August 19, 2004

Trip begins

12/29/2010:  This was the first blog (using I wrote, but is not about the earliest trip I blogged.    It is written in both past and present  tenses.
To make this read in chronological sequence I had to attach external fake dates in caps to it, like "August 19, 2004" above.  Real narrative dates are like "August 11" below.
There are 2 chapters beyond the "Oregon to California" chapter in the list at right.

Links to some of my other trip blogs:

                                                     Dick Dreselly

MY DRIVING HISTORY (added April 2015):
In 1940 I bought my first car and got a Maine license.   Got international and Vietnam licenses later.
Drove own car in 49 states and all Canadian provinces and territories except Nunavut.  Rented car in 4 Hawaiian islands.
Drove in 31 countries including 3 Cold War Communist countries, 26 in my own car.   Countries where the car wasn't mine: Greenland (1950s), Vietnam & Finland (1967), Argentina & Chile (2004).
Drove twice Maine to Alaska, as described in this blog, and a 2004 drive.
Drove Canada's Dempster Highway (1996), Argentina's Ruta 40 (2004), and new Trans-Labrador road (2010).
Drove to furthest north (1996) and furthest south (2004) road points in the Americas.
Circumnavigated (2002) Gulf of Mexico, using brief Scotia Prince Tampa-Yucatan ferry.  Continued to Belize, Texas, Maine.    Drove several times and widely in Mexico and Canada, mostly from Maine.
Drove in big cities:  NYC, Paris & Berlin (1964), Danang (1967), Santiago (2004), Mexico City (several times).  Last was worst, made Boston drivers look like career driving instructors.  Also bad: 1964 London delivery of new USA-equipped Austin Healey Sprite (one of 4 I've bought): rush hour, roundabouts, left side driving.
Was concerned about safety from the beginning.   What, where and how I drove  were not always safe, but since 1958 I've had seat belts in my cars.  At first I had to install seat belts I got from airports.

This trip was much tamer than our 2003 circumnavigation of the Gulf of Mexico or our Journey to Ushuaia.   Unlike those trips, in this one the interstate highways and motels were familiar, corruption and poverty were not visible, and the people spoke English (except in California).    We finally left home on

August 10.    We enjoyed a pretty drive thru ME/NH/VT to a low-quality Quality Inn in Albany.

August 11.   We drove the NY Thruway and halfway across the Ontario "peninsula".
It was interesting to see the historic Erie Canal beside much of the NY Thruway

August 12.   We re-entered the USA in Michigan, continuing a fairly straight line from Maine to South Dakota. However, we found the new high speed ferry across Lake Michigan was sold out, so diverted northward to the eastern terminus of the slower old ferry Badger.

Friday the 13th.   Ferry to Wisconsin.   We shun-piked across most of that state, past many opulent multi-siloed farms like those in Pennsylvania Dutch country.  We stopped at the Oshkosh airport, where the world's biggest gathering of small private planes is held each year.  We crossed the beautiful Mississippi, surprisingly wide so near its source, into Minnesota, and ended the day at Albert Lea.

Each day the restaurants and motels we have found improved.   I was been unable to connect to the Internet until Wisconsin.   Our new Corolla continued to please us.   Travelling through this beautiful lush green prosperous part of the USA reminded me (Dick) again that, although it's sometimes hard to ignore the too-familiar warts of life like phone-voice-response-systems and our universal mortality and the IRS, still, considering how all the people before us lived and how all the people in most other countries of the world live now, we are in a very small group of the luckiest people who have ever existed.


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