Wednesday, June 10, 2009

US Highway 2 -- "End-to-End"

For my first road trip, I've decided to drive US Highway 2 from end-to-end!

US 2 is an east–west U.S. Highway spanning 2,579 miles (4,150 km) across the northern continental United States. US 2 consists of two segments connected by roadways in southern Canada. Unlike some routes, which are disconnected into segments because of encroaching Interstate Highways, the two portions of US 2 were designed to be separate in the original 1926 highway plan.

The western segment of US 2 has its western terminus at Everett, Washington and its eastern terminus at St. Ignace, Michigan. The eastern segment of US 2 has its western terminus at Rouses Point, New York and its eastern terminus at Houlton, Maine.

That's the technical info -- pulled straight from Wikipedia by the way -- but the "lore" is quite more involved. US 2 is the only major east-west road across the uppermost US, and it serves as the transportation backbone of that latitude. There was much talk back in the 60's about it being upgraded to Interstate standards, but the lack of population -- and, I suspect, political capital -- meant it never happened. Instead, it is called "The Hi-Line" by most folks in the know and it is a classic US Highway.

My interest in US 2 is multi-facted. Mostly, I drove part of the Hi-Line on the first Voyage of Macgellan and was so fascinated by it -- and its environs -- that I feel compelled to check out its entirety. Small populations sparsely located... What could be more interesting than that! Also, it's the middle of summer and I don't like the heat, so a northerly route has appeal. Finally, I feel the need to head east to check in with my family and this seems like a good way to get there!

I'll be hitting the road in earnest tomorrow and intend to drive it end-to-end, including a stint through Canada to "connect the dots." I will do my best to post updates from time to time along the way... Stay tuned!

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