EPIC US ROAD TRIP 2017

33 Days. 23 Sates. 7,124 Miles. Epic, Take II

 

“… the US probably warrants more than one epic once-in-a-lifetime road trip experience. So, and a year-plus after our 9,510-mile Epic US Road Trip 2016, we’re hitting the US road once again. Welcome to Epic US Road Trip, take II, the 2017 edition…”

 

Image || The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana. Day 17.

Epic US Road Trip 2017 Introduction

With almost 10 million km² of terra firma crisscrossed by some 6.5 million kilometres of road, the world’s longest & biggest road network, the US probably warrants more than one epic once-in-a-lifetime road trip experience. So, and a year-plus after our 9,510-mile Epic US Road Trip 2016, we hit the US road once again. Welcome to Epic US Road Trip take II, the 2017 edition, 33 days of US road-trippin’ centered on the original Thirteen Colonies (Northern, Middle & Southern Colonies). This one was all about history, music, (more of) the Deep South, rural drives and leaf peeping the vibrant hues of a New England fall/autumn. Oh, and we also found time to – whoops! – cheat somewhat by venturing north of the border into Canada. Thirty-three days, 7,100-plus miles, 23 US states & 2 Canadian provinces. Yes, it was epic (we know of no other way) all over again.

Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.

Is an epic US road trip still an epic US road trip if it involves Canada? Whoops. Spilling across the border. Day 30 in a very wet Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada.

Forget all of your preconceptions. Take a look at America the way it really, truly is today; a land of limitless road trips, astonishing natural beauty and diverse multiethnic cities from coast to coast. Pay your respects to the heritage of Native American tribes, then explore the kitschy side of stateside life at oddball roadside attractions. Taste the American dream – sweet as apple pie, strong as homemade moonshine – for yourself.

Lonely Planet USA, 6th edition

Epic US Road Trip 2017 In Numbers

Days

Miles Driven

US States

Canadian Provinces

National Park Visited

National Scenic Byways Driven

All-American Roads Driven

Day 1

 

September 27 || Boeing 737 MAX 8. Norwegian flight D81823 from Dublin to Warwick, Rhode Island.

 

“Making waves right now in the transatlantic sky, it was Norwegian who were tasked with the responsibility of getting us across the Atlantic to the road trip starting line… I’m well impressed.”

Day 1 || September 27 2017

Route || T. F. Green Airport, Warwick, Rhode Island to New Haven, Connecticut.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 110 (177)
Posted From || New Haven, Connecticut
Today’s Highlight || Hitting the road

Making waves right now in the transatlantic sky, it was Norwegian who were tasked with the responsibility of getting us across the Atlantic to the road trip starting line. And they did a rather good job of it too. I’m well impressed.

Boeing 737 MAX 8. Norwegian flight D81823 from Dublin, Ireland to Warwick, Rhode Island, USA. September 27, 2017.

NORWEGIAN || Boeing 737 MAX 8. On board Norwegian flight D81823 from Dublin, Ireland to Warwick, Rhode Island, USA. September 27, 2017. || It’s 15 years now since Norwegian’s first domestic flights in 2002. I’ve flown with them before, from Oslo to Reykjavik, Iceland in 2013, around about the time they won the first of their 5 consecutive best low-cost airline in Europe awards (they are also on a three-year run of being voted the world’s best low-cost long-haul airline). Going from strength to strength, seen here is one of their new, greener, quieter, US$100 million Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, this one so brand spanking new that the Wi-Fi antenna hadn’t even been installed meaning we had no access to the airline’s innovative and industry-leading free Wi-Fi for the duration of the 6 hour 40 minute flight. Taking the keys to the first their new toys in July of this year saw Norwegian became the first European airline to fly the single-aisle, 189-seater MAX 8, 110 of which they have on order and which they will use to service future low-cost long-haul routes, the first of which was their transatlantic service that began in May 2013. This service has been aggressively expanded of late to usher in what is being called a new era of low-cost transatlantic travel, one that is seeing Norwegian not only eat into the market share of the jaded offerings of established transatlantic carriers like Aer Lingus, but also the pilot numbers of complacent Ryanair. In hoping to open the skies to everyone, Norwegian are hedging their bets on people not minding a long-haul flight on single-aisle aircraft to minor airports (Norwegian themselves use the word ‘smaller’) in return for low fares, the cheapest transatlantic flights ever seen. There were certainly no objections here.
Keep up the good work, Norwegian.

A game changer.

– Travel industry expert Henry H Harteveldt commenting on use of the 737 MAX 8 by Norwegian as part of its aggressive expansion of long-haul offerings using smaller single-aisle aircraft.

Day 2

 

September 28 || Overlooking New Haven Green, New Haven, Connecticut.

 

“… the only show in town… one can’t but help get the feeling, and even accounting for New Haven’s formation over 6 decades before Yale’s, that if not for the university then there would be little reason for the city of New Haven to exist at all.”
Day 3

 

September 29 || Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania.

 

“Some 80 years after ridding themselves of the Brits and the Americans found the need to fight among themselves with one of the most decisive and pivotal battles of the 1861-1865 American Civil War, not to mention the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil, taking place at Gettysburg.”
Go!
Day 4

 

September 30 || Farming in Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

 

“I doubt one ever forgets their first sighting of the Amish and their simple, rural & Bible-centered existence. Our gawking (it’s unavoidable for first-timers) started when we passed an Amish buggy on the 8-mile road from Lancaster to Bird-in-Hand…”
Go!
Day 5

 

October 1 || The White House as seen from Lafayette Square, Washington D.C.

 

“I didn’t have one presentable picture from two previous visits to what is arguably the most influential city on earth – in 1998 & 2003 – and so was determined, over the course of an evening and a morning in the city on this third visit, to put that right. Washington played ball – it and its iconic neoclassical monuments looked great bathed in the soft light towards the end of day 5 and just as good in the bright sunshine on the morning of day 6. Who would have thought that a hub of bureaucracy and policy could ever look as good.”
Go!
Day 6

 

October 2 || Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Virginia.

 

“… when touring the innards of the house it becomes plainly apparent that Founding Father & third US President Jefferson was not only an idealist but also something of an eccentric.”
Go!
Day 7

 

October 3 || Palace Green, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

 

“Take time to go back’ is the solid advice from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the non-profit entity that manages the site. Once here, and when absorbing the sights & sounds that suggest the atmosphere and circumstances of 18th-century colonial America, you do just that – you go right back to a bygone era.”
Go!
Days 8-12

 

October 7 || Overlooking Roanoke Sound, Outer Banks, North Carolina.

 

“… this vacation rental haven is a beach lovers nirvana, a well-established tourist magnet where there’s a refreshing dearth of big box stores or chain eateries, a place where sand, sea (and sea breezes), wooden beach houses, laid-back beach towns, historic lighthouses, flip-flops, fishing, sea food and a swashbuckling maritime vibe all dominate. History, too, and heavy-hitting history at that.”
Go!
Day 13

 

October 9 || Fronting City Market in Historic Downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

 

“… by the time we reached the outskirts of the city the downpours had abated and the sun was devilishly trying to break through. The timing was such that it almost felt like Charleston was attempting to apologise for South Carolina thus far. If so, apology accepted.”
Go!
Day 14

 

October 10 || Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia.

 

“Often compared to refined Charleston, Savannah is a different, grittier kind of Southern belle. Established in 1733, this is the oldest settlement in Georgia… Its famed Historic District, south of the Savannah River, is where it’s all at, a rectangular grid of leafy squares, churches, graveyards, and gorgeous historic mansions lining oak-shaded streets. Savannah. It’s grand, it’s historic, it’s oh-so photogenic, it’s friendly and it’s – Boo!! – haunted. Seemingly.”
Go!
Day 15

 

October 11 || The State Capitol Buildings in Tallahassee, Florida.

 

“While Tallahassee is short on attractions, it does, and unlike the other 49 state capitals, boast 2 capitol buildings.”
Go!
Day 16

 

October 12 || Bourbonfaced on Shit Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

“A city where seemingly anything goes, New Orleans is also party central, the party firmly centred on the French Quarter’s infamous Bourbon Street, a neon-lit party zone that actively embraces getting shitfaced 24/7. Revelers, meandering from here to there with a beer or colourful cocktail in hand, come here to have a good time, and it seems a lot of them do just that.”
Go!
Day 17

 

October 13 || The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana.

 

“… measuring an impressive 23.8 miles (38.5 kilometres in proper distance units), it was for decades the longest bridge over water in the world. The spoilsport Chinese (who else?) have recently built many more many times longer, so the good folk at the Guinness World Records have since shifted the goal posts as it were, changing the wording/fabricating criteria to ensure this is still, as I type, the longest ‘continuous’ bridge over water on earth. Neat, and a great drive.”
Go!
Day 18

 

October 14 || Capturing the performances at the one-day A Lester Flatt Celebration fronting the Oldham Theater on Liberty Square in Sparta, Tennessee.

 

“We probably would have stopped by anyway, but the one-day musical celebration of Sparta’s most famous native son that is the annual A Lester Flatt Celebration gave us the only reason we needed to ensure we’d bust a gut in driving the 1,937 miles (3,117 kilometres) we drove to get here – via a deep Deep South detour – just 6 days after saying goodbye to the 4-day festival of bluegrass we enjoyed on North Carolina’s so-called Bluegrass Island, only 650 miles away at its most direct. We tend not to do most direct. Epic US road trips are more epic that way.”
Day 19

 

October 15 || Nashvegas. Sunday Funday in Lower Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee.

 

“An obvious first stop was party central, Nashville’s Lower Broadway… Still today the centre of Music City’s live music scene, it’s a rousing stretch of neon, noise & rhinestone-tinted BBQ joints, dance halls, bars & honky-tonks. You won’t find much, if any, real country music around here these days – the kind that made Nashville famous & sung by the kind of crooner that Nashville once made famous – but you will have no problem finding a hootin’ & a holleriin’ good time.”
Go!
Day 20

 

October 16 || Urban cowgirls. Nashville, Tennessee.

 

“We did find some real country music today. Bluegrass, too. Happy helpings of both. We started the day in the wee hours in the Nashville Palace, a drunken stagger from our room in the Fiddler’s Inn and the self-titled ‘Home of Traditional Country Music’, and ended in the intimate & cozy confines of The Station Inn, ‘Forever Bluegrass’ since 1974.”
Go!
Day 21

 

October 17 || It’s fall y’all! Fronting the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

“Both as big & as well-oiled a commercial enterprise as you’ll find anywhere in present-day Music City and a tourist must-do, embarking on a tour of the Opry, and especially in conjunction with a tour of the aforementioned Ryman Auditorium, gives an awesome insight into what it is that turned Nashville into the centre of the country-crooning rhinestone universe.”
Go!
Day 22

 

October 18 || On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line.

 

“Shunning US Interstates, and in a successful bid to join the cartographical hometown dots of many an old-time Country Music or Bluegrass heavy hitter, we went deep off the beaten track for a total of 307 green & windy miles through northern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and southern Kentucky. Three states, 300+ miles and many a small-town USA highlight, none of which you’ll find in any guidebook.”
Day 23

 

October 19 || A barn outside Sandy Hook in rural Kentucky.

Day 24

 

October 20 || The distant city of Cleveland as seen from Huntington Beach on the shores of Lake Erie, Ohio.

Day 25

 

October 21 || The Hall of Fame Gallery in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York.

Day 26

 

October 22 || Lake George, upstate New York.

Day 27

 

October 23 || Kancamagus Scenic Byway, White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire.

Day 28

 

October 24 || The iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

 

“… North America’s oldest walled city and the cradle of French civilization in the New World. I can understand why North Americans (& the Chinese… oh the Chinese are everywhere) love its jumble of tight & atmospheric walled lanes, but for us it’s just like any other quaint European town that’s a short Ryanair flight from home (but of course it’s a million miles removed from anything you’ll find over the border in the US).”
Day 29

 

October 25 || On Autoroute 85/the Trans-Canada Highway in Quebec, Canada.

 

“Staying in Canada tacks on over 100 miles of dashboard time to the drive from Quebec City to eastern Maine, with the consolation that you get to drive a 560 kilometre (350 mile) stretch of Canada’s famed Trans-Canada Highway.”
Day 30

 

October 26 || Rain & the world’s longest covered bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada.

 

“… it was a very wet, the incessant rain trying its damndest but ultimately failing to put a damper on a day that was for me rather momentous, a day when I clocked my 50th US state.”
Day 31

 

October 27 || Fall foliage. Acadia National Park, Maine.

Day 32

 

October 28 || Nausette Lighthouse, Eastham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Day 33

 

October 29 || Providence, Rhode Island.

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