Tag Archives: tripping 2011

Day 4: Smuggle Me a Notch…

I think it’s a rule that there will always be at least a couple of bad days in a vacation… I’d say day 4 was one of those.   It began in Syracuse, NY the night before when we had to trade cars because my seatbelt refused to work 85% of the time… which is totes ironic since there were years when I couldn’t fit a seatbelt around my bulk and now that I can, my seatbelts won’t come out of the door frame.  Frustrated me all to hades and back trying to get that thing to budge.   It was fine, though, because we were driving a Jeep Patriot and we weren’t so much fond of it.  It kind of sucked.  We traded her out for a Kia Sorento… totes an upgrade, even if the seats were all stained and looked like someone decided to have a “bring your own mud” volleyball party on the seats (see Ma… I explained it nicer like than I did on the trip).

Here she is in all her glory… with Illinois plates… hmmmm… I wonder how that worked out… coughcough!  I’d also like to take this opportunity to propose marriage to my GPS… Freda.  Oh laws, I’m in love with that thing.  I’m sorry Northeasterners, but your roads are screwed up!  😛  I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag with them windy streets.  That’s one thing I missed about UT streets… block system is the best invention in the WORLD… look it up… you’ll find it right next to the invention of sliced bread.  Anywho, Freda saved our butts on an hourly basis.  We rarely got lost when we had the address plugged into good ole Freed.

Day 4 was spent driving… the longest travel day so far.  We were driving from Syracuse, NY to Jeffersonville, Vermont in POURING rain the whole way… THE WHOLE WAY.  This was not a friendly little sprinkle of lemony goodness… this was like standing underneath the Niagara Falls all over again.  We stopped at a rest area at one point and just walking from the car into the building 20 feet away left me looking like a weasel stuck up a crick.   It was in that rest stop that I also managed to burn my tongue on a sip of hot chocolate, drop half a cup of hot chocolate on the floor, and then wreaked havoc when I threw the rest in the garbage can because it burnt my hand.  Did I mention I was valedictorian?  Good… because I wasn’t!  It only got worse when it got darker… the roads were narrow, the rain was heavy, and we couldn’t see a dagnabbed thing.

It was with much relief that we finally arrived at our destination at around 8:00ish to check into the “Smuggler’s Notch Inn” or as I liked to call it “GET THE HELL OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!”  Oh lawsy Gertrude in a pile of cow manure, this place was bad.  It didn’t look that bad when I’d booked it on the Internet (PHOTOSHOP), but in person… laws almighty.  It was an old house with original floors that slanted toward the middle of the house… thank all that be holy I left my silk sheets and pajamas at home this time… otherwise I’d have spent the whole night sliding out of bed.  The room contained 2 twin beds and was the size of a small jail cell… oh, and there was no elevator and our bags weighed 50 pounds each… no problem.  I usually carry mine around on my head.  Cleanliness was also not a strong point… they should have put that on the brochure.  We seriously considered trying to get out of the stay and find somewhere else and even went as far as to get Lindsay on the computer back home to try to find us something.

In the meantime, it was time for dinner!  We asked the lady that checked us in where she’d recommend going.  Turns out it’s an itty bitty town with only 2 restaurants, both of which she said were fabulous.  Okay… we’ll take your word for it.  We picked the wrong one obviously because I swear to you I got food poisoning.  My pasta was nasty and the sauce on top of it tasted rancid.  I ate 2 bites and then pushed the rest of it to the far side of the plate so it would look like I’d eaten more.  Madre got pumpkin ravioli that made her want to vomit… and don’t even get me started on the dinner salads… unless you enjoy wilted spinach leaves and wilted vegetables and dressing reminiscent of liquid tar… and it only cost me $30 for my dish alone… well worth the 2 bites I had!  NOT!   Never fear… I had my bed to look forward to back at the Smuggler’s Notch Inn.

It’s a wonder I didn’t take any pictures on this day.  It was too rainy to get out to take them and I didn’t want to remember my Inn.  I was determined to get up early and make day 5 one to remember… you best believe it.  Rain behave yourself!

Question of the Day:   Have you ever had a bad hotel/restaurant experience?   Misery loves company, so let me know the details in the comments! 


Filed under Tripping 2011: New England

Day 2: Falling For Niagara…

Day 2 in Buffalo, NY began as any day at a Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar does… some chic telling me her life story after knowing me for all of 2 seconds.  I must have a face that says, tell me your deepest darkest secrets… either that or she’s gone mad… come to think of it I do remember seeing her talking to the wall on my way out.  Amidst that conversation, I did get a couple of words in edgewise… asking her what she’d recommend we do while here in her glorious city, to which she responded, eat Buffalo wings (which by the way, I never saw one Buffalo!?!?!?!  And certainly not one with wings… the name is MIGHTY deceptive).  Then, some dude at another table piped up with, and beef on weck!  Okay, then… while we’re in your city, your only suggestions are to eat 8 gallons of food… oh, boy.  Therefore, we hightailed it right on out of there and drove ourselves to Niagara Falls, NY.

When we arrived we pulled up to park in front of this hotel, which looked SO familiar to me.  It took me a minute to put my finger on where I’d seen it before, but then when I remembered, I took the opportunity to take 8 bajillion pictures of it… I’m FAMOUS!!  (by the by… only 2 of my 8 bajillion pictures turned out okay… the rest seem to have the giddyism disease… where I’m too busy shaking and rejoicing to get a nonblurry picture.)

Who else has seen it?  Give up!?!?!  If any of you watch the TV show, The Office, this is the exact same hotel that Jim and Pam checked into on their wedding day.  We then started hoofing it all over the place trying to find our way to the falls.  Instead we ended up at some gift shop/Indian food joint/welcome center and some true New Yorkian was talking us into taking the 3-hour tour (STOP, GILLIGAN!)  I think it was worth the $65 each because we got to see the falls from every angle possible and our tour guide was pretty rocking too… Cal… another true New Yorkian, Yankee fan, and true blue to his state.  He didn’t take too kindly to anyone saying that the Canadian side of the falls was “prettier.”  As he put it, there are no picnic tables on the Canadian side… I repeat… NO PICNIC TABLES!  The US side of the falls is not thriving economically, a lot of the businesses are boarded up and it seems that there are no jobs, unlike the Canadian side which is booming… but the scenery on the US side is breathtaking.

We got a chance to basically walk right underneath the falls when we did the “Cave of the Winds” tour.  They provided us with yellow rain slickers, which I managed to tear up the whole left side when it got caught on my purse while I was putting it on.  They then gave us these plasticy doo-daddy sandal majigs, which I also managed to break when I pulled the strap too tight.  Apparently, walking with half of my foot hanging out the top of the broken sandal (aka barefoot) is not the easiest thing to do… this from a chic who wears her rocking horse shoes 24/7.

Phew... at least ma had her toes did...


Smiling because I'm dry... so far...

You walked up these steep stairs onto different levels of decks… the highest one called The Hurricane Deck for obvious reasons because the wind and the spray that those falls put off is blinding!  Everyone else seemed to be fine and dandy in their little worthless rain slicker and didn’t get that wet, but I ended up looking like a rat who drowned in a vat of Cheez-Whiz.  I could wring out my clothing and my hair and Madre was all walking around dry as a fiddle bone… stupid torn up slickers!

When that was done, we hopped back on the bus (20 people deep) to head to the Daredevil Museum.  This museum contained too many psycho people per square inch.  Apparently, some doofuses think it would be a fun day trip to lock themselves up into a barrel and ride off of the falls.  The statistics are pathetic… something like 15 people have attempted to do this at different points over the years and only 4 have survived.  Yet, people keep on deciding to defy the odds!  They had some of the contraptions people used to throw themselves over the falls on display.

Two people rode in this one… notice how it’s all torn and beat up… that’s due to the power of the falls and rocks it hit on the way down.

Some madman even tried to attempt jumping the falls on a jetski… may he rest in peace.  At the end of the tour, we hopped on the Maid of the Mist boat, which actually took us on the water pretty much underneath the falls… For you Office fans… this boat was also where Jim and Pam tied the knot… on the actual boat!

This time they gave us quality blue ponchos!!  I was uber tempted to keep it to use on the rest of the rained out trip, but I ended up chucking it.  Notice Madre’s dry hair.  SERIOUSLY!?!?

Totes fun… couldn’t see a lick out of my glasses when we got back to the dock and it probably would have felt better to be sopping wet on a warmer day, but it was an amazing sight to behold!!  You all need to see the falls at least once in your lifetime.  Worth it!

Question of the Day:  Have you been to Niagara Falls?  Did you get as wet as I did? 

The big buildings over yonder would be the thriving Canadian side.

That’s not fog… that’s mist from the falls… and the boat is the Maid of the Mist!




Filed under Tripping 2011: New England