Monday, July 27, 2009

US Highway 2 -- "End-to"End" -- Video!

I had no idea what I'd get when I decided to mount a camera on my dash and set it to shoot a picture every minute during my end-to-end drive of US Highway 2, but I couldn't have imagined this video as the end-product.

The video is surprisingly like the road: long and a little monotonous is places, yet captivating and even endearing. Sixty hours of driving in under ten minutes… That's equivalent to a speed of about 20,000 miles per hour! Hang on and enjoy the drive!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

US Highway 2 -- "End-to-End" -- Complete!

My last day's drive on my US Highway 2 -- "End-to-End" -- road trip took me across the middle of Maine, all the way to the Canadian border at Houlton. The road was astonishingly similar to what it has been for the past 3,000 miles. The vegetation is a little thicker and taller, the tiny towns a bit closer together, but overall it's been the exact same road: straight, flat and utilitarian.

Looking back at my posts over the last month and a half, I'm afraid I may have given you the impression that -- at least at times -- I didn't enjoy the road or the drive. Nothing could be farther from the truth. US Hwy 2 has become like an old friend to me, a bit stuck in its ways perhaps, but lovable none the less.

As I looked at my road rig parked in front of the "End 2" sign, I had a profound sense not only of accomplishment, but of privilege. Traversing the entire country -- the entire continent, in fact -- at almost precisely the same latitude throughout has been amazing. To see so many small towns and villages, many so remote from each other, and to realize how many people live there, how they live... It's given me a sense of my country that I could not have gotten any other way. This road trip has been a profound experience and success.

I'm going to hang out here for a couple of days, to catch up with myself, to decompress a bit, and to figure out where to go next and how to get there. Thanks for joining me and... Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mom's Old Stomping Grounds

Bless my mother, she arrived with two bottles of our favorite scotch whiskey and a pound of Starbucks coffee. Even better, as she handed me the treasure she said, "I know this isn't enough scotch and coffee for us for a week, but it's all I could carry!" Bless my mother!

We've had a really good few days together in the road rig, the first time my mom has traveled and lived in a camper. She has been in recovery from a broken hip, pushing herself as always to get back to 100% as fast as possible.

So, we've done some hiking in addition to our driving around upper Vermont and New Hampshire. We've also had some really, really nice camping places, so she's pretty well hooked on the milieu.

A definite high point was a visit to the Balsams hotel in Dixville Notch, NH. I have long heard about the place but never been there. When my mother was a girl she spent many summers there because, at the time, it was owned by her uncle!

The family story of Uncle Frank is a long and colorful one. Nobody seems to have the complete story, least of all is the current hotel management! The general manager was thrilled when my mother walked in and explained who she was. He had a million questions about Uncle Frank, what the place was like, who was who, etc. She was able to fill in a number of gaps -- including put names to faces in old pictures that hang throughout the place -- and resolve a number of mysteries. After a couple of hours of consultation, we were rewarded with a free lunch and an invitation to come back any time!

I'm dropping my mom off at the airport tomorrow, then I'll get back on US Hwy 2 for the last little stint to the Canadian Border at Houlton, Maine... Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Getting From Point A to Point B

One of the peculiarities of US Highway 2 is its discontinuity, with a big gap across the Great Lakes. There are two primary ways to get from the terminus in St. Ignace, Michigan (Point A) to the terminus in Rouses, New York (Point B):

I've chosen to take the northern route, entirely through Canada, mostly because it is the more direct path and it comes as close as possible -- in my opinion -- to the path that Hwy 2 would take if it continued.

Not surprisingly, the route in Canada (C17) is almost identical to the US 2 I've been driving for the past few weeks in almost every way: type of roadway, environment, scenery, etc.

Maybe a bit surprising is that for as little as there has been on US 2 in terms of things to see and do, there have been even fewer things of interest on C17!

Nevertheless, it's been a pretty good drive and I'm glad I chose the northern route. The whole drive has been so surreal, yet somehow so normal, that I've grown quite fond of its "nothingness."

I've now re-entered the US in upstate New York at a place where -- as you can see -- several major US Highways make their start, finish, connections, etc.

I'm going to take a couple of days here to sort myself out, in anticipation of the arrival of my mother who has decided to join me for a few days in the area. She spent a fair amount of time around here when she was a young girl, so it should be interesting to get her perspectives, find out what's changed, etc... Stay tuned!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mystery Spot

I've been back on the road for a couple of days, now at the extreme eastern end of Michigan's upper peninsula. On the way here, I passed a series of signs advertising the "Mystery Spot" and figured I better have a look-see. My buddies Mr. Bacon and Monsieur Tofu were too afraid to check it out, but Big Foot said, "Bring it!"

The place is mostly one of those optical-illusion things where buildings are smaller than they look, water flows up hill, etc., and pretty much just a tourist trap for passers-by. The inside exhibits, though, were hilarious: Melonheads, Dog Man and Bearded Baseball Players were my favorites!

I'll be crossing into Canada tomorrow, and I'll explain that in my next post.