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Milestone reached

June 27, 2010 6 comments

Before you read this, be sure to get caught up with the last few items I’ve written.  There’s been several posts in the past 48 hours.

At this point, I suppose it’s safe to say the “first phase” of my trip is complete.  This was the map I initially drew up as a rough plan for my trip, and the blue line shows my starting point in Acworth, GA, taking me all the way up to Maine.

The initial plan. Diamond in GA is the starting point

From there, following the red line, you can see the route turns West (aka the second phase of the trip).  I started that part today.  So here’s a map I drew showing the route I took (following interstates and highways as best as I could freehand) from the starting point, May 30, through June 26.

The journey so far. Southeast, East Coast, and Northeast explored

You may have noticed I’ve covered over 5,000 miles at this point, 29 days into the trip.  As a point of comparison, back in my 2005 roadtrip, I did a big loop around the country and covered about 12,000 miles in the same amount of time.  That was a definite whirlwind, so I’m glad this time I got to take my time coming up North, seeing friends and family along the way.

As I travel further West, the number of friends and family I know decreases a fair amount, so I imagine I’ll be covering more ground in that portion of the trip (red arrow in first map above), in a shorter amount of time.

Thanks for following me along so far.  Everyone’s words of support have meant a lot.  Hope you stay tuned – there is a lot more of the US and Canada to see yet!

joe

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Day 29

June 27, 2010 2 comments

Location: Burlington, VT

Miles Driven: 209

Total Miles: 5,313

Took care of laundry and some other business at Colleen’s in the morning, then hit the road shortly before 1PM and made my way Northwest.  The plan was to get to Burlington, VT by the end of the day.  On paper, it was a five hour drive, but I spent a lot of time on state highways that, though scenic, moved fairly slow.  I’m glad I had the chance to take this route as New Hampshire and Vermont are both incredibly scenic states.  I got to drive through the White Mountains of New Hampshire and learned why Vermont is called the “Green Mountain State.”  I was debating taking time out to do some hiking, but I wanted to get to Burlington before it was too late, so I passed.  Worked out, as for parts of the way it was raining.

A New Hampshirian lake

Great scenery on the drive along Hwy 302

Coming up on the White Mountains

Vermont countryside

So thanks to my friend John for bringing up the ferry options available at Lake Champlain, which is on the Northern border of NY and VT.  I had no idea Lake Champlain was so huge until I took a detailed look at the map.  One could drive around north or south, but it would be quite a detour, and I’ve heard the ferry trip is a nice ride (and not too expensive) so I’ll do that tomorrow morning and be back in my home state of NY; however, it will be unfamiliar territory for me, as I don’t think I’ve ever been that far north in the state.  All the more reason to explore it.

joe

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Days 27 and 28

June 27, 2010 5 comments

Location: Portland, ME

Miles Driven: 175

Total Miles: 5,104

In Bar Harbor, I was having a spotty connection on my phone – phone calls were not going through, and I was having difficulty getting on the Internet.  I was curious as to when the sun was rising so I could be on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in time to catch it.  I think I mentioned that it is one of the first places the sun hits in the US.  Fortunately, I could sign onto my MSN account on my phone, I IM’d my buddy Nick in Taiwan, and asked him to look up the sunrise time.  Thanks to Nick, I learned that the sun would rise on Friday around 4:17AM (about 6 hours away).  My plan was to hike up the mountain in time to catch the sunrise, and that would require starting the hike around 2AM.  So I shut my eyes for a few hours, and around 1:30AM I began to make my way to the park.

I was bummed initially as I could not find any trailheads for getting up the mountain, so I ended up just taking the park road to the parking lot at the summit.  In hindsight this turned out to be a very good thing, as it was damn cold near the top.  It must’ve been in the 40s with the strong winds blowing.  If I had hiked, I would not have been prepared for the cold at all, nor would I have had my tripod to set up for some sunrise shots.

I got a little rest in the car, and then before you knew it the parking lot was filling up.  Around 3:30AM you can see a distant glow in the horizon, so I got out of my car to find a spot to watch from.  It was cold, but there was a cool atmosphere on the summit with everyone excited to see these first few rays of the sun.  Once the sun came up from the horizon, it seemed to rise incredibly fast, and before I knew it the day was bright.

I was thinking I should try to post the photos showing the transition from early early morning to the sun appearing, but that could take a little bit.  So I made a little slideshow showing the progression.  Apropos, the music is from the soundtrack to the film “Sunshine” (one of my favorite movies).  The track is entitled “Capa’s Last Transmission Home”.  Catching this sunrise was an unforgettable experience.

The crowds were dispersing, and after it was bright again I went to the car, removed my extra layers as I was already getting warm, and caught a little more sleep.  Woke up around 9AM to do some hiking.  Hiking down the mountain was easy, coming back up was a little strenuous, but enjoyable.

I had a recommendation from my friend Frances, along with one of my roadtrip books, to check out a restaurant on the other side of the park called “Thurston’s Lobster Pound.”  I made my way over there to grab lunch, and I was not disappointed.  I wasn’t hungry enough for a whole lobster (which was pretty cheap), but I ordered a lobster roll and it really hit the spot.

Never had a lobster roll before. Tasty

After lunch, the plan was to make my way to southwest towards Portland, Maine, where my friend Colleen lives.  I’ve known Colleen for ages having gone to confirmation class with her, and she offered to put me up for the weekend.  Had a great time lounging about not doing too much, met some of her friends, and ate some great food (and also witnessed the US World Cup loss to the “injury”-prone Ghana team).  I also got some tips on places in Michigan to check out from her friends Jeff and Jen. Thanks guys.  The fun night ended and I got some sleep as my break here will end and the roadtrip continues.

The plan is to stick around in Portland until Sunday, and from there the journey turns West for the next several weeks.  And as I type it is Sunday morning, and I’m fixin to leave here and work my way through New Hampshire and Vermont.

Some shots from the weekend are below.  Thanks so much, Colleen, for hosting me.  Portland, ME (the kids call it the “other Portland”) is a great place.

Colleen and me

Belting out songs with Jen on the SingStar game

Leaving Portland soon.  So long, East coast.

joe

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