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Sunday 5th November - Niagara Falls

I got up early due to a very 'noisy night' and went for a short walk to see those falls again and take yet more photos.   We Niagara silhouettes.jpg (35635 bytes)set out at 8.30 to go for a closer look in daylight and without those rainbow lights.   Absolutely glorious weather - again!   We donned our very glamorous yellow shrouds and went down behind the falls.   The view was wonderful.   Tracy and I ventured to an opening right behind the water coming down, but we both got drenched and     David made some remark like "it serves you both right".    We had quite a tasty brekkie in the deli there before we went through formalities to cross back into the USA again and went to Goat Island above the falls.    It was so beautiful there and Tracy went back 23 years, muckingNiagara under falls 2.jpg (53113 bytes) around on the rocks once again.   Nothing changes!   The view from the top of both falls, Niagara and American was fantastic and from above the Niagara Falls we could see little yellow 'daffodils' where we had been earlier.   There was a lovely rainbow at the foot of the American Falls.  It was so pretty in the bright sunlight.   Tracy had been there with Lisa and Dave on the way to meet us but the weather was dull then, so she wasn't sorry to see them again in such lovely weather.   We crossed a bridge and as we drove into Buffalo we saw Lake Erie, our last lake - mission accomplished.   We travelled along a very good road through valleys with good striations, (Lisa loves striations) and lots of Inuit statues along the sides of the road.   We spotted the Home of Little League Baseball in Williamsport - actually I read the information out of the AAA book.   I had the right one this time, and even the right map!   I was learning.    A lovely sky once again.    We followed the Susquehanna River which David had trouble pronouncing so I had to write it out phonetically for him - Sus-Kwu-harna - and then he eventually learnt it.   This river popped up on us quite a few times in our travels.   It is a huge river.   We came into an area with beautiful autumn leaves on the trees.   Passed through lovely 'American' style homes, which was not surprising really.   They were mainly two storey timber homes with great barns.  Drove on in the dark to Amish Country so that we could stay in Intercourse, at the Best Western.   We then went looking for a place to have dinner.  This took quite a while and eventually we settled on a diner in a nearby town called Gap.   David's and Tracy's meal was good, but mine was horrible, so bland and uninteresting.   As I said before, you can't win 'em all.   As we drove around in the dark, we saw lots of Amish horses and carriages, well lit up.    It was easy to see them coming, thank goodness.   We phoned Godfreys and Leanne to tell them we were in the middle of Intercourse!   Naturally!   The motel had "Witness" on the TV - the film about the Amish, with Harrison Ford in it, so we watched that.

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Monday 6th November

Once again we woke to a beautiful morning.   We enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the restaurant at the motel before setting out on our travels through the Amish countryside.  The lass serving us our meal was lovely, with the most gorgeous smile.   She made us feel most welcome.   As we walked in we noticed that there were two Amish men at the counter and wondered if they always ate there, had heard the Smarts were in town and wanted to see us or were actually 'extras' planted around town to make it more authentic.    David and I then walked to the Candle Shop while Tracy paid the bill.    Tracy was very naughty but wonderful, as Lisa was in Detroit, insisting on paying for almost everything.    It made me feel very guilty, but very grateful.    She really looked after "the olds".    I bought a book about Amish girls and boys at the Candle Shop.   I thought it might make it easier to explain to Jordy and Yas about the Amish lifestyle.  We then drove to Strasburg to Ed's Buggy Rides for our ride around the lanes and to an Amish farm.    We were packed into a closed in Amish buggy - a bit squeezy.  The driver was a lass from North Carolina, from the Outer Banks, which we were to visit later in our travels.  Her horse Tan was in the mood to do his own thing, but nevertheless it was very pleasant, trot, trot, trotting along - so quiet.    Amish school room.jpg (65957 bytes)We visited the farm of Jesse Lapp, where we met Mrs. Lapp.   They have 12 children and their 30th grand child was born recently.   They don't have television - as of you couldn't guess.   In fact they don't rely on any mod-cons.  No electricity, no mechanical farm machinery.    They still use horses to work their farms.   We looked at heaps of beautiful hand made quilts and Tracy chose a magnificent one with grapes on it.   It really is so beautiful.   On the way to the Lapp farm we passed a farm-house with several additions which have been added as the generations get older.   The guide told us you can pick an Amish farm by the washing on very long lines, especially on a Monday, which this was of course.   Then we visited the Amish Village where our guide was a very dry, funny New York Jewish woman, judging by her accent. Her voice reminded me of Barbra Amish village.jpg (121298 bytes)Streisand.  This place was a bit of a rip-off but it did tell us a bit more about the Amish life-style - their clothing etc.    I picked up a small pewter Amish buggy and pressed the bottom and guess what it played - "It's a Small World" - so of course....     We then drove through lovely countryside of farms, Amish buggies, over a covered bridge where I pointed out four very still geese alongside a creek.     On second look they were made of stone!    Oh well...    We then went back into Intercourse where we had a delicious lunch at the wonderful Kling House, served by another really lovely young lass.  Tracy and I then shopped at an amazing "big kids" shop - I've never seen so many Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Phantom of the Opera treasures and all sorts of other goodies.   The lady serving us spoke just like Marilyn Monroe - so soft.  Meanwhile David was patiently waiting in the sun.   We then set out for a town called Ephrata because earlier this year while looking through a book of the USA I spotted that Ephrata had a Green Dragon Market and I wanted to find out about this, of course.   On the way we went along lovely lanes through beautiful countryside with such great barns and even over another covered bridge.   Ephrata was a lovely town - almost English looking - but the market was closed.   It's only open on Fridays.   Probably just as well.     We drove back to Intercourse and then set out for our drive to Gettysburg.   This took a long time as traffic was heavy and it was dark once again.  Poor old Tracy.   We booked in to a Days Inn - lovely motel and nice room.    Had dinner at the Bakery/restaurant nearby, then  TV'd.

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Tuesday 7th November Presidential Election Day!!

It was a dull start to the day, weather-wise, but improved later.    We had breakfast in the hotel then went into Gettysburg,  which is a lovely town and on to the Visitor Centre/Museum.   This is a wonderful place well worth a visit.   It had great displays of letters and artefacts from the Civil War, or the War of Northern Aggression, as the southerners call it.   We were shown the "Electric Map", which explained very well the battle which took place here.    We then left on the Audio Tour.   Tracy bought the cassette and we followed this all around the battlefield.  Just before we left the car park, Tracy passed wind and David thought it was a cannon!! - one of the funnier parts of our trip around Gettysburg.    The tour was SO stirring.   Guess who cried?!   We drove all around the battlefield to all the spots we had seen on the Electric Map.   It was wonderful.   I picked up a leaf from the ridge where the tide turned as in the book I bought Nick at the Museum.    There were monuments absolutely everywhere.   It is a most interesting, stirring place to visit as you stand in the exact places the troops stood, listening to the tape explaining it all.   Wonderful.   David was looking for Mel Gibson here - a la "The Patriot", but we explained that it was the wrong war.    We bought (K.F.C.) lunch and headed on to cross into Maryland.  The people in the drive ins of the takeaways seemed to have trouble with our Aussie accents, so we always ended up having to go inside to get our takeaways.    It was once again a lovely sunny day and the scenery was beautiful with all the gorgeous autumn leaves.   We were now on the Appalachian Trail.   We crossed the Potomac River into Virginia then into Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.   Actually, we were in three states in five minutes.  Travelled along the banks of the Shenandoah River into Virginia.   It was very hazy as we crossed the Shenandoah again and entered the Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive.  We stopped at Dickey Ridge and the sky was beautiful with its pink haze but we couldn't see very far, which was a real pity.  We learned that there was a forest fire and found out later that it burnt out tens of thousands of acres.  There were lots of deer on the sides of the road here.  They seemed very quiet and sure of themselves.    I guess they know they're in a national park.    We could start to smell smoke at this stage before driving into quite thick smoke.   We had to come out of the park and the smoke from the fire became so thick that I had to hold something over my nose and mouth to breathe.  We saw a group of very tired fire fighters sitting under a tree.   They looked exhausted - and black.    We had to hold David back so that he wouldn't jump out of the car and volunteer to help - only joking.  
 On we went, through a lovely little town called Sperryville.   The homes here were so lovely.   We drove in the dark on a huge freeway - it goes all the way from Baltimore to Florida and it had heaps of semis on it.    It was a bit of a strain for Tracy driving in the dark in all this traffic, but as she said, she's used to it.   Finally we arrived at Mill Creek Landing - Tracy's home. She has a lovely apartment with a great view overlooking Mill Creek, which flows into Chesapeake Bay.   We settled ourselves in to our bedroom, with its own bathroom and all.    Of course, what more would we expect!

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