The Trek North

It was six in the morning as I hit the road north and on my way to a very long drive to Cape Cod. Passing through the North Carolina country side traffic was not too bad at that hour and on the roads the would connect me to I-85.

It was not until I reached the Virginia boarder that things got ominous. After the obligatory “welcome to Virginia” sign was the sign that let you know that aircraft was used to enforce speed limits. It was a black sign with white lettering. Aircraft was not there to check or monitor your speed. Oh no, it was to enforce the speed limits. I pictured Blackhawk helicopter hovering just below the tree line ready pounce on any scofflaw that dared to exceed the posted speed limit.

The next signs let you know that Virginia will use radar and other electronic means to monitor your speed. But the next sign lets you know that you do not have the privilege of using a radar detector. In fact Virginia has made it illegal for you to use one.

From I-85 it was on to I-95, the north-south corridor. I headed on to Washington, DC and then on to Maryland. The traffic was congested from there on. The tolls in Maryland are now $5.00 for cars. Of course there is EZPass. It would make transversing toll booths faster, but of course they do monitor your time between tolls and will send you a warning if your time indicates you might have been exceeding the posted speed limits. Maintaining my anonymity is worth the inconvenience.

Delaware fades into the distance and it is on to the New Jersey Turnpike. Gasoline prices have been consistently three dollars plus. Of course with the Evolution I must only use 93 octane. New York and the dreaded Cross Bronx Expressway looms ahead after crossing the George Washington bridge. Connecticut is next. Here they monitor your speed with electronic devices. Everywhere along I-95 until after New Haven they have radar checking traffic flow and reporting to you on informational signs where the slow downs are and for how many miles or exits it will last. Finally I am in eastern Connecticut and heading for New London. Connecticut State troopers are sitting at strategic point in the road scanning all traffic for speed. It gives you a warm feeling to know they care so much. Finally you cross into Rhode Island and I-195 is just 30 miles away. RI is such a small state that you are crossing into Massachusetts before you know it. At first you cross in and out of those two states as their borders are jagged and the highway is straight, but soon you are not far from Fall River and not long after is New Bedford. I-95 ends and you get on 25 to the Bourne bridge being sure to roll down your windows so the smell of the ocean and the pine trees fills your car’s interior. Around the rotary and along the access road that runs north and parallel to the canal. The hills to your right are the diggings from the original construction of the canal, which was dug by hand. Then a quick right at a traffic light and you are on route 6 and headed to Yarmouthport. It is a fourteen hour trip of nearly 800 miles.

I have been looking forward to this for months. I am on the Cape.

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5 Responses to The Trek North

  1. mark says:

    Jim,

    In sports, they call it the “Iron Man”. Your treks Northward, with narry a break for 800 miles is quite impressive and deserving of some creative moniker. Personally, I can’t go 500 miles in a car by myself without beginning to find my sanity wavering. Maybe you should order some Stealth Paint – your EVO VIII would look formidable in flat black. Try not to give out any autographs during your travels.

  2. Noel says:

    Not sure Cape Cod in summer is ideal (fall is the best time there), but then Jim knows it far better than I and has all the back roads wired.

    800 miles is a nice run. I do 375 miles each way from NH to Rochester, NY every other month or so and have reached the point where the 6.5 hour run just gets me to the point where a short break in the action would be nice. At 4 hours (as in a run from home to the NYC area), I’m just getting warmed up.

    The route you take on longish trips has a lot to do with how easily the distance passes. My route to western NY is half mostly empty two-lane twisties in NH and western MA, then half NY Thruway (where you can run 75-80 with impunity most of the time– faster with a good front door). The in-flight entertainment is also important. I do a mix of music from my iPod, NPR, and books on tape/CD.

    Enjoy your time on the Cape, Jim.

  3. Mike says:

    Jim, great summary of your trek. You make driving so fun & interesting, I hate driving on long trips though. I get bored and begin to doze off at the wheel.

    Enjoy your stay & ride back home!

  4. Sue Bahroo says:

    I’m not sure either how long I could drive alone before going insane from lack of company. Although, there is nothing more I love than driving and just listening to music. Especially in the mornings.

  5. Noel says:

    It’s a very individual thing. I’m happy with my wife (or even a good friend) along, but could leave tomorrow, all alone, for a 6 month lap of America and be just as happy.

    And yes, there’s nothing like hitting the road early in the day, the sunroof open, the countryside rolling by, the coffee revving up your system, music pouring out of the speakers. Great way to start a day.

    I need another road trip.

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