Friday, September 4, 2015

Road Trip!

In pursuit of our ongoing goal to explore as much of the USA as possible during our stay, Hubby planned us a road trip at the end of August (hence the radio silence for the last couple of weeks).  The initial wisdom of this was debatable, given that me+hubby+driving *anywhere* generally doesn't reveal the best of our personalities.  However, game for a challenge, and with some amazing sights promised and a bag full of snacks for the journey, we were off.

Driving any distance in the USA isn't really like driving in the UK (even apart from the whole wrong-side-of-the-road thing).  Speed limits are really slow compared to what we're used to in the UK - 55mph being the average speed limit on most of the roads we travelled.  Hence, it seems to take ages to get anywhere, and often the roads are single lane too (if you avoid the even more boring expressways).  Our journey was only about 350 miles, but was set to take us about 6 1/2 hours...

It was a murky misty morning when we set off, and the rain seemed set to follow us all the way, which made the views and the driving a little bit boring at times.  There were also a lot of lorries on the road (probably 80% of the traffic we encountered), although to be fair, most of the roads appeared completely empty - a little disconcerting to start with!

We quickly left behind the flat farms and barns and cornfields with looming black clouds overhead, and headed north towards the state border with New York.  The landscape became more wooded, and we gained height to about 2,250 feet. Slightly concerning, we passed road signs warning about bears (didn't see any :-().  We passed through small towns with recognisable names like Grimsby and Bradford (a little surreal), and also slightly odder names like Burning Well, Brandy Camp and Kill Buck.

We passed through what looked like a charming little town (in a brief break of sunshine) called Ellicottville - obviously a ski destination in the winter, with lots of winter lodges and snow mobile signs, and you could just about see the chair lifts through the woods above us.  (Not sure I fancy the drive there in the winter, though!).

Eventually, we reached Buffalo, close to the US / Canada border and things became much more industrial looking.  We crossed Peace Bridge, and with it the Canadian border, into Ontario and passport control. Magically, as we crossed the bridge, the sun made a welcome appearance, and pretty much stayed with us through the rest of our travels!

From there, it was a relatively short drive via the Queen Elizabeth Expressway (Canada feels more familiar already!) to our fab hotel, overlooking Niagara Falls.  More adventures to follow!

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