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Old 8th January 2010, 07:19   #16
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Day 2 Contd..
*************************************

It had become cloudy again (as seen in most of the pics). We moved on to the Maid of Mist boarding area. Were given ponchos to protect ourselves from the water drops.

Made of Mist

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-ponchos-maid-mist.jpg

This ride took us all the way close to the falls, it was misty, it was amazing and it was wet, very very wet. The ponchos were completely ineffective in the windy situation. These are the only snaps that I could manage once we were close to the falls.

American Falls

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-american-falls-maid-mist.jpg

Horse Shoe Falls

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-horse-shoe-falls-maid-mist.jpg


Once back on land, I realized that my shoes and socks were wet. Since it was getting very cold, we skipped the Cave of Winds tour (which would have drenched us even further). Here is a small writeup on Cave on Winds:

"Soak up the experience of being closer to the waters of Niagara Falls than you thought possible, on a spectacular Niagara Falls tour. Your journey begins with an elevator ride 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge. Then, clad in a souvenir rain poncho and sandals, you’ll follow a tour guide over wooden walkways to the Hurricane Deck, less than 20 feet from the torrents of Bridal Veil Falls. On the deck, you’ll experience tropical storm-like conditions, getting doused with the spray from the rushing waters." Source:
Cave of the Winds Tours | Niagara Falls State Park

Rainbow Bridge: It is an international steel bridge that connects Niagra Falls, USA to Niagara Falls, Canada.

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-rainbow-bridge.jpg

Some more pics:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-niagra-panaromic.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-niagra-river.jpg

It was around noon (had to leave for NJ by 15:00) and we decided to cover the goat island part before leaving. Why is this island named as Goat Island: “John Stedman – an early pioneer and miller – kept a herd of goats on the island. Upon returning to the island after the terrible winter of 1780, Stedman found that only one goat had survived; thus giving the island its name.” (Source Wikipedia) lucky Goat!

Took the trolley again. We were able to see the Horseshoe Fall up close from the Goat Island.

Up Close:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-emerald-waters.jpg

The Horseshoe falls water get it's green texture as 90% of the water falls through this Fall (only 10% falls via the American Fall)

The other side (Canada)

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-canada-side.jpg

(I was later told that Niagara Falls looks much better from the Canadian side)

There were things that we had to miss at Niagara like the Cave of Winds, Adventure Theater , Niagara Aquarium, Niagara Night Light Shows etc. Maybe next time..

In all this sightseeing, we had forgotten one thing completely –LUNCH . We came back to the same food court. I took a burrito and wife took aalo paratha. (Apparently, there is this “Punjabi Hut” inside the food court which serves Indian food, but the food is not up to the mark). The Burrito was fine but the paratha was not good.

Burrito:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-burito.jpg

Aalo-Paratha

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-aalo-paratha.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-hard-rock-cafe.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-garden-2.jpg

Before starting for the long drive to NJ, we took a much needed small nap inside the warm comforts of our Aura.

Time was around 16:00 and we were already late by an hour. It was time to press the pedal to the metal. The route was very scenic with Fall colors showing everywhere. We did not stop as I wanted to cover as much distance possible ins day light (which later turned to be good decision).

Around 18:00 hours, we were on I-81S and the real test of the vehicle capabilities began. The road was curvy and it had started to drizzle. Average speeds dropped to 55 mph. Soon the drizzle converted into rain and visibility reduced even further. However folks with SUVs and trucks, were still doing good speeds. I tried tailgating an SUV for some time, but then realized it was not worth it. So took a quick snack/fuel stop. Waited a little more for the rain to reduce and then started again.

It was pitch dark and the traffic density decreased. Even though the rain had decreased, the visibility had become even poorer. After some time, the rain drops seemed to be reflecting the car’s beam (headlight) even more. It is only then I realized that it had started to Snow!

I was not used to driving in Snow. So had to slow down even more. Later I was told that it's the black-hard ice that makes the road more slippery.

Reached my friend's place in Parsippany, NJ by 22:30. Had a hot homemade dinner of Chapatis, Palak Sabji, rice and sambhar. Thought about sleeping early. But we started discussing about our college days (we all graduated from the same college, AIT Chickmagalur) and finally slept around 3:00 a.m. What a long day!


Learning’s and TIPS:

1. Never take Tea at BK .
2. Buy tickets inside the park only.
3. Take the Niagara Scenic Trolley tour. Highly recommended.
4. Factor in more time for Niagara.
5. It's useless carrying a camera on Maid of Mist .

Bye Bye Niagara:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-maid-mist.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-niagara-falls.jpg
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Old 8th January 2010, 13:46   #17
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A very interesting way of writing, you should write more, nice style and good pics.
I would have had the Steaks for sure.
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Old 8th January 2010, 14:05   #18
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Good pictures. Thanks for sharing.Photograph near the falls and rainbow bridge good.
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Old 9th January 2010, 00:48   #19
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Tesa,

Great story, lovely pictures, the fall colurs are lovely. The fall colours from Buffalo up north thro New England are pretty famous, supposed to be more vibrant than anywhere else in the world....... and thanks for writing it up.. did go smoothly

That Saturn Aura XR sure looks like a mean Daddy.

Are we going to see some more of those pictures?

=======
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Old 9th January 2010, 01:56   #20
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Tesa, lovely pics. Specially the fall colours looks awesome.

Well written travelogue as well.

Abhi
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Old 9th January 2010, 02:44   #21
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Amazing pics bro!! You write good. Please do it more times so that we have good reading material!
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Old 9th January 2010, 03:59   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
... The fall colours from Buffalo up north thro New England are pretty famous, supposed to be more vibrant than anywhere else in the world..........
=======
Yes the fall colors are in this area are supposed to be one of the best. More (and probably better) pics will come along as I write the rest of the travelogue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
..Well written travelogue as well.Abhi
Thanks Abhi. I enjoy reading all your travelogues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CorsaLove View Post
..Amazing pics bro!! ..
Thanks dude, through I personally think that all the pics are underexposed (it was very cloudy).
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Old 9th January 2010, 04:33   #23
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The Canadian side is heavily commercialized. Huge hotels dot the skyline spoiling the beauty of the place. The difference between the American side and the Canadian side is that the American side has no buildings, just nice scenery and well maintained parks.

Also the allegation now is that due to the buildings on the Canadian side, the wind is cutoff, resulting in a permanent mist over the Horseshoe falls, thus spoiling the view.

I went there just 2 days before the Maid of the Mist is shutdown for the winter. I guess looking at this travelogue I'll be inspired to put mine up!!
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Old 9th January 2010, 07:55   #24
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Day 3: Stars and Empire
*****************************************

Plan for the day:

1. For this day there was no plan as such. It was sort of a rest day.

How the day actually went:

Got up around 8:45 in the morning. Had to return the car to a Hertz Location. While fueling I observed two things:

1. There were gas station folks filling fuel for customers at the bunk. (which is a rarity in Texas where one has to fill fuel ourselves)

2. The car returned a surprising 29 mpg (roughly 12.3 km/l), which was good considering the 3.6L engine.

Another thing that I noticed was that Left-turns were not allowed on most of the signals. In order to take a left turn, one has to take a right turn, then a U-Turn and continue.

Our hosts had to leave for office. After breakfast (crispy dosas), we took another nap and finally woke up around 11:45. Since we had the whole afternoon and evening in front of us, we quickly decided to visit New York city. (but not before hogging up on curd-rice for lunch)

One good way to cover attractions in New York city is to purchase a City Pass which will allow you entrance to various attractions and some places will even save time by bypassing the queue. However, one has to really hurry up at each attraction as the pass has limited validity (generally a day).

Since we both were short on energy and not on time, we decided otherwise. Took a bus (I don’t remember when was the last time I sat in a bus in Texas) to New York city’s Port Authority Station.

New York city is so different than Houston. So many people, walking on the roads, too busy to even react to a thug. Anyway, started the sightseeing business with Madame Tassaud’s (Wax Museum)

Me with Mr. Bachchan

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-big-b.jpg

Don’t miss Charlie Chaplin!

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-why-charlie-sad.jpg

Yao Ming

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-americas-fav-sport.jpg

Headed next for Empire State Building. Bought tickets for the 86th floor (Observatory). Initially I thought that it would be a waste of money. But I was wrong, it was beautiful (badly missed a tripod):

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-new-york-city.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-new-york-city-3.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-new-york-city-5.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-new-york-city-4.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-new-york-city-2.jpg

It was freezing cold at the top of building. So cold that you will not realize that your nose is running. Headed home after braving the cold. We still had to see the famous Green Lady!

Our hosts had already planned for the next day - Seeing Fall Colors.

Learning’s and TIPS:

1. Completely avoid driving in New York City.
2. Take the New York City pass if you want to cover most attractions in one day.
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Old 10th January 2010, 05:36   #25
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Hey, very interesting and enjoyable travelogue!
Loved going through the pictures and reading your take on things.
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Old 10th January 2010, 05:55   #26
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Day 4: Pocono Fall Colors
***********************************************

Plan for the day:

1. Visit Pocono Mountains

How the day actually went:

Got up late. It was cold outside.

Coconut Ice Cream:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-coconut-ice.jpg

Today our hosts were showing us around the famous Pocono Mountains. Here is a small write up from web:

"The Pocono Mountains offer four seasons of endless fun and a tremendous variety of diversions, such as luxurious resorts, family attractions, outdoor adventures, bed and breakfasts and more. The Pocono Mountains is famous for its resorts, natural scenic beauty, 150 lakes including Lake Wallenpaupack, and the quaint, historical towns in the four county area. The Poconos in Pennsylvania have so much to offer to the adventurous soul" Source: Pocono Mountains Official Website - Resorts, Restaurants, Golf, Skiing, Maps - Vacation & Visitors Information from the Official Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau

Why were we heading for Pocono Mt.? Cause the fall foliage was at it's best in that area at the time of our visit.

Our ride for the day was my friend's Honda Civic Coupe. Smart dependable cars. I have always found Hondas to be more fun to drive as compared to toyotas. (Though both are equally reliable)

It started to Snow on the way and we had to stop as the ladies were getting pretty excited (and so were the gentlemen). Played in the Snow for some time. Though I am originally from Uttaranchal, but I saw snow for the first time after coming to US.

Braving the Cold:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-braving-cold.jpg

Fall and Snow:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-fall-snow.jpg

White and Green:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-white-green.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-road-snow-tree.jpg


Afterwards we went straight to the Pocono Mt area. Once there, we got confused and didn't know which direction to head for and eventually landed up at the Visitors Center. An elderly gentleman at the front desk helped us with the correct directions and even handed us Maps with sightseeing points clearly marked .

The drive through the mountains was amazing with fall colors in full bloom. Orange, Red, Brown and Green seemed to be painted on a Canvas. Beautiful.

Fall Colors:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-leaves.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-fall-branches.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-fall-colors.jpg

Fall in a Drop:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-fall-drop.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-fall-tree.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-fallen-leaves.jpg


There were many walking trails that promised even closer and better view of the fall foliage, but the ladies were not in any mood of walking in the cold. So finally we wrapped up the day with some more ghas-phoos from Subway.

Keep on driving:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-winding-roads.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-roads.jpg

We had to miss Bushkill Falls which is a nice place to visit (series of 8 waterfalls).

Next days agenda was to shift our base to my cousins place and visit 7 lakes area.

Learning and Tips:

1. Dress adequately for Snow. My hands were frozen by the time I ended taking Pics .
Attached Thumbnails
Niagara, New Jersey and New York-tree.jpg  

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Old 10th January 2010, 06:02   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csentil View Post
.. I guess looking at this travelogue I'll be inspired to put mine up!!
Please do pen it down. Didn't know about the Canadian Commercialization, atleast the American side was green....
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Old 10th January 2010, 09:13   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSEA View Post

Made of Mist
Its not Made of Mist. It is Maid of Mist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TSEA View Post
1. Never take Tea at BK .
2. Buy tickets inside the park only.
3. Take the Niagara Scenic Trolley tour. Highly recommended.
4. Factor in more time for Niagara.
5. It's useless carrying a camera on Maid of Mist .
My suggestions

1. BK is known for $1 coffee similar to Dunkin. And not for tea. If you need indian style chai, recommend you to check Tazo Chai @ Starbucks.
2. and 3. You can buy a $30 passport ticket. This covers all the attraction in Niagara Falls park area. Also you can have multiple tides in the Niagara Scenic Trolley tour.
4. You need one full day to completely explore Niagara Falls (Only American Side)
5. There are waterproof cameras. You can carry those for photos. Or atleast you can get the waterproof camera housing which helps you take pictures in those misty conditions.
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Old 10th January 2010, 10:49   #29
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Woooooow !!!

The pics taken from atop Empire State are FANNNTASSSSTIC

And also the pics of snow

We were there in October and save Niagara,experienced cloudy n rainy three days at New York.Check out my travelogue as well

Last edited by vigsom : 10th January 2010 at 10:50. Reason: edit
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Old 10th January 2010, 18:03   #30
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TSEA: Your story is coming out beautifully... loved the fall colours and you have captured the cold, snowy mood beautifully...... I felt ccold too...way to go.

----
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