Monday, February 21, 2011

Niagara at Night

Every night, the falls are artificially illuminated, huge beams of light streaking across the gap from the Canadian side. While not a natural-looking scene, it's quite a sight.

But first, here's a sunset on top - the American Falls are further, past the bridge. You can see a bit of mist from the point where the water plummets to the rocks below. The next few photos are all from this general area.

It's now getting dark enough to need the tripod. And here, I'm just playing with B&W...

And then the lights come on, and it's time to move closer to the falls themselves!

Here, I've moved farther out so that more of the American Falls are in view (and you can even see a bit of Horseshoe Falls in the background).

A close-up of American Falls.

American Falls in ballet pastels.

And a special treat - while we ended up spending the 4th of July in Waterford, PA (and not seeing any fireworks, too lazy to drive and fight the crowds, esp. in a new place we weren't familiar with at all, boo-hoo!), we lucked out and got to see fireworks over the falls anyways! They have displays two or so times a week during part of the summer. I wasn't quite sure where to position me and my camera for them, and it was weird to try and expose for them vs. the falls. From what I'd read the Canadian side was best, so that's where we went. Compared to the airspace needed to get the fireworks into the picture, the falls (American - the Horseshoe Falls are behind the light beams) were rendered so tiny - see that little red spot in the left corner?

So there you have it - my version of the falls! Despite the awful temps and high humidity, I had to get out there and try to make our expensive KOA stay (they've got you where they want you!!) worthwhile. It wouldn't do to just hang out in the motor home and enjoy all that lovely air conditioning when I was the one who had us driving out of our way and spending all that extra dough just to see that special water phenomena! The only thing I wished I'd remembered to do was go up the Skylon Tower (Canadian side) for a close to aerial view! So if you go, do that one for me will you?!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New York & Niagara!

OK, I loved Pennsylvania, but are you as excited as I am to be moving on to a new state?! Makes me feel like I'm making some progress, at least, on this blog! But now I must warn you - this one entry may be the longest, the most crammed with photos! Because, despite the friggin' heat and humidity (I kid you not - it was literally 100 degrees and 100% humidity!!! And most of you know how "well" I like that kind of weather...!! Hmm, cloudy and cool is MUCH more my style!), Niagara is Niagara! And while it might not make my top 10 list from the whole trip (we'll have to see - I haven't done that yet!), it is certainly a beautiful and amazing sight.

This is downstream from the falls - they are around the bend apiece. But it was sunset and a lovely stop nonetheless, don't you think?

Most of these photos were overlooking the American Falls (thus named because they're on the US side).

People down at the bottom of the falls, most likely returning from a Maid of the Mist tour.

Two tour boats, heavily laden with the Blue Poncho People.

Still from the American side, looking at both falls and the Canadian side as well.

Another perspective of the American Falls and the BPP.

From up at the top, looking at the river before it becomes the American Falls...

And on to the Canadian side! Arret! A word - and a language - Bill and I would see much more of later in the trip!

Overlooking the portion of the Niagara River which becomes Horseshoe Falls (I am now on the Canadian side, of course, so all the next photos will be from that perspective).

A scene as I was walking along the river towards the falls.

Their main tourist/food/souvenir center.

The view through one of their mucky, misted-on windows. It had just rained a bit, which was so lovely because it cooled us all off momentarily!

Another boatload headed for the Horseshoe.

Yup, now you get a better idea of what those ponchos are for, eh?!

I just love the color of the water when the light hits it right!!!

And there you have it - the horseshoe part of Horseshoe Falls. I saw a cool aerial photo of this when looking on-line (sorry, we sold our little R-22 years ago, so you'll have to look elsewhere too for aerial photos of this!). I also read that in 1969, they DETOURED! the water from the American Falls, so that it all went over the Horseshoe temporarily, and they could do work to ensure that the American Falls didn't erode and recede/retreat. There is a photo of the American Falls, completely DRY! Amazing.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No trip complete without visiting...Pithole!

These two signs say it all. Pithole was truly a flash in the pan, albeit a bright flash. An instant, hugely populated city, borne from the many oil well successes in the general Oil Creek area - here and bustling, but then gone. Over-drilling and fires quickly brought the end to the fortune and fame in this boom town.

Bill stands in front of what we affectionately refer to as "oil animals" (they seem so alive when they are busily pumping out in the fields!). Unfortunately, the museum building here was also closed on that day - so, poor Bill, no Pithole T-shirt...!

The Drake Well Museum

The power of oil. Most people with half a brain understand at least some of the huge impacts that the discovery of oil has had on our world. But I'll bet few of them know that it all began in Pennsylvania! Just south of Titusville and adjacent to the Oil Creek State Park is the site where Edward Drake drilled his famous well in 1859, striking oil at only 69.5 ft below ground. The Drake Well Museum illustrates and celebrates the beginning, and then the progress, of the oil industry.

The museum is so cool, because there is equipment scattered all over the place - an engineer's dream! And so yes, Bill was in his element, to be sure!!!!!! And even though the main building was closed (we were apparently there on the "wrong" day), there was still complete access to the rest (& the best, no doubt!).

A drilling rig.

And it's also in the details...

Bill in his own personal paradise. Ah, technology.

THE first oil well (well, maybe a replica of it anyways).

One of the earlier methods of drilling, called a spring pole. With this, you can "kick down" a well (but only if you have very strong legs and incredible endurance!).

While walking along one of the nearby ditches, I kept seeing these guys flopping into the water to escape. I finally caught one with my camera before it made its get-away. Pretty good-looking, don'tcha think?