One: April 8, 2000: Left
home, North Andover, Massachusetts at 11 am. Only drove 300
miles. Hard days drive. Exhausted. Missed exit somewhere
on the New Jersey turnpike. Arrived at my very first hostel
sometime around 10pm. It's called the Tyler
State Park Hostel. Located
in Newtown, PA. It's a beautiful farmhouse (only
$12/night). It was snowing hard when I woke up. The only
other hosteller left early. The manager, Susan, made me
homemade pancakes w/fresh blueberries & strawberries! What
a great introduction to the "hostelling experience!"
9th: Drove from Newtown, PA
to Derwood, MD where I had planned to stay w/aquaintances. I
decided to continue on to Virginia Beach...Too late to find a place
to stay, so I continued to drive on to Brunswick, GA. First
lesson learned: DON'T DRIVE ALL DAY & ALL NIGHT!!!
10 & 11:
Ahhh! Sleep! Arrived at noon on the 10th at Hostel in the Forest
in Brunswick, GA. ($13/night) I stayed 2 nights. I
chose my own private cabin w/deck overlooking a serene pond.
Hated to leave. Next day drove 206 miles to Titusville,
very first road trip)
8, 2000 - July 9, 2000
"mini-journal" only covers one trip.
"Roadtrip 2" starts on the "Home Page".
is a very condensed version. To experience the full journey,
click onto each blue, underlined word orstart
from Day One on the
12th:Manatee Hammock Park Campground, Titusville,
Florida. Located right across the
bay from Kennedy Space Center. Visited center. Space
Shuttle lift-off was postponed. Returned to tent that night in
pouring rain. Noisy, intoxicated person in campsite across
from mine. Next day drove 254 miles to Florida City.
15 - 20: Drove 126 miles to Key
West. Stayed at the Key West Hostel (also called
Sea Shell Motel). Sat on the warm sand & drank a cold
Marghitta w/extra salt & watched the sun set over the
ocean. Visited Hemmingway's House, Mallory Square, toured the
20 - 25: On way to Spring Hill, Florida,
visited Lake Okeechobee and went on an Everglades Air Boat tour--saw
alligators very close up. While in Spring Hill I stayed w/warm
& generous friends who shared their home & Easter dinner
with me. Visited Weeki Wachee Park and went to Crystal Springs
to the manatees. Drove 434 miles to Spanish Fort,
26: (Passed first
time zone--gained one hour.) Experienced southern hospitality
once again when I met new friends "Richard & his wife Pat, hosts
at the Meaher
State Park Campground on Mobile Bay
in Spanish Fort, AL.
27: Frenchman's Wilderness Campground
in Butte LaRose, LA. Nice pool. It was always a relief
to find a place with a pool to cool down in. Drove around New
Orleans, got car oil change. Visited French Quarter.
Drove 390 mi. to Fentress. Texas.
28: Leisure Camp Campground in
Fentress, TX. Hot, no pool. Both bathrooms were being
repaired, no showers. And...let's just say, "The natives were
restless." Drove 55 miles to San Antonio, TX.
29 & 30:San Antonio Hostel (also called
Bullis House) Ahhhhh a pool! Saw the sights w/fellow
hosteller who came from Canada. Enjoyed the Riverwalk &
the Alamo. Drove 341 miles to Fort Stockton, TX.
1: On my way to Fort
Stockton I visited Del Rio, TX and crossed the border into Acuno,
Mexico for a pack of cigarettes. (I have since quit smoking.)
Arrived exhauted at the Comanche Motel Hostel
in Ft. Stockton. An oasis in the desert after driving all
day. Private room (it wasn't really private, but there were no
other hostellers, so I had the place to myself), air conditioning,
comfortable bunk, shower & cable TV--who could ask for anything
more? Heaven! Especially for $10/night! And the
managers were Sooo friendly!
Comanche Motel Hostel Fort Stockton, TX
2 & 3: Long, long, long,
endless day. Left Comanche Hostel, visited McDonald
Observatory en route to Marfa, TX to see
the Mystery Lights. Arrived in Marfa around 2 pm--way too
early. Marfa is very small. The sign in the museum
window said "Open on Tuesdays". And I wasn't there on a
Tuesday. Even the Chamber of Commerce was closed. Where
is everybody? The Mystery Lights couldn't be seen until after
dark--so what could I do in the meantime in the desert for 7
hours? Drove to nearest town---Alpine, TX. Beautiful
landscape, treeless rolling hills. Wasn't accustomed to seeing
so much treeless land. It was so "unlike" New England.
(I love New England also). But, Wow-there was just so many
unusual things to see in all these places where I had never
been. Anyway, I stopped in an air conditioned restaurant and
splurged. Then went to the Sul Ross State College to use their
library. Spent a couple hours there writing a 14 page letter.
Drove around the town. Finally around 9 pm, I saw the "Mystery
Lights of Marfa". It was too late to find
someplace to stay. Too cheap to pay for a hotel, and I wasn't
going to put my tent up in the dark in the desert. So I drove
ALL NIGHT again! Saw some other strange lights in the
sky around 1 am. It was so pitch black out. No street
lights, no houses, I couldn't see anything except my car headlights
on the road. Almost hit a deer.
am: Arrived just
outside El Paso, TX. Pulled into a rest stop & tried to
sleep for a couple of hours. Put the car seat back, tried to
get comfortable. There were trucks and other cars parked
there--everyone trying to sleep. I watched the sunrise over
the city, wondered what the day would bring.
El Paso Hostel
(located in the Historic Gardner Hotel) about 8am. Finally--a
bed! Not so fast...the manager introduced me to my roommate,
Yoko from Japan. He explained that she couldn't speak english
very well, but that she wanted to ask me if I would rent a car with
her so she could see White Sands. I told him I have a
car. Yoko & I ended up driving to White Sands. I
didn't realize that it was around 100 miles away! Still no
sleep! Stayed at the El Paso Hostel for 2 or 3 days--can't
remember. Also visited Juarez, Mexico. Finally drove 244
miles to Roswell, New Mexico.
4 -- I think: Pitched my tent in the
Bottomless Lakes State Park
Campground. Cool, clear water in
the middle of the desert. Beautiful & very quiet.
Visited Carlsbad Caverns, and the UFO Musem in Roswell, NM.
5 & 6:Oscuro high Desert Hostel Ranch,
Oscuro, New Mexico. Never thought I could love a desert so
much. Peace & solitude. Totally quiet. Visited
the Three Rivers Petroglyphs, and Valley fo Fires.
Planned to stay at the Route 66 Hostel in
Albuqueque. The city/hostel were just too crowded for
me. The manager was very nice. He directed me to the
next closest hostel--Sandia
Mountain Hostel in Cedar Crest.
GREAT! Too good to be true! It was roomy w/cool mountain air
blowing the curtains. There were only 2 other hostellers
there. Next day drove 163 mi. to Taos, NM. (check out
the "Taos Hum" web site sometime -- I "hear" it.)
8: Took the Enchanted
Highway to Santa Fe, stopped in Los Alamos just before & during
the fire evacuation, stayed in the Abominable Snowmansion Hostel (Arroyo
Seco Hostel) next to Taos, NM. Visited Native American
Pueblos, and Rio Grande Gorge State Park. Drove to Durango,
9 Day 30--it's been one month On The
Road! Durango, Colorado. Durango Hostel.
10: Another day that I'll
never forget! Left Durango, visited Mesa Verde national Park,
visited Four Corners (in the desert where Utah, Colorado, New
Mexico, & Arizona meet), then decided to take another little
unplanned side trip. Headed north--big mistake! Now,
looking back, I'm glad I did it. But at the time I wasn't
prepared for this trip into the Canyonlands of Utah--I had no map.
I had no idea what I was in for! I figured I'd just go
north and ,after a few miles,
end up somewhere above Lake Powell. I figured wrong!
Drove through Blanding, Utah to Natural Bridges national
Park--campground full. Forced to drive through Glen
Canyon. The road just kept going & going &
going. No turn offs. No short cuts. Now I know for
sure that you can NEVER have too many maps! Without a map, I
had no idea how far I had to go before I came to civilization.
Canyon driving is tough! Extremely windy. The road was
winding, with steep canyon walls rising straight up, way, way up
with no place to pull off the road. So I didn't get
photos. There were many road signs warning of "falling
rocks". And it was getting dark. FINALLY, ended up in a
place called Hanksville, Utah. Sand storm. Forced to
stay in motel--the only motel that I stayed in during the entire
trip. But I must admit it felt GOOD! The next day I
drove 253 mi. to St. George, Utah. After driving the canyon,
this drive was easy!
11: Quail Creek State Park, St. George,
Utah. So windy that my tent would not stay up. First
time that I ever slept in my car--but it wouldn't be the last!
Visited Mt. Zion National Park. I had planned on driving to
Winslow, Arizona to see the crater. But after my excursion in
Utah--I was way off course and just too tired to do any
backtracking. So I drove 119 mi. to Las Vegas. (I'm
happy to say that ended up making it to Winslow, Arizona during my
SECOND cross country trip!)
12 & 13: Las Vegas Independent Hostel.
I don't gamble--I don't like even spending money on things I need--I
can't imagine gambling it away. But I had planned on seeing
Star Trek: The Experience at the Hilton and visit Quark's
Bar. And I did. I then called my friend in Sea Tac,
Washington to tell him about the show. He said he'd come to
Las Vegas and see it with me the following week. So I said I'd
14: Seeing as I was going
to be in Las Vegas for a week, I figured I'd go check out the other
hostel--Las Vegas Backpacker's
Hostel. Nice big pool.
But way too crowded for me. It's more of a partying
hostel. I couldn't wait to get back to the quiet Independent
hostel, and to the people I had met there.
15 - 21: Stayed at the
Independent Hostel. No pool, but quiet & and it was a
good, safe "base camp" for checking out the sights. Took a day
trip to Hoover Dam. Took a 400 mile day trip through Death
Valley & Scotties Castle, drove past Dept. of Energy Yucca
Mountain (Nuclear dump site), then back to Las Vegas. I didn't
realize that my Death Valley day trip would end up being 400 miles
10 days in Vegas, I went to the buffet at the Stratosphere &
went to top, walked around a lot, saw Blue Man Group at the Luxor,
an got to experience what it feel like to get "heat stroke".
seeing only the "glitzy" Vegas, I also visited the college to
use the library, the post office, the grocery stores, all the
Wal-marts and Dollar Stores. Vegas has one of the biggest
Dollar Stores that I've ever seen.
22: Took Extraterrestrial
Highway to Rachel,
Nevada. Camped near the Little
AleInn/Groom Lake Area 51. Next day drove 262 mi. to Mammoth
23: In route to the Davison Street Guest Home
Hostel in Mammoth Lakes, CA, I cross
over the White Mountain Range--Boundary Peak. From deserts to
mountains in a day. (Getting a
little homesick. I woke up that morning momentarily thinking
that I was home in my own bed--then quickly remembered that I was
in California--a long, long way from home.)
24: Left Mammoth Lakes,
drove 4 hrs. to Lake Tahoe--too crowded. Drove another 5 hrs.
to Alpenrose Cottage hostel
in Mt. Shasta, CA. Nine hrs. of tough mountain driving!
I think the mountain speed limits are way too fast! Arrived at
Alpenrose Hostel totally exhausted and stressed out. I should
slow down. But it's important to find a quiet place to
rest. Mt. Shasta was perfect. Located practically at the
base of snow capped mountain.
26 - June 1 Stayed at my friend's house in
Sea Tac, Washington.
2: Drove 200 mil. to Rainforest Hostel
in Fork, WA. Drove around the whole Olympic Peninsula National
Park (approx. 400 mi). Saw the Pacific Ocean for the first
time. Visited the HOH Rain Forest. They get 12 ft. of
rain per year--yes, 12 FEET!
3: After staying at the
Rainforest Hostel for 1 night, I went back to my friend's
house--stayed one more night then got itchy feet--time to move on!
4: Drove to Canada.
Stayed at the Jerico
Beach Hostel in Vancouver. Started
thinking about driving to Alaska. Decided to stay at Birch Bay
Hostel to think about it some more. Driving to Alaska was a
5 - 9: It's been 60 days "On The
Bay Hostel in Birch Bay, Washington.
Met a new friend, Wayne, he's the manager of the hostel. We
visited Blaine, WA, and the Peace Arch, the International
Sculpture Expedition, and went for a ride on the "Plover".
Still contemplating driving to Alaska. OK, Go for it!!
10: Left for Alaska.
I'm doing it--driving to Alaska! Stayed at a campground in Cache Creek
in British Columbia, Canada. Visited hell's Gate
Airtram. Two hour holdover on the Frasier Highway due do a
jack-knived 18 wheeler. Mountains!
11: Mile "0" Campground, Dawson Creek,
BC. Beginning of the Alaska Highway. Only another 1,500
mi. to Fairbanks! Drove by crystal green colored Muncho Lake,
in BC. Never seen a lake that color. Unbelievably
12:Watson Lake Campground,
Watson Lake, Yukon, Canada. Hey, I'm in the Yukon! Had
to stay in the tent to avoid the killer mosquitos--those things are
fast & thirsty. So far north that it doesn't get dark
anymore. This will take some getting used to. But I'm so
tired at the end of the day, that I can sleep through anything!
Crossing into the Yukon, Canada June 12 Yeeehaaaaaa!!!!
13 & 14: Stayed at the Beez Kneez Hostel
in Whitehorse, Yukon. Visited the Interpretive Center.
Walked around Whitehorse and relaxed. Bought Julie the Canada
15: Dawson City River Hostel,
Dawson City, Yukon. Very rustic, but comfortable. Met
fellow hosteller from the Netherlands. She was backpacking
around Canada, and wanted to ride with me to cross the Arctic
Circle. We took the ferry across the Yukon River, drove over
the "Top of the World Highway" to Poker Creek--the northermost US
border (population 2). ARRIVED
IN ALASKA!! Stopped in Chicken,
Alaska for coffees.
16: Grandma Shirley's Hostel,
Fairbank, Alaska. I'm made up my mind--I've driven this far,
so I'm going to drive as far north as possible--Deadhorse on Prudhoe
Bay on the Arctic Ocean! Only 500 miles north of
Fairbanks. The people in the Visitor Center asked me if I'll
be driving a "rental". They said no on will rent to me if they
know I'm driving over the Dalton Highway. Told 'em I'm driving
my Kia. They said it would never make it. But I'm trying
anyway--I'll go as far as I can!
for Prudhoe Bay via the only road there--the Dalton Highway. Five hundred
miles--460 of which are dirt & gravel. I'll just go slow
& easy as far as I can...
hundred miles to the Arctic Circle, then 60 miles to Coldfoot--the
last services before Deadhorse--that's another 240 miles.
Camped out in the woods right off the road near Coldfoot.
Pipeline runs alongside the Dalton Hwy. Over the Brooks Range,
across the Arctic Tundra. Got two flat tires and a cracked
windshield. Exhausted (by this time in the trip I was used to
being exhausted), I made it to Deadhorse! My little Kia made
around, did errands, mailed post cards, turned around and headed
back towards Coldfoot. Drove 'til 2am. Slept in car in
rest area. No tent tonight--it smells like peanut butter &
jelly. Don't want to attract bears.
Miles of Dirt & Gravel! Up & down mountains, across
the Alaska Pipeline on the far upper right of the photo.
19: Denali/Mt. McKinley
Hostel wouldn't be open until 5 pm. It was only 3 pm. I
couldn't wait around. Drove on past Anchorage to Sheep Mountain Lodge &
Hostel in Palmer, Alaska. Had to
get there before it closed. Took longer than I thought.
Hard mountain driving. Got there just before the restaurant
Drove to Tok, AL. Checked out Ferry schedules. Had to
make it to Prince Rupert in 3 days to catch ferry. It would be
a rush, if I missed the ferry, I'd have to wait a week for the next
had decided to take the ferry instead of backtracking through BC
(there are not many roads to choose from--well, one actually.)
So the ferry would be quicker and cover territory that I hadn't seen
yet. The Stuart-Cassiar
Hwy. (Rt 37) was the only road to Prince
Rupert. It was a winding mountain, dirt road totally
isolated. There, I experience the first
& only scare of the entire trip. For the
first time in during my trip I actually feared for my life.
21 & 22: Missed a turn (the only
turn), so I went 40 miles out of my way & ended up in tiny
Hyder, Alaska (Rt. 37A). Turned out to be OK because I got
some great photos and saw an avalanche. After Hyder, had to
turn around and go back 40 miles to the Stuart-Cassiar Hwy. there's
only one way in and one way out.
23 & 24: Got a
little lax with my journal. Didn't take time to keep up with
it. Lost or gained a day or two somewhere. Finally
arrived at the Prince Rupert Campground. Rested for the night,
ready to catch the "Queen of the North" ferry for the voyage through
the breathtaking "Inside
Passage", past the San Jaun Islands, to
Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. I had decided to disembark in
Port Hardy because it was a lot cheaper than taking the "Queen" all
the way to Bellingham, Wa.
very late in Port Hardy. Slept in car. Next day drove
the length of Vancouver Island to the Nicol Street Hostel in
Naniamo. Explored Naniamo discovered that there was a smaller
ferry leaving Naniamo for mainland, BC.. I took it.
25 - 30: Drove
back to Birch
Bay Hostel in Blaine, WA to recuperate,
lay back a few days & rest. Ahhhh..
Left Birch Bay. Visited Ginko Petrified Forest & the Horse
Sculptures in WA. Stayed at the Hostel of the Rockies in St. Ignatius,
Montana. The hostel buil partially built underground--they
called it an "Earthship". They also had Teepees available to
stay in. I chose the Earthship.
Visited Little Big Horn Battlefield. Got late &
dark. Huge storm clouds were building. Slept in my car
next to an RV at a Visitor's Center somewhere in Wyoming.
3 & 4: Visited
Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Stayed at the Penny Motel & Hostel in
Deadwood, South Dakota. It was a busy little tourist
town. Hostel was nice & quiet. Had an air
conditioned room to myself. Next day visited Mount Rushmore,
Wall Drug, Badlands National Park. Stayed at a KOA Kampground
in Sioux Falls, SD.
Visited the Wind Farm in Storm Lake, the Grotto of the Redemption in
West Bend, Iowa. Drove on to the Old Barn Resort & Hostel in
Preston, Minnesota. Lots of crickets & fire flies at
6:Chicago International Hostel.
There are about 5 hostels in Chicago. While approaching
Chicago from the highway I could see the skyscrappers towering about
the clouds or mist or whatever. White knuckle time. The
congestion, the noise, the traffic--I would have bypassed the city
altogether, but my gas light had been on for some time. Damn,
I shouldn't have procrastinated putting gas in. So I had no
choice but to pull of the highway and look for a gas station.
Luckily, I found one. And found a hostel near the lake.
So that was a bonus. Walked the beach. But could not
wait to leave early the next morning.
Visited Gettysburg. Stayed at the Pittsburgh Hostel, PA. It
was in the city, but wasn't as busy as the Chicago Hostel. Had
the woman's dorm room to myself.
PA. Peace & quiet. Woods & solitude. Even
a brook outside my window to listen to. Cool breeze. One
other hosteller there. We each had our own room.
It's been 91 days on the road! Next stop Home!
Massachusetts! It's been great! Experienced every
emotion possible during this trip! Almost beyond words.
Devil's Tower July 3 (Peanut
butter sandwich on my dashboard.)
of glacier at left was taken on Rt 37A road to Hyder, Alaska
never done it--there is nothing to prepare you for driving through a
winding, windy canyon (and later in the dark).
What looks like a little crack (where the arrow is pointing) is
where scenic route 95 enters into the canyon. I have since
learned that it's called the Bicentennial Highway. And that I
had driven 133 canyon miles from
Blanding to Hanksville, UT. That's not counting
the drive from Durango, to Four Corners, and from Four Corners to
Blanding. It was a long drive under a variety of
conditions. Two things that did not change were the heat &
the wind! The wind was unbelievable! Someday I'd like to
back there so I can enjoy it this time.