Notes on Niagara

25 04 2008

Syracuse, NY

Today we left Toronto and headed over to Syracuse, NY on our way to Boston. Along the way we did our touristic duty and visited Niagara Falls. I believe my grandparents either wedded or honeymooned there so I considered it a matter of tradition as well. Here are my thoughts and tips on Niagara.

1) View it from Canada. I always heard this and never knew why it made a difference. Well it turns out that the falls fall to the north. America is on the south side. You do the geography.
2) Seeing it is cool. Exploring it would be better. It’s pretty cool to look at, but even a falling water enthusiast like Gage was a little bored with it after about 15 minutes. You really have to take one of the boat rides or explore the cave that goes behind the falls to get a lot out of it. Otherwise you pay $8 to park on Goat Island and get a fellow tourist to take your picture. Check out our $8 worth below.
3) It smells like bird poop. Not trying to be a pessimist here, I just thought I’d warn those with sensitive schnozes. I would imagine that a lot of fish don’t make it over those falls and seagulls aren’t stupid. They know a free meal when they see one. Translation: bird poop galore. Really, you have to dodge as they fly overhead. This is about the only thing that made Gage happy he had a stuffy nose.

Niagara Falls

Rhonda commented the other day that most of our posts seem to be about food. That’s quite correct for two reasons. 1) Food is glorious. Who doesn’t want to talk about food. 2) Food has become our ultimate adventure. If we actually stayed put for more than a day or two, we’d be able to explore the town, find out where the cheap/good eats are and then repeat our patterns like normal city settlers. However, being nomads with absolutely no income we have no idea where to get food and our goal is always to spend as little as possible. So basically we spend the better part of our day looking for cheap food in order to get the best deal, much like one would keep their eyes peeled for cheap gas prices within their home town. You also have to make healthy choices when you’re only eating a few times a day. If you order some high-fat white flour and sugar rich combo meal off the local dollar menu, you can expect your stomach to be grumbling within two hours as you struggle to stay awake behind the wheel. There is a hierarchy to eating while on the road. This has become our new food pyramid. It goes from most expensive to least expensive. Ironically, it also goes from least difficult, to most difficult.

Eat food at a restaurant and pay a tip.
Buy food from a restaurant, but get it to-go to avoid tipping.
Buy food from a grocery store and heat it up in the microwave at your hotel.
Buy pre-prepared food at grocery store because the hotel doesn’t have a microwave or fridge.

So today when we spent an hour in the grocery store looking for items that do not need refrigeration, fill all of our requisite nutritional needs, require no more cooking than adding hot water, and cost as little as possible, that’s when we realized that we may not have jobs, but we are working. In fact, I would say that we are the epitome of self-employed.

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4 responses

25 04 2008
Scott

Hey can you guys go any more cooler places before you leave this country so I can get some more places to add to my list of need to visit spots.

26 04 2008
Garrett

i feel you pain… i’ll remind you i lived in a shack for 3 months with no microwave or fridge… cooking was interesting at best. I ate a lot of uncooked poptarts, fruit roll-ups, crackers and peanut butter added to anything…

tough eating healthy on the road…. unless you just buy tons of raw veggies and graze…

27 04 2008
Kathy

I woke up at 6 am. A wide awake kind of woke up. I didn’t want to be awake – but then there you were – both of you. Popped right into my head just like !#%THAT+*#! (imagine a finger snap). Haven’t had a chance to read your latest adventures in awhile so I hopped (not really) out of bed and immediately logged on. Enjoyed catching up and can’t wait to read more! Have now signed up to receive emails whenever you post. Jen, I agree w/your dad about being/becomng a travel writer. All is well w/us. Gage, you dad finished his thesis (hooray!) a couple weeks ago and is now anxiously awaiting the feedback from his Chair. I learn more at my new job, well, 3 mos. now, every day. Just finished IRA’s and now onto placing trades. Pales in comparison to what you two are experiencing – to say the least! We love you. Be safe.

29 04 2008
Catherine Stewart

First let me say how much I enjoy reading your blog. I feel like I’m there with you. Second, I believe your grandparents were born and raised in Niagara Falls. They at least grew up there.

Now let me tempt your palate by reminding you that when you come to San Francisco, you will eat WELL, mostly in restaurants because they are so fabulous but also at home.

I have been perfecting some recipes so I’m excited about cooking for you. I bought patio furniture the other day and finally ordered a couch which will be here in time for your visit.

You’ll have my car at your disposal so you can cruise on down to Santa Cruz and then on to Monterey and Carmel. Then on another day, you can drive up to Sausalito and then to Napa Valley. Both are great day trips.

Tempted yet?

I’m taking you to lunch at Scoma’s (see scomas.com) while dungeness crabs are still in season. We will also dine at the Cliff House (see cliffhouse.com) “where San Francisco begins” which is precisely two minutes from my apartment.

A cruise around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge is de rigeur here but that’s the only really kitschy touristy thing you have to do.

The rest of the time is for relaxing and hanging out at Ocean Beach or exploring North Beach and the Haight.

I still haven’t eaten at The Stinking Rose though so we may have to give that a try.

Your mouths should be watering now………..

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