Road Trip 2016


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July 15th 2016
Published: July 15th 2016
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This entry is just to let people know that I'm hitting the road again in a couple of days. I'll be heading out on Sunday morning (July 17th) and don't plan on returning until Thursday, August 4th. I realized last month that it had been over a year since I last left America, and with the way things are going in my native land, I felt like getting out of it again. Since flying is something I avoid if possible, and I also try to be thrifty, a road trip to Canada seemed the best fit for this time of year. Plus, it gets me out of this miserable Georgia heat for a while.

This trip really has two themes: Canada, and American Presidents. I want to spend as much time in Canada as I can, and I think it'll end up being 12 of the 19 days. In America, though, I hope to visit all of the presidential homes and libraries along my route. I'm intentionally avoiding cities, so that means any of the sites in DC, Philly, NYC, or Boston will have to wait for later. It also means that most of the places I visit will be for minor presidents, ones that most of my readers likely will never have heard of.

My plan is to head up towards my friends Amy and Kevin in Pennsylvania by the end of the 2nd day, stopping in a couple of places where I know some folks along the way. It will also include a stop at Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, my favorite president. After that, my journey will take me up to the Atlantic provinces, stopping at several presidential sites in upstate NY as well as Vermont and New Hampshire. I'll spend about 4 days in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before making my way to Quebec. Some of you will wonder why I'm not hitting up Prince Edward Island, and the answer is that I want to spend more time there, and I don't think I have enough on this trip to do it justice (or to justify the outrageous toll for crossing the bridge just to get there).

Then my urban phase begins. In Canada, I'll be spending a couple of days each in Quebec (City), Ottawa, and Toronto. I've done Montreal already, so I'll only be stopping by for lunch or something. After I get done with Canada, I'll head back and hit up Cleveland and Cincinnati before the home stretch back to Georgia. On this back leg of my trip, I've got tickets to three MLB games already paid for, so that means those dates are pretty much set, unless I want to lose about $100 between the three games. I've also bought tickets to a Golden Girls puppet theatre in Toronto, so you'd better believe I'm looking forward to that!

There are also several battlefields that I plan to visit: Antietam, Gettysburg, and Saratoga. I'm not happy about the admission fee for Gettysburg, so we'll have to see about that when I get there. I didn't buy this America the Beautiful National Parks pass last year for nothing, and certainly not for one of the most important battlefields to say they don't accept passes. Phooey on that. Luckily, most of the other places do accept it, which will bring my expenses down considerably. I'm quite proud that my total expenditures for hotels, admission fees, and puppet and baseball tickets for this 19-day trip is right at $1000. Gas will naturally make that more, and so will food. But I'd have to eat whether on the road or at home, and I intend to carry a little bit of food with me as I go and primarily stop at grocery stores for food along the way.

It's been rather difficult to put some of this trip together, since the homes of minor presidents don't tend to draw the crowds of JFK or FDR or George Washington. This means that most of them have odd opening hours, and some of them are only open certain random days of the week. I've found out after planning and spending money, for instance, that the Warren G Harding home isn't open on the day I had expected to visit. At least it looks like it's on a route that I expect I will journey down later. Millard Fillmore's home in Buffalo has the same story, but I don't know when I'll be in that area again, so I may just have to skip it forever. Sad. I do look forward to many of the others, particularly Martin van Buren and William McKinley.

That's all for now. I'll try and update every day of the trip, but I'm not willing to forgo a decent experience just so I can get back to the hotel and write one of these. If you'd like a postcard, send me your address - in the comments section if you feel so bold, or as an email or other type of private message if you have my information. I've got the stamps for American postcards and will pick up some Canadian stamps as soon as I get there.

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