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America.......The Beautiful


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Great report Eric, thanks for sharing. Damn I miss just getting in the car, heading to the closest border crossing, and exploring the US of A. Not going to happen again for me, for a little while. Had some great times back in the 2000’s. While the secondary roads are awesome, what really makes American travel great is the network of Interstates. You’re never far away from a full service fuel stop, usually open 24 hours and with all the essential snacks. 
 

I know fuel prices have more than doubled up here in Canada since last June. Cheapest I saw was 55 cents/Litre at a Calgary Costco, when crude had to be given away.  In Montreal these days, 15 months later, it’s $1.45. I saw it’s really gone up your way too, hardly any state is below $3 anymore. I know how much those pickups consume, last winter my buddy lent me his Tundra, seems like I would spent $20 every time I made a couple of stops. But hey, good for you, the comfort in the cab,  4WD in bad weather, and the ability to haul something whenever you need to……there is no substitute 

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9 hours ago, Mr. Smooth said:

I realized I was doing something that so many never get a chance to do. To see again people who at one time in your life, meant something to you, maybe had shared in some memorable times, and to know that we were still on this side of the dirt, that it wasn't too late to let them know how much they meant to you. I think that understanding, in the end, was the ultimate reward I received for venturing out beyond my own comfort zone. We all have friends who are no longer with us and wish we could see them again. And maybe regrets that we didn't when we had a chance. I wasn't getting any younger and figured now would be an ideal time to make such a journey.

Beautifully written way to close out to a wonderful report.

With prose that good @Yessongs should forgive your sartorial sins against California with no more than 10 Hail Marys.

 

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I think a lot of folks forget that Maine even exists, because it is so far East and not very populated. I was about 11 when Dad took the family to Kennebunkport for a week, was a very good time. Was also the vacation home of President Bush(Sr.), at the time. Great seafood, and nice waves on the beach. It’s funny, Google Maps gives a drive time of 5.5 hours, but we 
actually stopped for a night on the way, I think the total was more like 8 hours. Quebec to Maine is all secondary roads, I’m pretty sure I was navigating from the backseat and didn’t give Dad the most direct route! 
 

What sticks out on that trip was an act of kindness from a mechanic somewhere else in Maine. Dad had an 1984 Grand Prix, couldn’t have been more than 3-4 years old. The radiator started having problems in the summer heat. I’ll never forget that balding man, sweat just just dripping down his forehead, spending probably an hour to give Dad a temporary fix so we could get home, instead of doing the whole job.  Didn’t even want to take a $5 tip…….there are some truly kind people in this world. And we did get home fine after that

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1 hour ago, Lemondropkid said:

Beautifully written way to close out to a wonderful report.

With prose that good @Yessongs should forgive your sartorial sins against California with no more than 10 Hail Marys.

 

Thanks Lemon, but I still have the drive back. A little more "prose" to come with pics. But thanks for the nice words, appreciate it.

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4 hours ago, Mr. Smooth said:

Thanks Lemon, but I still have the drive back

That guzzler you bought sure does look nice. But, Christ the fuel bill must be off the charts!

Then again, you don't get many chances to travel the back roads in this big country, so it ain't going to be cheap!

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7 hours ago, Mr. Smooth said:

Thanks Lemon, but I still have the drive back. A little more "prose" to come with pics. But thanks for the nice words, appreciate it.

Well keep the write up coming when you get the chance- it's a great read.

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20 hours ago, Lemondropkid said:

Beautifully written way to close out to a wonderful report.

With prose that good @Yessongs should forgive your sartorial sins against California with no more than 10 Hail Marys.

 

How did you know I was a good Catholic Boy LOL! 

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1 hour ago, Yessongs said:

How did you know I was a good Catholic Boy LOL! 

I was in the box next door when the fella owned up to 6 GoGo dancers, and 2 Hooters hostesses  that my ears perked up.

It was the moment he told Father he was only on a weekend trip from Bangkok that all pieces fell in place😉

 

Edited by Lemondropkid
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18 hours ago, Mr. Smooth said:

..."Unbeknownst to me, it turns out the Hotel Harrington was the so-called "headquarters" for the rabble rousers that everyone saw at the Capitol on that infamous January 6th afternoon, where our democracy was "under siege", as the media pundits had gravely described it. It left me wondering if my 6th floor room had been occupied 8 months earlier by no less than the furry hat wearing guy with the Viking horns protruding out."...

Great trip report.

Every American & wannabe American should visit DC at least once. Did you go to the Smithsonian?

Since you brought it up, for many Americans January 6, 2021 will go down in history as a more dangerous day for our democracy than September 11, 2001. (...'nough said on that topic.)

Looking forward to your return journey.

 

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Outstanding report Smooth, were you completely shocked seeing that Thai bartender? OK I need a pic...I know you got one LOL! 

The Vietnam Memorial is a treasure all Americans should see..saw it back in 1982 if memory serves me correctly. 

Well done TR...great read. 

 

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10 hours ago, lazarus said:

Great trip report.

Every American & wannabe American should visit DC at least once. Did you go to the Smithsonian?

 

 

Arguably the greatest museum in the USA. Fortunate to visit it many years ago. Amazing!

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Thanks @Mr. Smooth for the excellent TR. It's bringing back a lot of fond memories of trips I've made across the US.

Something I've not thought about before, but now realize there's only two states I've not been to. Those would be Hawaii and Alaska.

America really is a beautiful and diverse country.

Looking forward to the next installments of your TR. TFP!

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More memories for me. In 1997, me and and a buddy drove from Sherbrooke down to Atlantic City and Wildwood, NJ, and fit in a day in DC. 
Was really sweet to see the Monument, pool, White House, even got a quick tour inside the Capitol. Unfortunately, this was way before IPhones  and even digital cameras, so I’ve lost whatever snaps I took. 
 

I can really recommend seeing D.C at least once, it’s quite a site. 
 

 

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I have quite a few pics and movies too. Unfortunately they're on slides and super 8, and in storage at my son's house. One of these days I intend to covert them to digital. Hopefully I don't run out of days before I get around to that project. 

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There is a highway sign near the exit where I went to work for nearly 30 years. It's on the eastbound side of I-80 just before 80 and Business 80 split in West Sacramento, a couple miles before crossing the bridge into Sacramento. This is also the point where US 50 starts if heading east. A few of my bm's who live in Northern California could be familiar with it if on their way to Lake Tahoe or Reno for a weekend getaway. It shows Ocean City, Maryland 3,088 miles away. Ocean City is on the Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern most point where US 50 ends. And for 30 years I had wondered what it would be like to drive that highway across the country. Well, on my trip coming home, I would wonder no more.

Two blocks from my hotel in DC, after checking out I made a right on Constitution Ave, which was US 50, and I stayed on that black top for the next 6 days going to California.

The weekend morning traffic was light and as I escaped from the DC suburbs, the Virginia countryside, full of ranches, horse farms and wineries, opened up to me. The colonial architecture was prevalent in the towns as post offices, court houses and other assorted government buildings proudly showed off their refurbished exteriors that harked back a couple of hundred years. The Appalachians appeared and with it, Virginia, with only a small stretch of extreme Western Maryland to intervene, gave way to West Virginia and the twisty turns of the road that guided me through. I passed by several small mountain towns, but all with their own, quaint character. In one town, a Baptist church stood, it's coned steeple a beacon rising higher than any other building in town. And directly across from it, not more than a 50 foot walk away, was a guns and ammo shop.

Apparently a guy had his choice....he could enter one building to pray for and love his neighbor or he could enter the other one and purchase a Winchester and shoot the bastard! West Virginia, almost heaven, but maybe not always!

I was surprised at the beauty of the gently rolling hills of Eastern Ohio, to include seeing a few Amish folks in their regalia. I spent the night in Ohio, mentally exhausted from the drive, the constant looking ahead on the road for oncoming traffic since there were so many blind turns through the hills. Once west of Appalachia, I knew the sharp curves would straighten out as the land became flatter, and into Southern Indiana and Illinois on the next days drive it did, allowing for me to make some time. 

Nothing especially memorable happened, nor did I see much to take pictures of. Once in Missouri, a lovely state, I ran into the only rainfall I would have on the ride back. The skies changed in rapid fashion and in what had been a hot, humid and sun drenched afternoon, was quickly swallowed up by a passing front that made it's presence felt and the dark clouds blotted out the sun and blue sky.

Kansas was as flat and boring as could be, one of only a couple occasions where I actually felt myself starting to doze while behind the wheel. At a gas stop in Dodge City, Ks I did something I seldom do and bought a couple of those awful tasting 5 hour energy drinks. I figured to make it into Colorado, I might need a little extra horsepower to keep me alert. In this part of the country, there is not much to see and with such little visual stimulation to help you enjoy the ride, it really becomes a test of one's endurance as to how far they want to go. I had my sights set on Lamar, Colorado, roughly 30 miles beyond the Kansas state line.

After the previous two days, that had taken me from a small town near the Illinois and Indiana border to Eastern Colorado, I knew the least interesting part of the drive was behind me and with the Rockies, the canyonlands of Utah and the Great Basin of Nevada left to go, the last 1200 miles would at least afford me the chance to see some rugged and unforgiving country.

And a last night on the road in what is considered the most remote town in the Continental US on the Loneliest Road in America......Ely, Nevada.

I was now headed for the home stretch.

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