At eight in the morning, Zach and Charlie boarded the train at Penn Station. It traveled along the Hudson River Valley to Buffalo and could cover almost the entire state in just over eight hours.
The trip offered them a chance to take in the beauty and grandeur of the state. The autumn leaves were just starting to turn the further north they went. The view of the mountain peaks and the Hudson River were spectacular. The sun was brilliant and enriched the vibrant colors of the leaves. From their window, it looked like an oil painting with a multitude of greens, yellows, oranges, and reds. The autumn sun casted a golden tint upon the mountainsides, which was simply breathtaking.
Zach removed his camera from his bag and took photographs while Charlie stared out the window in awe.
Zach and Charlie arrived in Niagara Falls later that evening and immediately checked into a lodge. The falls were located 17 miles northwest of Buffalo. After they had checked in, they decided to turn in early. The train ride was long and exhausting, and they had a long day of sightseeing ahead of them.
The following morning, they found a coffee shop and ate breakfast before their sightseeing tour began. From the U.S. side, they walked along Prospect Point Park and viewed the American Falls. Zach had his camera and snapped photos the entire time. They wanted to see the rest of the falls, so they traveled to the Canadian side to Queen Victoria Park. It featured manicured gardens, platforms offering spectacular views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls, and underground walkways leading into observation rooms, which yield the illusion of being within the falling waters.
Once they saw the falls from the Canadian side, Zach wanted to see the falls from yet another perspective. He learned that the Maid of the Mist boat cruise, named for an ancient Ongiara Indian mythical character, carried passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls, so he bought two tickets.
On the cruise, Zach asked one of the other passengers if he could snap a photo of him and Charlie with the falls in the background. The man happily agreed. Zach laughed at Charlie as he stood for the picture. He was so big that his rain gear barely covered him, and when they got close to the falls the mist was horrendous and hardly protected him from getting wet.
After the cruise, they found a local restaurant for lunch. They decided to sit outside in the sun so Charlie could dry off. After they ate their lunch, they walked around and discovered there wasn’t actually much else to see or do in Niagara Falls other than see the falls. In addition, they noticed that most of the people that were there were Newlyweds. They felt strange. They were used to people staring at them, but this time they felt uncomfortable, wondering if people thought they were a couple. As they ate their lunch, they talked about where they wanted to travel to next. Suddenly Zach became exhilarated. “I got it. How ’bout the Grand Canyon?”
Charlie thought the Grand Canyon was a brilliant idea. He read about the West and immediately thought of the Navajo Nation, The Long Walk, and the famed gunfight at the OK Corral. He remembered the stories from books he read years ago. He felt he could relate to the cruelty and brutality that the Navajo people endured. It made him eager to go and see it more than ever.
That night they began planning their next trip. Zach called the nearest airport to get flight information while Charlie reorganized his suitcase and overnight bag. He had managed to put a small dent in his bag of sour dough pretzels, eating a third of the giant bag.
The airport informed Zach that a flight was leaving for Arizona the very next morning, so he made reservations and began to pack, as well.