Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Upstate NY

Leaving Canada the same day we arrived, we camped at Niagara Falls KOA in Upstate NY. After a late dinner of pizza, we settled in for a good night's sleep with visions of a day on the lake for the morrow.  Our dreams were fulfilled beyond belief.  I managed to get in a workout and the boys a day of school before setting out, however.  Life of a homeschooling family.
It was a gorgeous day, unseasonably warm, and not crowded at all.  Perfect.

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Lunch with a view.
RoadTrip 2014
We rented a pontoon boat for a couple of hours.  The view from the middle of Lake George was even better than from the banks.  The boys swam and fished while Scott and I soaked up some much appreciated sunshine.

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RoadTrip 2014

We spent some time in the town browsing the stores, mailing postcards, and people watching before heading out to our campground for the night.  We hiked through one campground and found some interesting handmade signs.  The scent of pine was so fresh and sweet smelling.  Different than our Georgia pines and certainly fresher air than most.

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Oh, Canada!

RoadTrip 2014

RoadTrip 2014Moved on from St. Louis and headed for northern Indiana to spend the night with my aunt and uncle before heading into Canada via Michigan. Along the way in Illinois, we stopped at a state park to let the boys fish. Tim caught a bass.
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After a wonderful breakfast out with my aunt, uncle, and cousins, the 2nd cousins enjoyed a riveting ball game. A chilly morning, but they were all sweated through by the end. So fun to watch and visit with family we do not get to see very often.
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It was a long driving day, crossing the border, stopping at the infamous Tim Hortons, and discovering that Canada has just as much corn as Indiana.
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357We arrived in Niagara Falls as the sun was setting. Made it to the Falls as dusk fell. The spot lights on the Falls made for great viewing even at night.
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Meet Me in St. Louis

RoadTrip 2014The first leg of our Roadtrip 2014, was from home to Indiana to meet up with my family.  From there, we headed West to St. Louis for some of America's favorite pastime, baseball.  Not just any baseball, but some St. Louis baseball.
Growing up in So. Indiana, positioned almost directly halfway between two baseball cities, St. Louis and Cincinnati, one would think that I have been a Cardinals or Reds fan all of my life.  While I grew up hearing so much about the Cardinals, their games carried on a local radio station and all, I was not a die hard Cardinals fan. While I have been to a Reds game or two, I was not a Reds fan. I truly enjoy the sport, so I watched as many games as "free" tv would carry and admired good players in the sport from all teams.
During the glory days of the 80's, and perhaps more because I was the youngest in the family, being a fan of either of those teams seemed too easy.  I was a Mets fan first.  Dodgers fan second.  Never been to either of their ballparks, but saw the Mets play against the Cardinals in my first ever live game in St. Louis in 1988 and again against the Braves a couple of years ago.  While I now live in Braves Country, I cannot say I am a Braves fan first and foremost.  My heart still belongs to the Mets.  The Cardinals have moved into second, with the Braves coming in third to keep harmony in the family.  We went to Port St. Lucie, Florida, to the Mets' spring training camp to see the Braves (yeah, right) and "just" saw the Dodgers play the Braves this summer.  I was accused, by some, of wearing "Dodger blue" to the game.  I say it was a coincidence that it was the only sleeveless shirt clean for such a hot afternoon game.  Sounded good to me.
Oh, but I digress...
RoadTrip 2014My family enjoys baseball games.  So, we made a weekend out of going to St. Louis to take in a game, go up in the Arch, and experience St. Louis together.  My husband and boys had never been to St. Louis before this trip.
Having purchased tickets online for the Arch, we knew how much time we had for settling in, finding a lunch spot, and walking to the Arch.  We decided upon an Italian joint on the way to the Arch from our hotel.  It was delicious.  And warm and dry.  Considering we had to wait out a random rain shower (that came out of nowhere) in a bus stop shelter on a corner between our hotel and the restaurant and our hunger levels, it was perfect.
RoadTrip 2014The Arch experience has changed greatly since my last visit in 2001, with increased security and a larger museum, but the view from the top is still magnificent.  (Note:  Take a paper towel or something with you to clean the windows for fingerprint free photos.)
We ventured down to the banks of the Mississippi River for a time after our Arch visit and walked some around the city.  A live jazz band was playing a few blocks up from the river.  Took me back to our trip to New Orleans last year for a moment.
Dinner plans were to be inside the ball park.  A strange phenomenon, never encountered at the Braves stadium, they didn't open the gates early. As hundreds of people were gathered outside the gates, awaiting their entrance, the clouds were gathering overhead as well.  Scott told us to head across the street to a doorway with an overhang because it was about to pour. We no sooner all made it under the cover when the heavens opened up.  It was still several minutes after the rain shower that they finally opened the gates.  Hmm...interesting strategy.
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RoadTrip 2014The new stadium is simply awesome. We had seats facing West, which provided for a beautiful view of the sunset as the game began.  The game itself was good, but got even better once a few of us left the stadium to get some sleep.  Gotta love it when all the exciting plays take place after the 7th inning stretch.  I heard and saw the fireworks from my room and knew those of us who left                                                         early had missed the big comeback.

RoadTrip 2014The next morning, we walked several city blocks to a pretty cool cafe, Rooster.  It is definitely a hot spot for breakfast in the city.  We had some fun in a park/garden/artsy area on the way back to our hotel, too.
It was a great time with family!