Completing the Loop

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
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Trip End Oct 18, 2012


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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Howdy folks,

On Sunday, having finished our DC sightseeing, we had a lazy morning while Joel and Holly rushed the kids off to church at 7am. We joined them a few hours later for the 10:45am service and saw Joel playing piano and both of them singing on stage, so that was really good to see. Their church is pretty modern despite the outside appearance with a full band and on screen projector to help out with the songs and sermon. After the service, we stopped into an Asian Grocery Supermarket which was chaotic because there were trolleys and people everywhere. It had such a diverse range of food, it reminded me of Chinatown back home.

When we got home, we had a quick lunch before lazing around for the afternoon and going to the park to kick the footy and throw the frisbee. I guess it has been some time since I've even seen an AFL football! Once the kids were home and in bed, Joel brought out his super dooper Thai charcoal cooker. We had a bit of trouble getting the coals going, but after putting them in the BBQ they were nice and toasty. Basically the coals sit in a dish and ontop is a an inverted dish with a lip so you can BBQ meat in the centre and the juices run down into the soup that you are cooking around the side. It was pretty cool, but we put too many coals on so it was really sizzling! It was a really good communal experience and afterwards we had a go making S'mores with Graham crackers, Hersheys chocolate and marshmallows all squished into a chocolatey, gooey, delicious mess.

In the morning, we got up and packed everything into the car before bequeathing a few of our treasured items that we couldn't pack into our luggage, but didn't want to throw out either. That included our beloved Settlers of Catan and a few frisbees which *sniff* won't go to waste. Saying goodbye is always hard, but we entered the Slaters' lives as strangers and left as friends. I will always remember our time that we spent here in South Riding, Virginia, it was really special.

We hit the road having Plan B in mind. Because we can't sell the car in the US, we had to drive back to Canada through the middle of Pennsylvania and New York state. On our first day we drove from Virginia through Maryland to Pennsylvania and stopped at Gettysburg for lunch. Even in Australia I knew about Gettysburg where there was a great Civil War battle and where Lincoln gave a speech, but that was about it. We drove to the Visitor Information Centre where we bought a ticket to see a documentary, cyclorama and the museum. We were ushered into the documentary first where we got all the details about the 3 day conflict as narrated by Morgan Freeman. The cyclorama was interesting because I've never seen one before. Basically it is a circular painting where sounds and lights highlight different parts of the battle with a narration over the top. It was well done, but because it was such a large painting it was hard to know where to look.

The museum was really detailed for such a short conflict with many original artifacts, documents and information. I wasn't so interested, but I gues for any Civil War buff it would be heaven. Once we walked through the whole place, it was time to go back to the car for lunch and continue driving. We didn't want to go too far for the day so we stopped at a McDonalds just outside Harrisburg which is the capital of Pennsylvania. I charged my camera battery in the wall, while I found a campground and updated my blog. I kept an eye on it the whole time, but when Steffie asked me to look at something on the laptop the three black people sitting near it nicked it! I didn't even realise it was gone until Steffie mentioned it and the staff didn't pick it up either. I couldn't believe that my luck was so bad and was really mad at myself for not picking it up earlier. If I had of realised that the battery and charger was worth $100 to replace I certainly wouldn't have left it there!

We tried getting a replacement battery, but they didn't have one nearby so we resigned ourselves to driving to the campground. To make matters worse, I misplaced my sunglasses and the campground was a real dump. This was the 50th and final time that we camped on our roadtrip and it was by far the worst campground we've been in. I was so disguisted by the facilities that I didn't even take a shower and it seemed to be run by hillbillies. We didn't have much to do that evening so we just sat in the car drinking cheap sherry. Fantastic...

In the morning, it was really foggy and we couldn't even see the other side of the Sasquehanna River. It was a cool night signalling that the season was changing and we were definitely heading north. We packed up pretty quickly and hit the road for one long day of driving. Our plan was to drive all the way to Niagara Falls, New York at some 300 miles and it certainly felt like we were driving all day. We followed Highway 15 all the way north into Williamsport which is home to the Little League. McDonalds beckoned once more and we spent 2 hours arranging advertising on Kijiji and finalising our plans for our imminent border crossing. By the time we left it was really busy at lunchtime and we got talking to a Hawaiian guy who could talk the leg off a chair.

Continuing north we really didn't stop for much except to fill up fuel in Bath, New York and to take photos of Dansville and Alden, New York. Steffie drove the last leg as we crossed west on Highway 20 to the ring route around Buffalo  Finally at 6pm we arrived at our tiny little motel in Niagara Falls exhausted. I couldn't do anything for the rest of the night, but Steffie continued organising things in the car. I had a shower at 9pm and crashed into bed to watch some more TV.

Next is all the fun of selling a car from another state in Canada and crossing the border!
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