September 27, 2018-Spur-of-the-Moment Mid West and Beyond Trip and Happy Birthday Keaton!

(click here for today's pictures)

Niagara Falls, Toronto to Erie, Pennsylvania

Last night after everyone went to sleep, Robby and I started blowing up a few balloons and hanging up a birthday banner. It took a while to stir Keaton this morning despite the 7 balloons that we had piled on her.

Whitman was quick to wake up and quick to stomp into the closet. After I let him pout him for a little bit, I asked what was wrong. With tears in his eyes, he looked up and me and said, “I never get balloons for my birthday.” Someone please remind me that I need to get him balloons for his birthday.
Soon everyone was happy again and awake. We grabbed our supplies and headed down to breakfast. This was the most crowded breakfast that we have been to; Anderson and I actually stood up during breakfast.

We had bought Keaton double chocolate chip muffins as she had requested. Since there were so many people, we didn’t light the candles. Yet, we still sang and she acted like she was blowing out her candles.

Loading up the car was the next event. We have been changing everyone’s seats so that changes the whole dynamic of the car ride each morning. We crossed back into the US this morning. They are pretty intense every time. Today not only did she ask each kid their name, she also looked in the back of the car. Of course, this is a precarious situation because stuff is crammed in the back. She was nice enough to let Robby open and close the doors so everything didn’t fall out onto the ground.

Once we made it back to the Home of the Brave, we headed to our parking spot of the day. We parked right in front of the Cave of the Winds. Soon the Heltz had parked in their parking spot on the their side of the little island. We walked to our meeting spot in front of the Maid of the Mist.

First we looked at the gift shop and pottied-seem to have to do that much more often near all of this running water.  Then we were soon walking to the observation tower above the Maid of the Mist. Everyone snapped a few pictures, and then we headed down towards the boat.

We tried to stand on the top deck of the boat, but it was crazy so we came downstairs. This was a very good choice because downstairs was nearly deserted. We had plenty of room to walk around. Whitman even had a perfect spot where he could see everything,

You forget how wet you can get on the Maid of the Mist even with the ponchos on. The wind was blowing, the boat was rocking and I think my Campbell was a bit on the scared side. I am not sure why she was uneasy, but I still think that she had a good time.  

It is always something to see those massive falls and to be right underneath them. Robby figures that we have been on the Maid of the Mist now 4 times. The big 3 have been on the boat 3 different times! It is the iconic thing when you are at Niagara.

After we left the boat, we took off our ponchos and found that we really weren’t that wet. We then walked towards the Cave of the Winds attraction. This was what we had been waiting for! First there was a neat new movie before Cave of the Winds.

The next stop was getting our water shoes. Last night when we were laying in bed, Robby asked me where we were going to put all of the shoes-8 more pairs of shoes in this car! We were fortunate that Robby was able to take our real shoes back to the car before going down towards the falls.

The last time that we were here, the crowds were pretty thick. This time, there were not too many folks at all. We almost had the place to ourselves. The first few decks on Cave of the Winds are mild with you barely needing your poncho hood.

The closer you get, the more the water comes. Then when you climb up to the Hurricane Deck, you immediately know why they call it the Hurricane Deck. The water is pouring off of the rocks onto your feet and splattering all over your once dry poncho.

The force of the water was crazy-so crazy that Whitman’s hand never left my hand. He wanted to go as close to the crazy water as possible so I took him over there a few times. When we finally left the Hurricane Deck, we could immediately see that everyone was going to need more clothes.

I guess that I am the only one who knows how to properly wear a poncho because I didn’t have to change everything, including my undies as my boys and Campbell and Keaton did when we got back to the car. Reagan just had to change her shirt, and Robby dropped his shorts in the middle of the parking lot to change. (He was standing in the door with Anderson standing behind him so no one could see much of anything!)

From there, we drove to find the Heltz’ parking spot. They were near some picnic tables so we ventured out there with our lunches. The kids played a few games with the football in between bites. As lunch closed, Robby appeared with a giant cookie cake for Keaton. It even had her name on it.

We covered it with candles and sang once again to her. (The kids had already sang Happy Birthday to her once on the Maid of the Mist.) The Heltz even had a bag full of candy for Keaton as her birthday gift. I do think that she had the best birthday ever!

After we played for a bit, we walked towards 3 Sister’s Islands. We explored the 3 islands and took some more pictures. Robby and I remember when we took a back picture on one of those islands many years ago. We climbed out on a rock right near the rushing water to take our picture. Now there are railings and ropes everywhere so you would never be able to get that close to the water today!

Yesterday, someone had told us about the Niagara power plant. So we headed there for a quick educational stop. All of the kids rode in the Heltz’ motor home while Michael was the only one who rode with us. He was almost asleep when we made it to the power plant just 6 miles away. The power plant was very interesting. They have made the power plant into a huge attraction. It was all free and started with everyone getting name badges with our pictures on it.

Then there were different computer stations you went through to earn points on your badge. One activity was were you can put your hand on the ball and the electricity makes your hair stand up. The highlight was the 4D movie. Earlier on this trip, Whitman had been asking us what dimensional means. He must have figured it out, because when he came off of the 4D movie, he shouted, “4D is the best D ever.”

It was a neat stop, and we stayed until it was closing time. Out in the parking lot, we said our goodbye to the Heltz’. They are heading further north while we must go back south towards home. When we were back on the road, I passed out water, cokes and leftover cookie cake to everyone while they watched a movie.

The movie finished and we had about 20 more minutes to drive. We soon made it to our pizza spot to pick up tonight’s supper. Then it was on to the hotel for pizza supper, showers and lots of laundry.

The dryer wasn’t working so Robby used the housekeeping hotel dryer and our clothes were dry in a flash. After the birthday girl finished her shower, she just kept shivering. I didn’t think too much about this because it is chilly in here. Soon though, as she laid beside me with ice cold feet, red eyes and a warm forehead, I did realize that my birthday girl had fever.

That was a downer. She was almost asleep but Robby helped me stir her to give her some tylenol. Of course this just caused her to start crying, but with lots of encouragement and a glass full of coke, she calmed down and chugged her medicine. She is still a bit warm, but hopefully the medicine will kick in soon and she will even feel great tomorrow.

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