Thus concludes my & Val’s tour of the eastern seaboard.
So much for writing more often.
Tomorrow, I will put Val on a plane back to Portland (Oregon, that is) and I will cross the border into Canada. As you might imagine, so much has transpired since my DC post. I really need to write more often.
And, as of tomorrow, I will be on my own schedule. No one is flying anywhere to meet me, so I can go at my own pace. I’m looking forward to it. Maybe I’ll even write more often.
Since about Georgia, I’ve had the feeling that maybe I was doing it wrong. That by pushing so hard to get out east so fast I was missing out on adventures and experiences along the way.
For example, I didn’t eat a single bit of local food in any of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, or South Carolina. To be fair (to myself), the South is a tough place for a vegetarian to just pull off the road and get a meal. So I stuck mostly to Subway™ and my own cooking through that stretch. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I think it was Ashley’s husband, Jake, who, when I told him the above, helped me reframe it. He said that by getting out to the Northeast quickly, I could then decide what pace to take on my way back. If I want to go slow, I can go slow because I’ve only used 3½ of my 8 weeks. If I’m feeling barn sour, I can go fast and get back sooner. Thanks for that reset, Jake!
There’s so much to share Imma go all bullet points for the trip updates, but first some stats!
In an exciting (to me) development, I have made it so y’all can see the latests mileage-related stats in real time whenever you want! Just head to gas-buddy.netlify.app (optimized for mobile) and you can view each of the trip segments on the map and see summary stats including the following:
Days on the road: 27
States visited so far: 22
Miles driven: 5882.5
Gallons of gas used: 417.4
Average miles per gallon: 14.1
Average gas price: $4.56/gallon
Animals seen since last issue: groundhog (outside our hotel in Bangor, Maine)
Another exciting (to me) thing I’ve been doing throughout the course of the trip is identifying plants using the iOS app, Seek. I set up a (janky for now, but I intend to improve it) little website whose only purpose is to display screenshots of all of the plants I’ve managed to ID over the last 4 weeks.
Everything else 😅
Since leaving DC, I’ve (takes deep breath):
Met up with former Zapier co-worker, Erin Ozolins, who performed with her group, Calliope Brass, at the Memorial Day activities for the town of Sayreville, New Jersey. I got there in time for their rendition of the National Anthem, some speeches by local dignitaries, and a 21-gun salute to U.S. veterans. I was impressed that the former commander of the local VFW closed his remarks by saying that someday we’d hopefully figure out how not to need any more wars.
Stopped through the town of New Paltz, New York, which was founded in 1678 by one of my direct ancestors, Louis DuBois, who was among the original patentees for the settlement. The “fort” he built in 1705 still stands in the historic district for the town.
Attempted to resolve the question of whether Sarah DuBois Van Meteren (daughter of Louis and his wife, Catharine, and my direct ancestor) was present at an infamous incident which, had it turned out differently, would mean I would never have happened. Alas, the cemetery where Sarah is purported to be buried was vast and gravestones older than about 1850 were unreadable, leaving me unable to definitively establish the year of her birth.
Visited Fort Ticonderoga, a once strategically important fort that lies between Lake Champlain and Lake George along the New York/Vermont border. The fort was long considered impregnable after a force of 4,000 French repelled an attack by 16,000 British troops (albeit away from the fort itself). The Brits held the fort until early in the Revolutionary War when Ethan Allen & Benedict Arnold (before he turned traitor) figured out they could haul cannon up to the top of a nearby hill and reach the fort. Once they did so, the British gave up the fort without a shot being fired.
Spent a few days in Burlington, Vermont, visiting my friend and grad school classmate Arline, her daughters, and mom. Val attempted to fly in, but ended up spending a day on Amtrak (insert long story about air travel gone terribly wrong). It just so happened that Arline’s younger daughter was graduating high school the weekend we were there, so we got to attend that. I’ve known these girls (now strong young women) since they were born. I swear 20 years didn’t just pass, though…
Stayed a night in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where we met up with Val’s & my friends Alexis & Michael for lunch and a stroll around the historic downtown. Great to see them after they moved away from the
BestWest Coast! If you ever make plans to stay in the area, I highly recommend The Sailmaker’s House for your accommodations.
Met up with the aforementioned Ashley & her husband, Jake, outside of Portland, Maine. Super fun pit stop, thanks for making the drive down from South Paris!
Stayed 2 nights in Acadia National Park, which was, predictably, freaking stunning. Had great weather the first night, then mostly rain, but our spirits weren’t as dampened as our clothing. I knew Bar Harbor (or as a sticker in one of the local shops called it Baa Ha Ba) was a thing, but didn’t realize there are 3 or 4 other cute/quaint towns on the island as well. I would love to go back when the weather is better, but I also imagine that would mean battling mobs of tourists.
Val & I are currently posted up in Bangor, Maine, awaiting her flight out tomorrow morning. We went around to some Stephen King spots last night, but are otherwise just catching up after a week of being on the run.
As I mentioned at the top, Val flies back tomorrow after which I’ll head for the easternmost point of the United States before crossing into Canada a bit to the north. I look forward to this next chapter of the trip. I still have many people to see along the way, but the timing will be determined by my whim rather than my calendar.