Camping gear packed in the car? Check! Clothing, cameras, directions? Check, check, check. iPod for music during our 1,525 mile road trip? Uh oh…what’s this frowny-faced icon on the screen?! Guess we have to grab whatever CDs are laying around and my old high school Discman. That’s how Carrie and my ten day trip to Canada and Upstate NY began.
In an effort to avoid Labor Day traffic and crowds, Carrie and I did a couple of days of Staycation in NYC. Highlights included bike riding around Governor’s Island, a trip to the Cloisters and a visit to Wave Hill Park, which we highly recommend to anyone in the area. It’s a beautiful and secluded park in the Bronx with amazing views and gardens.
Niagara and Toronto:
Our Staycation didn’t actually do much for alleviating traffic, as it took two hours just to get out of the city and another eight before we finally pulled into the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Our patience was immediately reward, as we were treated to a fireworks display over the falls. Other highlights included the Maid of the Mist, the view from the tower that soars above the falls, wandering next to the falls and a night playing slots at the Casino because they decided under staff the place on Labor Day weekend. Also, I’m pretty sure Niagara Falls was about three times bigger the last time I was there.
Our next stop on our whirlwind trip was Toronto where I managed to get a pair of $59 front row seats behind the Blue Jay’s dugout from the box-office about 45 minutes before the start of the game. Only in Canada! We also saw a street filled with people playing leapfrog, a castle that, despite what it said on the Internet, was not free and wouldn’t even let us use the bathroom without paying and the CN Tower from below. Another highlight of the city was Toronto Island, which was a quick boat ride from the harbor, gave us amazing views of the city and let us rent a fun two-seater bike. It was also on Toronto Island where we encountered the most useless lighthouse ever: a supposedly haunted structure in the middle of the island where it could never guide any ship anywhere.
Perhaps the wildest story of our trip came one evening while staying in The Beach section of Toronto with a friend. After walking along the shore we were staying with, we decided to stop for a while on a pier. Naturally, we wanted to take a photo so I found a pole sticking out of the pier that was filled in with cement. Well, the angle was wrong so we moved the camera over one pole, set the timer and pushed the button…only to see it fall backwards into what we quickly learned was a non-filled in pole. Down it went for a solid 15 foot drop…but fortunately it was both waterproof and shockproof, so we began to hatch our recovery plan.
For the next hour we joined forces with the other group of people on the pier and gathered everything we could think of to rescue the camera. In the end, no combination of rope, chain, bent hangers, flashlights or sticks could retrieve the camera so we called it a night, convinced all we needed was a little daylight to guide us.
Early the next morning, before a 300+ mile drive, we returned with rope, wire, a hook and lots of optimism. However, we quickly found that the pole had filled in with water a bit, which was no problem for a waterproof camera but made getting a hook on the camera’s strap a lot harder. After giving it a good 30 minute try, we started to wander around asking everyone we could think of if they had any ideas. Since it was past Labor Day, all pools and police stations were deserted and the best we could come up with was a yacht club a mile down the beach.
The friendly man inside the club offered us a giant hooked pool rod that we were convinced we could stick down the hole and, with its weight, have no problem hooking the strap in the water. So, after we walked the mile back to the camera carrying this giant metal rod and getting the strangest looks, we quickly found that in addition to being too long for either of us to hold by ourselves, the hook made it too wide to fit down the pole. We then tried to put the other end down the pole in an effort to wedge it against the side of the inside of the pole and pull it up that way.
Well, our brilliant idea backfired, as instead of getting a grip on the camera, we actually succeeded in wedging it inside the pole further. Oops! Our final attempt at rescue involved stripping to my boxers jumping into the water, holding my breath and actually trying to dig out the bottom of the pole and get the camera from below. In the end, all that did was open up some new holes that filled the pole up with more water, officially ending any chance we had. So, three hours after the ordeal began, Carrie and I officially said our goodbyes to the camera and to Toronto and headed off on the next leg of our journey.
After leaving Canada, Carrie and I spent a night at a beautiful B&B before heading to the Adirondacks for a couple of nights of camping and hiking. Our site was gorgeous, isolated and literally right next to a lake. Our hike was great too, though we got a late start and had to with quite possibly the most useless park ranger ever, which led to us having to cut the hike short due to a lack of daylight. We awoke to pouring rain the next morning and decided to call it a vacation.
Onward to India
So that’s it…not too much craziness this trip. However, as you may or may not know, Carrie and I will be heading to India on December 10 with a one way ticket. We don’t know how long we will be gone, exactly where we will be or what we will be doing, but we want to hit up India and Southeast Asia, so there’s plenty to see…and I’m sure there will be plenty to report back on. Until then…