Travelling to Niagara (1)

We checked out of Washington on Wednesday morning and headed to the Six Flags amusement park in Maryland. This was a great theme park, and wasn’t particularly busy either on the day we went so we managed to hit most of the major rides with only a few minutes wait. The rides were great, and probably a bit longer (in distance and time) than rides at Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, but there wasn’t a stand-out ride that was that much different from anything at home. I think we do well with our selection of rollercoasters in the UK. We also caught two shows at the park – the first, a very well-choreographed comedy stunt show, and the second was just called “EFX 2.0” and didn’t really have a description so we didn’t know what to expect. What we got was a weird laser and fog show with some dancing and a bubble/foam machine! It was the most random 20 minutes of the holiday, like being in an exceptionally crappy Ibiza rave, just with more kids around. I can understand why they don’t advertise exactly what the show is!

The following day we headed on our way to Pittsburgh, but along the way we stumbled across a beautiful place called Ohiopyle. This is a quaint little American town that seems to survive solely on ice cream shops and bike rental shops – so, we did both of those! We took ourselves on a nice little 13.5km bike ride around Ohiopyle and to some great little falls – not quite the height of Niagara, which is still to come, but a great sight nonetheless. We probably worked off a small fraction of the ice cream shake we had proceeding it! 

We had surprising difficulty finding accommodation at a reasonable price near Pittsburgh. Without an internet connection on the road, we were relying on the outdated recommendations of the satnav. One place it took us to was a true shocker: it looked like a dive as soon as we pulled up, but it was getting late so we thought it might still be worth a shot. The sour-faced owner didn’t exactly sell the place in a great light either, like it was an inconvenience that we’d shown up even though the lack of cars clearly indicated no-one was really staying there and she could probably do with the business. The big giveaway, however, was the sign in the window advising us that we were welcome to inspect the rooms – but only on payment of a $15 “inspection fee”. I can hazard a pretty good guess at the quality and state of the rooms if we have to pay a non-refundable £10 for the privilege of seeing them!! We passed – a decision we certainly DON’T regret! – and the satnav then turned up a gem called the Neville motel, which was quaint and traditional but, most importantly, nice.  

In Pittsburgh, we didn’t spend a vast amount of time but we did get a great view of the city and its skyline from a high part of the city accessed by a funicular railway ride. We then travelled through to our current location, Cleveland, which seems to have a lot to offer. Last night we hit a comedy night, headlined by Tom Arnold (Roseann’s ex husband) – funny evening – and tonight we’re heading out to a Murder Mystery Toga party. But we’re not wearing togas, because… no thanks! Another half-day in Cleveland tomorrow, and then we begin our trip along Lake Erie in time to hit Niagara on Monday evening.