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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Heading to the Canadian Border.

    Goodness, how time flies. It is now almost 10 weeks since I was able to continue on here. Somehow life's issues got in the way. Now that I have put those issues in the hands of a competent professional, I can once again devote myself to completing this trip report.

    It was the 14th of June when I continued along the Great Lakes, which I think at times was called the Circle Route/Ohio Coastal Trail. Kept as close to the coast as I could all day, and gently made my way to Austinburg for the night. It is also the day on which I clocked over 100.000 miles in the van, since I purchased it.

    My plan now was to go to the Canadian border where there were a few sites about which I had read, that I wanted to check out. It was US-20, I-90 and I-86 which saw me to the Pilot at Kanona NY. Did not do much sightseeing, and only stopped for lunch. It was a smooth trip on the highways. Next day I wandered over scenic routes and other minor highways, around the Finger Lakes, a nice scenic area which made me want to linger. After lunch it was off to the FJ at Pembroke for the night.

    On Sunday I headed north to the coast of Lake Ontario, and followed NY-18 for a long way along the coast, stopping many times to enjoy the area, together with the summer weekend crowd. It took all day to do the short distance to the Pilot in Liverpool NY. New York Scenic Byway, US-20 (which I have driven several times before) took me into Albany, whence I headed to the Pilot in Castleton-on-Hudson. It was very interesting to see the mumerous German and Dutch names along the way, on buildings, bridges and streets. A measure of how the influence of the early settlers has been preserved.

    From here-on I was well aware that Pilot/FJ truck stops would be few and far between, if any at all. Some research was now required to find suitable stops along the rest of my route north.


  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A unique place.

    Heading into Vermont my first stop was at the Welcome Centre on scenic route US-7. It was a great place to have lunch, and a cup of tea. A gentleman who works there, but was not on duty this day, joined me once he heard me talk to the ladies about my trip. He had lots of questions about my travels, especially where I stayed and how I decided on my route. Then he went on to assure me that I would not find places like *that* in Vermont (meaning truck stops with facilities who would allow overnight stays). From the truck stop directory I knew better, and left it at that.

    From there I made my way via other scenic routes, and crossed Vermont to I-91, where at Wells River was a lovely Truck Stop where they were only too happy to accommodate me overnight. Had a nice restaurant there as well.

    My destination in Vermont was Derby Line, and the Haskell Free Library and Opera House. I had read about this, and heard a lot about Derby and its Canadian sister city, ever since borders became a big issue. This library straddles the border between the US and Canada. Built and opened in 1904, it predates the international law that buildings cannot be built across international borders, which did not come into effect till 1910.

    It is a small library, and the back door into Canada is now sealed. Canadians may use the library front door by walking on the US footpath from their parking lot to the front door. Right through the library there is a black line on the floor indicating just where the border is. You can stand with one foot in each country. Catering for both the French and English speakers, its collection of books belies the size of this small building. It is possible to be escorted up the stairs and take a guided tour of the opera house, which is still used for musical performances today. Without a lift I was not able to see it. The whole building is a lovely old building, obviously very well maintained, and listed as a national monument in both countries. The beautiful stone work on the outside, the woodwork inside and the magnificent lead and glass windows are all original. Only modifications have been to update the building's plumbing and wiring.

    To the left (west) of the building there is a street which Canadians used to drive along to go to the library. It is now blocked off with a row of planters, which were in full bloom with petunias when I was there. The country designation is written on the road, and on a concrete post at each side. It said USA on the post nearest me, and I really wanted to see the other side. So, not crossing the border, I just bent over it to see what was written on it. Then I went back to my van in the parking lot. By the time I drove out of the parking lot and past the library, there were half a dozen border control cars there and probably a dozen personnel. I figured I might have disturbed some electronic sensor by looking at the other side.

    That night I stopped at a truck stop just outside of Derby, accompanied by three trucks and an RV. With all the standard facilities, they made hamburgers to order. Very nice they were too.


  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Perfect, Thanks

    Lifey, thanks for reminding me of Derby and its unique building. It's been on my radar for a while and since I'll be attending another family reunion in northern New Hampshire next summer, you've now given me a very timely nudge to add it to my itinerary. It's a shame you didn't get to go upstairs. I believe that a former regular contributor, Quebec Gen, noted that the opera house had the unique attribute that the audience was in the United States, but the stage was in Canada (or vice versa). Looking forward to more such pearls from this portion of your trip.


  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Destination:- US-1 Northern terminus.

    ( ...... or vice versa).
    Yup, it is vice versa! :-)

    My next destination was also by the Canadian border. I headed to Maine, and the northern terminus of US-1. On previous trips I have driven just about all of US-1 from Key West - the southern terminus - to North Carolina..... for no other reason than that I wanted to drive it. Driving these older roads opens one's eyes to so much never seen from the interstates.

    First I crossed NH on some incredibly scenic roads through the White Mountains. [It was along one of these that I was pulled over by police, but to this day do not know why.] They never really told me. Once in ME US-2 took me to I-95 and onto my destination for the night - Dysart Restaurant and Truck Stop - not far from Bangor. A very pleasant place to stay for the night. I was now also very close to another attraction which had been on my list for years - the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory. Years ago, I saw a documentary about the construction of this bridge. Some of the locals were very helpful in giving me explicit directions how to get there and avoid going through Bangor.

    Once I got to Bucksport, virtually at the base of the bridge, I called into the information centre where some very helpful ladies made me most welcome and told me all about the local area, and the points of interest..... not the least of them the concrete sculptures trail mostly along US-1 in ME, each created by a different artist. Unfortunately the first three I found were not accessible, so I gave up on the rest.

    The bridge itself is one of those scenic cable bridges. The views from the observatory are wonderful. Along each side of the tower there is a photo with the highlights one can see marked on them. They also have a very slow lift for those who are unable to climb stairs - one wheelchair or two people at a time. There is also a historic fort there to view, but the path to it was rough and thus not accessible.

    Leaving the bridge, it was straight up US-1, a pleasant and in places quite scenic route to Fort Kent. I had planned to check into a motel, and as it was, the terminus of US-1 is virtually in the drive way of the Northern Door Inn. There is a board there stating how far to Key West via US-1. Seeing me on my scooter they booked me into the room next to the office which is fitted out with an accessible bathroom, and the closest room to breakfast, coffee, etc., for which I was most grateful.

    It was a lovely and relaxing weekend at the motel, right next to the border crossing to Canada. In fact I could see the control post from the window. A few metres into the US was a tiny rest area with the complete route of US-1 engraved on marble(?), a few seats and flag poles.

    Yeah! you could not visit here without knowing that you are at the Northern terminus of US-1.


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