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 || Day 27 – Fall in New England. Autumnal drives in New Hampshire.

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 intense road-trippin’ centered on the pioneering history of the Eastern seaboard’s original Thirteen Colonies (Northern, Middle & Southern Colonies) & leaf peeping the vibrant hues of a New England fall/autumn. But 33 days & 7,100-plus miles meant we also found time for plenty of music; (more of) the steamy Deep South; rural, back road drives; and – whoops! – even a foray (too far) north across the border into Canada. Yes, it was epic all over again. We know of no other way.

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

Is an Epic US Road Trip still an Epic US Road Trip if it involves Canada? 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


Miles Driven

US States

Canadian Provinces

National Park Visited

National Scenic Byways Driven

All-American Roads Driven

Day 2 - New Haven to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (312 miles)

“… the traffic. Oh the traffic. We didn’t suffer one traffic jam over the course of 36 days of US road-trippin’ last year, the roads of the eastern seaboard wasting no time in proving to be as busy, as time-consuming and as frustrating as we suspected they would be.”

Image || Traffic jam. Upper Bronx, New York. September 28, 2017.
Day 3 - Gettysburg to Lancaster, Pennsylvania (098 miles)

“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.”

Image || Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.
Day 4 - Lancaster to Atlantic City, New Jersey (via Amish Country & Philadelphia) (149 miles)

“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…”

Image || Farming outside Bird-in-Hand in Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017.
Day 5 - Atlantic City to Washington D.C. (via Lewes, Delaware & Annapolis, Maryland) (201 miles)

“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.”

Image || The northern facade of the White House as seen from Lafayette Square, Washington D.C. October 1, 2017.
Day 6 - Washington D.C. to Richmond, Virginia (via Monticello, Virginia) (206 miles)

“… 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.”

Image || Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Virginia. October 2, 2017.
Day 7 - Richmond to Manteo, North Carolina (via Williamsburg & Jamestown, Virginia) (240 miles)

“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.”

Image || Palace Green, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. October 3, 2017.
Days 8-12 - The Outer Banks, North Carolina (350 miles)

“… 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.”

Image || Overlooking Roanoke Sound, Outer Banks, North Carolina. October 7, 2017.
Day 13 - Wilmington to Charleston, South Carolina (via Myrtle Beach, South Carolina) (192 miles)

“… 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.”

Image || Carriage ride fronting City Market in Historic Downtown Charleston, South Carolina. October 9, 2017.
Day 14 - Charleston to Macclenny, Florida (via Savannah, Georgia) (285 miles)

“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.”

Image || Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia. October 10, 2017.
Day 15 - Macclenny to Mobile, Alabama (via Tallahassee, Florida) (397 miles)

“It’s a nice place, but that doesn’t hide the fact that for a tourist there just isn’t a whole lot to see in Tallahassee, ironic really given its status as the capital of the tourism behemoth that is Florida.”

Image || The Historic Capitol as seen from the New Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. October 11, 2017.
Day 16 - Mobile to New Orleans, Louisiana (via southern Mississippi) (167 miles)

“A place to let everything go, 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, hopping from one no-cover-minimum-drink-purchase bar or jazz club to another with a bucket beer or luminous fishbowl cocktail in hand, come here to have a good time, and it seems a lot of them do just that.”

Image || Bourbonfaced on Shit Street. Bourbon Street, French Quarter (Vieux Carré), New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.
Day 17 - New Orleans to Fort Payne, Alabama (via Meridian, Mississippi) (480 miles)

“We stopped off in Meridian, 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. And while getting directions in an attempt to find his museum on the outskirts of the town I got to covet a look at Meridian’s impressive 1920’s Temple Theater, albeit from the outside.”

Image || Meridian, Mississippi. October 13, 2017.
Day 18 - Fort Payne to Sparta, Tennessee (142 miles)

“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.”

Image || Capturing the performances outside the Oldham Theatre in Liberty Square, Sparta, Tennessee. October 14, 2017.
Day 19 - Sparta to Nashville, Tennessee (121 miles)

“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.”

Image || Nashvegas. Lower Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee. October 15, 2017.
Day 20 - Nashville, Tennessee (070 miles)

“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.”

Image || Urban Cowgirls. 5th Avenue N, Nashville, Tennessee. October 16, 2017.
Day 21 - Nashville to Knoxville, Tennessee (198 miles)

“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.”

Image || It’s fall y’all! Outside the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee. October 17, 2017.
Day 22 - Knoxville to London, Kentucky (via Maynardville & Sneedville, Tennessee; Coeburn, Virginia; Jenkins & Hyden, Kentucky) (307 miles)

“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.”

Image || Rural. On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33, Hancock County. October 18, 2017.
Day 23 - London to Dayton, Ohio (via Sandy Hook & Olive Hill, Kentucky & Greenfield, Ohio) (376 miles)

“Portions of the town of Olive Hill… were as quiet as we’d come to expect from rural Kentucky, but the town is both big enough (population over 1,500) to boast some activity and its residents curious enough to approach us wondering what on earth we obvious out-of-towners were doing poking around somewhere like Olive Hill. “Blame Tom T,” we said. Who else?”

Image || Quilting pattern. Railway Street, Olive Hill, Carter County, Kentucky. October 19, 2017.
Day 24 - Dayton to Erie, Pennsylvania (via Michigan & Toledo & Cleveland, Ohio) (393 miles)

“… we crossed Midwestern state lines by venturing out of Ohio & into Michigan (road-trippers need to tick state boxes), out of Michigan and back into Ohio, out of Ohio and back into Pennsylvania, sampling, in the process, two very different versions of Erie – one in Michigan, one in Pennsylvania – and paying a few tolls, a necessity round these busy parts.”

Image || The City of Cleveland as seen from Huntington Beach off Lake Road, Bay Village, Ohio. October 20, 2017.
Day 25 - Erie to Lake George, New York (via Cooperstown, New York) (430 miles)

“As a baseball fan, I’ve long since wondered why the national shrine to the National Pastime is in a small Upstate New York village. The museum had, emm, this base covered, as one would expect it to.”

Image || The Hall of Fame Gallery in The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, Upstate New York. October 21, 2017.
Day 26 - Lake George to Montpelier, Vermont (via Ticonderoga, Crown Point & Westport, New York & Burlington, Vermont) (143 miles)

“Thank god for the lake is all I say, saving the day despite getting the bum end of the deal; the lake has given the seasonal village its name, while the village in return has given the lake tourists, and lots of them. Long (32 miles/52 kilometres long), narrow, deep and known as the Queen of American Lakes, Lake George shimmers & shines…”

Image || Boating on Lake George as seen from Fort William Henry, Lake George, Adirondacks, Upstate New York. October 22, 2017.
Day 27 - Montpelier to Franconia, New Hampshire (via Barre & Chelsea, Vermont & Lincoln, New Hampshire) (213 miles)

“Today is why we’re here. Today is what we came for. Lazy exploratory drives round these parts this time of year are going to expose you to stereotypical New England: endless countryside of blanketed rolling green; farms; swirling leaves on quiet side roads & kicking up the leaves at even quieter state lines; picture-perfect preserved covered bridges; antique villages; and of course forests of fantastic fall foliage.”

Image || Autumnal colours of the White Mountains, New Hampshire. October 23, 2017.
Day 28 - Franconia, New Hampshire to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (253 miles)

“… the cradle of French civilization in the New World & no less than North America’s oldest walled city. In fact, it’s the only remaining walled city north of Mexico. So I can understand why North Americans (& the Chinese… oh the Chinese, who we haven’t seen anywhere over the past 27 days, 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 of A).”

Image || The iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. October 24, 2017.
Day 29 - Quebec City to Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada (326 miles)

“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.”

Image || On Autoroute 85/the Trans-Canada Highway in Quebec, Canada. October 25, 2017.
Day 30 - Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada to Bar Harbor, Maine (330 miles)

“… 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.”

Image || Rain & the world’s longest covered bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada. October 26, 2017.
Day 31 - Bar Harbor to Portland, Maine (244 miles)

“We hit the road from Bar Harbor and after a few initial frustrations finding the Park Loop Road entrance, we were soon on course. And although we had probably missed the very best of the spectacle by a week (or maybe even two), the late October fall foliage, aided by the sun and the sheltered serenity of the All-American Park Loop Road, was an absolute delight.”

Image || Fall foliage off the Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park, Maine. October 27, 2017.
Day 32 - Portland to Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (280 miles)

“Driving the busy Interstates to & through the region’s largest city, Boston, and on to the spectacle of sandy, marshy Cape Cod and its National Seashore ensures a shift from forested New England to a sandy one. It’s still New England, it’s just a different kind of New England.”

Image || Race Point Beach, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. October 28, 2017.
Day 33 - Hyannis to T.F Green Airport, Rhode Island (via Providence, Rhode Island) (123 miles)

“For such a small state, there are 45 National Historic Landmarks in Rhode Island, 12 in Providence alone. The city also boasts two whole districts of historic preservation totalling 166 properties. It became apparent rather quickly that this little city requires a disproportionate amount of sightseeing time in order to do it justice. You have been warned.”

Image || Thomas Street, College Hill, Providence, Rhode Island. October 29, 2017.

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