Summer of 2010: It was a spontaneous, spur of the moment decision. My son wanted to try out his new car on a long road trip. I've never been to NYC before, only to NY State, and that was a while a go now. My son handled the car really well, he drove all the way there and NY City itself, which was kind of crazy at times! It was a short trip, but interesting all the same.
I thought I would put up some photos we took on the way and in NYC too. I haven't studied the areas at all, the following are just my impressions.
So, we crossed over the border at Calais. The guard asked us the usual questions. When we told him we were heading towards New York, he asked us some additional questions.
In St. Stephen:
We planned to camp along the way, so had all our camping gear, including a large cooler in the back. After picking up some food for cooler and some new batteries (for the camera), we set off down Highway number number 9. Highway 1 would have been a much better option, as it goes by the coast, and it would mean a prettier route to take, but we wanted to see where Stephen King lives in Bangor, so Highway 9 it was.
Scenery along the way:
We stopped at this rest stop:
Reaching the outskirts of Bangor we realized just how patriotic most Americans are. Maine has the most white people (98.08%) of any State in America. There were literally hundreds of the flags along this stretch of road. They were placed every few feet:
In Bangor we notice the greyhound station:
And then we go looking for and find Stephen Kings house!
I like the bats his gateway:
Perfect for a horror writer. I was surprised that he left his driveway gate wide open. Inside was parked a gray Mercedes. My son had one of is novels (The tower), and we wondered if we would be lucky enough to get him to sign it. So I headed in to knock at his front door and then saw a 'private property' sign, so decided not to disturb him.
He lives in a very ordinary street, which sure enough have some nice big houses, his was probably the most interesting. The neighbors must see him and his family often, coming in and out, shopping and just going about their business, just like the rest of us. My respect for him went up when I saw that he wasn't locking himself away like most celebrities do, especially in LA.
After Bangor we went on Highway 1 for a while, but it was real slow moving, so we decided to take Interstate 95 for the rest of the way to NYC. It's a great road to drive on, with many lanes, but the toll booths (or turnpikes as they are called), were a bit of a surprise. They didn't charge much, a dollar or two here and there, but they were annoying. Good job we changed some currency over the American dollars back in St. Stephen.
Here's a map of the the basic route we took. (Apart from a few wrong turns where we ended up on the wrong highway for some miles)
Eventually we decided it was time to find a camp ground. We saw a sign for camping just as we got to Saco, still in Maine. This a town with many beaches and is popular with the tourists. The camp ground was very well maintained. There was the option of using your own tent or camper, or having a cabin for the night. I found out that many people were seasonal there, in that they camped for a week or weeks at a time.
We booked in at the office:
The best thing about this campground was that they has a large swimming pool and hot tub. The boys and I went swimming later on that evening, the luke warm water was very refreshing. We also made a fire in the pit, just for fun.
In the morning we set off again. Crossing the State of New Hampshire didn't take too long. We started to see cars with license plates from lots of other States. The New Hampshire plates has the motto: "Live Free or Die''.
Soon enough we were in the State of Massachusetts. Massachusetts is a state in the New England region. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. Most of its population of 6.6 million lives in the Boston metropolitan area.
We saw cars from everywhere it seemed. Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Florida, we even saw a truck from Tennessee and a car from California! However we were the only New Brunswickers around.
We passed this guy on a Harley and it turned out he was a member of the Hells Angels. He had the logo on the back of his jacket, I couldn't get to the right angel to take it, (and didn't want him to notice that I was taking his photo)
Boston is the capital and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England. Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. In 2009 the population was 645,169. Boston is also the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.5 million people.
In 1630, Puritan colonists from England founded the city on the Shawmut Peninsula. During the late 18th century, Boston was the location of several major events during the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Several early battles of the American Revolution, such as the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston, occurred within the city and surrounding areas.
With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Boston is a center of higher education and a center for medicine. The city's economy is also based on research, electronics, engineering, finance, and high technology—principally biotechnology. The city has been experiencing gentrification and has one of the highest costs of living in the United States.
On a personal level, I was just in awe at how beautiful the city was. If a city can be beautiful then this one was definitely it. It's easy to see that much 'old money' and generations of wealthy people have lived and helped build up this great city:
Many flags around:
even printed on cars!
My pictures really don't do credit to just how well organized and pristine this city is, I was impressed.
Next we cross over the State of Rhode Island. Here we somehow end up on another Highway, and have to take the long route to get back on Interstate 95 going south. We stop for lunch and are back on our way. The heat is extreme today, and I worry about my son's car heating up, especially as he is driving non stop hundreds of miles at a time. So far my son's 'new' car is holding up well though
We estimated that the journey to new York would be around 700 miles. I think we might have done a bit more than that in the end. And the same distance back.
Connecticut interested me because we have American friends who live in my village that grew up and are from this State. We didn't have the time to explore the different States, (maybe next time). For that we needed to be more organized and have a lot more time on our hands. But it was still good to get the feel of them as we passed by.
Connecticut has a population of 3.5 million residents. Connecticut has a long history dating from early colonial times and was influential in the development of the federal government.
Finally we get to New York State. The last time I was here was in the winter and then we were visiting Albany. It is true what they say, New York is beautiful in the snow.
This time around we arrive on a boiling hot day, the sun is just blasting down on us. Good job we have air conditioning in the car. The governor of NYC is David Paterson and the the city's main airport is JF Kennedy, named after, of course the past president. The two other airports are called Newark Liberty and LaGuardia. It's well known for it's subway system, Broadway, zoos, museums and many famous buildings and people.
'New York is the most populous city in the United States, and the center of the New York metropolitan area, which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. A leading global city, New York exerts a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. As host of the United Nations Headquarters, it is also an important center for international affairs.'
'Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic coast of the Northeastern United States, the city consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. The city's 2009 estimated population approached 8.4 million, and with a land area of 305 square miles, New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States. The New York metropolitan area's population is also the nation's largest, estimated at 19.1 million people over 6,720 square miles. Furthermore, the Combined Statistical Area containing the greater New York metropolitan area contained 22.2 million people as of 2009 Census estimates, also the largest in the United States.'
I think everyone has heard at least a little about NYC. We all have our own impressions of it don't we? The phrase I would use to describe the city is; 'it just buzzes'. I had heard that the one area to avoid would be the Bronx, but guess what? That is the first place we end up by accident!
We arrive in the City and cross over the George Washington bridge and there we are. In the bronx. It's busy, the hustle, bustle is something to see. Too much to take in in one go almost. It's loud and raw and right in your face:
This police cruiser starts to follow us and then flashes it's lights. We stop at the lights, the officer looks at us (and I guess our Canadian plates) and just drives away!
The yellow NYC taxi's are everywhere. We drive out of the bronx and go over the Manhatten and Brooklyn, trying to find the zoo. We seem to hit the toll booths more often then not. One charged us $8.75, just to cross over the bridge. The traffic was very busy and if you take one wrong turn you end up in another part of NYC! I wish I had the GPS system that I have now, it would have made it a lot easier, but at the time, we just relied on a hand map, and not a good one at that!
And of course we couldn't leave without seeing the Statue of Liberty. The Statue sits on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France. The one thing that surprised me was just how many people had never heard of it in NY, and the ones that had had no idea how to get to it.
We had to get over to Jersey City to see it, I think to get a good photo of it you would need to get on a boat in order to get nearer to it. But anyway by the time we got there, it was nearly dusk, so this is the best my camera could capture from the distance:
Can you spot it on this one:
Finally, after paying yet more toll bridges we set off back home:
...only another 700 miles or so before we get back to the country life.
Deyana, I absolutely adore this report because it is so similar to my own experience -- the things you see along the way, even at skewed angles, and the succession of surprising yet ordinary sights.
The last time I drove into Maine from Canada, I was accorded the utmost suspicion about why I would be on a small road instead of being on the Interstate that any "normal" person would use. Once the immigration official was obliged to admit that I did not seem to be a dangerous terrorist (although who can really trust an American citizen in a Canadian rental car?), he gave me directions to get to the Interstate as quickly as possible. I ignored him and continued on the normal state highway.
Thanks for showing Stephen King's house. As a fan, it is the sort of thing that I wonder about.
The pictures of NYC street traffic are excellent, but I don't care how many times anybody shows me photos of the MetLife building -- for me, it will eternally be the Pan Am building.
Thanks, Kerouac. I should have taken better photos really, but most were taken on the run. Just like London, New York City was all rush, rush, rush. A very interesting place though.
The immigration officials on the borders can act like little Nazi's some times, but as long as they let you through, you can pretty do what you want I've found. I think they must be used to me and my car by now, as I go over the same border quite often. Perhaps the car is registered on their radar each time or something? but they don't bother that much with me now.
I think the next time we'll probably take the quicker route, as we won't be aiming for Stephen King's house. Maybe even coming back via Niagara in Ontario.
Enjoyed your journey Deyana, I like to hear when people get lost it makes it more exciting seeing things you did not expect to. Stephen King's home is amazing! Have you been to Niagara Falls before? Cheers, Mich
Deyana, if you cross the border often, can't you buy one of those passes you register for and then you just cross the border without the hassle? My sister has one since they often drive into the States.
mich, I've never been to see Niagara Falls, so that is why I though we might as well go back that way. Have you seen them? I guess you must have done. Funny thing is when I was in England, when people found out that I lived in Canada, the first thing they asked was 'have you been to Niagara Falls?' Everyone seem to associate Canada with them. Stephen King's house is really something isn't it? Looks like he has a sense of humor as well as being so creepy!
fumobici, the New England area is really beautiful too. I used to live in the West for years (British Colombia), and was always in awe of the fantastic mountains there, but the East has it's own kind of charm. I've found that there is much more history in the East than the West, where it's a bit more 'modern' in different ways. I need to explore more of the Maritimes, that will have to be a separate trip.
bjd, I know the pass that you refer to, and I have thought of getting one. I know quite a few people around here do have one. I just haven't got around to it yet. Those passes are a really good idea.
Bixa, I added the maps to clarify (more to myself really than anything else), just where I had been and to jump start my memory of the highways taken etc. The trip was all my son's idea! Yes, I like to think my boys are brave, he also proved to me that he can really drive, much better than me actually. Which is kind of funny really, as I was the one who taught him to drive in the first place!
cheery, it's well worth a visit. Next time I am there, I'd like to stay for a few days, there is just so much to do and see, can't do it all in one day. One of my good friends in England just came back from spending a week in New York City, she said is was crazy busy, (they used the subway and buses - which is the best way to get around I think anyway). She was exhausted by the end of the week!
Yes Deyana we have been to Niagara Falls, it is an amazing sight to see. There is a touristy area called Clifton Hill that is fun as well, wax museums, haunted house and bizarre and quaint shops and of course a casino. We have family in St. Catharine's which is not far away and have gone there for their Grape and Wine Fest in the fall, we really enjoyed that. It would be a nice time of year to travel through there.
When we were in Switzerland up in the mountains, we were talking with some people and they asked us to compare the mountains in Western Canada and were shocked that we have not seen them. I think it is difficult for Europeans to grasp how expansive Canada is. I also told them we came to Switzerland because sourcing the same trip to Banff was more expensive than the trip to Switzerland at the time (2003). We were asked about Niagara Falls as well, at least we could help with information on that subject.
I agree with Bixa, I was impressed to read and see that you drove through NYC, but what a way to experience it, good for you. I would have been on the open top bus. Cheers, Mich
komsomol, it doesn't look it, but we did make some stops (to sleep, rest and eat). The trip actually took a few days..
mich, I was sure you must have seen Niagara Falls, I can just imagine what a great sight they must be. I'd really like to see that haunted house. Canada is huge, as we all know. I been across it three times already. Once by greyhound bus! And I had my 10 and 11 year old nephew and niece with me too at that time. I found that Saskatchewan and Manitoba seemed to take for ever to cross, so much of it is rural and farmlands, with miles of nothing in between. The Rockies are truly awesome, not much can compare to them. One summer while living in B.C. we took the kids to the Badlands in Drumheller, Alberta, to see the Dinosaur museum, driving through he Rockies. It was really something, the whole area is so beautiful.
Deyana, as a child when we came to Canada, we lived in PEI, what a beautiful place, if you have not been, I highly recommend it. Lots of nice memories of digging for clams and playing in the parks.
From there we moved to Ontario, the seven of us in the car heading west. We detoured into the States to avoid Quebec due to the FLQ difficulties at the time but did get to see the Thousand Islands.
From Ontario, the seven of us and now also a dog into the car again to move further west. Northern Alberta, no mountains .
From Alberta, the seven of us and the dog back into the car to move back east to Ontario for good.
Therefore, I can sympathize with you regarding driving through the Prairies, but as a Canadian, I am glad I have had the fortune of being in the car almost coast to coast. We hope to get to British Columbia some day. Cheers, Mich
mich, wow, you have certainly been around. Almost from coast to coast. Did you find that hard as a child or was it more of an adventure for you and your siblings? I've moved around quite a bit as well, but I always worry about the affect it has/has had on my kids as they were growing up. I've lived in 40 different places altogether now! I always felt bad that my kids had to leave their friends behind each time we moved as they had to change schools. Luckily we've been able to stay put for the last 6 years or so, which is such a blessing.
I really want to explore more of the Maritimes, it must have been just wonderful living in PEI as a child, it is, as you say, a really nice place for a child to be and grow up in. Clams must just be in abundance in this area I think, there are literally thousands of them in the local lakes around here as well. I think British Columbia is really worth a visit. Part of my heart will always be there, I had two of my boys there and it's a wonderful area of the world.
Yes Deyana we have seen a fair amount of this country by the way of the Trans Canada Highway. I would have to say I enjoyed the way I grew up and think it is why I love to travel now. We hope to get to BC someday and actually Newfoundland as well.
This house that my husband and I now own, is the longest in time that either of us have lived in the same house, just over 13 years now. Up until then even when we married we moved about every 5 years, it seemed an impulse in us.
For your children, I think as long as your children are happy with you, it does not matter where they are living, kids make friends quickly as soon as the move in, they adapt and now with the internet, they have the option of never losing contact with the friends they accumulate along the way. I have many friends from my teenage years that I still have frequent visits with. Cheers, Mich P.S. I would find it very interesting some day to talk with you about your 40 homes!