I'm in North Conway, New Hampshire in a cute cafe which actually has internet terminals. Although every man and his dog have a wi-fi hot spot that's no use to me without a laptop. That explains why the first blog only just made it up after I wrote it three days ago.
Since I last wrote I have picked up a car in Boston and driven through some of New England. It was my first time driving abroad but I wasn't as nervous as I thought I was going to be. It helped that I have bought a TomTom, which is a godsend because I would never be able to navigate and drive all on my own. Not safely, at any rate.
My original plan had been to head west through Massachusetts to the border with New York and then drive as far up Vermont as I could get before dark and then find the nearest cheap motel.
I started out that way and once out of Boston I flew down Route 2 quite quickly (according to the speed limit, of course). I pulled over for a break after an hour of concentrating. When I pulled away I allowed myself the distraction of some music so I hooked up my MP3 player to its FM transmitter, turned the radio up loud and bombed along to the soundtrack to Road Trip. That was perfect!
The weather wasn't being particularly helpful to me that first day. The previous two days in Boston it had been bitterly cold and windy but blue skies. The day I picked the car up it was grey and raining and it didn't stop raining all day!
I was surprised to find, as I went along, that there were still some snow deposits on the ground. The further along I got the more there was of it. I pulled into Shelburne Falls, MA for a sightseeing stop. The Bridge of Flowers was closed for the season so it was more of a Bridge of Brown Stalks.
I hit the end point of the Mohawk Trail, which is the name of that part of Route 2, and reoriented myself northwards to go up scenic Vermont Route 100. These roads, by the way, are pot-holed and cracked to hell from frost damage so it's not simple or comfortable driving. Having said that I have discovered the joy of cruise control! It totally suits these kind of roads, unlike our British clogged motorways.
After a couple of hours of winding slowly up Rte. 100 and seeing nothing scenic beyond half a mile I abandoned the route and asked my TomTom to get me to a major town. In doing this I managed to get all the way up to Burlington, Vermont in one day whereas I had allowed two. But I wasn't getting much scenery from my scenic route so it was the best decision.
The following day I went into Burlington and the view at the lakeside took my breath away. I could see blue skies and, no more than twelve miles across the water, the Adirondack mountains of northern New York state. The town itself was lovely and had a great pedestrianised shopping street, at the top end of which was a beautiful white wooden church. I'm not a religious person at all but I can't get enough of these lovely white wooden churches all across New England.
I left Burlington today and passed east through Vermont, stopping briefly at the Ben & Jerry's factory for a guided tour. It was surprisingly disappointing - not as good as the equivalent at Cadbury World. I did get two samples of Sweet Cream & Cookies.
From there I continued eastwards through into New Hampshire and down the interstate which wound around Cannon Mountain which gave some brilliant views. Then I took the scenic Kangamacus Highway that took me up and down for some nice views. All along that road the snow was getting thicker. The road was obviously ploughed at some point and it sat at the sides of the road around six feet tall. For one stretch it was at least nine feet high. And this is in April! I never expected it so bad. It was a pleasant treat though.
I have definitely overdosed on roads through snowy forests now. I'll be glad to get back to Boston and onto something new and different.
Since I am a day ahead of plan I have to move my accommodation bookings foward a day. I was unable to get hold of the place scheduled for tomorrow so I turned up today at 5pm, when they opened, and asked if they could move it forward. She told me yes because I would be the only person in the place!
For the car lovers out there I am driving around in a fetching Chevrolet Malibu. I booked an 'economy', which is the smallest class, and when I turned up she gave me a 'full-size' which I think is three sizes bigger. It feels like a Ford Mondeo to me. When I filled up with gas I calculated the mileage and I'm getting 27 miles to the gallon. That's an expensive habit to have but then it only cost me $45 to fill the tank so it's not all bad.
Tomorrow I head out to Bar Harbor, Maine to spend some time walking around Acadia National Park. That's where I'll spend my extra day that I've saved because there's no discount for bringing the car back a day early.
I've put up a bunch of photos from Boston and my drive around New England. Check them out - there are some good ones of the snowy conditions, and one of the monster of a car I've got.
I'll be in touch soon.