Some madness encased us and we decided to join our friends from the UK and drive up to Niagara Falls. Of course, first case in point, we are in fact Brits.....we haven't got a CLUE how far places are. The furthest we can drive is from John O' Groats to Lands End and there aren't many folk that'll do it in a day (if at all really!) so why on earth would someone choose to drive from Edinburgh to London in a day with three kids????? Easy, they are British and clueless!
Left home after school at 4.15 on the drive to Syracuse (had my sensible head on this time and had booked us all into a Motel halfway!)
4.20, returned home........we forgot the travel cot for I.!!! We are getting really really skilled at this now and tend to just do it for effect!
4.25 set off again
This first part of the journey, as one would expect, was the novel part..........road trip, kids packed in the back with colouring, dot to dot, fruit leathers, music and......the new addition to our family - the dvd, for when times got really tough.
5.25 - things were getting tough! *cringe* I knooooooooowwww!
6.30 - give or take we decide to stop for dinner. So did the rest of New York state at the same diner. Being unable to park, we choose then to follow signs to Pizza Hut and turn left following it.
6.32 - in some dead end town (I kid you not!) no Pizza Hut, turn around and return to original signpost, yes, it said left. Repeat said journey only 100yds to find another sign for Pizza Hut pointing in the OPPOSITE direction!. In between the signs there is not even the sign of a salad!! Maybe, says my dear other half, they are going to build one!!!!!!!! Okay, well, we'll just wait shall we??
6.34 - Back on the road ready to stop at the first diner.
6.45 - Yay! sucess we find a great diner, practically empty.
7.15 -We now know WHY it is empty. It is being run by George and Mildred! He is deaf, she is nearly dead! Poor couple. They do an excellent job on being invaded by 5 hungry and impatient children and their even more impatient parents. Coffee is desperately required by F and C. Going against all warnings.......they order "diner coffee" !!
8.30 - we finally get all bairns back into respective cars and pyjama-ed on the hopes they might sleep.
8.45 - Two down, one to go
9.15 - Still to go
9.45 - OMG - GO TO SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
9.50 - Arrive at Motel with a look of horror to discover people carrying in sleeping bags - mild case of panic and flashback to years of backpacking and staying in dormitory style accomodation at YMCA's - have I f****d up big time? Are we all going to be sleeping without bedding, well apart from I. of course, she has her travel cot and all required bedding? Can I squeeze another child in there? Did I wash the car blanket after the dog threw up on it last time? Yes, I think so!
10pm - Phew! All blankets and bedding provided Zzzzzzz
7.30am - Breakfast! Yay, coffee!!!
Okay, note to all potential Motel users, if the orange juice comes out of a machine the colour of dirty, diluted dishwater........DO NOT TRY THE COFFEE! Motel breakfasts vary considerably, but hell, you get what you pay for and for $60 for the night for all of us you can't expect miracles!For the kids it would have been an absolute sugar rush (had they not been with parents having to endure peeling them off the car ceilings for the next 3 - 4 hours!!) Chocolate donuts, pastries - chocolate, drink - hot chocolate, sugar coated crap and cereal aagggh get me out of here!
By 8.30 we were back on the road! First stop change the car of our companions at the local Hertz dealer, unfortunately the one they had hired earlier in the week in JFK had had the power sockets disconnected for fear of them taking it to cook drugs as it was hired in NYC! (I kid you not, this was the reason they were given!!) By this time, 24 hours without coffee we were all wishing we had had the incentive to darn well DO that!
9.00 - On the search for a Starbucks - it will be an easy task on an American Interstate! They are two a penny!
10.00 - Really, it's quite easy to find a Starbucks..............
11.00 - Unless of course you are going towards Canada !
12.00 - Reach Passport Control and greeted by somewhat hunky Canadian - mmm nice first impression! Wants to know if we have any wine!!??? Okay, so he might be beautiful, but he is stupid - LOOK at the cargo - three children and we are associated with the two behind too - you think we have no alcohol for the weekend?????
"Just a couple" says R.
"How many is a couple?"
"Two" I say
"Six" says R !! SIX????
"We are travelling with the car behind!"
Nice man grins understandingly and waves us through!
To car behind us .....
"Are you with the car in front?"
Ooops - well we thought they were behind us!!
12.15 - Another nice Canadian. Silly husbands asked US to go and check in as we were early.
12.17 - All checked in and both families upgraded to suites!!!!!!!!!!!! Well....we were tired and deserved it!!
2pm - FOUND ONE! All present stumble into Starbucks and order coffees - the one thing that is ridiculously expensive - probably double the US prices!!
Later that day we went up the Skylon Tower which was a great view. We could see Toronto as the sky was so clear! Following that we then walked along to the falls by the side of it and it was fantastic, no tourists (well, apart from us!) so we had front row seats!
7.00 Fed the kids from the best we could find! Why is it that whenever you go away to places like this "kids menus" are all the same or a derivative of; nuggets, hot dogs, pizza, burgers and tons of chips. Has no one heard of a vegetable? So intensely bored of this bollocks, we sought somewhere that we could get soup and sandwiches for the children.
8.00 - Kids in bed and all snoring the minute their heads hit the pillows - ah bliss!
Now for adult time.............
8.10 - Monarch of the Bleedin' Glen is on the telly - the boys are out getting curry (which we later discover came via a small detour to the "pub")
1am - It is actually time to go to bed........weariness has set in!
5am - smalls are bathroom visiting - feel my insides tense up as I know this means they will not go back to sleep now! aaaggghhh
7.30 am - Wake with a start!
7.35am - Hear the wardrobe door so realise in my semi-conscious state en route to bathroom that there must be a child messing around in there. Don't turn on lights for fear of waking baby. Open the door to see a shadow of a child. Gently put my hand in behind his head and guide him out only for him to fall completely flat to the floor, like a dead weight. Panic, get down beside him shouting "get up, are you alright, what's wrong?" or words to that effect.
You little bleeeeeeep! Have to say, for 6, that was a good one! I. is now awake with all the laughter! Decide to get my own back later!
10am - After breakfast and much fannying around we are off to go under the falls, on the "fairy wheel" and lunch at the Rainforest Cafe (well more of the same I expect!).
With images of people in yellow plastic ponchos standing under the falls I suggest we might want to purchase a few of the delightful season's fashions in spectacular white plastic with Canadian flags all over them! Much guffawing ensues, primarily from R and C, who proceed to do "comedy cape" for us all! (Photo to follow!)
So apparently we are under the falls in a concrete tunnel, one passage is completely blocked by ice and fallen rock and the other by Korean tourists!!! We hedge our bets and opt for the Koreans! It is freezing under here and the tourists may give out more heat than the icebergs! I. is snuggled up asleep on my back under the plastic raingear and probably has the best seat in the house! The boys on the otherhand are frozen. Our stay here is pretty short lived.
On the walk back up for lunch the heaven's open...........thank heaven's for the ponchos (finally! some use for them!)
Of course, no visit to a high end Hicksville would be complete without the usual attractions such as haunted houses, Tussards by the bucket load, Guiness book of records, sex and lingerie shops and tattooists blah blah! Blackpool - oops! I mean Niagara, is no different! The older boys decided that their afternoon entertainment was going to be a trip to the Haunted House - yup, you have read that exactly right, T. and D, our (nearly) 7 year olds, who HATE and by that I mean, even the opening part of NEMO has him behind the sofa FFS wanted to go around the Haunted house. I don't know if that was one not wanting to be out done by the other or if it was a genuine desire to see this? So, reluctantly they were escorted by daddies whilst us laydies (and a wee chap too, who couldn't decide what he wanted to do, so opted to not go, then threw a tantrum after the boys came out talking about it!) went to the shops!
3pm - All pretty shattered, not least me for carrying 36 lbs around all day and the kids from having small legs and walking about 3-4 miles, we opted to go back and chill, put on a film for the kids and maybe one for us.
3.30pm - F. and I went to the mall. The choice of adult film was Borat and the kid's was Nemo (what with dentists and me having my wisdom teeth out next week, no thanks!) within 10 minutes of the guys hooting with laughter and far too much Borat flesh, we opted out!
We had decided to drive back in a day.
Dontcha just love a grumpy passport official?
"Roll down the back windows please."
We oblige, but in doing so, have to turn off the child proof lock otherwise we can't get the window down.
I and W both then choose to play up and down with the windows
"Dontcha have a child proof lock for the window?"
Er, yes, but you wanted the window down so we had to turn it off!
"Where have you been?"
Are you serious? Er, Cananda?
"Who were you visiting?"
Great Aunty Mary four times removed!!
"Just staying at a hotel."
"What was your business."
A Kalashnikov, sixty bottle of gin, 15 dozen packs of fags and a prostitute!
"You want fries with that?"
He must be bored
"Have a nice day" - can you imagine this said in the most dead pan of ways ever...........
Welcome to America!