Planning a USA road trip

Steph and I like to explore.

Since 2011, we have made five major road trips across the USA, and two of shorter duration.

That first year, we headed for Arizona and New Mexico, taking in the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and other interesting sites in those dry climates.

We decided to stay closer to home (home being where our daughter Hannah and her family live in St Paul MN) in 2012, just visiting the Boundary Waters Wilderness Region and the Gun Flint Trail of northern Minnesota .

2013 saw us on the Pacific coast of Oregon, and a trip as far south as Sacramento in California, taking in Oregon’s Crater Lake and the Californian redwoods on the way.

We headed west from St Paul across the prairies in 2014, the first of our really long trips, taking in the Badlands and Mt Rushmore in South Dakota, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, the Bighorn Battlefield in Montana, and Yellowstone National Park.

We toured Scotland in May-June 2015 so decided not to make any road trip in the USA, instead choosing to take Amtrak to Chicago for three days.

I broke my leg in January 2016, so any long road trip was out of the question. However, we made a short trip north of the Twin Cities to find the source of the Mississippi River.

The Appalachians called us in 2017, so we flew into Atlanta and drove back to Minnesota through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia,Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa.

We were equally ambitious this year, taking in New England (Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) before heading west to Niagara Falls in New York, and then south and west through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, before heading north into Michigan, crossing Lake Michigan on the car ferry, and driving across Wisconsin to end up, once again, in the Twin Cities.

Until this year, I had planned our trips using various maps. For the Arizona/New Mexico and Oregon/California trips in 2011 and 2013, and for trips around Minnesota, I purchased a DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for each state. These are very detailed and comprehensive, and show even the most minor of roads. Since we like to take highways and byways (US roads, state highways, and even county roads) as much as possible and avoid the busy Interstates, these DeLorme publications allowed me to draw up quite detailed itineraries.

But they are heavy! And once we planned to drive from Georgia to Minnesota in 2017, carrying around a DeLorme Atlas for each state was not an option.

Instead, I purchased Rand McNally road maps for each state, and plotted a route using Google maps, then transferring it to the map itself, as shown in the image below. I also verified the route using Google Street View, especially to check out the various road junctions.

Steph was the navigator – which had the unfortunate consequence that she had to have her head in a map day in and day out. To assist with navigation I also drew up detailed route instructions on separate cards for each day. One of these is shown in the upper image above. These provided information on the road numbers (roads in the US can carry more than one number as roads combine for short or long distances), junctions, and any other special feature or attraction that we had decided to visit.

However, at Christmas 2017, I received a Garmin DriveSmart™ 51 LMT‑S GPS Navigator with a 5″ display, which came with UK and Ireland maps installed (that are regularly updated).

One of the features I really like is the accompanying BaseCamp software installed on my laptop that allows me to plan routes, with any degree of detail, and transfer them to the sat nav. Once I’d got the hang of its idiosyncrasies, I began plotting routes from home in the UK, finding the best options, and at the same time learning the various features of the sat nav itself.

In BaseCamp I found the easiest way to plot a route was to choose the starting and destination waypoints, and let the software ‘find’ the optimum route. In this example below, I plotted a route from Niagara Falls NY to Canton OH, which was the third day of our recent trip after leaving Maine.

As you can see if you open a larger image, the route calculated would have taken us on the interstate close to the shore of Lake Erie. But I wanted to cut across country and travel through the Allegheny Forest of Pennsylvania.

BaseCamp allows you to shape any route by adding ‘via points’, as many as needed to develop an unambiguous route when it is recalculated by the sat nav itself once transferred.

Then, once all the via points have been added, your final route, below, is transferred to the sat nav.

My Garmin proved invaluable during this trip, especially when we did travel on the Interstates, and these merged with one another, giving me advice when lane changes were necessary, changes to speed limits, and always anticipating any junctions half a mile ahead.

We only had a couple of glitches. Once, after we’d arrived at our hotel, I discovered the reason why the sat nav had asked me to make a U-turn on one street earlier in the day. I’d programmed in the same via point twice. Another time, in deepest Ohio, one of the roads I’d chosen was closed some miles ahead, so we had to follow a set detour. The sat nav didn’t like that, urging me to make a U-turn, or turn at the next junction. Having completed the detour, our original route appeared on the screen, and on we continued. On another occasion, crossing Kentucky along the Ohio River, we had to make another detour, and suddenly the icon for the vehicle was moving across a blank screen – until we reached another road that it recognized. I think we had been diverted on to a new road that wasn’t programmed into the USA maps I’d bought before the trip.

With the installed UK and Ireland maps, I receive updates all the time. The USA (and Canada and Mexico) maps are a one-time purchase, not particularly cheap, but well worth it. It’s just a pity that Garmin does not offer regular updates for these purchased add-on maps as well.

The sat nav is great, but we also found it useful to have a map to refer to see the bigger picture. We were able to find road maps for some states in hotel receptions or at state information centers.

And one of the biggest advantages of using a sat nav? Steph no longer has to navigate hour after hour, and can enjoy looking at the changing landscapes. I wouldn’t say I was particularly stressed on any of my earlier road trips. But with the sat nav I did find that my anticipation level was much lower, and I could also enjoy seeing the countryside we were passing through, knowing that I would be navigated safely to our destinations, especially through built-up areas.

Massachusetts to Minnesota (4): heading west through NY, PA, OH, KY and IN, then on to MN

Leaving Niagara Falls via the Niagara Scenic Parkway on the Sunday morning, we headed south, skirting Buffalo and the eastern shore of Lake Erie towards Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny National Forest. Our destination was Canton in Ohio, just south of Akron, a journey of 313 miles.

Along the Niagara Scenic Byway, there are two impressive bridges across the Niagara River on I-190.

There was little traffic around Buffalo, fortunately, even though it was a fine morning for Father’s Day. Soon enough we were outside the city limits and heading south into Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania was a ‘new’ state for us (as were OH and IN), and I particularly wanted to travel through the Allegheny National Forest.

We travel on the interstates as little as possible, taking US highways and county roads in preference. You get to see a lot more of rural America that way. But roads are none too wide with few places to stop. And certainly no easy stops for photography. So on these two days we have little to show, photographic-wise, for our long days on the road.

The next morning we had an early start as we decided to cover the whole route that I’d planned, some 447 miles south through Ohio, crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky, before crossing the river again further west into Indiana to reach our next destination, Bloomington.

The drive through OH took us through some delightful towns and villages, and productive agricultural landscapes. Although we saw road signs to be aware of Amish buggies on the road, we only saw a couple.

Somerset is a small town about 110 miles south of Canton. In the middle of its impressive town square (which had a very English feel to it) there was a statue to a famous son of Somerset, Union General Phil Sheridan.

We also passed by Dover OH, home to infamous Confederate guerilla leader William Clarke Quantrill (I just bought a biography to read), and also Bainbridge, home to the first dental school in the USA, opened in 1825.

Eventually we reached the Ohio River at Aberdeen OH. The Ohio is a very impressive river and as I commented in a post after last year’s road trip, its flow is greater than the Mississippi. No wonder that rivers like the Ohio were used to open up the interior of the country.

This is the bridge that carries US68 into Kentucky. We crossed a little further west on the William H Harsha Bridge, carrying US62.

Aberdeen is also the terminus of Zane’s Trace, the first continuous road through Ohio, from 1798.

Crossing into northern Kentucky, we were less than 50 miles north of where we had driven through the state in 2017. Then it was over the Ohio again, and into southeast Indiana. Our good friend and former IRRI colleague Bill Hardy (a native born Hoosier) told us that we should see the southern part of the state, since the northern half was flat and rather uninteresting, maize upon mile of maize. He was right. The drive into Bloomington was delightful in the early evening sunshine, with Highway 46 weaving through the trees, up and down dale.

After a restful night in Bloomington (yet another Comfort Inn!) we set off the next day for the penultimate sector of our trip that would take us to Ludington on Lake Michigan in the state of that name. This was another long drive, over 400 miles, north to Gary IN, and then wending our way north along the eastern shore of the lake.

Just over the state line into Michigan we stopped to have a quick picnic lunch at a rest area (and Michigan information center) on I-94. We were very impressed with the amount of tourist literature and maps available at the information center; Michigan certainly knows how to sell itself.

Just north of the state line we took a short detour to Warren Dunes State Park. Lake Michigan is like a vast internal sea, and along its shores, certainly the eastern shore, there are huge sand dunes, now covered with mature woodland. The sand is extremely soft, and hard to walk across. Just like being at the seaside, and although the day was overcast, enough brave souls were enjoying beach to the maximum.

This is Tower Hill Dune that rises to more than 230 feet above Lake Michigan.

Then it was back on the road again, heading for our last night stop of the trip, at Ludington, before taking the ferry across Lake Michigan the next morning to Manitowoc on the Wisconsin shore.

The ferry, SS Badger, across Lake Michigan is operated by LMC – Lake Michigan Carferry. Badger is the last coal-fired ferry operating in the world.

It is 393 feet long, and has a beam of almost 60 feet. It was built in 1953 in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Its sister ship, Spartan, has been laid up in Ludington for many years. Originally the ferries carried rail cars.

The 60 mile crossing of the lake takes four hours, but you gain 1 hour moving from Eastern Standard Time to Central Time. As it was a Wednesday in mid-June, before the height of the tourist season, the boat was far from busy. The slow, easy-paced crossing was just my opportunity to catch up on some sleep, in readiness for the final push into the Twin Cities from Manitowoc across Wisconsin, some 321 miles.

We were at the dockside a little after 07:30, and they started to board the vehicles shortly afterwards for an on-time departure from Ludington at 09:00. Vehicles are driven on board by company staff. So before we sailed we had a good look around the vessel.

Soon enough we were headed out of Ludington harbor.

And before we knew it, Manitowoc was coming into view, and everyone was getting ready to disembark.

I had planned a route across Wisconsin that took us from Manitowoc through Stevens Point on US10. We took I-43 north for a couple of miles or so, then came off to take US10, only to see a sign stating that the road was closed some miles ahead. With that, I changed the settings on my satnav to take the quickest route to St Paul, rejoining I-43 around Green Bay, and west on Highway 29, until we joined I-94 west of Chippewa Falls for the final 75 miles into the Twin Cities. Highway 29 was a nightmare. Although a dual carriageway (a divided highway) it just went on and on, unrelentingly, in a straight line across Wisconsin. However, we did arrive to Hannah and Michael’s almost an hour earlier than anticipated.

Thus ended our 2018 road trip across twelve states: MA, VT, NH, ME, NY, PA, OH, KY, IN, MI, WI, and MN.

In nine days we covered 2741 miles, plus another 477 miles in Maine itself during the six days we stayed at the cabin. We used 133 gallons of gasoline, at a cost of $384 ($2.89/gallon, less than half of what we would have to pay in the UK for the same amount of fuel), at an average consumption of 24.19 mpg.

I’m already planning for 2019; Georgia to Texas through the southern states seems a distinct possibility.


See the other posts in this series:

Massachusetts to Minnesota (1): the first three days in MA, VT and NH

Massachusetts to Minnesota (2): a week in Maine

Massachusetts to Minnesota (3): onwards to Niagara Falls

Massachusetts to Minnesota (3): onwards to Niagara Falls

Leaving Waterford, ME for Niagara Falls early on the morning of 15 June, we allowed two days for this sector of our trip, 366 miles on the first day, and 289 on the second.

We headed west to the Kancamagus Highway through the southern part of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and a slow climb to reach the the pass at 2855 feet. The cloud level was quite low, and at some scenic overlooks there was sometimes very little to see. But luck was on our side, and we did have some spectacular views in all directions, particularly at Pemigewasset Overlook northwards.

There were many road signs warning of the presence of moose along the highway throughout much of the trip in New England. But we saw neither hide nor hair, not even an antler. Roadkill raccoons were two a penny. This road sign (courtesy of Trip Advisor) warns drivers at the start of the Kancamagus Highway.

Once across the mountains, we turned south for about 30 miles on I-93, to join US4 to cross Vermont, a section we had more or less traveled the week before.

About 10 miles south on I-93 we saw a sign for road works ahead, and we could see the traffic slowing. But then I could also see vehicles moving beyond the ‘obstruction’, one at a time. Funny situation, I thought to myself. Anyway, to cut a long story short, agents (maybe 20 or more, plus dogs) of the US Customs & Border Protection were checking all vehicles for occupants. And, having British passports, we were asked to pull over while I retrieved our passports from a suitcase in the back. Once checked, we were waved on our way. By coincidence, I had read earlier that day a story about these ‘border checks’ miles and miles from any international border (with Canada in our case, or in the south with Mexico).

Once in Vermont we passed through a pretty town named Woodstock. No, not that one – that’s in NY. There was an interesting covered bridge, constructed in 1969 to replace an iron one that had been put across the river in 1877. Apparently this wooden construction was cheaper than other options.

Our destination for this night was Herkimer, NY, about 10 miles east of Utica. Crossing from Vermont into New York, we headed north into the Adirondacks Regions and west around Indian Lake, following for the first part, the valley of the Hudson River.

The following day, we headed west from Herkimer towards Ithaca (home of Cornell University). We passed through many delightful villages, among them Sauquoit where Steph spotted a memorial plaque. I regret not stopping, since it commemorated Asa Gray, born 18 November 1810 (same birthday as me), who is considered the preeminent American botanist of the 19th century.

We enjoyed the rolling landscape, dotted with small farms, the chapels in the villages.

St Paul’s Church, Paris Hill, established in 1797. This is the oldest parish in Western New York, from 1838.

At Ithaca, we stopped to have a picnic lunch beside Lake Cayuga, one of the Finger Lakes that characterize this part of upstate New York.

This is also wine country, and the views across Lake Seneca heading north towards Geneva were stunning. Wineries everywhere!

As we had a prior engagement in Niagara Falls NY that evening, I changed our route, joining I-90 west just north of Geneva rather than cutting across country (a much longer route) as I originally intended.

We arrived in Niagara Falls just before 5 pm, and after checking into our hotel close to the city center and the Falls, we decided to stretch our legs by taking the short walk to the American Falls. The light was just right, and although it was quite busy, I’m sure later in the season this site could be heaving with tourists.

So what was this prior engagement? We had arranged to meet my cousin Patsy and her husband David, who had driven down from Ottawa the day before and were staying on the Canadian side. They had never been to Niagara Falls before either. I had met Patsy just once, in the summer of 1972 a few months before I headed off to Peru. Patsy (just 12 then) and her elder sister Karen had come over to the UK with their mother Bridie, one of my Mum’s younger sisters, to meet the Healy side of the family.

We had arranged to meet for dinner at a small Italian restaurant, La Cuccina Di Mamma on Rainbow Boulevard. What a lovely time we had: great company, good food, and heaps of reminiscing! Steph and David were most indulgent towards Patsy and me.

The next day we were up early to take advantage of the good weather, and to view the Horseshoe Falls from Terrapin Point on Goat Island, and the American Falls in the other direction from Luna Island.

The best views of the Falls (mist permitting) are from the Canadian side, but we decided not to cross over. Instead, Patsy sent me these two photos of the American and Horseshoe Falls from their side of the border.

And this short (<3 minute video) illustrates the awesome power of the falls, with a flow of 675,000 gallons/second over the Horseshoe Falls, and 75,000 gallons/second over the American Falls (both relating to summer daytime flow).

Around 10 am, we’d explored all that we wanted, and so set off on the next stage of our journey, 760 miles over two days southwest through New York into Pennsylvania, Ohio, a brief stretch through Kentucky along the Ohio River, and on to Bloomington, Indiana.


See the other posts in this series:

Massachusetts to Minnesota (1): the first three days in MA, VT and NH

Massachusetts to Minnesota (2): a week in Maine

Massachusetts to Minnesota (4): heading west through NY, PA, OH, KY and IN, then on to MN

Massachusetts to Minnesota (2): a week in Maine

It has been great to meet up with our elder daughter, Hannah, and her family (Michael, Callum, and Zoë) for a week in a cabin at Waterford in Maine, taking a short break in our road trip. They flew in from St Paul (Minnesota) three days after we landed in the USA, and on the day that we drove over from Burlington in Vermont, crossing the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

And what fun we have all had together. It’s wonderful to see them again. It has been a year since we were last over on this side of the Atlantic.

On Saturday we decided not to stray far from the cabin, just the short distance to Hawk Mountain to take in the breathtaking panoramas south and west of Waterford.

Sunday was Michael’s 40th birthday so we celebrated by a visit to Attitash Mountain Resort, about 50 miles west of the cabin along US302. This map shows all the excursions we made during the six days we spent in Maine.

I’d been expecting huge crowds, and long queues for the rides. But no! Although school was out in some areas, the resort was quiet, and we could take as many rides up and down the mountain as we liked, and no waiting.

There were two rides that we enjoyed: the Alpine Coaster, and the Alpine slide. Never having experienced either, Steph decided to ride with Hannah on her Coaster ride; I took Zoë. Callum rode with Michael.

I’d seen videos on YouTube of alpine coasters around the USA. The one at Attitash is advertised as the longest. This is what it looks like.

Michael managed to capture me on his cellphone during one of my descents.

The Coaster was quite a bone shaker. More fun for us ‘oldies’ was the mile long and awesome descent on the Alpine Slide. It’s a bit like the Olympic luge. And we could all take our own carts, even Callum and Zoë.

Here’s what it looks like from a rider’s perspective, from a video I found on YouTube.

To begin the ride, it was necessary to take the chairlift up the mountain, about a 10 minute ride, with incredible views over the surrounding mountains.

And when it all got too much, it was nice just to sit back, relax in the sun, and watch the others having the time of their lives.

Being Michael’s special day, we stopped off for dinner at a recommended restaurant, where he enjoyed lobster, and the rest of us something not quite so exotic. The end to a great day.

After all the excitement of the previous day, we decided to take it easy on the Monday. So Hannah and Michael took the children around McWain Pond in a canoe.

Meanwhile, this was a great opportunity for me to enjoy yet another cold beer in the sunshine, and Steph to knock off another couple of chapters of the book she’d brought with her.

On the Tuesday we set off for Mt Washington, at 6228 feet the highest mountain in the northeast of the USA, and where the highest wind speed was recorded in the 1930s.

We passed by Mt Washington near Bretton Woods on the west side of the mountain while traveling across New Hampshire the week before.

It’s a seven mile drive up to the summit, and we enjoyed a 360° panorama at the top. We were lucky. For more than 60% of days, the summit is completely fogged in. While it was windy (40-60 mph), it was just about manageable.

There’s also a cog railway that climbs to the top, bringing even more tourists who don’t relish the drive. While we were at the summit several trains arrived, and I was fortunate to capture this shot of three at the summit.

After the slow descent, and heating of the brakes, we found a nice spot to enjoy a picnic, let the car cool down, and a rest for ourselves.

On the way back to Waterford, we finally came across one of New England’s famous covered bridges – at Jackson, NH! They really are fascinating, and from what I could tell from various plaques and information online, they are really cherished.

Wednesday and Thursday were our big excursion to the coast, to Camden on Penobscot Bay for an all-day sail around the bay on Sailing Vessel Owl with Capt Aaron (Lincoln) at the helm, a direct descendant of folks who came to the USA in the 1680s.

Michael used to sail these waters with his mother and stepfather when he was a boy, and was keen for Callum and Zoë to enjoy the same experience. We left the cabin by 06:30, and were ready for boarding the Owl around 09:30.

We set off east into the bay, arriving at the passage between North Haven and Vinalhaven (map) by lunchtime, in time for a short shore excursion on a small island. Until our return it had been warm and sunny, and mostly smooth. But as we set sail for the return to Camden, the wind got up, the waves increased and the temperature fell.

After a long day at sea, about 9 hours, we arrived back in the harbor, and enjoyed a welcome meal of freshly caught haddock. Since the drive from the cabin had taken about 2½ hours, we had already decided to spend the night in Camden, returning mid-morning the next day.

But before we left, we took a stroll around this pretty town and its harbor. In a small park overlooking the harbor there is a statue memorial to soldiers who fell in the American Civil War of the 1860s, referred to interestingly as The Great Rebellion.

There’s considerable wealth in Camden, given the large houses and boats moored in the harbor, owned by some of America’s most illustrious families.

Before heading back to the cabin at Waterford, Steph and I decided to take a look around Rockport, just a couple of miles south of Camden. On the point of a peninsula east of the town, the simple and beautiful Vesper Hill Chapel was built in 1962, and is dedicated to all young people who found God in their lives.

Then it was time to head west so that we would have enough time to pack, and prepare for the long trip even further westwards the next day.

Such was our week in Maine, enjoying time with Hannah and Michael, and the grandchildren. Callum and Zoë took everything in their stride, full of beans, and always ready for the next adventure. They keep us young!


See the other posts in this series:

Massachusetts to Minnesota (1): the first three days in MA, VT and NH

Massachusetts to Minnesota (3): onwards to Niagara Falls

Massachusetts to Minnesota (4): heading west through NY, PA, OH, KY and IN, then on to MN

Massachusetts to Minnesota (1): the first three days in MA, VT and NH

It’s that time of the year, and here we are, on the road again in the USA. Another potentially daunting road trip that will take us from Boston, Massachusetts (MA) to St Paul, Minnesota (MN) via Vermont (VT), New Hampshire (NH), Maine (ME), New York (NY), Pennsylvania (PA), Ohio (OH), Kentucky (KY), Indiana (IN), Michigan (MI), and Wisconsin (WI), including a ferry crossing of Lake Michigan from MI to WI. This year I’m using my new Garmin DriveSmart 51 sat-nav, for which I purchased the USA-Canada maps. It saves Steph having to navigate, state by state, map by map, as in previous years, so she can enjoy looking at the passing scenery.

We are also spending a week near Waterford in western Maine, with our daughter Hannah and family (Michael, Callum, and Zoë) at a cabin on the shore of McWain Pond, one of the many small lakes that dot the landscape.

Anyway, it all started last Wednesday morning, very early, when a taxi picked us up from home at 04:00 to take us to Birmingham Airport (BHX) for our 06:00 KLM flight to Amsterdam Schipol (AMS), connecting with Delta 259 at 11:15 to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).

Apart from a rather rude Delta ground agent at Schipol, our connection was uneventful, as was boarding (Sky Priority), and I was soon enjoying my first G&T on the 6 hour 55 minute flight, on a comfortable Airbus A330-300. When we landed in BOS there was a delay of more than 20 minutes while the ground crew figured out how to connect the air-bridge to the aircraft. But soon enough, we were checked through immigration on one of the newfangled automated passport control (APC) machines. I still had to pass through regular immigration (and facing another rude official who even queried me about any visits I’d made to the Middle East). Before long, luggage in hand, we were at the car rental center and picking up our SUV from Budget. The Mitsubishi we had been assigned had a flat battery, so Budget upgraded us to a full-size SUV, a Dodge Journey V6—rather larger than we needed, but extremely comfortable nevertheless, if a little heavy on fuel (about 25 mpg). But at USD3 a gallon, that’s not really an issue. It would be in the UK, however, where gasoline is more than twice the price!

We successfully navigated our way out of the airport and through the tunnels under Boston city center on I-90, after finally getting the sat-nav to behave itself. Our Wednesday night stop was in Hadley, in central MA, just over 100 miles west of Boston, and southwest by a handful of miles of Amherst.

Over the next two days we took in northwest MA, the Green Mountains of VT as far north as Burlington, and then over the White Mountains of NH, to arrive at our cabin destination in Waterford, ME.

Heading northwest from Hadley on Thursday, it was slow-going for the first 20 miles or so as we encountered school traffic and people heading to work. But soon we were in open country, on scenic byway 112 and often had the road to ourselves for long stretches (as we have enjoyed in past road trips). After about an hour we joined MA2, the Mohawk Trail, and followed that until North Adams where we turned north and crossed over into VT.

There was a glorious view south from Whitcomb Summit, and some miles further on, just short of North Adams, there is a spectacular view north into southern Vermont, reminding us of the views we saw when exploring the Appalachians in 2017.

Vermont is a beautiful state, with forested hills and mountains as far as the eye can see.

North of Wilmington, VT we stopped at a general store and deli to buy sandwiches and were intrigued with the Mini Cooper parked outside with an interesting registration plate BONKS. There was also a Golden Retriever with a Union Jack collar. We discovered that the proprietor was British, from Guildford in Surrey (near London)!

We spent Thursday night on the east side of Burlington, conveniently located for the next day’s travel northeast into New Hampshire and Maine, beginning around 08:00.

Most of the small communities we passed through have a general store or two, offering a whole range of produce, and many selling fresh sandwiches from a deli counter. We enjoyed a coffee in the sun at Westfield in the far north of the state, just south of the border with Canada.

Crossing into New Hampshire, we headed towards the White Mountains and were not disappointed with the fantastic view of the Presidential Range and the Mt Washington Hotel Resort at Bretton Woods. That’s Mt Washington just left of center, at 6288 ft the highest mountain in the northeast USA.

But Bretton Woods also has special significance for me. Why? Well, I worked for 27 years at two international agricultural centers, CIP and IRRI,  sponsored by the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research). The CGIAR was founded in 1971 under the auspices of the World Bank. In July 1944, an international conference was held at the hotel to plan for a post-war world, following which the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were created.

Stopping at Conway to pick up a supply of groceries, we finally reached the cabin around 17:00. A long enough day, followed by a couple of cold beers, an early night, but still far short of some of the travel we have yet to make.

Watch this space!


See the other posts in this series:

Massachusetts to Minnesota (2): a week in Maine

Massachusetts to Minnesota (3): onwards to Niagara Falls

Massachusetts to Minnesota (4): heading west through NY, PA, OH, KY and IN, then on to MN