From our surprisingly peaceful night in the Walmart carpark, we enjoyed a weird McDonalds breakfast on a bench by the river. This consisted of an American ‘biscuit’ which is a scone, a slightly grey meat burgery thing which Lee ate, some rubbery scrambled eggs and 3 sweet pancakes which I personally find a rather weird combination.
From here we had a planned list of things we wanted to see on our route north to Niagra Falls.
We decided to go to Mount Moriah cemetery first as it was supposed to be interesting. This was only about 20 minutes from where we were staying so it wasn’t long before we were having a walk around. It was a huge place, and compared to an English graveyard it was strange to see tombstones that weren’t more than 200 years old.
After this we headed to a local park to have some lunch and then called the camera people who confirmed that my camera was fixed! So I didn’t get to go to the botanical gardens run by cats that I wanted to, but it would be great to take some better photos again. After collecting my camera we headed to our next stop, the Ringing Rocks park.
Arriving here late afternoon we went for a brief walk down to the rock valley and back with the idea we would look properly in the morning as we were losing the light. Back at the van I decided to have a quick freshen up as it was very muggy, so I was around the back of the van, naked, having a wash when the two park rangers arrived. After making a fantastic first impression, they told us we couldn’t camp here and recommended that we went to a nearby campsite. We agreed, thinking we would be able to park somewhere inconspicuous and leave early morning, it was also late to drive around and the area was quite residential. We headed off down the road and the camping was particularly obvious anyway, so we parked in a carpark and set up here. After around 15 minutes the rangers drove up and said we were parked in the wrong bit. It was now past 9pm and they insisted we move to the camping area and pay to camp there. They waited and escorted us to a spot they had chosen and then charged us $30 to camp on a piece of grass where the only facilities were a single portaloo. No water, no showers, no hookup. Needless to say we were not impressed and it also turned out to be an incredibly hot and still night which didn’t add to my mood.
We hadn’t actually done Ringing Rocks properly, as you’re supposed to take a hammer and actually make them ring, so we went back in the morning. I don’t have a hammer so we took a big ratchet and the largest extension out of our toolbox and went to beat the rocks with those.
They do actually ‘ring’ when you hit them and looking across the boulder field you can see lighter spots on the rocks from where countless other people have hit the same spot. Satisfied we had now completed the experience fully, we headed to the local store to get some lunch. It turns out that this was more of a bistro/deli and sold limited produce to takeaway. We ended up buying two plain croissants and two plain bagels for $9.60, which was a bit painful.
We also had a look at High Rocks State Park while we were in the area.
Walking down to the river we spotted a large amount of Spotted Lantern flies which you are supposed to kill if you see. I didn’t really fancy taking this on though.
We reach the river at the bottom and bridge.
Lee has been looking at interesting places to visit in the state, so naturally one was alcohol based. Bube’s (pronounced boobies) Brewery is a quirky place that has quite a few of it’s own beers as well as stocking other peoples. They also do things like ghost walks and fancy dress nights and a open mic night which happened to be on the day we arrived. We established that it would be ok for us to sleep in the car park and got down to trying the beers. I tried my first pumpkin beer which I’m not 100% sold on and then my first grapefruit beer which was really, really good, especially as I’m not generally someone who enjoys beer or cider that claims to be fruit flavoured. We sat and enjoyed the live music and worked our way through several pints as well as some cheese quesadillas, pretzels and fries. Some very talented musicians played which made for some great entertainment as it wasn’t a rehearsed performance and it was cool to see them all anticipate the way the song was going and play together. It was somewhat ruined by the one of the later acts we saw who insisted that he was very talented both vocally and lyrically and performed something he called ‘Dr Shankenstein’ which stood up to neither of his previous statements. The bartender rolled his eyes and said at least we didn’t have to listen to him every week.
The following morning we were parked alongside the pub doors stealing the wifi when one of the staff came to speak to us and told us we were welcome to come in. We took the opportunity to look at the catacombs which we hadn’t seen the previous night, this is where they have a fine dining restaurant.
As it was pretty chilly and cloudy we stay on at the brewery for a bit using the internet and charging up our things. We were going to head for the Indian Echo Caverns but Lee’s friend had said we were in Amish territory, and not wanting miss this we diverted to Bird in Hand first to have a look.
We stopped off at their local supermarket which was cheaper than Walmart, and also had a very good pie selection. We got our first pumpkin pie to try and also some key lime pie as well as some basic supplies. Deciding to park locally, we ended up at Middle Creek car park hoping to have an undisturbed night.
Unfortunately this is one of those peaceful looking places where there is constantly a lot of people with not a lot of purpose. Some much traffic drove into the car park after dark and then left straight away, that I was pretty much convinced there was someone somewhere in a bar in town telling everyone to go and look at the camper in the car park. Then three large trucks pulled up in the car park, bass blaring lights on. Teenage boys everywhere. Needless to say it wasn’t a great nights sleep, although they left after around half an hour a lot of traffic seemed to come and go. Still, at least no one actually bothered us.