Monday, October 08, 2012

Vermont/NH Trip: Day 1 - to Albany

The first day-plus of our Vermont/New Hampshire trip was largely uneventful, but I like to document these things regardless.

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First off, we left Friday afternoon and spent the night with my aunt and uncle, who live southwest of Richmond in the general vicinity of Point B on the map.

Then, off to the northeast! This isn't my favorite direction to drive in (is it anyone's?), so I had to make it interersting from a statistical and/or scenic point of view.

Obligatory dumb statistics - counties visited: The first objective was to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (one of many Big Important Bridges we encountered on our northbound and southbound drives) and take US-301 through Kent County, Maryland, which was one of only two counties I had yet to visit in the state. Now I only have one county left in Maryland. I'll get you some day, Carroll County... (Oh, and I got another new county later in the day, too: Columbia County, NY.)

While we're on this topic, this was Marla's first trip of any kind in a northeastward direction - we hadn't even taken her through Richmond yet - so every county we visited from Virginia north was new for her (the red counties on this map). She visited seven new states and 86 new counties throughout the trip, and also her first Canadian province and 5 Canadian "counties". Wee! Too bad she won't remember any of it.

Obligatory dumb statistics - US routes driven: Delaware is one of the (now) three states in which I'm tracking U.S. routes driven, and this route happened to consist of all of US-301 in Delaware. So, there.

Obligatory dumb statistics - tolls: Anyone who's ever driven in the Northeast knows that it often means paying tolls. Turnpikes, toll bridges, you name it. Before the trip, I calculated that I would spend between $31.20 and $64.80 in tolls, depending on which routes we took. Well, I added it up, and the final total ended up being almost exactly in the middle of that range: $48.45. Of that, $27.50 came from four Big Important (toll) Bridges, and $20.95 came from the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. That doesn't count the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, which I suppose you could count as a "toll". (More on the ferry when I cover the return trip.)

I really hope our NC Quick Pass is E-ZPass-compatible next time we're in New Jersey. The NJ Turnpike uses a ticket system, which isn't too bad, but the Garden State Parkway has a bunch of $1.50 toll booths scattered about the full length of the Parkway. What a pain. (Don't spend all of our money in one place, Governor Christie.) At least we managed to avoid paying any tolls in Delaware.

By the way, between our northbound and southbound drives, we drove the entire length of the Garden State Parkway. If only I could count that for something...

Alright, enough dumb stats. It's picture time!

This is from the Taconic State Parkway, which is a free, scenic, and lightly traveled (once you get outside Westchester County) alternative to the New York Thruway. It was great! Definitely the highlight of the day.

(Side note: I recognize that the first picture clearly shows me driving 66 mph in a posted 55 mph zone. Let the record show that that was down a long hill and is not indicative of my usual driving habits, which are to drive 5 mph over the speed limit. Although, most drivers in the Northeast don't pay any attention to the speed limit anyway.)

As far as fall colors go, we did notice some yellowing in Virginia. But once we got closer to the coast, any suggestion of fall color went away completely until we got north of New York City on the Taconic.

And, that's the first day-plus of our trip. Tomorrow, we make it to Vermont!

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