25.05.2013 - 25.05.2013
They call these tours 6-7-8s. Up at 6am, bags at the door at 7, and on the bus ready for departure by 8. Its remarkably easy to get used to, and the days are packed from start til finish. As we left Washington DC, heading north, we caught a glimpse of the Pentagon, but that was it. That's OK though, because now if I'm ever back again, there will be something new to see.
This was our first long drive of the tour. Long days of travel were broken up beautifully by our guide, either with strategic stops at places of interest or somewhere fun for lunch, or by showing documentaries and movies relevant to our next destination. Despite traveling right across the continent, the long bus rides weren't any sort of inconvenience at all.
Our drive today was through Pennsylvania with a stop in Williamsport for lunch. We all had a pretty good day and the journey was quite enjoyable. Traveling on buses is a great way to get to know people, especially in these tours when everyone is in holiday mode and out to have a good time. On big trips like this, it's often the trip of a lifetime, and always entertaining to have lots of different personalities all having fun together. Small groups and friendships quickly form. Despite the long drive, there was a definite air of expectation because everyone knew we were headed to the mighty Niagara Falls.
When you stand at the top of Niagara Falls and see how much water is going over there every second, it's quite unbelievable. We could see the falls from the bus while waiting to cross the bridge into Canada, but there's nothing like standing next to them to appreciate the size and immense power.
Freakish Niagara Falls
We stayed around the falls for a while, trying to get good photos without getting wet. It's a very picturesque spot and prime territory for a rainbow.
Beautiful Niagara Falls
We walked around the town, checking out the souvenirs and restaurants, before heading a few kilometres out of town to our hotel. Since our driver had used up his driving hours bringing us all the way from Washington, those of who wanted to see the falls at night needed to catch a local bus back into town. This was pretty easy to do and lots went back in. We saw the The falls lit up by different coloured lights and we stayed until after the fireworks display.
The lights were OK, but once you've seen these falls during the daytime, it would have to be pretty spectacular to overshadow that. Well, that was what I thought, until I saw a little face peeking around the fence at me. It was a cute little raccoon and we were so excited! If you've read about my visit to Vienna, you'll know I love animals. One of the main reasons for choosing this trip was because it goes to Yellowstone National Park and I wanted to see some of America's wildlife. At the top of that list, was chipmunk and raccoon. So we were very happy to see a raccoon so early in the trip. As it turns out, it was the only one we saw, and as it jumped off the fence on the side of the falls and scampered away, I dreaded to think of how close it was to the water.