2013 Vacation Day 13: Thursday...a 4 state marathon drive

Huge thunderstorm last night, with tons of rain, and with lightning that was more sheet than bolts. The entire sky would ignite like a flashbulb, followed by a series of loud thunder cracks that would shudder all around. It was quite impressive. This went on for a few hours until the storm front moved through. It was all clear when we got up, which was a relief considering the big drive we had today.
We decided when planning our vacation that we would use Thursday to get to Rollins Pond in one shot, rather than stopping half way. This gave us the opportunity to spend 2 nights there instead of just one, and we managed to snag a nice spot with a good beach.

So we had to drive cross-country across 3 states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont) today to make it to our New York state park so we were up and out as planned at 6:00am. The route was to head towards Bangor, catch the 95 a short ways to Newport, then ride rote 2 straight across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Hwy 2 is a good two lane road, and given it travels 4 states, you do run into a variety of road conditions. For the most part, it is an excellent route. It is slow though, as the average speed limit is 50mph, and there are lots of little towns along the way. The beauty of this type of route is that you get a true sense of where you are. On an expressway, you could be anywhere, no visual cues to set the character of the area, just a wide swath of asphalt cutting through somewhere. For those looking to actually see something, get off the mind numbing interstates and find yourself a nice state road. You will be amazed at what you will see, and I think you will be a lot fresher when you arrive at your destination.

Tracked our way across Maine, enjoying the smell of the pines along the way, literally drop the windows and the car is infused with pine. Maine is also known as the state of pines, and this aroma confirms that. Amazing the vast wooded areas here, as far as the eye can see.

The interesting thing, with the number of logging trucks that have been rolling by, the countryside is not dotted with swatches of clear cut, unless they are perhaps purposely out of sight, but I doubt that lumber companies would bother to go to that effort. Crossing into New Hampshire, we now get reminded of what is possibly the best state slogan ever. "Live free or die". Every license plate reminds you of this motto. Simply a classic. Home of the White Mountains, the roads here are either making slow climbs up, or long descents. The car always seems to be working hard, which in fact it is. You really know that you are towing a trailer, I cannot imagine the power required to haul one of those big 5th wheels up and over these hills. Nice country side, but not as forest dense as Maine. Lots of quaint little towns, with older architecture that suggests they have been around a while.

Vermont is similar to NH, both in terms of terrain and the character of the area. Lots of varied roadways and little towns, although perhaps a little more depressed around the edges of the state. We stopped at a little convenience store outside St. Johnsbury, and the poor man running the place looked like he was barely hanging on, managing only the occasional grunt in response to any verbal interchange. He has probably been squeezed out of his little market by the Shell and Irving full service travel stops, a sign of the times, where the big swallow the little. Hopped the 89 for a bit before exiting to a small country road to make our way to a ferry service that runs between Charlotte VT and Essex NY.

This little ferry has much shorter crossing time than the one from Burlington, and is also closer to the highways we will use to get to Rollins Pond SP. A bit of an adventure finding the ferry, and at one point the roads got so small we started to question exactly where we had ended up, as our maps were of little help. Finally a tiny sign on a tiny post gave us hope we were at least headed in the right direction.

Once in New York state, we made our way to Hwy 9 on similar tiny roads. At Keene Valley, we dropped into an excellent outdoors store called 'The Mountaineer'. A great spot for all things outdoorsy. Time was now creeping towards 5:00pm, a long driving day. We were getting close now, only yet to get past Lake Placid and then Saranac Lake, to be within a few miles of Rollins. We were so lucky to have avoided any rain storms, as given the types of roads we traveled, and the sheer number of miles, throwing bad weather into the mix would have made for a more stressful time. However long we avoided the rain, we did not totally escape it. Very close to Rollins the skies darkened and opened up. The rain at times very heavy, but we did not really care as we were only minutes from our site. It slacked off a bit as we got set up, then stopped altogether. We have a nice site with a great chunk of beach.

A couple of beers and some leftovers wound down the end of a very long day. The bonus is tomorrow, when regardless of what the weather may be, we can take the whole day to relax.


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