Keeping Up with the Petersons

11 2008

Pennsylvania and New York

After a restful night of sleep in York, Pennsylvania, we set out to find some Amish people. We started in Strasbourg, Pennsylvania, but ended up on the back farming roads of Intercourse, Paradise and several other small towns in Lancaster County during our 2+ hour Amish/Mennonite spotting tour. We were fascinated by the Amish and Mennonite people in their horse and buggies with the women in traditional dress and bonnets and the men with their long beards (with no mustache), trousers, button down shirts and suspenders. Even the kids dress like that. We couldn’t get enough of them! One of the best sights of the day was an Amish man plowing his field with the assistance of 6 horses on a home-made tractor. Unbelievable! After we got our Amish fill, we headed to Watkins Glen, near Seneca Lake (of the New York Finger Lakes), for 2 nights of camping. We selected a spot, set up the tent and got to work on dinner. Tom was searching for something in the car in the dark and all of a sudden I heard Tom let out the most horrifying scream of his life. I truly thought he had just been bit by a wild animal or worse. In fact, he had slammed his index finger in the door of the car – as in, the door completely shut on the end of his finger and he had to use his other hand to open the door. I rushed over to him with paper towels to stop the blood that was shooting out of his index finger. We knew it needed to be washed out so I grabbed the first aid kit and we headed to the women’s bathroom. As soon as we got to the door and saw the fluorescent lighting, Tom, seeing his bloody finger now for the first time in the light, completely passed out onto the concrete floor of the bathroom. I was terrified and started to panic, not knowing what to do since I had never seen anyone pass out – and he literally went face first. But, he was able to stand up and lean against the sink to wash out the wound. We bandaged it up that night, gave Tom 2 vicodins left over from his surgery in 2007, and the next morning went to the local pharmacy to get their advice. Ironically, after months of trying to get health insurance, he was just approved 4 days before this incident. But with a $3500 deductible, we really didn’t want to waste the money to go to the doctor unless it was absolutely necessary. So, we got some supplies and stuck it out, keeping it clean and monitoring it as it swelled and bruised. Needless to say, the Finger Lakes will always have special meaning to us. The following day, we packed up our site, did a lovely hike through Watkins Glen enjoying its pools and waterfalls and then drove up to Niagara Falls. We arrived at the falls hoping to snag a cheap motel room or camping at a state park, but the rates were astronomical. The KOA campground closest to Niagara Falls was $47 per night – TO CAMP! We were shocked. So, we headed to the next closest KOA and that was only about $27 a night with free wireless and electrical outlets so we took it. With camping at $47 close to Niagara we knew that motels were not even an option. We ended up at a spot near the entrance so we could get a good wireless signal since the router in the back was recently struck by lightening – yes, really, struck by lightening. So, you can imagine my fright when the first night of our stay, there was a crazy thunder and lightening storm that sounded and looked like it was in the tent. The sky opened up with a vengeance. The crackling thunder and bolts of lightening woke us both out of dead sleeps during the night. Some water even soaked through the tent. But luckily, the next morning was beautiful and clear and that was our day to explore Niagara Falls. We bought the $30 pass that included the Maid of the Mist (boat ride), Cave of the Winds (up close viewing area), IMAX film, free trolley rides around the park and entrance to 2 other things we didn’t go to. Plus, there was a coupon for the restaurant on the USA side overlooking the falls, which is where we had dinner. So, all in all, a good deal. We didn’t know what to expect with Niagara and were completely blown away by how amazing it was. The water was a beautiful blue and the thunderous crash of the water over the falls was invigorating. We viewed the falls from all angles – from the U.S. side, the Canada side, the boat, at night at the cave of the winds all lit up – everywhere. From the Canada side there was a beautiful rainbow over the falls that was spectacular. On our way back to the U.S. side, we saw a rescue mission of 2 teenage boys who intentionally strayed from the path on the U.S. side and were stuck in some bushes. We watched for a while but even though there were about 40 federal agents and a helicopter trying to retrieve the boys, the mission took close to an hour to complete. No doubt those kids were in serious trouble when they got back to safety and their parents will be bummed when they get a bill for the rescue efforts. After that, we had drinks and watched the sunset at the restaurant overlooking the U.S. falls and then decided to have dinner there since it was such a great spot and we could see the falls all lit up at night too. After dinner, we went down to the Cave of the Winds (a lookout from the bottom of the U.S. falls with a great view) to watch the fireworks. By the time we left, we had spent about 10 hours at Niagara and we were pooped. The next morning, we cleaned up the campsite and headed out to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Chicago for some QT with family.


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