Road Trip 2015, Day 9: July 2, 2015 (Niagara Falls, Ontario to Hershey, PA)

(click here for today's pictures)

Well, I am writing this blog with a bit of sadness today because we are now at the half way point on our trip-day 9.  This makes me incredibly sad but all that means is that it is now time to start planning next years road trip.  We were able to sleep in a bit this morning and didn’t pull out until 9:30.  Yesterday, Robby had bought some doughnuts at the grocery store and the kids choked them down (they were pretty dry.)  Then we loaded up and were on the road to Buffalo.

We drove down Clifton Hill one last time and then across the Rainbow Bridge and were able to see the falls again.  As we were going across Anderson said “look at the falls because we won’t be back here.”  We quickly corrected him and reminded him that we would be back to ride the jet boat.  

Then we crossed the border again.  This border patrol lady was pretty serious and after she entered our paperwork, she walked around to the side of the car and asked the kids their names.  I am so thankful that Anderson didn’t say “Ricardo” or my Whitman didn’t shout out his other name “Bobby!”  We sat there for about 10 minutes and I swear they just waved the Wilsons on through without even looking at their paperwork-we just look suspicious in this big old white van.

We had been on the road for about a mile and Robby asked for the rice krispy treats.  I reminded him that he had eaten the last of them the other day and he was pretty disappointed.  He did opt for the day old Tim Horton doughnuts which were still tons better than the grocery store doughnuts we fed the kids.  

The ride this morning to our first stop was fairly short but the kids were a little rambunctious.  For some reason, Whitman caused Campbell to say “Stop it, Whitman.”  And Whitman shouted right back at her “Stop it, Campbell.”  The whole car heard this and we all laughed at our little talker.  

When we made the original itinerary, we had not really planned on stopping in Buffalo because of time but stop we did-a total of 5 stops!  Our first stop was at the Herschel Carousel museum.  They are the ones that made the carousel in Little Rock at the zoo and that carousel is one of only 2 surviving carousel that go up and down.  

The museum was neat and they had a player piano that a man was playing and singing.  This was really interesting to the kids and they stood around him for the longest time.  Then we rode the first carousel made at the factory followed by ride on a kiddie carousel that only my people were tall enough for.  

Finally, out back they had 4 more rides for the kids to ride on.  Robby let the kids pick one ride and he bought tokens for them to ride.  But Anderson looked less than thrilled with his choice so Robby, the softie that he is, bought the kids one more token to ride a ride.  The favorite ride was the helicopter and after it was over, we loaded up for our next stop.

We had been told about Paula’s Doughnuts and it did not disappoint.  Shannon and I ran in to pick out a few things and came out with a dozen and a half.  Actually, I didn’t have enough money to buy just 8 doughnuts-it was much more economical to buy a dozen.  It was like I was saving money.  

The doughnuts were delicious and we could have eaten more than the peanut log that we ate before our next stop.  The peanut log had won a prize at the Taste of Buffalo and everyone seemed very pleased with it. After lunch, I passed out the rest of the doughnuts to everyone and they all agreed they were much better than the doughnuts we had eaten for breakfast.

As we were driving to lunch with my dozen doughnuts sitting on my lap, Robby and I were talking about how long we could stay on a trip before coming home.  We agreed that 2 months would be an adequate time but then Robby added that we couldn’t eat like we are eating on this trip on a 2 month long trip.  I personally don’t see anything wrong with how we are eating on this trip-doughnuts and wings within 30 minutes after all we did pass up on the custard stop that we saw.

Lunch in Buffalo had to be wings so we stopped at Anchor Bar for Buffalo wings.  Since we had just eaten a snack, the Wilsons and us split a 50 wings along with some celery (actually the Wilsons ate more of the celery than us-like we didn’t eat any) and 4 orders of fries.  My kiddos haven’t eaten wings ever nor do we really ever eat chicken with a bone-I don’t really like to have to work for my food.  So this was a real learning experience for everyone.  My big 3 all tried the wings and they liked them or maybe I should say loved them.  

Our tummies were full from our lunch so we needed a little walk before the car ride.  We walked right to Teddy Roosevelt’s inauguration site.  McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt was inaugurated at that very home.  We opted not to do house tour so we just spent a minute in their gift shop and of course a few minutes in their potties.  My Keaton continues to want to potty at every single potty that she sees.  She has not passed up a single potty on this entire trip.  

Before leaving Buffalo, we walked by the USS Little Rock. We hadn’t planned to stop there but thought it fitting to check out the ship since it is named after our hometown.  There was no need to tour the ship because once you have seen one ship, then you have seen them all!

We drove for about an hour when we stopped again to take a brief picture at the birthplace of Francis Bellamy.  Do you know who he is?  Nope, I didn’t either but he is the one who wrote the words to the Pledge of Allegiance.  The home is a private residence and I guess they are used to people pulling up in their front yard and taking pictures of their home.  Personally, I would open a gift shop and offer a few tours-if you could have one group stop a day, you would do pretty good.

Since we had spent the day stopping all around Buffalo, that made us have quite a bit of driving this afternoon and this evening.  It was a beautiful drive through New York and Pennsylvania.  We stopped at a rest stop to potty and to pull out our picnic stuff so we could eat in the car.  I fixed the kids the last of our sausage bologna along with some squirt cheese and crackers.  I threw in a few other things but when the kids have squirt cheese it is the same as stopping at an ice cream stop!  Unfortunately, I did learn one lesson while making supper in the car-you can cut yourself with a plastic knife.  

My thumb bled half way through Pennsylvania and that wasn’t our only problem on our drive: our front tv started to act up.  A few times when we put the disc in, the thing just said “no disc.”  Nothing causes more panic in the Dennie van more than the DVD player messing up.  At this very moment, it is working and we are having a Little House on the Prairie marathon.  

I will tell you something that we did right on this trip: maps for the kids.  Robby made each row of kids a map that has our route highlighted and an arrow for each hotel.  A few minutes ago, Campbell said “tonight is our 9th night”-my girl sure knows where we are!  When the kids clean up their rows, the one thing that they leave out is their maps and first thing in the morning, someone usually has their map and is asking questions about the day.  Next year, they probably need multi-page maps so they can see all of our proposed stops as well.

The Wilsons were a bit behind us when we stopped at Burger King for a potty stop.  Not that Robby has been timing our stops or anything but we did in fact stop and our stop was 7 minutes long!  Whoop, whoop!

We knew that we would be arriving at Chocolate World pretty late, so we had the choice of going tonight or in the morning.  We opted for the Amazing Race version of Chocolate World tonight.  I say the Amazing Race version because we walked in the doors at 9:40 and the place closed at 11.

I should be afraid that someone is going to report us for keeping our babies out so late...but that didn’t stop us!  We bought tickets for the 4D movie and Whitman loved putting on his glasses.  Keaton and Whitman both liked some parts of the movie-smelling the smells, the bubbles and confetti but other parts-the loud noises, the scary man and the things hitting your feet-they did not like.  

The movie started at 10 and lasted for 20 minutes so that left us some time to hurry to the chocolate world ride which explains how they make chocolate.  As we sat down on the ride, I looked down at Whitman and he was covered in chocolate.  When we left the movie, they handed everyone a piece of chocolate and Whitman got some in his mouth but most of it on his hands and face.  I cleaned him up and we were able to enjoy the ride.  Personally, a tour of the real chocolate factory would have been really neat though but this tour/ride ended with another piece of candy so that won me over!

For buying tickets to the 4D movie, you received a coupon for a slushie so after the ride, Robby ran the kids over there to order their slushies.  Then we had a few minutes for shopping (Campbell and Keaton bought their trip souvenir-a shirt) and everyone picked out a candy bar!

After our shopping, we ran around in the store taking pictures and then to the car.  On the way to the car, it was decided that we were going to Philadelphia tomorrow instead of Gettysburg.  It doesn’t change our hotel tomorrow night or our tomorrow night plans (see D.C. at night) but it does mean another Amazing Race-ish type day and we can’t wait!

The kids laid down at about 12:10 and that was after helping unload the car, hurrying in the hotel and taking some speed showers.  They are plum exhausted so maybe some people will find time to nap in the car tomorrow!

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