the Maid, the hospitality & the long drive

The last 48 hours have been rather incredible – for mostly wonderful reasons (with one notable exception … I’ll come to that)

DSC01457On Wednesday, having checked out Niagara Falls from the US side, along with Ralph and Margaret W,  we parked our borrowed car at the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls – and spent the next five hours there.  An absolute highlight for this trip was the Maid of the Mist boat ride Jeremy and I took right up to the “roar” and wind and spray of the Horseshoe Falls on the Maid of the Mist — a ride (and I’m no risk-taker) I’ve been wanting to do for a LONG time.  It was fantastic – you get so close, and there, you are overwhelmed with the force of the water teeming over those falls (and the American Falls not far away too!).  All over in a about 30 minutes, but it was, to quote from the PR guff, “the ride of a lifetime”.  If you ever get to go the Falls, you must take the Maid of the Mist ride.  Dale is still not well from this horrible cough of hers, so she stayed up top with Ralph & Margaret.  For lunch, we dined at Tim Hortons. (take note, Glenn!) Tim Hortons is as synonymous with takeaway food in Canada as McDonald’s is in the USA (and of course, globally).

IMG_0302From there, the five of us drover to Hamilton, a large city just outside Toronto – on Lake Ontario, where we farewelled Jeremy.  He really wants (and indeed had planned all along) to do his own thing from here – here gets back in Ox on 15 July … the day I head off to the UCA Assembly in Sydney.   We’ll miss having him around.  Over the next week and a half, Jeremy hopes to check out the world-renowned Montreal Jazz festival, do some couch-surfing, connect with his relations Bill Bajzek and Bonnie Bowers somewhere in eastern North America – it’s almost that vague, and spend lots of money.  I just wish he didn’t have that huge suitcase to lug around.  Anyhow, we wish him well.

Yesterday (Thursday) we embarked on what we knew would be our long, long drive from Pelham (near Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)DSC01451 to Washington DC .  Leaving just after 8 am, we finally got to our pre-booked DC hotel at about 8.30 pm.  I drove almost 500 miles (800 km) yesterday and NEVER want to do that again.  I was fine for the first 2/3, but the last bit was as demanding as ….  Drove through some beautiful countryside on the way down.  I wonder if USA folk really appreciate their Interstate highway system.  A few days travelling on Oz roads and they sure would.   The GPS in Tom & Diana’s car has proved invaluable, especially in the final stage of yesterday’s journey, as we tried to find the Capitol Skyline Inn.  We look out from our hotel room (a good deal at $129/night) and the famous dome of the Capitol is not far away.

Today, we head off firstly on our 6-hour tour of the sights of Washington DC before checking out  and heading towards Colonial Williamsburg.  Tomorrow is 4 July/Independence Day – it will special being at a place like Williamsburg for this.

These four days are really the only time on our trip when it’s just Dale and me together – we are appreciating that.

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