T R I P   J O U R N A L

W E E K   # 1 6

ANOTHER DAY AT THE COAST - Monday, October 18, 2004

Today is Monica's last day in Maine. We decide to just kick around at the coast for the day. Our travels include a drive out to Cape Neddick and York Harbor. Along the way we run into photogenic Nubble Light in York, ME. The day winds down and we make our way to Portland, ME where we have some fun with the seagulls, followed by a downtown waterfront dining experience on an old ship that's permanently anchored in Casco Bay. The time finally arrives where Monica has to fly back to NYC. After dropping her off at the airport, I park at local Wal-Mart then settle in for the evening.

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I'VE FINALLY HIT THE WALL - Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Today I finally hit the wall. After building for about a month now, I wake feeling really, really down, my road-trip ways have finally caught up with me. My road-trip is now in grave jeopardy, I'm starting to entertain serious thoughts of heading back home, framing my trip as a Portland, OR to Portland, ME excursion rather than an around the country adventure.

While mulling over my future plans, I meet up with my friend Brian who I met two months earlier when hiking in Yellowstone National Park. Turns out he lives in Portland, ME. I meet him for lunch, it's good to see him again. We chat for a bit then part company. After lunch I call my family for some advice about what I should do; go back home or keep plodding along on my trip. My sister Gretchen answers the phone and serves me up some really good advice. Convinced I should weather the storm and continue forward with my trip, I leave for Boston, MA later in the afternoon.

To add some levity to my present state of mind, I add a bit of fun to my drive by taking candid photos of cars that pass me by on the freeway. Soon enough, evening arrives and I overnight just outside of Boston.

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A WHIRLWIND DAY IN BOSTON - Wednesday, October 20, 2004

In better spirits today, I drive to Boston for a world-wind tour of the city's historic offerings via the Freedom Trail. Not wanting to pay an arm and a leg for parking, I park the van many, many blocks from Boston Common, the starting point of the trail. With only two hours maximum on the meter, I hurry my way across Boston Common and through about a third of the Freedom Trail before I have to zip back to the van to feed the meter. I end up running back and catch the meter at the 3 minute mark, only to see a meter maid hovering near the van. Ha! You didn't get me! At this point my trip to Boston has taken on a gaming atmosphere, it's me against the parking police! It's kinda fun actually.

After feeding the meter, I jog back to where I left off on the Freedom Trail, and manage in less than 2 hours to make my way to the final stop, the USS Constitution. The problem I face now is I'm across town from where the van is parked. With less than 30 minutes left on the meter, I literally run 3.5 miles back to the van where I catch the meter at 3 minutes again! Ha! I beat them again! I feed the meter another 45 minutes to coincide with the time when parking is free.

I clean up the sweaty aftereffects from my speedy tour, then walk back into the heart of the city to grab something for dinner. After dinner I notice a frenzy of fireworks popping off in the distance and quickly ask a passer-by what's going on. He tells me tonight the Boston Red Sox are playing the NY Yankees in New York for the American League Pennant. Apparently it's the final game of seven (both teams are tied 3-3). My interest is sufficiently piqued, so I take the subway to Fenway Park and hit one of the local bars to watch the game on the tube.

When the dust finally settles, the Red Sox win the pennant and afterwards a near riot breaks out in the streets around Fenway Park. Not wanting to participate, I take the last train back to city center, only to find more celebration going on. From what I can tell, the entire city is partying and partying hard! The streets are clogged with cars, fans are waving banners, shouting, it's all rather amusing to watch. Luckily the van is parked one block outside of the madness so I manage to sneak out of the area unimpeded.

I drive southward into the early morning and finally arrive in Wareham, MA. I'm exhausted from my busy day of touring, so I park the van, then immediately settle in for the night. Tomorrow I plan to tour Cape Cod.

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TOURING CAPE COD - Thursday, October 21, 2004

Today I have plans to tour Cape Cod's 65-mile peninsula. The day starts out in Wareham, MA where I encounter an issue with the van's front left tire. Quickly resolving the problem with the help of a glass of water, I hit the road and head into the village of Buzzards Bay. It is here where Cape Cod Canal empties into Buzzards Bay, and marks the start of my tour of Cape Cod.

In addition to many flat and marshy landscapes, I encounter a variety of interesting sights, including Cape Cod Canal Bridge, Highland Lighthouse, the city of Provincetown, Pilgrim Monument, Cape Cod National Seashore, and Pilgrim's First Landing Park - the first landing place of the Pilgrims back on 1620.

After touring the Cape I settle into Falmouth, MA for the evening. My walking-ways have finally caught up with me, my feet are really killing me now, they're still suffering from all the pavement-pounding touring I did yesterday in Boston, MA. After working on the website for a little while, I call it a night and turn in.

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CHILLIN' IN CHILLY FALMOUTH, MA - Friday, October 22, 2004

In dire need of some rest and relaxation, I decide to take the day off. The chilly, gloomy morning supports my decision, it's certainly not good weather to conduct touring or sightseeing of any sort. Last night someone was reeking havoc with the shopping carts, so I wander out to investigate the aftermath. Not surprisingly, I find a cart that's totalled. Too bad, some people like to have fun at other people's expense.

I spend the day in the van travel writing and trying to stay warm. Evening arrives and I cook dinner in the van, a big mistake on my part. Since I have to vent when I cook, I pull in cold air from the outside, and as a result I freeze while waiting for my dinner to cook. I'm resourceful, however, and grab just about anything to stay warm.

Before turning in for the night, I go see the movie, Saturday Night Lights. Tomorrow I think I may trek out to the island of Nantucket, weather permitting, of course.

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My plans to tour Nantucket are foiled by both poor weather and costly ferry fees, so, I opt to tour Plymouth, MA instead. After a short drive I arrive in Plymouth, park the van, then grab a variety of information pamphlets from the city's Visitor Center to help me plan my touring day. After a short review of my materials, I decide to see three main sights, the National Monument to the Forefathers, Plymouth Rock (of course), and The Mayflower II. I may or may not add on to my agenda, we'll see.

From the Visitor Center I walk many blocks to the National Monument to the Forefathers. The monument proves be quite impressive, in both size and in the message it conveys in its statues and writings. I walk back to the waterfront and tour Plymouth Rock. It's a quick one, because other than the rock, there isn't much else there to see. Lastly, I mosey on down the harborside to The Mayflower II. Turns out, the ship is an incredible floating museum, mirroring the original Mayflower in design and function.

After touring the boat, I decide to call it quits to my sightseeing day, it's cold out and I'm feeling somewhat discouraged. Discouraged from the cold weather and from the thoughts of visiting NYC, the next planned stop of my trip. After some thought, I decide to skip NYC and drive south for warmer weather. After many hours of driving, I pull over in the wee hours of the morning, and overnight at a NJ Turnpike rest-stop, just north of Trenton NJ.

A DAY OF DRIVING - Sunday, October 24, 2004

At a rest-stop off the NY Turnpike a tractor-trailer lends an unwelcome hand, the noise of its diesel engine rings in my ears, and quickly pulls me into the land of the conscious. I hit the road and head south to Washington, DC. On the way I encounter my fair share of boring interestate and costly tolls. Sadly, the only driving highlight is my crossing of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. I end up in Laurel, MD and overnight at a Wal-Mart.

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Geese on the Potomac River, Washington, DC
Rose Parade, Pasadena, CA
Sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME
Panda, San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA
Street Band, French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
The Badlands, SD
Winooski River near Montpelier, VT
Mandarin Ducks, San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA
Sunset at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument, Montrose, CO
Totem Pole, Monument Valley, AZ
Union Pacific Rail Line, Central Utah
Cotton, Southern Tenessee
Downtown Area, Taos, NM
Hoover Dam, AZ