Cindy's Country Mix

do it yourself projects, watercolor

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Erie to Niagara Falls June 4, 2012

Today, we had light rain for a large portion of our drive.  Toll roads, toll roads, everywhere we pay toll roads.  We looked into getting the EZPass, but decided to just use the cash lanes.  FYI, if you get a pass the tolls are 50% less.  It would have been best if we had gotten a pass before we headed out on this trip. 

Every state handles their tolls differently, also.  Some are more efficiently run than others.  Most have automated booths that you take a ticket from, then pay when you exit.  In New York, they actually pay a person to stand and hand you a ticket as you stop. 

We got to the KOA in Youngstown at 1 p.m.  We set up our cabin and headed out to Niagara Falls.  It’s not far down the road.  Our camping host told us where to park for free and then walk.  That is what we did.  We certainly could use the exercise after spending so many hours in the car, day after day.  This Niagara Falls area is greatly in disrepair.  To know the economy is failing, all you have to do is take a road trip. 

The water in the rapids and over the falls is massive. You can feel the power.   We walked all around the Niagara Falls State Park looking as the water from every angle. 

We saw tourists from all over the world.   And the most exciting creature, in my opinion, was this black squirrel.  I have never seen a black squirrel before.  We also saw a tan squirrel with a black face and black underbelly.  Very odd. 

We had trouble crossing streets because New Yorkers own the road.  They don’t stop even when you are in a crosswalk with the walk sign lit.  We walked back to the car when the wind picked up for fear that it might start to rain. 


Valparaiso to Erie June 3, 2012

We drove on a red road for a while today through Michigan.  We stopped at a little store and bought some cookies to munch on. 

The skies were bright and sunny throughout most of the day. 

Driving through busy cities, like Cleveland, make me all the more thankful for the little city that I live in.  🙂

We encountered a lot of road work all day long.  Seems the colder states have more damage to their roads.

I don’t remember exactly where this was, but I considered it a pretty wild turn for a freeway.  Aaron has some XBOX games that were very similar to some of our driving experiences on this trip!  It was like a raceway through the city.

We got to our little cabin in the woods before dinner.  It was rather cool at our campground in Erie.  I went to put on my white sweatshirt, but couldn’t find it.  After searching diligently for it, we deduced that I left it on the bed in the hotel.  White sweatshirt, white sheets = invisible sweatshirt.

The grounds had a small lake that we walked around and saw a woman fly fishing.  Just about 50 feet from our cabin it began to rain.  We made it onto the porch just in time to enjoy watching it pour.  It rained off and on all night long.  We woke to cloudy weather, but no rain. 

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Wisconsin Dells to Valparaiso June 2, 2012

Today we tried to outsmart the toll roads, but gave in after 2 1/2 hours extra driving time.  I was thinking I paid enough taxes to keep the roads in good condition.  It seems that I have to pay to drive on a road with roadwork and speed limits of 45.  Where the speed limit did rise to 55 I drove 65 and everyone else drove 75!  I’m talking Chicago area.  Now I know what my friend means when she says, “Don’t worry, I’m from Chicago” when we’re out shopping and she almost misses her turn!

At lunch, Tom had a crown break while eating french fries.  Arg.  Do we have to find a dentist now?

Our route took us through Valparaiso to visit Tom’s aunt and uncle.  After dinner they took us by his cousin’s house.  A cousin he hadn’t seen in about 40 years.  We all had a great visit.  We got back to our hotel late and went to bed.  I didn’t even stop to blog.  Sorry.

Tom, Uncle Hughie, Cindy, Aunt Katie
Brian, Ken, Cousin Ruth, Mitchell

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Maple Grove to Wisconsin Dells June 1, 2012

We left our comfy hotel at 8:45 a.m. Central Time and headed out on the highway!

I missed the Welcome to Wisconsin sign, completely.  I thought this might be the next best thing.  🙂

The weather was beautiful with blue skies and an occasional white cloud.  I-94 had us zipping along at 65 MPH all day.  Along the way we saw MANY farms.  I took a few pictures of some that were close to the highway.

This farm looks quite antiquated, don’t you think?  It was lovely.  We saw a lot of active farms that, along with their new barns, had old falling down barns on their properties.  I am glad that they don’t tear them down, because they are so unique and a part of our history.

We stopped for lunch at a nice rest stop.  What did we eat?  Cheese, crackers, and blueberries.  The rest stop had this great line of recycle bins.  They read, left to right:  Trash, Clear Glass, Brown Glass, Green Glass, Tin, Plastic, Aluminum, and Trash.  Now that’s what I call recycling.

Does this look familiar?  We have been pulling it along behind our car.  Then we just stop for the night and sleep.  Okay, not really, they just all look the same.  This one has a screen door on it, so you can leave the door opened and not get any bugs.  Speaking of bugs, we haven’t seen many on this trip.  No bugs the first four days, then we had lots of bugs across North Dakota.  Now we have no bugs again. I am NOT complaining.

We set up our camp and then drove to downtown Wisconsin Dells.  We parked at the end of the main street and spent a couple of hours walking around.  We walked along the ‘Riverwalk’ and snapped a few pictures.  There are even a couple of me to prove that I am actually on this trip.

I love trains and there are tracks that run right next to the campground.  We have heard several trains already.  The same tracks run through town.  A train was just passing when we got on the Riverwalk.

While in town we stopped in a Carr Valley Cheese store.  We purchased a bag of cheddar curds and had them with dinner later.  Another stop we made along main street was the candy store!!!  Mmmmmm.  I got an ice cream cone and Tom got a rootbeer.  The walk was good after sitting in the car for so long.

Although the river is pretty, I would not consider Wisconsin Dells a destination.  We stopped here, because Tom’s parents came here on their honeymoon.  Maybe in 1950 this place was the place to go.  It reminds me of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on a much smaller scale.

Tomorrow’s agenda?  A visit with family in Valparaiso, Indiana.

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Bismarck to Maple Grove May 31, 2012

Pretty greenery and puffy clouds.

Oh boy.  Although all things were not wonderful today, we are thankful for the smooth travel and wonderful weather.  I forgot to charge the batteries on the camera, so we had to use it sparingly.  The countryside was green and there were many lakes along the roadside, especially when we reached the border of the land of 10,000 lakes. 
Welcome to Minnesota

And here you see my failed attempt to get a picture of the Welcome to Minnesota sign.  At 75 mph, you have only one chance to get the shot.  I blew it.

Also, I didn’t have my morning frapp, so I had trouble staying awake today.  I stayed up until midnight blogging last night  which didn’t help much either.

We arrived at our KOA in Maple Grove and got our Kabin.  The woman told us they had it opened up, because they had recently re-varnished the wood and were airing it out.  Well, let me tell you, it did not smell like varnish. It smelled like urine and was not acceptable to stay in.  We went back over to the office and got a refund. 

Sleep Inn
So here we are in our KOA replacement cabin.  😉 
Signing off relaxed, refreshed, and pampered.