Toronto/Niagara Falls

Posted: 1 February 2013 in Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Toronto and Niagara Falls was the third day of our trip.  Unlike what we did when we went to DC, we decided to drive through the night to Toronto and then grab a hotel for a couple hours.  The drive was meant to take between nine and ten hours when we first checked it out.  Problem was that our sat-nav was telling us that it was going to take over twelve.  Then we discovered that it was trying to take us around Lake Erie rather than up through New York.  We ended up having to use my mates iphone when ever the sat-nav gave faulty directions and then let it recalculate.  Jaf was driving most the way, but eventually he got tired and I took over.  I could only drive a couple hours because I am not a night person.  At one of the rest stops I opted to get an energy drink rather than a hot chocolate that I’d been getting.  I normally don’t drink energy drinks, but I think I’ve found one I’m converted to.  It is called Xenergy by Xyience.  I got the mango guava flavour and it was excellent.  One of the things I love about this drink was that it has no sugar.  It has some sucralose in it but it is very far down the ingredient list.  It has great flavour, I felt the energy almost instantly, and there wasn’t a crash.  Sadly, here in Utah the only places to find them are at GNC or online.  I’m very impressed with it.

We made it to the border of Canada sometime around 3am.  I really wanted a stamp in my passport, but the border patrol person was not very friendly.  He was actually kind of intimidating.  I guess that isn’t a bad thing, but I really wanted that stamp.  Go figure the sat-nav started malfunctioning shortly after crossing the border.  Go figure.  Then it started to snow.  Then I fell asleep.  I’m such a bad copilot.  We made it there alive and that’s what matters.  We made it to our hotel around 6am.  I was exhausted so all I cared about was getting to our room and going to bed.

We left the hotel between 11am and 12pm.  We wanted to see the tower we had seen in the fog early that morning (it looked awesome and I wish I had been awake enough to take a picture).  I drove us through town in the direction of the tower and parked in a parking lot right on Lake Ontario.  The tower was huge and for some odd reason I don’t have a picture of it.  What I do have is a picture from the top looking down.

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So this is the view down from the CN Tower.  We were I believe 114 stories up.  It might have been 113 as we went down one to get this shot.  For over 25 years this was the tallest manmade structure in the world.  It has a restaurant (which is not surprisingly really expensive) and on days when the wind isn’t so bad it could rip your skin off (like on the day we went), people can base jump and also go out on the sky walk.  At the base there is a cafe, arcade, gift shop, and motion ride (which we did. It was pretty fun).

From here we found a nice pizzeria somewhere and got some personal pizzas and sodas.  I got one with some kind of meat, olives and peppers (which is strange for me as I hate peppers).  It was spicy but good.  The soda I got was some italian cola.  It was ok.  I wish I remembered the name of the place.  We just stumbled upon it and we were starving.  Driving me crazy.  Oh well.

We finally made it to Niagara Falls.  You’re just driving the roads trying to navigate your way to the falls and then WHAM, there they are.  You turn a corner and you see them.  Of course you can only see the first and smaller of the two falls.  We drove down a bit further and parked to see the more famous Horseshoe Falls.

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As you can see from the picture, ice adorns nearly everything.  It was so cold there (which is a given considering it was January).  There was a constant mist in the air with the ever droning roar of the falls.  Walking was a challenge because of the ice.  The wind made the cold, water-drenched air even colder.  The only respite was the gift shop which had a cafe as well.  I know I make it sound like it was awful, but it wasn’t. Sure the weather was miserable, but the falls were so beautiful and I was very glad to be there.  The description is more a word to the wise.  Next time I go it will definitely be in summer.  Something cool about the falls is that every evening at nightfall, lights behind the falls turn on.  Since we had gotten there so late, we decided to stay and check them out.  The first colour was red and not very impressive so we left.  As we were driving out, we noticed many people pulled over to the side checking out the lights so we gave them another shot.  This time it was a greenish-blue colour that was very nice.

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This last shot is simply to give you a view of the entire Horseshoe Falls.  I had to walk quite a ways to get the entire thing.  When it isn’t so cold, I would love to take a boat down by the falls.  That would be awesome.

Our next stop was Palmyra, NY.  This was a personal stop.  As all my friends know, I am LDS, also know as a Mormon.  Palmyra is an important place in my religion as it is where the Prophet Joseph Smith was living in his teenage years.  More importantly, it is here that he visited a grove of trees to pray and was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ.  The place is now referred to as The Sacred Grove.  My parents went there in 2004 and I have always planned on going.  This was the perfect opportunity albeit not the perfect time of day.  Since we were so late leaving Niagara Falls, by the time we got there it was pitch black.  We stopped at the Visitor Centre there (which I thought was where The Sacred Grove was) and visited with the missionaries there for a few minutes.  They gave us a map of the grove and told us we could walk through it, but that we would need flashlights.  Jaf’s iphone was perfect for that.  It was an amazing experience being there.  We went through it quickly as it was late and cold.  Next time I will be there in the summer and during the day.  That way I can take the time to really connect with the place.  It was still great to be there.

Our last stop was at a the house of some friends of mine.  I hadn’t seen them in some years (he’s in the military) so it was a nice reunion.  We reminisced about the good times, which I’m sure bored Jaf to death.  Dave even tried showing pictures of me from our time in Germany, but found only one thankfully.  They even let me experience what the fuss was about over Coke 0 (now I know why Jaf gets it all the time.  It wasn’t gross like diet sodas).  Overall I wish we’d had more time to spend with them as I did in Germany.  I was surprised though that their kids were as awake as they were, but then again I don’t have kids so I wouldn’t fully understand the hyperactivity of children.  After a quick dinner of Taco Bell (which thankfully had some vegetarian options so Jaf could eat) we made our way to our final destination: Jersey (it was where his hotel and work was).

This single day was filled with a ton of driving.  Most of it was at night so all we saw was darkness.  If we had stayed longer in Toronto, I would have loved to have seen a hockey match.  Maybe do some base jumping off the top of the CN Tower.  As I’ve noted through this entry, I will have to go back when it is warmer (and the sun stays out longer) to be able to experience more of these places.  I loved it though.  Definitely a fun journey 😉

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Comments
  1. Teresa says:

    We are glad we got to see you and meet Jaf. Hopefully next time we can show ya around town! Thanks for fitting us in your busy weekend.
    PS: Palmyra hosts the Hill Camora Pagaent in the summer, if you’re interested.

    Like

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