Drones and The USA

The first drone video – Rural USA from Above

Before leaving I decided to treat myself to a new toy, a DJI Spark drone. I hoped to film lots of exciting things as I travelled across the states both to help me remember what I have done and also to share with you guys what is happening.

One thing I didn’t count on was the restrictions in place to prevent drones being used!

No Drone Zone sign at Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls – No Drone Zone

I knew places such as New York City and Niagara Falls would likely restrict use but it turns out to also be banned at all National Parks, most State Parks, within 5 miles of an airport, near any school, prison, police station, hospital… Well it turns out you can’t really use it anywhere!

What this means is I haven’t had anywhere near the opportunity to use it that I was hoping. I have tried to put the best examples of where I could use it into a short video at the top of this post.

I will continue trying to use it wherever possible whilst also trying to avoid being fined or arrested – the whole purpose of this trip being to Escape Custody after all!

Let me know what you think of the video, any suggestions are always welcome as this is my first attempt at editing something like this together. I already have some ideas for what I would like to do next.

Whilst writing this I have now made it as far as Texas. If you are interested you can see a map of my journey so far at https://escapefromcustody.com/my-journey/ along with some facts about my progress.

Eye in the Sky. Also check out the sporty Kia that has done nearly 6,000 miles!

O’ Canada 🇨🇦

Canadian border control booths

Canadian border control

After New England we swapped cars and headed off to Niagara. It turns out most of the large rental companies are happy for you to drive across the border to Canada and currently as long as you cross and a land border rather than fly in there’s no need for any Visa or paperwork aside from your passport.

The drive from New York to the border was stunning, like the rest of the North East. It had been raining almost nonstop throughout the trip so far and this was the first long leg with sunlight!

Wherever time allows I’d been setting the GPS to avoid freeways to try and see a small glimpse of small town America and I highly recommend that if you do a similar trip. You get so many more opportunities to stop, see sights and see things you’d normally miss.

It was about 8 hours to the border and I had worried there would be delays and a long interrogation to cross but we drove straight up to a checkpoint booth, similar to the old Dartford crossing tolls, handed over the passports and confirmed we weren’t importing any firearms or weapons, paid the $3.50 toll and off we went.

Border Agent: “Have you got any weapons or firearms in the car?”

Dad: “No, we’re English”

Border Agent: “Yes, but you have been in America”

Once acoss it was plane sailing to the hotel. We stayed at the Radisson with a view of the falls, I don’t intend to review every place I stay but this hotel was fantastic and no more expensive than some other budget places we’ve stayed with an incredible view.

Sunrise over Niagara Falls from hotel room

Taken from the hotel room at sunrise

Walking down to the falls it is impossible to describe the falls properly. They are awe inspiring. There’s plenty of spaces to stand and take photos and videos but I have to credit a certain Mr Scarsbrook who convinced me to do the boat experience.

On the Canadian side is a boat called Hornblower and the famous Maid of the Mist is on the American side.

It’s a tourist trap, it’s silly and you get very, very wet but I’m converted, you can’t come here and not do it.

Thank you Reuben!

Over summer there’s a fireworks display every night and after that it was time to get some sleep before heading back to the USA the next morning.

We travelled back through Ontario heading west to avoid the longer route going straight back in to the US and crossed back into Michigan by Detroit. It is sad the contrast between Canadian border control and the Americans, it was much more accusatory and threatening coming back in. And it cost $5 to get back in!

Nevertheless we were allowed back in, thankfully, and continued westward.

Maid of the Mist next to the falls

Dad and me on Hornblower

Fireworks over Niagara Falls at night

Border sign to USA from Canada at Ambassador Bridge