Day 22 || October 18 2017
Route || Knoxville, Tennessee to London, Kentucky.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 307 (494)
Posted From || London, Kentucky
Today’s Highlight || Rural, small-town USA
We went rural today, road trip day 22. 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. I guarantee that.
Tennessee – Maynardville & Sneedville
Maynardville, a.k.a. The Cradle of County Music – Hometown to Roy Acuff.
Sneedville – Hometown to Jimmy Martin, a.k.a. the King of Bluegrass.
Virginia – Coeburn – Hometown to Jim & Jesse McReynolds.
Kentucky – Jenkins & Hyden
Jenkins – Hometown to Kenny Baker, master fiddler.
Hyden – Hometown to The Osborne Brothers
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 9,500+ mile US Road Trip 2016, we’re hitting the US road once again. Welcome to Epic US Road Trip part II, the 2017 edition, 33 days of US road-trippin’ centered on the original Thirteen Colonies. This one is all about history; music; (more of) the Deep South; and rural drives and leaf peeping the vibrant hues of a New England fall/autumn. And yes, it’s gonna be epic all over again.
– Lonely Planet USA, 6th edition
Epic US Road Trip 2017 In Numbers
National Parks Visited
National Scenic Byways Driven
All-American Roads Driven
Epic US Road Trip 2017 Picture of The Day Highlights Gallery
Epic US Road Trip 2017 Day-by-Day Overview
NEW ENGLAND || Rhode Island & Connecticut
DAY 01 110.1 miles || T.F Green Airport, Rhode Island, to New Haven, Connecticut
DAY 02 312.5 miles || New Haven to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
DAY 03 98 miles || Gettysburg to Lancaster, Pennsylvania
DAY 04 149 miles || Lancaster to Atlantic City, New Jersey (via Amish Country & Philadelphia)
DAY 05 201 miles || Atlantic City to Washington D.C. (via Lewes, Delaware & Annapolis, Maryland)
DAY 06 206 miles || Washington D.C. to Richmond, Virginia (via Monticello, Virginia)
DAY 07 240 miles || Richmond to Manteo, North Carolina (via Williamsburg & Jamestown, Virginia)
DAY 08 3 miles || Manteo, North Carolina
DAY 09 3 miles || Manteo, North Carolina
DAY 010 38 miles || Manteo, North Carolina
DAY 011 32 miles || Manteo, North Carolina
DAY 012 274 miles || Manteo to Wilmington, North Carolina
DAY 013 192 miles || Wilimgton to Charleston, South Carolina (via Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)
DAY 014 285 miles || Charleston to Macclenny, Florida (via Savannah, Georgia)
DAY 015 397 miles || Macclenny to Mobile, Alabama (via Tallahassee, Florida)
DAY 016 167 miles || Mobile to New Orleans, Louisiana (via southern Mississippi)
DAY 017 480 miles || New Orleans to Fort Payne, Alabama (via Meridian, Mississippi)
DAY 018 142 miles || Fort Payne to Sparta, Tennessee
DAY 019 121 miles || Sparta to Nashville, Tennessee
DAY 020 70 miles || Nashville
DAY 021 198 miles || Nashville to Knoxville, Tennessee
DAY 022 307 miles || Knoxville to London, Kentucky (via Maynardville & Sneedville, Tennessee; Coeburn, Virginia; Jenkins & Hyden, Kentucky)
Epic US Road Trip 2017 Route Map
Start & finish point Warwick, Rhode Island. Red lines mark the route (mostly) clockwise route. Map pointers indicate overnight locations. Bouncing pin indicates present/last location.
In The Rearview Mirror
|| NEW ENGLAND || Rhode Island (RI): Warwick (T. F. Green Airport). Connecticut (CT): New Haven, Merritt Parkway. || MIDDLE COLONIES || Pennsylvania (PA): Gettysburg, Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway, Lancaster, Amish Country (Bird In Hand & Intercourse), Philadelphia. New Jersey (NJ): Atlantic City, Jersey Shore & Cape May (Cape May-Lewes Ferry). Delaware (DE): Lewes. || SOUTHERN COLONIES || Maryland (MD): Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway, Annapolis. Washington D.C. Virginia (VA): George Washington Memorial Parkway, Arlington, Monticello, Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway, Richmond, The Colonial Parkway, Williamsburg, Jamestown. North Carolina (NC): Outer Banks Scenic Byway, Roanoke Island (Manteo), Wilmington. South Carolina: Myrtle Beach, Charleston.|| THE SOUTH || Georgia (GA): Savannah. Florida (FL): Jacksonville, Macclenny, Tallahassee. Alabama (AL): Mobile. Louisiana (LA): New Orleans. Mississippi (MS): Meridian. Alabama (AL): Fort Payne. Tennessee (TN): Sparta, Nashville, Knoxville, Maynardville, Sneedville. || SOUTHERN COLONIES || Virginia (VA): Coeburn. || KENTUCKY & THE GREAT LAKES || Kentucky (KY): Jenkins, Burdine, Hyden, London.
National Parks || National Scenic Byways || All-American Roads
Epic US Road Trip 2017 Archived Entries
Day 1 || September 27 2017
Route || T. F. Green Airport, Warwick, Rhode Island to New Haven, Connecticut.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 110.1 (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.
– 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.
LATEST FROM THE ROAD
Day 2 || September 28 2017
Route || New Haven, Connecticut to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 312.5 (503)
Posted From || Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Today’s Highlight || Yale University, New Haven
Day 2. The first full day. We took a look around New Haven this morning, a glorious but windy morning in America’s oldest planned city (it was laid out in orderly blocks way back in 1638). The city is home to the Ivy League Yale University, the reason we chose to overnight here last night. Little did we know then that Yale is pretty much the only show in town – while touring the Gothic-heavy campus this morning we got the distinct impression that if not for Yale then there might not even be a New Haven here at all.
A few more pics from today exploring the campus of Yale.IVY LEAGUE – With connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism. The Ivy League is a collegiate athletic conference comprising sports teams from 8 private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States – Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut), University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) , Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey), Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island), Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire), Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) & Columbia University (New York City, New York).
– CTVisit.com commenting on the New Haven region
In getting from New Haven to the state of New York, we drove the Merritt Parkway, the first National Scenic Byway of the wider road tip. It won’t be the last.
National Scenic Byway #1 – Merritt Parkway
Set in natural surroundings, Merritt Parkway’s significant design brilliantly integrates the craft of the engineer and the artist. The bridges along the route are excellent examples of Art Deco, or Art Moderne, styles of the 1920s and 1930s. Magnificent foliage abounds in both spring and fall.
NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAYS & ALL-AMERICAN ROADS
While each state can and does designate its own Scenic Byways, a National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the US Department of Transportation for one or more of six ‘intrinsic qualities’, they being archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic. The program was established by Congress in 1991 to preserve and protect the nation’s scenic but often less-travelled roads and to promote tourism and economic development. The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The most scenic byways are designated All-American Roads. These roads must meet two out of the six intrinsic qualities. An All-American designation means these roads have features that do not exist elsewhere in the US and are unique and important enough to be tourist destinations unto themselves.
As of November 2010 there are 120 National Scenic Byways and 31 All-American Roads located in 46 states (all except Hawaii, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Texas).
Day 3 || September 29 2017
Route || Gettysburg to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 98 (158)
Posted From || Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Today’s Highlight || Gettysburg National Military Park
Day 3. It’s about time we really got down and dirty with some history. And from here on out down the east coast there’ll be little letup in it.
– A bold claim by VisitPA.com
The Province of Pennsylvania was founded as a proprietary colony in 1681 by Quaker William Penn. The name Pennsylvania, roughly translating as “Penn’s Woods” and created by combining the Penn surname (in honor of William’s father, Admiral Sir William Penn) with the Latin word sylvania, meaning ‘forest land’. Once the richest and most populous British colony in North America and one of its most industrial, this state is all about history & Amish Country, at least that’s what it was always going to be to us.
Philadelphia, a.k.a. Philly, once the second-largest city in the British Empire (after London), was also a centre for opposition to British colonial policy. The new nation’s capital at the start of the Revolutionary War, and pretty much right up until Washington D.C. took over the mantle in 1790, this is where the US Constitution was drafted and first read. And when rid of the Brits, the Americans found the need to fight among themselves; one of the most decisive, bloody and pivotal battles of the 1861-1865 American Civil War was fought at Gettysburg. Oh, and in between is the aforementioned Amish Country.
A town of less than 8,000 it may be, but Gettysburg is a history heavy-hitter playing host as it did to two defining periods in American history – the bloody Battle of Gettysburg (1863), the biggest and bloodiest battle to ever be fought on American soil, and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Battle of Gettysburg & The Gettysburg National Military Park
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863 by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war’s turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade’s Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, halting Lee’s invasion of the North. The Gettysburg National Military Park protects and interprets the landscape of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The Gettysburg National Military Park properties include most of the Gettysburg Battlefield, many of the battle’s support areas during the battle (e.g., reserve, supply, & hospital locations), and several other non-battle areas associated with the battle’s “aftermath and commemoration”, including the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Many of the park’s 43,000 American Civil War artifacts are displayed in the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center. The park has more wooded land than in 1863, and the National Park Service has an ongoing program to restore portions of the battlefield to their historical non-wooded conditions, as well as to replant historic orchards and woodlots that are now missing. In addition, the National Park Service is restoring native plants to meadows and edges of roads, to encourage habitat as well as provide for historic landscape. There are also considerably more roads and facilities for the benefit of tourists visiting the battlefield park.
More pics from a self-drive tour of the military park.Eisenhower National Historic Site
LATEST FROM THE ROAD
Day 4 || September 30 2017
Route || Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 149 (240)
Posted From || Atlantic City, New Jersey
Today’s Highlight || Amish Country
Day 4. Pennsylvanian Amish Country in the morning, Philadelphia, the historic City of Brotherly Love, in the afternoon and Atlantic City, the east coast’s very own Vegas, in the evening. Three very different locals on a busy day.
The Amish & Amish Country
The colony of Pennsylvania, established in 1681, was one that respected religious freedom, thus attracting minority religious sects, including the Mennonite and Amish communities, Christian church fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins – the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland in 1693. Led by Jakob Ammann, the followers became known as Amish. Know today by some as the ‘Plain People’, the sect settled in tolerant Pennsylvania in the early 1700s fleeing persecution in Switzerland, something I’d imagine would be would be unheard of in the Swiss society of today. Speaking a German dialect, known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch, they are known for having large families (6-7 children the norm, a blessing from god); for marrying within the faith, a requirement if baptised (baptism usually taking place in their late teens or early twenties with almost 90% Amish teenagers choosing to be baptised and to join the church); for their plain dress; for valuing humility & having an aversion to asserting oneself or self-promotion (not selfie takers, individual photographs might cultivate personal vanity); and for living a simple, rural and Bible-centered life, the rules of which – collectively termed the Ordnung, meaning order in German – see them shunning, or severely limiting, their use of power-line electricity (to do so would be going against the Bible which says that you shall not be “Conformed to the world”), motor cars, telephones and motorised tools, manual labour being just one why of living what they interpret to be God’s word while making one less dependent on community.
While they keep themselves to themselves, invariably pressures from the modern world have seen a dilution of strict traditional Amish values and customs in some regions of the US & Canada. Diluted or not, their way of life is a big tourist draw around these parts, a simple and curious existence that draws the hordes from far and wide. There are Amish communities in some 8 US states, the largest concentration found here in Pennsylvania – some 75,000 of the nearly 300,000 North American Amish population live in the state with the Amish communities in an around Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County something of an Amish hotbed. Welcome to Amishville.
More pics from today in Amish Country.Philadelphia
Philadelphia & The Birth of The United States
Populated for at least 15 millennia, Europeans first arrived in the 1500s with the country as we know today emerging from the so-called 13 British colonies of the North America East Coast, established by English settlers between 1607 (the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, the first) – & 1732 (the Province of Georgia, the 13th). Grievances with the British government and numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the 1756-1763 Seven Years’ War led to the 1775-1783 American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, and during the course of the Revolutionary War, the 13 colonies declared their independence by ratifying the US Declaration of Independence, composed largely by Thomas Jefferson and unanimously passed two days’ previous on July 2nd.
– Thomas Jefferson in a letter to his wife
We the People
The new United States of America would go on to ratify, in 1781, the Articles of Confederation, effectively the first US Constitution (a guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the states, a principle adhered to with the future expansion of the union to its present 50 states). The war ended in 1783, Great Britain formally recognising the independence of the United States, via the Treaty of Paris, resulting from the very first successful war of independence against a mighty European power. With the Articles of Confederation adjudged to provide inadequate federal powers, the current United States Constitution, which famously starts with the words ‘We the People’, was adopted in 1788, the first permanent constitution of its kind. Its first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and were designed to guarantee many fundamental and now famous civil liberties including the right to bear arms (the Second Amendment) & the right to decline to give self-incriminating information, a.k.a. pleading the fifth (the Fifth Amendment).
A nationally renowned resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining, Atlantic City also served as the inspiration for the board game Monopoly. Considered the “Gambling Capital of the East Coast” and is second to Las Vegas in number of casinos, yearly gaming revenue, and number of rooms, the city skyline has been transformed by construction of new casino hotels and condominia. Atlantic City is also home to numerous shopping malls and districts.
Day 15 || October 11 2017
Route || Maccleeny, Florida to Mobile, Alabama.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 397 (639)
Posted From || Mobile, Alabama
Today’s Highlight || The Florida/Alabama state line
T’was the busiest day of the lot on the road today. We returned to Alabama – we’re in Mobile, as deep in the Deep South as we’ve been, and we got here from Macclenny via a stop in the Florida capital of Tallahassee.
There wasn’t/isn’t a whole lot to see in Tallahassee, a planned city full of suits, bureaucracy and heat. The city’s geographical location meant today it was a convenient break in the 395-mile drive west from Macclenny.
I saw this quote in the lobby of the Florida State Capitol today and thought it apt.
– Ernest Hemingway
We’re now in Mobile. I’ve always wanted to come here, for no other reason other than one of my very favourite YouTube videos emanates from here. Leprechauns in the Deep South? Generally no, but tonight yes.
New Orleans is a 2-hour drive from here. The city is the only reason we’re this far south – this wasn’t on the original itinerary. That said, we’ll be there tomorrow. We’re super pumped for that.
Day 16 || October 12 2017
Route || Mobile to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 167 (269)
Posted From || New Orleans, Louisiana
Today’s Highlight || The French Quarter, New Orleans
New Orleans. The largest city in Louisiana located the mouth of the mighty Mississippi river, the home of jazz & Mardi Gras. The city’s historic French Quarter, where we hung out, is a nice place to wander, awash as it is with charm, churches and foliage-draped & colourful wooden architecture – beautifully preserved wrought iron facades abound.
But it’s also rather grungy and is overflowing with weirdos and destitute types, a mix of non-conformists and folk obviously down on their luck.
This is a city where seemingly anything goes, party central with 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.
A few more from rambles up and down Bourbon Street, an unavoidable consequence of a visit to New Orleans.
We came here because, and when three hours north of the city on last year’s, 2016 epic US road trip, we said we would swing by ‘some day’. That some day just happened to be today, epic US road trip (2017) day 16.
I’ve a ton of picture from our time in the city today; the French Quarter, and once you avoid Bourbon Street, is rather photogenic. Way more to come from here but for now here’s a sampling, a few more captures from today in New Orleans.
Day 17 || October 13 2017
Route || New Orleans, Louisania to Fort Payne, Alabama.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 480 (753)
Posted From || Fort Payne, Alabama
Today’s Highlight || The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
T’was the busiest day of the lot so far on the road today. Four hundred eighty miles of US Interstate we covered today, Day 17, just over the halfway point of the wider road trip. Needless to say, it was a day of covering ground, but there were a few interesting stops en route. There always are.
We stopped off in Meridian, Mississippi, 200 miles north of New Orleans. Why? It’s the birthplace of one Jimmie Rodgers. Who? Jimmie Rodgers, a.k.a ‘The Man Who Started It All’, all being country music.
We’re in a place called Fort Payne, northern Alabama (we crossed from Louisiana through Mississippi and into Alabama today, crossing the Deep South as we headed north). It’s cooler here, a good few degrees cooler than the southern Gulf Coast. Dad likes that (he didn’t like the hot & steamy South). We’re 130 miles shy of Sparta, Tennessee location for the one-day bluegrass festival we’ll enjoy on Day 18. Yep, more bluegrass, one-day, bitesised bluegrass, and the reason for the epic dash north.