Our Trip To Niagara Falls and
the Baseball Hall of Fame
Last week Lila, Kevin and I headed north through New York State to visit
Niagara Falls and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
It was a lot of driving for a week but we wanted to visit both
places as we thought that Kevin would enjoy seeing the Falls and also
the history of baseball. I
was going to drive directly north out of Washington using the smaller
local roads, believing that this would be the most direct route, if not
a little longer in time. But
before leaving, cooler heads prevailed and I opted for the interstate
highways. It is
always better to take the interstate highways, or at least that is what
every one else seems to be doing.
These roads are busy and
the state police, wanting to help all travelers, are always there if we
should need them. In fact,
I cannot tell you how many people we saw them helping during our many
hours on the road. The
State Troopers are so great, that they were just pulling cars over the
side of the road so they could ask them if there is anything that they
could do to help. Unfortunately,
I was not one of the people they selected to help, but maybe I will be
more luckier next time.
I was planning to
take my Ford Explorer on the trip, but just before leaving the issue
with the Firestone tires started brewing. I kept checking with those in charge (wherever they
are) and I was told that I had to get my tires inspected.
So Lila and I pulled into our local Firestone dealer who looked
at our tires, only after dealing with the ten or so other Explorer SUVs
in front of us. I am a
pretty patient guy and really did not mind waiting the forty-five
minutes, and was certainly very pleased when he told me that I had the
So calmly I said go ahead and replace the tires as I was going to
leave on a long road trip that weekend and was not really satisfied with
driving on the tires that have been defined as unsafe.
Had I left on the trip the week before these tires would have
been just fine…. but now the government said they were bad, and they
must know. In the
end, the Firestone dealer said he could replace the tires in about ten
days…well that made my day.
So after some fast
thinking, I decided to rent a car from Hertz…I even asked the rental
agency if the tires were good. The
sixteen-year-old agent that assisted me assured that the tires were
fine. Well, that was
as good as the government’s assurance, so off we rode into the sunset.
Heading north and west we drove to Erie, Pennsylvania for our
first night stay. Erie is a
quiet city, which has a sizeable amusement park that was just the right
size for Kevin. Trying the
rides and the arcade made him a happy man and us a little bit poorer and
a bit tired.
The next day we headed
into New York State on through Buffalo to Niagara Falls, which took us
about two hours…a short hop. Heading
across the border into Canada was easy and without delay.
The one question that seemed to be raised at the border crossing
was whether we were bringing any guns into country…. which of course
we were not, since we had previously arranged to ship them there
directly…just kidding. We
checked into our hotel, which was advertised to be only one block from
the Falls, but we soon learned that they had moved the falls about four
blocks further away, since we had made our reservation.
After looking at the Falls, we realized how big a project that
must have been…you know to move Niagara Falls.
We then decided to check into a hotel right at the Falls, so we
would not have to walk the five blocks and pass the game arcade each
time. While this hotel was
more expensive, we realized that we would not have to amortize the cost
of the arcade with each trip.
So there we were
with a view of the falls and we devoted the next three days to seeing
Niagara Falls from every angle, as well as the IMAX Theater, which was
appropriately showing the movie, Niagara.
We rode the Maid of the Mist, walked into the edge of the falls
through the Cave Of The Winds trip and walked across the Rainbow Bridge.
Kevin and I stood with a foot in each country, while on the
bridge, jumping back and forth so we could enjoy the changing weather
conditions in Canada versus the Untied States.
It was great fun, but so very tiring.
Niagara Falls, Ontario is very “honky tonk”, but it attracts
so many people, especially those from foreign countries like the United
States, …really all the other countries of the world.
After we exhausted all the
special events, and ourselves as well, we decided to head for the
National Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown.
We crossed the state using the New York Thruway, where we had to
pay a toll for the joy of driving on it.
But that was not enough; many times we would get caught up in
traffic delays, brought on by road construction projects.
Seems that every other mile of the interstate system is being
repaired and here on the Thruway the signs advertised “Your toll
dollars at work for you”. Well isn’t that nice, we not only had to pay for this great
pleasure, but suffer the indignity of waiting in lines of traffic for
them to get finished.
The area around
Cooperstown is certainly very beautiful and Kevin and I had the good
fortune to go boating on Otsego Lake.
We had a great time with Kevin rowing a boat for the very first
time, while I enjoyed the scenery and the time with my grandson.
By the way, he was an excellent traveler, not complaining about
the time on the road (as long as we would get him to an arcade at some
point). While we were in
Cooperstown the Dream Team (a junior baseball) competition was in its
final stages and the closing ceremonies were being conducted.
They have an extensive facility and ball fields just outside of
Cooperstown, where they hold their annual competition.
This is a very serious competition for the twelve and thirteen
year olds that participate (in fact, some of these kids looked like they
were sixteen or seventeen years old).
The next day we
arrived in Cooperstown at 8:30am (we were staying in a motel about six
miles north of town) as we were advised to get there early and secure a
top priority-parking place. Parking
places get impossible to find by about 9:30am and then one must go to
the parking places just outside of town, with buses bringing you back
into town. I am sure that
if it were not for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown would
be a dull place to visit. Right
now it is an array of little shops selling every conceivable baseball
related type of artifact at not so cheap prices (they have only about
four months of prime time).
The Hall of Fame on the
other hand is quite professionally done and well set up for visitors.
Admission prices are reasonable at only about $8.00 per person
and while it was very crowded; it was not too uncomfortable getting to
view each of the exhibits. Depending
on your passion for baseball it could take any where from about four
hours to at least two days to go through each display and read the
descriptions and then think back about some of the memories associated
with many of the names that make up our past.
Certainly the older we get, the more of what we see at the Hall
of Fame brings back recollections of events we may have experienced
directly or read about at some time past.
Kevin was not as excited as I thought he would be (not enough memories I suppose) and I was much more excited than I thought I would be (must be my age). We spent about four hours in the Hall of Fame and then walked up and down the street visiting some of the local establishments. There were so many things that Kevin wanted and did not get, but that’s life. We also visited the Doubleday stadium; a replica of stadiums that existed in many towns in the early part of last century and named after Abner Doubleday, the father of modern baseball.
We departed Cooperstown at
about 2:30pm and deadheaded all the way back home that evening.
It was a fun trip and having our grandson with us made it just