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 hit 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 (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.
– Lonely Planet USA, 6th edition
Epic US Road Trip 2017 In Numbers
National Park 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
NORTHERN COLONIES / NEW ENGLAND || Connecticut
DAY 01 110 miles || T.F Green Airport, Rhode Island, to New Haven, Connecticut
MIDDLE COLONIES || Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland & Washington D.C.
DAY 02 312 miles || New Haven to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
DAY 03 098 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)
SOUTHERN COLONIES || Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia
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 08 003 miles || Manteo, North Carolina
DAY 09 003 miles || Manteo, North Carolina
DAY 10 038 miles || Manteo, North Carolina
DAY 11 032 miles || Manteo, North Carolina
DAY 12 274 miles || Manteo to Wilmington, North Carolina
DAY 13 192 miles || Wilimgton to Charleston, South Carolina (via Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)
DAY 14 285 miles || Charleston to Macclenny, Florida (via Savannah, Georgia)
THE SOUTH || Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi & Tennessee
DAY 15 397 miles || Macclenny to Mobile, Alabama (via Tallahassee, Florida)
DAY 16 167 miles || Mobile to New Orleans, Louisiana (via southern Mississippi)
DAY 17 480 miles || New Orleans to Fort Payne, Alabama (via Meridian, Mississippi)
DAY 18 142 miles || Fort Payne to Sparta, Tennessee
DAY 19 121 miles || Sparta to Nashville, Tennessee
DAY 20 070 miles || Nashville
DAY 21 198 miles || Nashville to Knoxville, Tennessee
KENTUCKY & THE GREAT LAKES || Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan & New York
DAY 22 307 miles || Knoxville to London, Kentucky (via Maynardville & Sneedville, Tennessee; Coeburn, Virginia; Jenkins & Hyden, Kentucky)
DAY 23 376 miles || London to Dayton, Ohio (via Sandy Hook & Olive Hill, Kentucky & Greenfield, Ohio)
DAY 24 393 miles || Dayton to Erie, Pennsylvania (via Michigan & Toledo & Cleveland, Ohio)
DAY 25 430 miles || Erie to Lake George, New York (via Cooperstown, New York)
NORTHERN COLONIES / NEW ENGLAND & CANADA || Vermont, New Hampshire, Quebec & New Brunswick (Canada), Maine, Massachusetts & Rhode Island
DAY 26 143 miles || Lake George to Montpelier, Vermont (via Ticonderoga, Crown Point & Westport, New York & Burlington, Vermont)
DAY 27 213 miles || Montpelier to Franconia, New Hampshire (via Barre & Chelsea, Vermont & Lincoln, New Hampshire)
DAY 28 253 miles || Franconia to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
DAY 29 326 miles || Quebec City to Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada
DAY 30 330 miles || Woodstock to Bar Harbor, Maine
DAY 31 244 miles || Bar Harbor to Portland, Maine
DAY 32 280 miles || Portland to Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
DAY 33 123 miles || Hyannis to T.F Green Airport, Rhode Island (via Providence, Rhode Island)
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, Sandy Hook, Olive Hill. Ohio (OH): Greenfield, Dayton, Toledo, Cleveland. Michigan (MI) Pennsylvania (PA): Erie. New York (NY): Cooperstown, Lake George, Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Westport, Essex. || NEW ENGLAND || Vermont (VT): Burlington, Montpelier, Barre, Chelsea. New Hampshire (NH): Connecticut River Byway, Lincoln, Kancamagus Scenic Byway, White Mountain Trail, Franconia, Littleton. || CANADA || Quebec: Quebec City, Trans-Canada Highway. New Brunswick: Woodstock, Heartland, Saint Stephen. || NEW ENGLAND || Maine (ME): Eastport, Lubec, Bar Harbor/Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park, Acadia All-American Road, Portland. Massachusetts (MA): Cape Cod (Provincetown & Hyannis). Rhode Island (RI): Providence.
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 (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.
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.
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
After 5,229 miles and 25 days, we’re almost done. For the most part, we’re done with history; we’re done with music; we’re done with daily hours of Interstate driving; and we’re certainly done with the warmer temperatures of the south (I’ve long since dispensed with the flip-flops but an innate pig-headed stubbornness to persist with shorts will, I fear, last only another day or two at most). Today is day 26 (of 33). We’ve a week-plus left and we find ourselves perched on the edge of a lake, Lake George, in upstate New York, itself on the very edge of New England. New England. The geographical region of North America this trip was initially centred on. New England. In the fall/autumn. We saw the leaves first fall on day 18 and have been treated to some nice fall foliage in parts of Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York almost every day since (this picture was captured from the side of Interstate 86 in Upstate New York yesterday, day 25). But this, New England in the fall, is as brilliant as autumn foliage gets, an unrivalled natural display of spectacular and vibrant autumn hues that makes the 6 northeastern states we’re about to explore the bucket list destination par excellence that they are this time of year. A week of slow, exploratory drive through rugged rural wilderness & sleepy towns awaits, a week of crisp air ‘Leaf Peeping’ autumnal purple, gold, orange and yellow.
We first saw a Tim Hortons in upstate New York on day 24 (we did, of course, pull over for a double-double & donut). We first saw French signposting on day 26 in Vermont (they – Vermonters – claim this is to keep the neighbours happy). So, I guess it was coming. Today, day 28, we cheated. Or did we? Umm. Is an epic US road trip still an epic US road trip if you leave the contiguous 48? Umm indeed. And now that we’re here we’re debating, over a Moosehead or two, whether to take the long way back to the US. Another night in Canada? Oh, may as well be hung a sheep as for a lamb.
We’re en route to the easternmost point of land in the continental United States. That’s a place called Quoddy Head State Park in Maine, somewhere, and while road-trippin’ the US east, we were always going to search out (those who know me know I love visiting geographical extremities). Getting there via Canada, however, was never part of the plan, the chance to do so by driving a section of the Trans-Canada Highway too good an opportunity to pass up. So that’s what we did today, Epic US (& now Canada) road tip Day 29.
What a miserable f***in’ day, climatically speaking. We saw a lot of water today, road trip day 30. Not because we finally reached the New England Atlantic coastline, but rather because there seemed to be no let up in the dredging inflicted on this supposedly picturesque portion of the US northeast. Yes, it was a very, very wet day, 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.
Apart from getting wet and reaching milestones, today saw us crossing a timezone; saw us leaving Canada (twice); saw us entering the US (also twice); saw us crossing the world’s longest covered bridge; and saw us, once again, wondering why there are no lights in New England – Vermont, New Hampshire and now Maine are spookily dark states then the sun goes down (rumour has it the states in question, even in Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ US of A, are too stretched to pay the lighting bill). Oh, and they are awfully boring places to be too. I understand it’s out of season right now, but gosh. There’s no doubt New England is drop-dead gorgeous this time of year (assuming the sun shines). Expect plenty of leaves. Just don’t expect a party. Yawn.
A few more pictures from today as captured (in the rain) in chronological order.