It looked like today was going to be a beautiful day, but tomorrow looked pretty rainy, so we went to Niagara first. Ted’s always heard that the Canadian side was the prettiest, so we headed straight there. On the drive I told Max that we were going through customs, so only the grown-ups would talk. I said we weren’t scared or worried, but that the guys there are professional and they don’t want to joke around. I was ready, but then the first question the guy asked me was my permanent address, and I blanked! Heh. Ted leaned over and said Livingston, Tx and then I was fine. The rest of the questions were no big deal, but I had to chuckle at that.

We parked and then had a little walk along the Niagara river down to the Hornblower. We stopped several times along the way because the falls were awesome! Mom downloaded Duo and we facetimed with her and Papa; what an age we live in!

When we got to the ticket station we saw some zipliners and Jack wants to ride! He’s such a crapshoot…I can see him enjoying it or freaking out when he’s up at the top. We’ll look into it.

We got our tickets for the Hornblower and our ponchos and got on board. We weren’t right at the front of the boat, but pretty close. It was pretty amazing to see up close, but Ted forgot the waterproof camera and we didn’t want to risk our phones, so we don’t have lots of pictures from there. We got pretty wet, but it was warm and windy today so we dried quickly.

Sometimes I really can’t believe we get to see all the awesome things we see. God is so good to us! On the drive over we started going State by State listing the amazing wonders and just fun stuff we’ve seen…what an awesome life!

When we got off the boat we stopped at a table in the shade for a bit to plan our next move. Ted looked up how much the zip line was and it was $60/person!! We really wanted to do it but $250 for a few seconds of fun is really too much. Oh well. We’ll have to find a cheaper one to do with Jack. We started looking for lunch then, and Ted said I could sign into the Hornblower’s wifi…I’d had my phone on airplane mode since I don’t have an international plan. We saw a few places, but then Ted’s phone stopped getting a good signal and my phone wasn’t working great either, so we just started walking. When we left the Boston campground the guy cleaning sites recommended a hole-in-the-wall Italian place to us. I never could find it on Google and Ted looked on Yelp with no luck either, but I figured we could drive around the area and might see it. We got our wires crossed a bit and headed out walking there, but we were pretty hungry by this time so we ended up finding a place by sight instead of by Yelp. I thought I hit the jackpot with a little crepe place but it was closed even though its hours said it should be open. By this time we were a bit hangry, so I asked Max where he wanted to go and he picked Kelsey’s Original Roadhouse. Ted got alfredo pasta with sundried tomatoes and chicken, I got the grilled caesar salad, and the boys split an ultimate bacon cheeseburger with bacon and canadian bacon. We all felt much better when lunch was over.

We leisurely walked back to the truck and stopped at a couple of souvenir stores. I know I should only buy Turkish things when we’re in Turkey, but there are so many little Turkish shops in all the places we visit. This place had a shop with lots of lanterns of all sizes, and leather bags, and bowls of all sizes. I didn’t buy any, and I hope I don’t regret it! I always think of buying matching bowls or lanterns for my sisters or best friends. We saw some maple syrup and some jam in another shop we were going to get, and then I asked Ted if we could just go to a regular grocery store and look around and get a few things; so that’s what we’re doing!

We walked through a pretty little park, and then when we were close to the truck we stopped in the visitor’s center to see what’s there: lots of fun stuff, nothing that we bought. Max had asked that we buy some doughnuts from Tim Hortons, so we did: some to eat now and some for breakfast. Then we admired the falls again, and all the rainbows you can see from the Canadian side!

Back in the truck we headed off to find the Italian restaurant; we might come back here tomorrow for a meal. We followed the directions we were given (the first or second right off the Rainbow Bridge, then a mile or so down the road), but we found no restaurant that fit the bill. We saw a playground around there so we stopped to let Jack play and I found an old dude to ask about the restaurant. He said he’s lived here for 4 years and knows of no restaurant like what we’re looking for. Then he went on to tell me about his knee surgery and how the dog he got isn’t making things better, heh. He did suggest we go to Roadhouse, and I hoped he was talking about the roadhouse we went to, but no luck. He meant Chuck’s Roadhouse. We’d seen that restaurant, but gone to the other.

Jack and Max played a little more, and I used Ted’s phone to find a grocery store. We saw some black squirrels here like we’d seen in CO; funny! Then I asked Ted about bringing food through customs. He started researching, and said they can basically take anything they want! Ugh. I should definitely not buy anything with rice, but even prepackaged foods are fair game. Oh well, we’ll see. We drove 10 minutes to a store I found and the boys stayed in the truck while I looked around. I bought maple syrup for us, the Joneses, the Huffs and the Hoopers, and 3 kinds of cookies for us.

We headed for the border then, and said our prayers! Everything was going so well, I even remembered our address! He asked since we’re from TX if we’d crossed the border and I said no. He said so you’ve never been out of the country? I said I had, but not this trip and he was OK with that answer. Then he told us that we’d won the prize, we’d been randomly selected to be searched (although later Ted said the paper he gave us listed ‘baggage’ as the reason for the search). When I asked if the only prize we got was being searched he said we might even win a prize of a fine or something! Heh, he was jokey though, so it was all good. We pulled around and then left everything in the truck and went inside this little building where we could see our truck and the guys poking in it. Jack commented on them getting all up in our truck. While we were waiting Max said in a normal (not lowered) voice, do you still have that knife, Mom? What the what??!!! I’ve carried around a tiny (2-inch?) pocket knife for years, and he wants to ask about it now? I said that tiny pocket knife? Heh. I don’t think anyone heard us, though. In just a few minutes they came to tell us we were free to go. When we were getting into the truck I realized I didn’t know how to get out of there, and so had to ask someone where we should go. Max checked our grocery bags and all our Canadian food was there! Woot! Kids are an adventure all to themselves :-)

We went home and had leftovers for supper, and played card games, and hit the hay.

We put our stickers on today!! We’ve been to 39 States!!! Only 9 more to go!

We sent the boys on a walk with the trash while we finished packing up. I took the shoe rack innards outside to clean them out and oh! the sand!

We left our beautiful site,

and got gas at the station we stopped at last night. The same guy (I saw Rajput on the back of his yellow Hummer) was in there so I thanked him for his help.

As we were driving from Schenectady to Niagara this morning Max decided to “do school” with Jack. He asked Jack, “If I take one space man and another space man, what do I get?” Jack said, “NASA!” Heh. That’s my smart boy!

Here’s the lunch I made for Ted:

And the boys eating as we drive:

We got to the campground about 4pm and set up. Foreshadowing: we left the door open a bit as we were setting up and there was a huge stink bug that got in! We kept it closed after that. Ted wanted to go to Niagara today and that sounded like a great idea to me! We were about a 20 minute drive to there, and we left around 5:15.

What a beautiful place! We parked at a free parking lot on Goat Island Julie told us about and walked to 3 Sisters Island and just marveled! God makes some beautiful things! I was amazed at the spray coming off the falls! Then we drove to the paid parking lot Ted found and it was free! I guess you only have to pay on the weekends. Woot! We walked down to Horseshoe falls and the water was such a beautiful sea-green! It was amazing! We googled how much water was flowing over the falls: 3,000 tons of water every second!! I wonder how the rocks there aren’t the smoothest you’ve ever seen?!

Ted tried to video chat with Grandmom at the falls, and when she answered she was at a red light in traffic! Crazy woman! We told her to hang up and call us later when she had time to talk. I texted my mom to download Duo if she didn’t have it but she didn’t answer me until we were at supper. Oh well. We came tonight to see the sunset over Niagara, but the sun sets behind the skyscrapers in Canada, so it wasn’t as beautiful as we thought it would be. Then we saw the lights come on and Ted wanted to wait to see the falls with lights. After a while we realized that it would be another half an hour at least until it was dark enough to see the lights on the falls, so we decided to come back after supper.

Ted found us a place for supper tonight: Adrian’s Custard Stand. We pulled up and they were closed! We could see people inside, I guess they were cleaning. I called and the phone rang and rang but they never answered! Ted looked them up on Twitter and they’re closed for the season! You’d think they’d have something about that on Yelp! Grrr!

We sat in the parking lot trying not to be angry, but being hangry, and looking up other places. When I’d just about found a place Grandmom called so we chatted with her a bit.

We went to Bakery Restaurant and Lounge, and I hoped for the best since I found the place. The reason we’d picked Adrian’s was for the beef on weck, and this was the only other place I saw that had that. We were seated a minute after we walked in, and then it was another 10 minutes or so before a waitress came to take our drink order! I’d just asked Ted how long we were going to sit before we left and then she came. There seemed to be a good number of tables in this restaurant, but not many were occupied at all. I guess they just like to take their time because service was super slow! But it was very friendly, and that matters more. We ordered a French onion soup to start, and I got the beef on weck, Ted got the open faced steak sandwich, and Jack and Max split the hog heaven cheeseburger that had bacon and Canadian bacon on it. Mine was awesome! Ted’s was really good, too, but I loved mine. The girl forgot my horseradish but brought it when asked, and it wasn’t a horseradish cream, it was straight up horseradish. The bun was even awesome! The caraway and salt on top blew me away. And the beef was awesome! OK, the whole thing was awesome!

We ended up staying about an hour and a half at the restaurant. When we got there Ted was saying he just wanted to go straight home afterwards; but I told him we’d get a second wind after eating, and we did. We headed back to Niagara to see the lights, and to make Max’s video. When we’d gone the first time he ran to the short fence, hopped over it and immediately ducked down and thought that was so funny, like he’d jumped over the falls. When we got back to the falls they were lit up with red, which changed to white and then blue after a while. It’s so awesome to be here! I’m so grateful that we live this life!

After watching the falls and the colors a bit Max and I went up the stairs to make his video. The first time we did it Max hurt his ankle and lost his phone! The first thing I thought of when I saw him limping is that I hope he didn’t break anything! How horrible would it be to be heading to family camp and get there with a broken foot!? We looked for his phone a bit while Ted went back to the truck to look for it. We found it after a bit, so Max tried again to make the video he wanted…and hurt himself again!! Poor kid, I laughed so hard! I’m so thankful that he didn’t seriously hurt himself, but his shin and forearm is pretty scraped up, and he’s done with this video!

It was about 10pm when we got back home so the boys skipped showers and we all just went straight to bed.

Ted slept all night! Thank the Lord!

We’re finally leaving this super sandy place!! It’s really beautiful here, but I won’t miss all the sand in the bus, or the truck, or in all my shoes. Sunday I was a little early getting ready so I brushed the steps off and brushed some of that sand onto my legs and it stuck! I’d put lotion on after my shower and that sand stuck to it. Heh.

As we were getting ready to leave this morning I had to go take this second picture…I saw this mushroom the other day and it was so cute, now it’s opened up!

On our way out of town Max saw some cranberry harvesting!! Now we’ve all gotten to see how it happens.

We pulled into a service plaza but there was no parking available for us so we pulled right out again. I was bummed because there was supposed to be a Boston Market there and we were gonna have lunch! We drove down to the next service plaza and ate McDonald’s. It’s no classy restaurant, but you can’t beat a big mac with extra sauce!!! As we ate the fog was so great!!! I prayed as we sat there that it would lift so Ted wouldn’t be exhausted by jetlag and driving through all that. As we pulled away we could see that the fog wasn’t so close as it seemed; and as we drove it got better and better. Thanks God!

Down the road a bit we tried Ted’s new headphones and they’re pretty awesome! Now I definitely want some!

This new campground is beautiful! Right on the Mohawk River. I see several campers that are obviously here long term and I can see why!

Tonight as we were planning for tomorrow I remembered that we all need passports to get into Canada, and Ted’s passport is sealed in a FedEx envelope ready to be sent off for his India visa!! I’m so glad we thought about that before we dropped it into a box!

While on the drive this morning Ted had me research restaurants that have been on TV and I found Morrette’s. It doesn’t have awesome reviews, but we decided to go for it anyway. It had a big enough dining area, but it was mostly empty an hour before closing at 8pm. The sandwich they’re famous for is almost like a cheesesteak, so that’s what we ordered. Ted’s was king-size and came on the usual looking bun; Jack and I split a queen-sized one that came on a buttered roll, and boy was that good! Max had a bacon cheeseburger that came with fried mozzarella sticks on it! We shared a plate of fried ravioli to start, and that was good, too. In the end we brought home a box stuffed with fries and half of Max’s cheeseburger. Oh, I got a side of gravy with my fries, and that was OK, but I think I like a lighter gravy on my fries. This was super dark brown; I like what I’ve gotten in Disney on the poutine better.

On the way to the restaurant we stopped at the gas station practically between the campground and the highway to check it out for the bus. We’ve looked at several places on the trip outlined for tomorrow, but when they don’t list the canopy height on the canopy we just have to make our best guess. This place looked pretty good, so we stopped in to make sure. I went into the store to ask the guy and he said semis stop in here all the time, and then told us the route they take. We’ll see!

This is the last time we’ll go to church here! It’s a really nice place, and on this last day I’ve talked to more people than I have this whole time; but I know a lot of that is that Julie and fam were here so I sat with them and talked to them more. A couple of people came and introduced themselves to me today. It’s a nice church.

We’ve eaten so many leftovers this week that I planned to go out to lunch today. I’ve seen Berry Guys Farmstand every Sunday on the way home from church, so I looked them up on Yelp and they had good reviews. We stopped in and had 2 different kinds of roast beef sandwiches and awesome fries. They had a few different kinds of drinks, so I bought 2 to bring home to taste later with Ted. I shopped around in the little store and also bought some chocolate covered cranberries and almonds, and 2 beautiful apples. When I was checking out the lady there gave the boys each 2 huge sugar cookies. She was cute, and wanted to talk to Jack a lot. She brought the other woman from the back to meet him and chat with him. Funny. She asked Jack where he went to school and he slowly said at home! I was so excited! When she brought our sandwiches and fries and was chatting with him he answered a few of her questions and then said thank you, love you, bye! Heh.

We went home and I sent the boys out to the playground to burn off a little energy before we left to get Ted. He got a bus ticket so I’ll only have to drive about 20 minutes to get him, and not through Boston traffic! Woo-hoo!

When it was time to go get Ted we just went by the time Ted told us; his phone battery was so low that he couldn’t keep texting me updates on his arrival time. When we got there I was thrown off because it wasn’t a bus station, it was a service plaza with a McDonald’s. I just kept driving through the plaza following the signs and then I saw some bus stops. We waited about 10 minutes for Ted, and while we waited I cleaned out the truck and my purse.

Ted was a bit punchy, and said he’s been hankering for a steak. Somehow we ended up going to Wal-Mart even though we don’t really want to buy our good meat from them. I bought a couple more pairs of pants for Jack, and we looked at the grass fed beef they had, but nothing was doing it for us so we went home. Ted said he’d be fine with the pizza I was planning for supper.

At home we packed up most of the outside stuff to be ready to leave tomorrow. I don’t think we’ve ever left the day after Ted comes home from a trip….we try to leave more of a buffer for jetlag. I told him if he woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep we could just leave then, and he said he’d see how he felt.

The boys played at the playground a bit while I made pizza, then they showered and we ate, and then we played Skip-bo. I don’t think Jack forgot any of the rules to that game!

PS. We keep seeing this huge eagle on our way in/out of the campground…I don’t know what it’s about, but I had to take a photo. It’s got to be at least 5-6′ tall!

Jack just gave me ‘knuckles’ on my forearm and said, “Hey, Champ!” What the what?!! I asked him what that was about and he said Jackson Storm. We just got through watching Cars 3, but I don’t remember that part in the movie, so I still don’t know what that’s about, but it made me laugh!!

I blogged hard until 10:30am and am caught up! Now we’ll be traveling the next 2 weeks, and going to family camp, so who knows when I’ll next be caught up? Oh well. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Max told Jack maybe we can play some electronics while mom is gone, we’ll have to ask Mom. Jack said yes, ask Daddy. That ornery cuss!

I went thrifting this morning; at Salvation Army I found a book on circuits for Max, but that was it! I stopped at the grocery store on the way home.

We had spaghetti for lunch, and then the boys went to the playground while I set up Max’s Monarch through fam camp, made pizza dough, and mixed up the pretzel recipe. Then it was time for Magic! I promised Max I’d play with him for 2 hours today. We had fun, but I did lose. I told him to pick out my guy and to help me with the rules so he kept apologizing about me losing, but it was no biggie. This kinda game just requires so much brain power while playing, which is the main reason I don’t care for it. Maybe the more I play the more I’ll like it, since he’s gonna make me play!

For supper I used several leftovers and we had angel hair pasta with sundried tomatoes, chicken and sausage and a cream sauce. It was good, but I put twice as much cream to use it all up and I think that made it sweeter than I like. Max was having so much fun at the playground he didn’t want to come back for supper, so I finally told him to just bring Jack back and he could play. Jack and I ate together and then Jack was showering when Max came home.