Beach glass, fort, church, and sunset

Our campground was just a few miles from Fort Niagara State Park so we decided to take a picnic there and check it out.  We were expecting to pay for entry but when we arrived there was nobody at the booth so we just went on in.  There were only a few other cars in the parking lot.  We headed straight to the beach of Lake Ontario which had smooth stones just like the one back at our campground.  But as we looked closer we started finding beach glass…green bits, clear bits and brown bits.  Every so often you would find a nice dark blue or ruby red piece.  All 5 of us got so mesmerized by looking for the stuff that anytime one of us would say, “ok, let’s take a break and go eat” everyone would agree and then the next thing you know, we’re all heads down again picking up bits of glass.  I cannot tell you why it was so satisfying to search, find and collect that glass but it was.  It actually happens to us at most beaches but it’s usually shells that capture our focus.  There is a sameness at the same time that there is uniqueness…maybe that is what makes it so intriguing.  All the glass is composed primarily of silica and roughly the same size…but they are different colors and they are different shapes.  If each one could tell it’s story.  The story about the bottle it once was, the tragedy that caused it to break and the journey it has taken to arrive at this beach where it was rescued by someone who saw the beauty in its brokenness.  Maybe we are a bit like the beach glass and perhaps this is why we were so content to spend hours collecting the stuff.
Looking for beach glass

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Falling for Niagara

Steph booked us a spot at Four Mile Creek campground just north of Niagara Falls.  It was a LONG day of driving…might have actually been a record day.  We left at 8:45am, only made 2 stops and pulled into the campground about 6:00pm.  We had more insane tolls and some of the worst paved roads I have ever seen.  The Robert Moses Memorial Highway from Niagara to the campground had grass growing up through the concrete highway…if I were Robert I’d be pretty miffed about how I was memorialized with that crappy excuse of a highway!!  But the campground was GREAT!!  Big grassy spots with shade trees and just a short stroll over to the shore of Lake Ontario with a view of Toronto across the water.
A little bike riding

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Over the Falls and Through the Rocks to… Death Maybe?

I am fascinated with waterfalls and that sort of thing so I was happy when we went to Niagara falls. We couldn’t go over to Canada because of passports, or lack thereof. We still saw the falls, we just didn’t get that famous view of horseshoe falls. We did however go on a cave of the winds tour which at one point gets you to a “hurricane deck” where you’re partly under bridal veil falls. We did a lot so I’m not gonna be able to tell you every last thing we did like, picking up tons of beach glass and how I even got some big blue pieces, or how Dacen and I played some soccer with these older-ish kids (some were my age), and maybe how we basically just relaxed a lot and played on some playgrounds and that was about all we did. Yeah I just can’t go into detail like how the slides were really fast and how the soccer nets were so high and at Niagara falls we learned about people going in barrels over the falls and through the rocks. I can however, tell you about this sign before the falls that said No Water Access Violators Will Be Prosecuted. In my mind it said No Water Access. Violators Will Drown or if not They Will Die Going Over the Falls or if not They Will Die Hitting the Water or if not They Will Drown or if not they Will be Hauled out of the Water and be Prosecuted. Yeah.

That’s all folks!



One day I went to Niagara with my family on my road trip. We saw some 200 feet from the ground falls. There were Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. It was so cool! I went to the bottom of Bridal Veil falls.  I felt wet! It was so cool! I went on the Hurricane Deck. I could hardly breathe and I couldn’t look up because water was falling on me. It felt like ice cubes falling on me. It was the awesomest falls I ever saw. Back in the day people went down them in barrels. I think that would be cool. And some survived and some didn’t. It was very rocky. I wanted to see the fireworks and the falls glow except we didn’t see them.

Kids on the hurricane deck   American Falls from tower

— Brielle (transcribed by Steph)


Leg sling, dump disaster and new records

It was a perfect day for driving.  We were laying down the miles singing some songs together, reading together and laughing at each other’s jokes when I look in the mirror and see an epic display of sparks spraying from the trailer.  Parts start ripping off the side and leaving a trail of debris behind.  I’m putting everything I can into the brake and it won’t stop.  Then I woke up!!  That was the dream I had the night we moved from Phillie to NYC.  You see, Ava’s leg was broke.  Basically there is a threaded part that stripped out.  It still had a little bite but not much.  So there was nothing really to hold the leg in position….down or up.  So when hitched up the leg could just drop out to the ground and start dragging and that is exactly where my subconscience went in that dream.  How we made it from Philadelphia to NYC on those bumpy roads without that actually happening…well, had to be an angel holding the leg up the whole way.

Our time in NYC was up and with a long day ahead of us we wanted to get on the road by 10:00 which meant we should be hooked up by 9:30 and heading to the dump station.  And we were on track to do that but retracting Ava’s leg revealed an issue!  The exact issue I had dreamed about.   Fortunately, when we retracted the good leg Ava’s bad leg just continued to hang down like a sad broken leg should.  I got some cord and fashioned a sling for her and all this set us back about 30 minutes.

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The Big Pear

I already titled a post The Big Apple so I used a relative of the apple for this post.  Today the target was the Empire State Building.   The rain was gone and the forecast was clear skies and sunny!  We walked down to the subway station, got our tickets (again, one at a time) and hopped on for a ride to 33rd street station.  For a Sunday morning I guess I was expecting the subway to not be very busy…I guessed wrong.
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Neck Cramps

I don’t know about you, but I really thought that New York would have more traffic and people but maybe not. I can only count a few worms in the big apple. One was the subway system pay machines. We couldn’t pay for more than one ticket at a time which for a family of five was annoying and the credit card slots weren’t working. Also the campground we stayed at was over $100.00 a night and was pretty much a parking lot for RVs. At least we had a view of the statue of Liberty. Oh yeah, Lady Liberty. (She needs a name. Someone give her a name.) Let’s call her… Ima. Ima Green Statue. She was even more awesome from a long way away than I thought. Then when we got closer Ima looked enormous. Ellis island was also bigger than I thought. I thought that the immigrants just stood in a line, but no, they go through the whole process of- well, go check out Dacen’s post. He probably has a ten page essay on it. Those islands were fun. We took the ferry back and guess what we saw? A prezel stand. And Mom had a hankerin’ for one so we split a few so we could say we ate a New York prezel. Then we meandered around, saw some monuments, (I’ve had enough o’  those to last me a lifetime) we saw a church that played a part in the post 9/11 cleanup. That was it for the day so we headed home and crashed- not the subway, into our beds. The next day we headed out and went to the top of the empire state building. The veiw was amazing. After that we went to Times Square. I liked times square the most because I could watch the endless flows of people and the ads and commercials which is really the only way I see commercials.

Caden’s friend Bob: Caden have you seen the commercial-

Caden: No.

Bob: How about the one-

Caden: No

Bob: Maybe the one with-

Caden: YES!

Bob: Really!?

Caden: No.

Mom, Dacen, and I walked to Rockefeller Center. We saw so many TV places like SNL, TTS, TTS, (that’s the tonight show, and then today show.) We saw where they put the Christmas tree and where the ice rink goes. Then we wrapped it up (not the tree) and went home. That night we went to a place to see the skyline all lit up. It was amazing! Next morning it’s off to Boston Massa-a-a-chusetts! Bless me!

Over and out,


The Big Apple

I once had a business trip to New Jersey and had planned to go to New York City one evening to explore, but the colleague I was visiting talk me out of it saying it was too crazy and dangerous.  I should have went.  Well, now is my chance and I get to go with my whole family!

I had read about the Liberty Harbor RV Park long before we even left on our trip so I was pretty well prepared for the prices and that it was more of a parking lot than a park.  The reviews are all pretty bad.  But the few decent reviews say its all about the location.  I think it was good that I read so many bad reviews as it set my expectations really low.  But it wasn’t so bad.  Absolutely nothing fancy about the place at all and the only green at the RV “park” were a few pads of astro turf for tent campers.  But it had what we needed: electric, water and a dump station.  The staff was nice, helpful and quickly took care of us by finding a place to park the truck since it didn’t fit in our site.  We had nice French speaking neighbors from Quebec who had a dog, Pica, that the kids adored and they also shared with us a little tidbit on a walking path out to a nice view of Manhattan.  I thought for sure it would be hard to sleep with all the city noise but it was quiet.  With a nice nights sleep under our belt, let’s go see the sites!
Liberty Harbor RV Park(inglot)
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In a New York State of Mind

I was excited to get to The Big Apple! I remember our trip when I was around Dacen’s age. My grandparents lived in Queens – Astoria, NY. I loved the escalators, seeing the fountain where the dancers from Fame did their twirls across the plaza, watching the Nutcracker Ballet, riding the ferry by the Statue of Liberty (she was closed for repairs) and eating a pretzel from a street vendor. I wonder what will stand out to them years from now?

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