Our 2004 Road Trip, Part 3 of 10: Another Great Lake, Another Gray Sky

Bullseye Returns!

Hi, kids! I’m Bullseye the Target Dog! You might remember me from our 2003 road trip! I’m back and I bring you the gift of bright colors!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Once upon a time in 2004, Anne and I got married and had a honeymoon! A week later, we (and my son) embarked on our fifth annual road trip: a drive northeast from Indianapolis up to see the watery wonders of Niagara Falls and its adjacent tourist traps.

I’m not sure how it works in normal families. If unpleasant weather threatens to shroud their vacation scenery in visual mediocrity, maybe they call the whole thing off, take advantage of their unreasonably flexible lifestyles, and reschedule everything for a different week in hopes that the sun will return and bask their photos in a luxurious, magazine-quality aura. We wouldn’t know.

But this was the week we reserved for vacation, and these were the results Mother Nature gave us. Sometimes God’s Creation has to have unpretty off days so we can appreciate the beautiful ones all the more. And sometimes you have to dig through the superficial layers and make the moment special yourself even if the sun has flunked its dress rehearsal.

* * * * *

Fort Niagara!

Note my son in the distance, searching for signs of life or fun.

DAY THREE: Tuesday, July 27th.

We awoke to rain, still going. This time, after gorging on our hotel’s free breakfast buffet, we headed due north to Youngstown, NY, location of Fort Niagara State Park and direct access to Lake Ontario. Counting our other forays to Lake Michigan earlier in the month, Lake Erie the day before, and Lake Superior in 2006, that’s four Great Lakes we’ve seen in all. Someday, Lake Huron, we will track you down.

Anne + Boy!

So. Lake Ontario, then.

The morning was freezing cold thanks to the chronic precipitation of the last few days. A grassy hill led down to the lake and some soggy terrain in lieu of an inviting beachfront. Sand getting everywhere can be unpleasant, but on your next tropical getaway, count your blessings it’s not mud getting everywhere.

Okay. So, Now What.

Okay, So Now What: One Boy’s Journey into an Uncooperative Panorama.


Seagulls or some of their rivals loitered around the lawn to our right. Our hopes that they might break out into song were in vain.

Anne and my son, refusing to be fazed by low temperatures and insipid post-production coloring all over the movie of our lives, kicked off shoes and socks once again and let the icy water hit their feet.

Lake Ontario!

It’s just this thing they like to do. See a body of water, connect with the body of water. What freezing temps?

Lake Ontario!

“Look! Over there! An interesting thing!” Whatever fabulous sight it was, the world may never know. I know it wasn’t a boat or a Kraken. If only.

I, landlubber, found a half-eaten fish carcass along the shoreline. Technically that counted as adventure.


I’ll give Lake Ontario this much: I was more comfortable here than on our 2008 trip to Virginia Beach.

I’m sure Lake Ontario is normally scenic whenever we’re not around. Perhaps a second chance might be in order someday, but we have no immediate plans or reason apart from calling “do-over”. Based on our experiences so far, I’d rank the Great Lakes as follows:

1. Superior
2. Michigan
3. Erie
4. Ontario

We then retreated to Fort Niagara behind us in hopes that our historic forefathers might bring us more enlightening activity. And shelter.

To be continued!

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email signup for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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