’s resort town that has separated itself from the other Niagara.  It has the best gelato and a Fort George and tons of overpriced stores that are fun to wander through.   The men’s dress shop owner used to work in Alabama and can help you out, and the Irish shop is expensive but not overpriced.  Beautiful.  P.S.  Everything costs money.  Even seemingly free parking.  There is a meter, and it is your job to figure out if it exists and where it is.  Just my little FYI.  Back at the tacky side of Niagara, the boardwalk is fabulous, the boat rides are worth every touristy penny, and the puttputt may cause stress.  Or maybe that’s just my crew.

Random info.

In Niagara on the Lake, the public school enrollment was so low, they closed the high school altogether.  The kids all go to Catholic or private school.  It is not that way all over Canada, but it is more that way in general than in the US.

Summer.  Summer goes from June to August/ September.  By October, it’s cold. By November it’s snowing.  We are here at the end of May and I needed a shirt, sweater, raincoat, and hat today.  On sunny days, it is warm and nice, but on other days, it is still chilly.  This past week there was a nighttime that got down to 2 degrees Celsius.  Again, it is the last week of May.

This now ends part one of our trip.  Eight days down, eight more to go….