Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Slice of Life in Catskill

If you are in Catskill, go here.  Tell Nick we sent you.
I mentioned yesterday how neat this little marina is - but I didn't get to mention how great this little town is. Catskill, NY will always have a warm and fuzzy place in my heart.  Perhaps it's because it was here we converged with other cruisers, perhaps because it was here that our boat became a SAIL boat again....or maybe it's the warm showers or is it the bar?...whatever it is, I like this place.

Yesterday Scott and I had breakfast at this little diner in the heart of town on the suggestion of one of the guys that work here.  We went, and in the matter of one excellent cup of coffee and a toasted bagel with butter - I was in love with small town life.

This little diner only had a breakfast bar - and bellied up were some fantastic characters.  Everyone walked in and nodded "hello" to everyone with a warm smile, everyone knew everyone else and was asking after so-and-so's brother, and how's your daughter and what's happening with the physical therapy? (there was even mention of a colonoscopy, these townsfolk are that familiar) - my kind of people.  There was just one conversation going on - and we were all a part of it.  Pretty neat.

The best guy by far was Nick from New Jersey.  He owned the joint.  He had slicked back silver hair, a thick New York Italian accent, the kindest, biggest blue eyes you've ever seen - and man alive was he fast on that griddle!  He had just retired and decided to buy the diner in July, and it's been thriving every since.  I could immediately see why.  It was like Cheers, but instead of beers you got coffee and breakfast sandwiches.  It just felt like the kind of place where everyone knew your name.  I loved it.

Anyway, here are a few shots from around the town of Catskill.





Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name...
Love,

Brittany (& Scott)

Friday, October 29, 2010

We Are Not Alone!

Hop on over to Hop-O-Nose!
Misery loves company, right?  Isn't that what they say?

I think that is a little on the negative side...but there is a lot of truth to it.  We are social creatures...we need each other, to laugh, to cry, to celebrate, to mourn...that is why we as humans have congregated into vast societies across the globe.

You know what I have learned though?  We are all the same.  We all have the same needs, the same desires - we all laugh, we all cry.  We all long for love and acceptance.  Everything becomes so much more simple and clear when you understand that.

So here we are, in this little nook along the Hudson River called "Hop-o-Nose".  It's a gem.  Tucked just off the Hudson river in Catskill, NY - it's one of those places you imagine Jimmy Buffet writing a song about.  It's a little riverside marina - full of characters and full of charm.  Oh yeah, and there is a bar not 100 feet from where I type, so perhaps I'm biased.

Our "local" bar.  Lots of fun in this place.
Anyway...

Last night we ran into another cruising couple, Jill and Bud, off the boat S/V Earendil.  We met them on the dock as we were en-route to the showers (BONUS!!!) and got to talking.  I think we ended up chatting with them for 30 minutes before we left.  Having been the only cruisers we have met thus far, we had a lot to talk about - and a LOT in common.  Turns out, we're not the only ones on the water who have only the slightest clue what we are doing!  Who knew?!

We invited them to have dinner and drinks with us (at said bar) and they joined.  Throughout dinner we just laughed to and fro as we went back and forth with our tales of tribulation and woe.

People - we are not alone!

It was such a relief to meet another couple of cruisers who are in the same boat as we are (metaphorically speaking).  Misery loves company.  And when misery has company, it's not really misery anymore at all.  It's just...normal.

Scott wondering if we are the only ones.  Nope, we're not!
In addition to Bud and Judy, we also met back up with our friend Stefan (the German guy who helped us out in Buffalo) and his lovely fiance Galinda.  We had only met him for a short afternoon over a two weeks ago, and I had never met Galinda - but when we "reunited" it was like a meeting of old friends.  Hugs and hearty handshakes all around....Stefan asked about our engine and then he said,

"Oh, you have not heard OUR stories"....

Music to my ears.

He went on about engine issues, turning around in the locks and all sorts of little hiccups they've had along the way.  Then, Galinda and I sat in Rasmus drinking hot tea and just laughing at how nice it is to meet others who are sharing very similar experiences.  It was like we had known each other for years.  Bonds are made that fast.  It's awesome.

NEWSFLASH:  We are not idiots!  We are not doomed!  We are just like everyone else!

Seriously, this was an epiphany.

Sure, some people have more knowledge than others, some people have more experience, some boats are newer, some are older, some are bigger, some smaller - but everything evens out in the end.  It's the nature of this beast we call 'cruising'.

Maybe that's why misery loves company - not to share in the gloom of it all, but to feel "normal" and realize, "You know what, it's not that bad".

Love,

Brittany (& Scott)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Funny thing about "Odds"

What would you say the odds are of us cruising along the Hudson River,  running over a submerged 2x6 plank of wood, only to have it lodge itself between our keel and our rudder*?

One in a thousand?  One in a million?

Either way, I think it's pretty damn rare.

Well, that happened to us about an hour ago.  I wish I was joking.

I was at the helm, when all of a sudden there was a muffled 'thud'.  We'd heard it before (you cannot avoid the debris you cannot see) so we weren't alarmed.  Then I noticed our speed was down.  Significantly down.  I didn't even need to look at the instruments to know.  Going 1800 RPM's usually got us going nearly 8 knots (with the current), and now we were going barely 5.  Not to mention the propeller was making a whizzing sound, as if it was working harder.  Houston, we have a problem.

At first I thought we had done something to our propeller.  Lucky for us there was a marina just to our right.  Right then and there I made the executive decision to pull in and haul out the boat.

I mean, you have got to be kidding me, right?!

So Scott took the helm and I went to the back of  the boat.  There was a significant current, so Scott did a circle to get back to the marina.  And that's when I saw it.  A 2x6 plank of wood pop up from the water.  And I just knew that's what our problem was.

"Try throttling up again" I yelled to Scott.

He did.  And sure enough, we moved along at our expected 8 knots - like buttah.  Hallelujah!

I mean - what in the heck are the odds of that?


We can't wait to see the fun surprises the Big Apple has in store for us.

Although, we did accidentally buy some lotto tickets in a bar when we thought we were playing Keno - who knows, maybe we'll strike it rich?

Stay tuned,

Brittany (& Scott)

*At least we think this is what happened.  It's so bizarre it's actually comical.

Gray Sky Morning

We are usually sunny day types of people, but boy oh boy did the gray overcast of yesterday morning make a beautiful backdrop for some lovely photos or what?!

Scott thinks this place would make an awesome concert hall.  I have to agree.

I mean, are you kidding me with those colors?!
Beautiful.
How amazing is that contrast?

Love,
Brittany (& Scott)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We ran aground...or rather, a ROCK

Whoo hoo!  Still afloat!
When things go "bump" on a boat it's usually not a good thing.  I might go so far as to say it's never a good thing.

It's a really, really bad thing when they go bump, bump, BUMP and your boat lurches forward, then up, then to the side, and then back down again.

For those of you who love the "adventure" (aka us making mistakes) side of our journey, here's another one for the books...

This post is almost hard to write, because we made such a critical mistake, such a naive mistake, such a stupid mistake - that it is actually embarrassing.  What is more sobering than the sheer embarrassment of it all was the possibility that we could have lost our boat.  I mean, we haven't even made it to the Ocean yet!

As you know, we have been traversing the Erie Canal.  Today we actually entered the Mohawk River, which signals the end of the canal and will eventually dump us into the Hudson River.  As I wrote earlier, there has been a tremendous amount of debris in the waterway.  The fact that we are now in a natural river coupled with the torrential rain we saw last night made the debris (logs, trees...etc) that much worse.

Scott was at the helm and we were just enjoying this absolutely gorgeous day and the beautiful scenery the Mohawk River has to offer.  What happened next happened so fast I'm not sure I can describe it accurately or do it any justice.  I was looking down at my computer, loading more photos when all of a sudden the boat came to a lurching stop and listed about 30 degrees to starboard (right).  We had hit something, and this was no log.  Scott starts yelling, "Oh my God, oh my God" and then the boat goes UP...yes UP and then back down to starboard again - this time literally throwing me across the cockpit (I am happy to report both the computer and the camera are fine!).

Then, it was over.  Smooth water.  We had hit something, hard, and gone up and over it.  Insane.

The whole thing lasted maybe 3 or 4 seconds.  And every.single.second was terrifying.

Scott kept saying, "Oh my God, honey...are you okay?  I am so sorry, I am so sorry...are you okay?"

"I'm fine" I told him, heading down below, "I'm going to check the bilges (the areas of the boat where water would go if it got into the boat)".  I was certain we punctured our hull.

Thankfully, they were (and still are) bone dry.  No hole.  Phew.

What had happend was this:  Scott saw a red buoy up ahead (from our direction, you are supposed to pass these buoys to the left side of your boat, right side of the buoy) - to the right of that buoy (where we needed to be) he saw tons of debris....tree trunks, huge branches...etc.  So Scott decided to cut the corner a little to avoid damage to the prop.

In the words of his favorite screen siren, "BIG mistake. BIG.....HUGE."

Instead, we hit a freaking gigantic underwater rock.  The whole thing was totally and utterly surreal. I was physically shaking for at least two hours after the incident while adrenaline surged through my system, and we're still suffering from the "hangover" of doing something so stupid.

In retrospect I am pretty sure we went up and over the cement block that anchors the buoy down, or perhaps there really was a huge submerged rock that we went over?   We'll never know.  But whatever it was, it was solid.  And if we had gone over it in a fin keel boat, we almost certainly would have ripped the keel off.  We were going 6 knots.  How much do we love our full keel boat?  A LOT.

The thought is sickening.

We made a big mistake.  And we're better for it.  I will say this, however: it was the ONE chance Scott has taken.  He knew he was taking a risk, but he had calculated it.  Typically, he is 100% by the book and makes no exceptions.  It absolutely could have been me at the helm.  We are human.

Needless to say, we won't be (knowingly) taking any more navigational chances.  But I'm sure we'll mess up a whole lot more, so don't you fret!  We are learning, and that's the name of the game.

On the plus side - seriously, how gorgeous is where we are tied up right now?!



PS.  We are hauling the boat out when we get our mast stepped.  Rest assured we'll let you know the damage to the hull!

Is it just me?

What's in that there forest I wonder?
...Or does this remind you of the movie "Deliverance"*?  I for the life of me cannot get that damn banjo tune (go to 2:24 to hear it) out of my head.  Creepy.

In all honesty, it is a beautiful misty morning up here in the North East.

Love,

Brittany (& Scott)

*If you have not seen it, I do not recommend this movie.  Is HIGHLY disturbing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Water Logged...

Sticks and stones may break my bones...and my propeller!
Navigating through this mess at 8am before our breakfast was a treat.  Holy moly!  Some of this debris was ENTIRE TREE TRUNKS.  I stood up at the bow, giving Scott hand signals to direct him so we could weave ourselves through this maze.  For non-boaters, hitting a tree trunk with your propeller is an easy way to damage it.  We tried to avoid this as best we could and aside from hitting a few submerged "water logged" branches, we were successful!  It rained all night last night, which is why all this nastiness washed into the canal.

I am happy to announce we are in the clear now - the sun is shining and it is going to be 70 degrees....yes, 70 degrees today! Scott is tuning up the Ukelele and we are just cruising along.

Thank you Indian Summer!

Love,

Brittany (& Scott)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Reorganizing!

Mmmm...Velveta shells and cheese!
This is where the cans were....
We realized (a while ago, actually) that one of our compasses was a teensy bit off course.  After some deductive reasoning and experimentation, we learned (as we had suspected) it was due to the fact that we had stored all of our canned goods near it (as in less than 3 feet away).

Compasses are magnetic, so any metal around them (particularly within a 3 foot radius) is not good.  Like - you could be headed to French Polynesia and wind up in Hawaii not good.  So today, as we crossed Lake Onieda, I decided it was time to get us back on course, and do some re-configuring of the cans (of which there are about 100, remember - we don't have refrigeration so canned food is where it's at!).

I am happy to say after about an hour and a half of moving this and that, we now have a boat that is organized not unlike the shelves of a grocery store! (Scott thought it was very "Sleeping with the Enemy" - sorry if you don't get the reference).

On top of that - I took stock of our food stores and now have a better idea where we are at on provisions aaaannnnd I made more efficient use of space so we have room for lots more goodies!  Win/win.

Oh yeah, and we're back on course...Onward!

So organized, the can's practically sing to you!
This is where the canned goods are now...this cabinet is about 5 feet long.

Love,
Brittany (& Scott)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Potential Crisis: AVERTED!

I have already said it and thanked the Universe for it - Scott and I have been pretty dang lucky this trip.

What could have happened today is proof positive of this luck.  And a good lesson to be reminded of...

We were motoring down the Erie Canal, just as calm and peacefully as ever.  We had just crossed “Cross Lake” and were entering (what we thought was) the canal from the other side.  I was reading, Scott was at the helm.

“Oh look, we have an early waver!” Scott said, “A nice older lady in blue”.


Wavers, refer to the people along the canal that, obviously, wave to us.  Not everyone is a waver we have learned.  We’re not sure why - but some people just don’t wave back - aside from making the initial waver feel like an idiot, it seems pretty rude.  But we continue to do this.  Naturally, we are always happy to meet people on the banks that actually wave to us first.  Hence "early waver".  

I look up from my book, and sure enough there is a nice lady in blue...waving both her arms...over her head...frantically.  And yelling something.  Huh.  Pretty zealous this one, I thought.

“I think she’s trying to tell us something” Scott said.  

Ya think?

Scott slowed the engine and I turned down the stereo.

Hmmm...looks as though we've run aground, but we have not!  
We couldn’t make it out, but it sounded like she was telling us to...turn around?  That we would ‘hit’?  Scott throttled back some more.

She now had both her hands cupped around her mouth acting as a megaphone, “You missed the turn, TURN AROUND, you will RUN AGROUND”.

We looked at each other like “Huh” and then looked at our chartplotter.  We were thoroughly confused.  Everything looked fine on the plotter.

This can never be a paperless world.
Not wanting to risk running aground or ‘hitting’ whatever it was that we would hit, we turned around.

“Do you think she was just crazy or something?” Scott asked.

“Maybe?" I thought, "But I think we should call the next lock operator and ask him, maybe he can tell us something...” I suggested.

While Scott called the lock operator, I checked the paper charts we had. (Phew)

The lock operator, though very kind, offered little clarification other than “Was it woman or a kid?” after Scott told him of the waving person on the bank.  Apparently kids are real tricksters around here?  Who knows.

Then we saw it, right there on the paper chart.  The “State Ditch Cut” that was NOT on our chartplotter.  That was where we needed to go.  We had missed the (non-descript, unmarked) turn about a quarter mile back.

Had we continued on our merry way, and had that lovely woman in blue not come out to 'wave' at us, we would have run aground in 3 feet of water.  While running aground in our boat wouldn’t be the end of the world, it would be a real pain in the ‘A' and definitely cost us some time.

Bullet:  Dodged.

Thank you wonderful lady in blue for coming out of your home to wave at us - you were, by far, the best, most friendliest waver yet!

Lesson(s) learned:  
1) ALWAYS have paper charts.  Yes, even if you are on a relatively straightforward waterway that seems fool proof.
2) Wavers might not just be "waving" hello, they might be warning you of something.  Waving with two hands over head is indication of urgency (and the international "distress" signal), so pay attention.

Love,

Brittany (& Scott)

Images Along the Erie Canal

There is so much beauty along this canal....so I thought I'd share some with you!

Rasmus tied up at lock 35
Little town, tucked behind the tree line.

Art decorates some areas of the canal...
As does graffiti....that Tanushka, what a lucky girl!
Gorgeous and oh-so-peaceful!
We've gone through SO many bridges and become so used to them, we keep telling ourselves not to forget that bridges are NOT okay when we get our rig back up!!
Sun peeking through!

All sorts of interesting homes, boat houses and structures along the canal.
Yeah, this is our view 90% of the time.  Pretty awesome.
Coming up to a quaint little town, just before a storm rolls in.
Love,

Brittany (& Scott)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lockin' Through

Seriously, locks are friggin' cool.  For example - we began today at about 590 ft. above sea level (or something, we don't have our charts with us at the moment so I don't know for sure) and we ended today at around 460.  That is...neat.

Locks are intense.  Locks are rugged.  Locks are hard-core.  Locks are...cool.  Nothing like starting out at "x" feet, and then ending at "x minus 50 feet" (and they said I wasn't good at math!) in a matter of 15 minutes.  I mean, that is just. plain. cool.  Or maybe I'm just easily amused?

Here's what they look like, from our perspective:

See that green wall behind us, we started at the TOP of that! This was lock #2 in a 2-fer.
The doors ahead...where we are going...
Once you get to the proper level, the gates open.  I don't know why, but I *always* think of Wizard of Oz when this happens.
Bye bye lock!  Thanks for dropping us a solid 50'!
We've got 30 more locks to go!  Thanks to my dad for getting us our super awesome industrial Easystow fenders so we don't scratch up our boat!

More tomorrow!  For now, there is wine to be drank...or drunk....whatever...

Love,
Brittany (& Scott)

The Erie Canal!

The Erie Canal is FULL of History.  

It was an incredible feat at the time, and provided a much needed "Gateway to the West" for the East Coast.  Huge barges were used to move goods along the canal, pulled by horses and handlers.  The canal meanders through gorgeous Upstate New York and is just full of beautiful vistas and panoramas.  In between the stretches of vast land, orchards, and farms are little towns and villages that feel as American as apple pie and baseball.  You can literally pull up and dock nearly anywhere and just step off of your boat and into the heart of a little "one horse" town.  Lovely.  

The days of the barges are gone, but the history is still here.  Now, the canal is mostly used for pleasure boats and cruisers - and for us, ironically - it is the passage to the East! 

Yesterday Scott and I found this old book in the Lock Masters office and poked through it.  So very cool.  I love older books and illustrations.  The pages even smelled all musty and library-like, not enough books smell like that anymore. 

This morning, we went down our first lock - a 50 footer in Lockport!  We are moving along nicely, and just enjoying this very calm and slow paced motor along one of America's most historic waterways.  

This is the life!





Love,

Brittany (& Scott)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On the Road Again!

Stepping the mast.  

On our way!!
The engine is purring like a kitten again thanks to our new transmission (which, ZF said they did "nothing" to aside from change out some clutches and some seals...hmmmmm) - either way, the tranny must have been the problem* because the dreaded clunking has ceased!  Hip hip, hooray!

We woke up bright and early and motored over to Rich Marine where they stepped our mast...and at a discount!  Thanks RM - we owe ya' one!

Anyway, we are en-route to Lockport, NY - LET THE LOCKING BEGIN PEOPLE!

Love,
Brittany (& Scott)

*Although the fact that there is not a single "A-ha!  That was the issue!" moment, we are a little apprehensive.  ZF claims there was nothing out of the ordinary with the trans, other than the slightly over-warn clutches.  Nothing, they claimed, that would warrant the noise.  Nothing like a problem that somehow got fixed, despite not knowing what exactly was wrong.  Who said sailing around the world would be care-free anyway?  Psh.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Deep Water

Last night Scott and I watched the film, "Deep Water" (at the suggestion of our friend Todd) about the 1968 Around the World Yacht Race.  I have read several books about this particular race and have been fascinated by it for a number of years.  For those of you who don't know of it, go out and grab a book about it.  You don't need to be even remotely interested in sailing to find it totally gripping.  If you love sailing, well then - you'll be tied up for the next couple of days.  It's a real nail biter.

The year was 1968 and the world was running on the excitement of Sir Francis Chichester's completion of the first solo circumnavigation by sailboat just the previous year.  The world was thirsty for adventure, for heroism, for new horizons.  What could possibly be done next?

To sail solo, around the world, alone, and non-stop (Chichester had stopped in Australia for significant refits) that was what.

And so was born the first annual Around the World Race, The Golden Globe.

This movie is less the story of that race, but more the story of Donald Crowhurst - the ill-fated ninth competitor.  His tale is tragic and mystifying, heart breaking and sobering.  It is the story of a man who's heart was in the right place, when his head was not.  The story of a man who let his dreams get the better of him, while the sirens of fame and fortune gilded his judgement.

Donald left England in a tizzy on the very last day of the race deadline.  He sailed off in an all but sinking boat that was unfinished and unseaworthy.  As he sailed on those first few months, misfortune continued to befall him, until, eventually he realized he was totally and utterly in over his head.

Instead of turning back and heading home to face humiliation and bankruptcy, he decided to sail on...in circles.  His plan was pretty slick actually; he would sail in circles for months (avoiding the Southern Ocean) until the other competitors were coming back around - at which point he would sail right back home with them.  He'd fool everyone.  The only glitch in his plan was how he'd keep his mental demons at bay - at sea, alone, for months and months.   Slowly but surely, he went insane* until the day he walked off the back of his boat, never to be seen again.

Watch this movie.  Read his story.  There is definitely a lesson to be learned from Donald Crowhurst, may he rest in peace.

Love,

Brittany (& Scott)

PS.  I have read two fantastic books on this race.  A Voyage for Madmen and The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst. I highly recommend them both.
*His journals and rapidly insane musings can be read in the latter book mentioned above.

Shout Out to Williamsville South!

This is a big "HELLO THERE!!" to the Leadership Students at Williamsville South High School!
Is this the right helmet!?  

First of all, we applaud you all for taking action through leadership and entrepreneurialism at such young ages.  Just think - you have your WHOLE life in front of you to not only concoct dreams, but make them happen!  You may or may not realize it now - but you are in an AMAZING position in life.  The world, quite literally, is at your fingertips!  Man, if I knew what I know now when I was 17...but there I go just sounding old...

If we have one piece advice that we could give you it would be: TO DREAM.  Make GOALS that will bring you closer to your dream, and WRITE THEM DOWN.  Put your dreams and goals on paper.  There is something about the process of writing dreams out on paper that make them more tangible.  Do it.  And don't be afraid to fail.  Opportunity is borne out of failure...so go ahead and take that leap.  Live out LOUD!

In addition, there is one teeny weeny bit of advice I want to add, and that is to treat others the way you would want to be treated (not just friends, but everybody - the cool, the not cool, the 'freaks' the 'geeks' and the 'popular').  We would not be where we are today if not for the kindness of friends and strangers, and we truly believe that the world gives you back what you put into it.  It's karma.  And it's real.  Be kind to all, because you never know who will lend you a helping hand and when.  We are born with two hands, and as we get older we realize, the first is to help ourselves and the second is to help others.  Audrey Hepburn said that (or something like it) and it is so true.  What goes around, comes around kids - if you haven't learned that yet, you will. 

Okay.  Enough of that mush.  

We are looking forward to working with you guys along the way!  Keep in touch, and be suuuper nice to your teacher, Miss Anzelone.  She is so much cooler than you know!

Love,
Brittany (& Scott)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tranny's are Confusing

Extra Credit:  Anyone know what is missing here?  Hint: The shortened version rhymes with "granny".
Long story short:

We heard a "clunk clunk" in our engine.

Two mechanics came aboard and were...for lack of a better word, stumped.

We found no issue with the engine, so we collectively figured it was the transmission (which we affectionately call "the tranny" for his/her ambiguous ways).

We made probably 50 phone calls back and forth between our engine mechanics, the Yanmar people, and the ZF people (ZF manufactures our tranny).

We removed the tranny and overnighted it to Florida, where it went to the 'doctor' at ZF. (Overnighting a 40lb transmission, btw, is NOT cheap.  Cha-ching!).

The 'doctor' saw nothing really wrong with it (sad face).

Scott dove the boat to check the prop and shaft zinc, found nothing amiss (sad face).

Scott removed the damper plate to see if anything was amiss, found nothing (sad face).

The tranny is now being overnighted BACK to us (Cha-ching!).

The clutches (which had some unusual wear, but nothing, ZF says that would warrant the dreaded "clunking") are being sent to Italy, to determine if the issue was a "warranty issue" or the alternative: our big, fat, fault.  Gulp.  (Determining this will take 2-3 weeks)

In addition, if Italy determines this is not a warranty issue, we are out about 1K.  This fact makes me want to throw up in my mouth. (Cha-friggin'-CHING!)

So, we are sort of back at square one.

Maybe, just maybe we'll get the new tranny back and all our engine issues will magically disappear.

Maybe.

Sad face.

Love,
Brittany (& Scott)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oh, Canada.

I've been all over the world, yet I have never visited our friendly neighbor to the North...Canada.

Until today, that is.

Our new friends decided today was the day to play hooky and embark on a spontaneous adventure.  Niagara Falls is only about an hour from here so they (being the wonderful people they are) took Scott and I to see it.  Man, those falls are INTENSE.  The mist from the water rises above the falls like smoke and you can see it from miles and miles away, they are that powerful.

What is crazy is how calm the water is just before it hits the ledge and makes the 180 foot drop.  I shudder to think...

After the falls, we took the short drive to Niagara on the Lake - which is just one of the most darling little towns ever.  Beautifully maintained, quaint and full of European-style cafes and pubs (it was British occupied during the 1800's and, therefore, has a very British feel to it).  So naturally, we drank.  I never met a British Pub I didn't like.

That's a LOT of water!

It's a long way down, Tonto!
Main Street in Niagara on the Lake
Liquid lunch time!  How great is this British pub?  They serve Shepard's Pie and Fish-n-Chips!

They say this is one of the oldest Pub's around...
Fort George (across the lake)
Beautiful day.
At least there are still leaves on the trees, right?
It was a fantastic day with fantastic people.   Thanks to M and T for an all-out awesome time!  Love you guys!

Love,
Brittany (& Scott)
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