A Travellerspoint blog

July 2022

Niagara Falls

View Canada Niagara to Calgary & USA East Coast on divatmotoros's travel map.

We left Buffalo in the morning to head to the Niagara falls. It was an easy 40 minutes drive and we arrived to the US side of the great attraction. The parking lot in front of the visitor centre was full and we drove past it when about 500 meters further we noticed a huge empty lot on the corner of 1st Street and Niagara Street with 3-4 cars parking on it. There were about a hundred empty parking spaces there so we pulled over and stopped. There was a small wooden building with a huge "Pay here" sign but it was closed and noone was around. So we saved 20 dollars, had a nice pasta for lunch in our trailer and prepared for our afternoon walk to the falls.

We crossed Niagara State Park and walked across the bridges to Green Island and Goat Island. There we first checked Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls, then walked further to the main attraction of the Horseshoe Falls. The US side is the higher part of the falls so the views are less scenic than from the Canadian side, you can't really feel the vertical size of it. The amount of water running trough and the noise of it is still mindblowing.


On our way back to the car we grabbed a well deserved icecream on the hot day. After leaving the parking lot we entered the Rainbow International Bridge, our gateway to Canada and the next big leg of our trip. Previously we completed the ArriveCan registration and after abour 30 minutes in a slow moving line of cars we stopped at the building for buses and RVs. Echo was fiercly barking to the officer who was quite reserved and not smiley at all. She went back to the building with our passports and asked us to wait. After about 5 minutes she came back, handed over the passports and said goodbye opening the gate. They did not inspect the trailer nor the car, it was a very quick and easy procedure.

We had a further 40 minutes of driving to our stop on the Canadian side, we went to a winery called Atlantis Niagara. The owners name was Kocsis so we thought there is a Hungarian connection and we were right. His parents left Hungary in 1956 as many other Hungarians and he was already raised in Canada. We went through a nice tasting of icewines and special fruit "wines" or rather ciders from pear, plum, peach and apple. They were not sparkling and some of them were mixed with crushed ice making them a long dring between a coctail and a "fröccs" (international readers: fröccs is wine with mineral water, very popular in the summertime in Hungary).

It worked after the long day and we both smiled wide with my wife after the tasting. Then we parked our trailer at the lakeside spot the owner led us to and it was amazing. When at elementary school I learned about the Great Lakes I was really impressed with their sheer size. Lake Superior, the biggest of the five is almost as big as our home country, Hungary! Now we stopped at the smallest of the five, Lake Ontario and I was staring into the sunset happily. What a fantastic place to be and it was great to park our trailer right at the waterfront.


The next morning we went back to Niagara Falls, now checking the other side, which is even more breathtaking. First we stopped by the Skylon Tower to have a high-side view. The kids enjoyed a lot the elevator ride and the view from the 775 feet (or 236 meters) height. One side of the tower had extremely strong wind, it was almost knocking us down and I was holding tight the kids, Akos, the one year old being strapped onto me.


Then we got back to ground level and walked past Falls View Casino Resort and had a heavily overpriced hot dog and pretzel to survive until dinner. Should have spent it in the Casino but neither the kids nor I are bearable when we are hungry. And it happens every 2 hours so we better prepare or pay the price, no mercy.

Then we admired the Horseshoe Falls again, now in a full frontal view from the Canadian side. It was really jaw-dropping for all of us, even the kids were speachless for a few seconds, which is a big thing knowing them!


When we were full with the view we walked back towards the car. The evening shower was completed in the next 15 minutes as there was another storm and pouring rain. Without any cover or raincoats we were literally wet from toe to heads. Anyway, when on the road without water and sewer connection we need to save on using the bathroom so one evening shower was ticked off the list.

Posted by divatmotoros 04:07 Archived in Canada Tagged falls niagara Comments (0)

Dover to Buffalo, NY

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Before leaving the brewery we wanted to visit the beach at Delaware in the heatwave so we drove to Pickering Beach in the evening. It is a beautiful sandy beach and we learnt about the Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs after noticing the huge shells in the sand. First I took a photo of it with the Iseek app which helps to recognise plants and animals unknown to us. Then we look up the wikipedia or other google hits about the unknown plant or animal and read about it to the kids. This time there was a very informative board at the beach entrance which I have read before leaving (did not notice it getting to the beach.) Atlantic horseshoe crabs look like an alien, but their history is pretty impressive. They’ve been around for 450 million years, predating the dinosaurs by more than 200 million years.


We arranged the plates for the car and then the trailer received a new temporary tag which is valid for another two months. To get that we went back to basics and visited Hitch RV again, where I have picked up the travel trailer in May. The process was done quickly and I also bought two parts (a new motor to the kitchen air went and a new latch for the door which was broken). The guys even helped to fill our water tank and around 12:00 we left Milford to the North.

For the first day we planned a relatively shorter drive, about 165 miles to a riverside private property in Pennsylvania. The ranch was amazing, huge space with level grass and lots of nice trees, the riverbank just next to the building.


The next day was a longer drive (about 255 miles or 406 kms). As we are doing about 50 miles an hour and we stop every 1,5-2 hours for a longer break with the kids this means a full day of driving. We planmed to arrive at around 6pm to out last US stop on this segment, which was at a church. When we stopped for our first rest and refuelling Abel, my son said that he heard one of oir tire hissing. First I hoped that he was not right but after checking the tire of the trailer I also heard it losing air. I even found a small white piece of bone just on the edge of the running thread and the side of the tire. I assume we picked it up when turning into the fuel station.

As this was our first flat tire situation I had to think about how to change the tire. I quickly assembled the cars jack and combining it with the stabilizers of the trailer managed to lift it enough to remove the punctured wheel. We lost about an hour and it was the most easy way to practice. We were standing on a level concrete plot and we had air to check the spare tire (which was obviously not at the rigth pressure).


At our next stop we skipped cooking lunch and quickly refilled our stomach at a Wendy's, and across the road there was a tire shop so we bought a new spare tire as well. The best scenario to have a flat tire for sure.l, I imagine the same on a remote Alaska highway and that could be much worse.
So our planned arrival was delayed a lot, at sunset at about 8:00pm we pulled into the parking lot of the Armor Bible Church. The place was ideal for us, we got electricity and there was a great playground for the kids to lose some energy of the long day, sitting in the car.


The next day we head on to Niagara Falls! Exciting to get back to Canada after this long and beautiful administrative detour.

Posted by divatmotoros 03:03 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Fordham and Dominion Brewery, Dover, Delaware

36 °C
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In the middle of a heatwave we have found the right track and after arranging the plate of the car we stopped by at the brewery for a refill.
The last one, Big Axe was in Canada was great and this was somewhat bigger, large tanks and very friendly service. Excellent beers, american stout on oak barrel and a nice pilsner too! Had to take a 15 piece variety pack for harder days.

20220724_172828.jpg20220724_165201.jpg20220724_175018.jpg20220724_164047.jpgPiece of cake

Piece of cake

Posted by divatmotoros 21:52 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Feeling like a pilot

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Entering a KOA campsite was never easier: a small electric golf cart is leading us to our spot. Like a B747 on an airport.

Posted by divatmotoros 02:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Failing a car inspection at Delaware

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After almost two months of buying our car and travel trailer the temporary tag of the car was about to expire. It also became clear that we have to visit DMV somewhere at Delaware for a mandatory VIN check. So we rerouted ourselves and after a few pit stops at farms and private properties we have checked in at a KOA camp in Clarksboro, South of Philadelphia (and about 25 minutes from the DMV of Wilmington, Delaware).


We were a bit worried as the temp tag of the car was already extended once and it was expiring in three days. The dealer said he can not get any more temp tags for us. The other dealer (where we bought the trailer) informed us that the final tag will not be ready before two and a half months as DMV at Delaware is heavily overloaded at the moment. He at least can get another temp tag for the trailer until then. But if we can not get a tag for the car then we can not continue our journey.

I visited DMV the next day and it was quite an experience. DMV looks like a drive-through food court with 5 lanes and the first step was the VIN check. The gentleman said that as our car is from 2016 we need to have a full check, not just VIN check, so I had to pull over to the next counter. After I stopped there another gentleman was looking at the tinted side windows and said: it's a fail, you can not have tints on the front side windows in Delaware.

A few drops of sweat appeared on my forehead as I did not know what to do next. I asked the man how to proceed and he advised to peel off the tint and come back after that. So I pulled over to the parking area and with my credit card peeled off the tint in a few minutes. Tried again at the drive-through and this time (at another lane) the car passed the inspection.

Then I parked again and with my papers I went into the office building. There a very kind lady called my number immediately and I started my story about the dealer who promised evetything and now failed to get us a tag and the full desparation if we can not continue our big trip and so on. She looked at my papers, quickly picked the three things she needed from the pack and smiled.

I was still quite nervous as I did not know what is next: so I asked how long it takes to get the final tag? She smiled and pointed behind her, where in a big brown paper box a lot of licence plates were stored. She kept working on her computer and after two minutes grabbed a plate from the box and handed over to me with the papers. What a relief! We have the final Delaware plates for our car!


The only step to continue is to get the renewed temp plate for the trailer and we can return to Canada while the dealer sorts out the final tag for the trailer. I obviously tried to get that plate from the lady but she said it is not possible as the dealership started the process and it is already processed in DMV's systems.

Posted by divatmotoros 06:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Visiting NYC - Parks and donuts

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After setting up our trailer in the marina we felt a lot of energy in the kids, after a whole day of travelling we all need some activity. So in the evening we walked to Liberty State Park which gave a beautiful backdrop to our sandwich dinner overlooking Manhattan and the Liberty Statue. It was late but there were a lot of families enjoying the warm summer night with BBQs and music. We even enjoyed a nice playground and a less appealing public toilet with the kids.



The next day we planned a long walk themed with "The secret life of Pets", one of our kids favourite. So we started at Washington Square Park and walking there we bumped into an icecream car giving away free icecream, great delight to begin our walk!

We went straight to the dog park to let Echo meet new friends and we also met Adam, who is a great NYC guide and a good friend from Serious Fun Children Network where we both worked.


We used the subway with a large baby stroller and the dog and people were very excited about Echo. At least 20 people asked what breed he was and everyone congratulated how nice he was. He was behaving very well in the difficult conditions, using elevators, very hot tunnels and cool but noisy subway cars.

The next destination was Central Park where we visited several interesting places.


We started at Heckscher Playground, then the Wollman Rink, then the Mall and Literary Walk and Bethesda Terrace.

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We also went to the statues of Andersen and Alice in Wonderland which are double serving as climbing opportunities for kids.


Then we returned to the Columbus Circle and filled up with donuts. We completed the day with 16.500 steps which was a great achievement from our 5 and 7 year olds.

Posted by divatmotoros 06:16 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Driving in the Big Apple (NYC, Manhattan)

View USA East Coast on divatmotoros's travel map.

When our rerouting to Delaware became apparent we hesitated for some time to stop in New York City or not. It is a great city to visit but we have small kids and a dog so it is not so easy to get around attractions with them. So I looked for options and I found some state parks close to Manhattan with camping/RV facilities! Unfortunately they are not open for the 2022 season. Another option was in New Jersey, just across Manhattan in a marina. We felt it is a must to stop by if we are there, so we decided to book two nights there and spend one afternoon and the next full day in NYC!

The next step was to decide on the way to the campsite. We spent the last three days on farms and private properties in Maine, Massachusets and Connecticut getting quite close to NY. So the 100 miles for the arrival day seemed like a piece of cake, even in heavy city traffic at the end. However I have some experience with low bridges, a lesson learnt the hard way. So I started to check the route for possible obstacles. I was very happy to find out that the Holland Tunnel is a higher than our rig so my plan was to follow I-95 as a safe bet, then circle around Manhattan on the Eastern side and finally cross the Holland Tunnel to New Jersey. Enroute to NYC we needed a quick stop so I pulled out of the Interstate at Rye and by a nice coincidence we stopped in front of a Montessori school with a nice playground next to it.


Sometimes plans need to be revisited so as we approached New York the first surprise came: a large sign saying "No trucks/RVs on Parkways". Oooops, our plan to circle around Manhattan involves a parkway, which is a no-no with trailers/RVs. Thinking about my past memories many years ago I came up with an idea: I remember seeing delivery trucks and buses on the Avenues, so 2nd Avenue should be no problem for us! Sounds good until Holland Tunnel and at least we see more of Manhattan! With a bit of circling around a block we got into 2nd Avenue. The traffic was not too bad on a Saturday morning so we were progressing well. A lot of lane closures and constructions going on and changing lanes with the loooooong trailer was sometimes a challenge but we managed with a relatively small number of others honking on us.

When we got really close to Holland Tunnel a second surprise came. Although we would fit in height-wise, trailers are not allowed according to a sign! So we stopped at the end of Canal Street after leaving the ramp for the tunnel and restarted our planning again. I checked the map and the next possible option to New Jersey was the Washington Bridge, which is almost exactly as high North updown where we started our Manhattan tour! Shit, this will take another hour or so and it was already lunchtime, all kids and ourselves getting grumpy due to the long drive and the hunger! Anyway, no other way so press on!

We drove up North on the Amsterdam Avenue which was closed around the Central Park so we changed to the Broadway and almost completed our 25 miles / 3,5 hours Manhattan City Tour with a 32 feet / 10m trailer. Everyone was very hungry so we looked for a parking spot on the side of the road which we finally found just before entering the Washington Bridge. When I stopped the car the rain started and in a minute it was a heavy storm, raining like cats and dogs again!

I could not even leave the car and my phone got a warning message of quick floods across New Jersey, exactly the area we planned to drive through. We waited less and less patiently and after fifteen minutes I jumped out of the car, run to the trailer door to open it and had a nice shower on the way. It was warm summer rain so not a big problem. The kids enjoyed their run as well and at 15:30 we had our lunch in the trailed, on a small bridge overlooking the Washington Bridge in a storm.


Afterwards the grumpiness was gone, the kids were smiling again and I was also refreshed and relieved after completing my real life practical tow exam across Manhattan. The Washington Bridge was amazingly huge, a two storey steel structure first opened to traffic in 1931. It is worth reading how it was built on this link.

We still had some narrower streets across Jersey City and finally arrived to our city campsite just across Manhattan. Most parts of the Manhattan drive was recorded and you can watch it here:

After all we spent one and a half days in the City and it was worth it for sure!

Posted by divatmotoros 14:14 Archived in USA Comments (0)

From Saint John, NB to New York City

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Learning from the trip from Delaware to Montreal we planned about 300 kms per day for our detour to Philadelphia. On our longer drives I looked for one night stopovers at farms and private properties on HarvestHosts which is the US equivalent of Terego.ca in Canada.

Our first stop was at the border crossing from Canada to the USA. The US officer was very kind and we were invited inside for the document checks and the biometric data was also recorded. We spent about half an hour in the US customs building and we were let into the USA without any issues. The car and the trailer was not even inspected inside, I am not sure if they forgot or if this was not necessary.

After our planned drive the first overnight location was Twin Maple Lane in Pittsfield, Maine. The kind couple greeted us and we were the first guests visiting them via HarvestHosts (while it was the first visit through this website for us as well). There was a nice little river on the other side of the road and the kids enjoyed the swings for the rest of the evening.


Then we travelled to Holden, Massachusetts and we had a nice chat with the owner of this small town home who is a long time RV-er himself, travelling to Florida in an RV for the winter months. My son was invited to their RV and he was asking his "What's this" question about a hundred times, pointing to the different technical parts of the other RV. All questions answered, our water tank filled. We also walked to the nearby school where the kids played on the playground and Echo was running wildly on the football field. After a good night sleep we returned to the playground and after some further play we went on.


Last stop before New York City was in Connecticut, at the March Farm in Bethlehem. There were goats and blueberries at the farm and a nice little pond with frogs and a big pump, where the tractors were filling their trailers' tanks to provide water to the rest of the farm. We had nice burgers for dinner and another good night sleep.


I started some maintenance work on the trailer as our right light goes off sometimes and refuses to work. I plan to write a more technical post about all the maintenance issues I did so far so tech-savvy readers hang on for a while!

The next morning we started around 9 for the 100 mile trip to New York, we planned to have lunch there. Well, it happened, not exactly at noon but rather about 15:30 and not exactly at our campsite but somewhere half way there. How? Why? Read about it here.

Posted by divatmotoros 10:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Jack Kerouac: On the road

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In my late teenage years Hobo, a Hungarian blues singer was one of my hero. Here is a concert of him I also attended:

On top of Hobo Jim Morrison and Jack Kerouac were my USA heroes. His book "On the road" simply made so much sense. A huge contrast to the mandatory readings of the disconnected and hard to follow greek mythology and Hungarian and Russian writers from the 17th-18th century.

We passed by Lowell, the town where he was born and also buried in the Edson Cemetery.
So we had to stop and make a tribute to his grave, thanking him all the hours helping me escape from my teenage reality. And after all, we are on the road.

"Sal, we gotta go and never stop going 'till we get there.'
'Where we going, man?'
'I don't know but we gotta go."
-Jack Kerouac: On the road


Posted by divatmotoros 21:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Revisiting our plans, aka flexibility

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After a few weeks on the Eastern coast of Canada we planned to move to the West, seeing Toronto then further West across Ontario, Manitoba and Saskachewan before arriving to Alberta. We are visiting a friend there and they are also amid campers so gave a lot of good tips. We also plan to spend some time together offgrid! But on such a long trip you need to be flexible and an earlier mistake forces us to take a bit longer drive to Toronto, as we need to stop by in Delaware, USA.


Although it was not planned like this we are fine with this change. Maine in the USA will be a scenic drive and we wanted to find new challenges on this trip, one of them being able to accept things you can not control. Here is another one.

The earlier mistake was related to our car's registration process. The dealer where we bought the car said there is no need to do anything in person in Delaware and they will take care of the plates. That time I did not check this myself on the website of DMV but believed the dealer. Now, after a month later it became clear that we should have visited a DMV office in Delaware to show the car's Vehicle Identification Number which we did not at the time I picked up the car.

As this step can not be done remotely in any way now we need to get back there and have it done. So it be, we are excited to see this part of the USA as well! Now we plan to explore Maine, pass Boston, Philadelphia, New York to Wilmington, Delaware and then up North to the Niagara Falls near Toronto. Compared to driving back through Canadian land (Quebec) it is just 500 kms longer and it is told to be an epic drive! Will see.


Posted by divatmotoros 04:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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