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On the Road to Buffalo

Leaving our beautiful hotel room in Akron, we made our way to the Interstate towards Youngstown, a place where my Dad lived. The trees were just beginning to change in this part of Ohio.
It was awesome because we took a road all across Akron, through their downtown, to get to said Interstate, revealing a beautiful city. Don't get me wrong, I do love going to England, but seeing what America is like is pretty darn great! So, Youngstown is due East of Akron, and from there we headed North back on a small highway, taking us through many small towns, and, on occasion, past houses that caught my attention for either their beauty, or quirkiness. You decide which category this house alongside the highway fits into!
Eventually we came to a little town called Andover where we got gas and Mr. Peck look a little roadside nap. Me? I roamed around. The day was bright and sunny, which was good for our drive, but did little to help me capture the magnificence of the Copper Beeches turning purple. What a sight in person!
We, are, of course parked adjacent to their town square with business looking like this:
Yup, heading into dairy country! Stopping in a small donut shop, I had a little chat with the proprietor who told me they were expecting a very cold and snowy winter. How much snow? She said on occasion they get up to 125 inches in a bad winter!!! I cannot imagine, can you? Businesses only went about a block from this center, including the Town Tavern with the helpful sign about firearms posted on the exterior.
Once Bruce felt refreshed, onward into the countryside. For the life of me I cannot decide who exactly these figures are meant to represent. I am certainly impressed with the self serve sign and paying on the honor system, something we saw multiple times in our travels.
Eventually, we made it to Pennsylvania..
Driving U. S. Route 20, we kept on going, again through some small towns that all looked similar to this one, nearly always with American flags flying.
Above there is a link to the highway information from which I learned two things: U.S. Route 20 is the longest road in America, and secondly, the 0 represents a coast to coast highway. I had no idea the numbers actually signified anything, did you?

Our drive took us parallel to Lake Erie, but in the actual city of Erie, Pennsylvania, we got up close.
In the coming days there were all sorts of personal connections to people and places. In this case, Steve, Bruce's boss was born in Erie, and when the weather was hot, he told us his Mom would load up the kids and visit this same park!

Up next? New York!
Grape country! Not only are there plenty of wineries along the route, but so many, many grape vines that totally perfume the air.
It was just beautiful with rolling hills and grape vines as far as the eye could see. I kept hoping to get an actual grape picture and finally Bruce spotted some quite close to the highway. Unfortunately I was facing the sun, making for a not so great photo, but here it is nonetheless.
Apparently, a good deal of the grapes are bought by Welch's for grape juice and jelly processing. We did stop at one winery for a sample with, let's put it this way, mixed results. :)

How about this for a small downtown?
According to this article, the arch was erected in 1913, one cool fact, with a second cool fact being that George Pullman was born in this little village of almost 1,500 souls.

Only about 85 miles to go....

Into Buffalo we came, a city where I also lived as a child, in not one, but two different houses which I will show in my next post. From what I hear or read, Buffalo is a declining city, and while we did drive by loads, and I mean loads, of abandoned factories, like this one below,
I came away surprised at not only how big it is, but lovely as well. Our real destination for the day, however, was not Buffalo, but NIAGRA FALLS!

Crossing the Peace Bridge into Ontario,
we missed our first exit, but with the aid of our trusty iPad, I steered Bruce in the direction of the Niagara Parkway, one of the loveliest roads on our trip. The houses!! The trees!! The Niagara River!!
Looks pretty peaceful doesn't it? Finding our way to the Doubletree was a cinch, and after dropping off the bags in our 15th floor room, with views of the Falls, we made our way down to the hill to see them up close!! Bruce had been there before, having built a Red Lobster in the area, but for me it was a first, and I can emphatically say I was not disappointed! We'd heard the views were best from the Canadian side so that's why we stayed there. The American, and Bridal Falls:
Pretty darn spectacular with that viewing platform! So, there are a million photos taken of this scenery, so mine is nothing new, or outstanding, but wow, are the Horseshoe Falls really something with the mist rising from the powerful drop.
Should it interest you, I'm including a link HERE with facts about the Falls. Along with loads of other tourists, we kept walking until finally I saw the rainbow effect!
Along the way, a young family asked if I would take their photograph with the Falls in the background. Sure I would! Turns out, and here is one of those connections, they were from London, where both the Mom and Dad worked in Shoreditch, the part of London where Matt first lived!! They, along with their two adorable boys, were taking a road trip to Chicago where the Mom will be running in the Chicago Marathon. Amazing! Eventually, as our paths kept crossing, I asked them to do the same for us.
Making the steep walk back up towards our hotel I was filled with gratefulness for being able to spend so much quality time with Bruce. Furthermore, I was thankful that Bill and Fallon were taking good care of Baxter, allowing us to be able to make the trip.

Looming in the background, however, was Hurricane Matthew, speeding towards the coast of Florida, but you know me, ever the optimist!

Loving life,

Gail
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