Well Fred and I started off the vacation with a three day music festival called Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain. It was every bit as exciting and wonderful as it was the first time he took me last year, even when it rained one day. It didn't just rain it hailed and lightning and thunder and we were up a mountain right in it! It only lasted 20 minutes but it was a real thrill a minute there for awhile as people scrambled for cover. Boxx asked for a picture of Fred and here he is with a picture of me to boot. It's a good picture of Fred and his great blue eyes but not so great of me.

Here's a picture of the main stage. There was a smaller stage to the left of it and so as they set up the next head liner's stage, they played newer talent on the side stage. They were all so good.

And of course they had people walking around as giant puppets and the fire dancers I showed you and hula hoopers and a shake down street where I got a tie dyed T-Shirt and some goat milk soap that is GREAT. It's fortified with other natural oils like shea and coconut. My skin feels wonderful. Even Fred is using it.

When it was all over we continued on to Ontario to stay on the Canadian side. We spent a whole day climbing falls and riding boats into the falls and taking a tour of the hydroelectric plant and seeing a butterfly conservatory. It was all so neat. Here is a picture of the Canadian side Horseshoe falls. The mist just never stops. Did you know a 7 year old was whisked over these falls in a boating accident and lived not long ago? That people used to tightrope over the falls on a regular basis? That one guy actually carried a stove out onto a tightrope, fried himself an omlet, ate it, then carried the stove back and came out with water to wash the dishes? That one person rode the downstream rapids in a barrel and became caught in the whirlpool going in circles for hours as people tried to figure out how to save her? They even called on a train that used to ride the gorge to stop and put its lights on the water so they could keep working. It's a strange and wonderful place.

Then we left the Canadian side and spent half a day on the American side exploring Goat Island that sits between the Canadian Fall and the American Fall and then on Luna Island that sits between the American Fall and the Bridal Veil Fall. Then we went into the Cave of the Winds. It was wet and got wetter as you went up each flight and the whole structure just sits there and isn't nailed in anywhere which is not very comforting. Especially when you get to the Hurricane Deck and you find out why it was named like that. That deck must have 30 to 40 miles per hour winds, every bit of it generated by the falling water near the top. It was fantastic! Here we are about halfway up at the Cave of the Winds (who's tunnel down to it was dug out by hand and not blasted because they thought it would damage the falls)

Because the American side is on the side of the falls and not on the side looking at the falls it affords a great in person, right next to it experience, but a crappy view. To fix this they built this tower which is at least 10 stories tall to view the falls for the American side. Did you know there is an International Treaty not to drain the falls for power and preserve it for the viewing public? That they steal water from it at night when no one is looking and store it in a huge reservoir to let it fall through their generators from the reservoir during the day? It's an interesting place.

From the American Side we traveled across to the St. Lawrence River to visit Clayton NY in the heart of the 1000 Islands. WE took a boat tour through the 1000 Islands and my god they will build a home on anything. Did you know there are more like 1700 islands and when they counted them they allowed anything that was 1 foot high and had a tree. The smallest island is about a three foot diamter and has a little juniper bush on it and is called Tom Thumb. The following was my favorite cottage. It's located right in front of the Boldt Castle and the tour guide joked that it was the Mother-in-Law cottage and that she sleep walked. But I just can picture myself in this tiny thing with my speed boat tied up outside and loving it. Do you know how they get these house out onto the little rock islands? They build them on land and tow then across to the island in the winter when the river freezes and you can walk anywhere on the ice.

As far as the castle it was built for Boldt's wife but she died in her 40's of consumption, I think that's tuberculosis, and he sent a letter to the foreman reading "Louise is dead halt all construction" and although it was almost finished they never lived in it or completed it staying instead at another cottage in the area. It stood for 70 years unfinished and eroding when the descendents gave it to the authority to preserve on the condition it never be finished completely. They figured if the Boldts never saw it finished then no one should.

This is a picture of a fantastical structure called the playhouse. The family stayed here while the castle was under construction. The bottom level had a two lane bowling area with both duck and ten pin. We didn't get inside the upper levels because of ongoing reconstruction but wow, I could totally live here too!

Then it was off to see my childhood friend, Shelley. Man it's good to see here when I can get up there to Alburg Vermont. We spent the day on Lake Champlain in her pontoon boat and had a blast.

And then the inevitable, we had to go home and be normal again. But it was a wonderful road trip. I definitely want one of these every year. Traveling with Fred is not only easy but fascinating too!

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RT 2008