A 2001 drive around the 48 states in 48 days

Category: Followup

The End

So, for those of you who have been following this all or part of the way round, that´s it. We´ve reached the end of the road. Thank you for sticking with it, and apologies for the daily intrusions into your Facelogs, Tweetboxes and LinkedHoles. That´s all over now.

For those of you who´ve only dipped in occasionally – and daily posts of around 3000 words have been too much for even me at times – you should know I´ve bought the URL for a year, so I´ll leave this stuff up here until Aug 2012 if you want to come back.

After that it´ll almost certainly come down: either it will have petered out to nothing and not be worth continuing, or it will have proved so wildly popular that it will cost me more than I´d be prepared to pay to renew it. So, you have 315 days to get through whatever bits still take your fancy. It was never my intention to promote this story, simply to make it available to those who were interested in reading it.

I´m writing this epilogue today, on 10th October 2011. The only other bit written this year was the introduction. Everything else was first tapped out on my keyboard back in the weeks following my return to the UK in the fall of 2001. The only editing I allowed myself along the way this year was to change certain spellings and terminology – like fall instead of autumn – so as to be more readily understood by an American audience (as most of the readership appears to have come from the western side of the Atlantic). Tempting as it´s been to update my perspective on things, I´ve resisted that even when it´s allowed my ridiculous naivety and/or ignorance to show through at times.

If I´d tried to assemble any sorts of conclusions back in 2001, I´d probably have said the two things that most characterized Americans – certainly in comparison to the people on the other side of The Pond – would be an accentuated level of common decency and a generally positive outlook. Most Americans seem to have a greater sense of community and care for one another, and they go out of their way to look on the bright side. I´ve not met a single American whose reaction to the idea of driving round the 48 states in 48 days was anything but congratulatory, in stark contrast to the general “What the hell was the point of that?” attitude I frequently encountered back home.

For those of you who don´t know me personally – and astonishingly there are some who´ve been reading this who fall into that category – you may be interested to learn that I moved out to America with Christine at the beginning of 2006. We now have a pair of Green Cards and a spectacular American daughter called Charlotte. And there are no signs of us returning to the UK any time soon.

After living here for almost six years, I can confirm those initial impressions from back in 2001: Americans are fundamentally decent and positively minded folks. The other observation I might have made back in 2001 is that, despite the wealth of diversity afforded by the country, perhaps the general homogeneity of the place was even more striking than all the differences. People from all geographies, social backgrounds and economic strata all seemed to buy into a similar value-set and believe in the same story. Being an American always came first, regardless of the sometimes extreme lifestyle dichotomies that existed alongside this consciousness.

Now I´m not so sure. The past five years has seen an increasing polarization of people broadly along the lines of political sympathies. I can´t think of many gay people who know many churchgoers and engage with them as people. Or vice versa. The tendency is much more just to objectify them as some kind of “other”. The same could be said of weed-smokers and gun license holders, Hummer drivers and those who´ve had an abortion, environmentalists and hunters, and dozens of other examples. These days, Americans are living more and more in a Them and Us world and demonizing anyone from the other side. You either watch Fox News or you watch The Daily Show.

Perhaps this is a consequence of the straitened economic situation that has engulfed most of the population in recent times. If so – and if the world economy continues to march to a tune of increased globalization and technological innovation seeing more and more money being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands – that situation is not going to improve drastically for the middle classes for some time yet. But the best response to a crisis is rarely to stop talking altogether. Just look at the Greeks and the Germans.

But what the fuck do I know? I couldn´t even find a publisher for this story ten years ago despite the drama of 911 sitting right in the middle of it, and a publicity boost when Virgin chose to feature it on a national tv advertising campaign.

What I do know though, is that the USA remains one of the most remarkable countries in the world, and I can now understand why so few Americans ever choose to leave its borders. There aren´t many things that can be done much better elsewhere that aren´t available within the lower 48. I´d heartily recommend any of 47 of those states. Just don´t bother going to Oklahoma.

Thank you again, and goodnight. It´s been a pleasure having you along for the ride.

The Route


New Jersey – Delaware

Hoboken (NJ)

Lincoln Tunnel, W 38th St, Queens Midtown Tunnel, I 278 to La Guardia
I 278, I 87, I 95, I 80 to Paterson
I 80, US 206, RR to Waterloo
RR, NJ 517 to Schooleys Mountain
NJ 513 to Clinton, Frenchtown
NJ 29, NJ 604 to Seargantsville, Covered Bridge, Stockton
NJ 29 to Lambertville
NJ 518, US 206 to Princeton
RR, NJ 33 to Cranbury, Manalapan
NJ 33, US 9 to Cape May (NJ)

Ferry to Lewes (DE)

Lewes (DE)

338 miles

Cumulative mileage: 338


Delaware – Maryland

Lewes (DE)

US 9, RR to Bethel
RR to Woodland, Seaford, Blades
US 13 to Dover
RR, DE 9 to New Castle (DE)

US 40 to Havre de Grace (MD), Baltimore
I 95, I 895, I 97, MD 3, US 301, MD 4 to Solomons
MD 235, MD 5 to St Mary’s City
MD 5 to Ridge

Ridge (MD)

353 miles

Cumulative mileage: 691


Maryland – Virginia – West Virginia

Ridge (MD)

MD 5, MD 234 to Leonardtown, Allens Fresh
US 301 to La Plata
MD 225 to Thomas Stone’s House
US 301 to Faulkner (MD)

US 301, VA 207, I 95 to Richmond (VA)
US 60 to Amherst, Buena Vista
US 501 to Glasgow, Natural Bridge
US 11, I 60 to Covington (VA)

I 64 to White Sulphur Springs (WV), Lewisburg

Lewisburg (WV)

381 miles

Cumulative mileage: 1072


West Virginia – Kentucky

Lewisburg (WV)

I 64, US 60 to Hines, Gauley Bridge, Charleston, Hurricane (WV)

I 64, KY 9 to Maysville (KY)
US 68 to Washington, May’s Lick, Paris, Lexington
I 64 to Louisville
I 265, US 42 to Prospect, Goshen

Goshen (KY)

399 miles

Cumulative mileage: 1471


Kentucky – Tennessee – North Carolina

Goshen (KY)

US 42, I 265, US31W to Fort Knox, Bonnieville
I 65, KY 90, US 127 to Glasgow, Cartwright, Static (KY)

US 127 to Pall Mall (TN), Jamestown
TN 52 to Rugby, Elgin
US 27, TN 63 to Pioneer
I 75 to Powell, Knoxville
I 275, US 441 to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg (TN)

US 441 to Great Smoky Mountains Nat Park, Cherokee (NC), Franklin
US 64 to Highlands, Brevard, Hendersonville
US 25 to Flat Rock

Flat Rock (NC)

511 miles

Cumulative mileage: 1982


North Carolina – South Carolina

Flat Rock (NC)

US 64 to Sliding Rock, Brevard
US 276 to Cedar Mountain (NC)

US 276, SC 8 to Pumpkintown (SC), Pickens
US 178 to Anderson
SC 28 to Abbeville
SC 72, SC 34 to Camden

Camden (SC)

224 miles

Cumulative mileage: 2206


South Carolina – Georgia

Camden (SC)

SC 261, US 15 to Santee (SC)

I 95, US 17 to Savannah (GA)
US 17, GA 196, US 84 to Hinesville, Screven, Waycross
US 1 to Folkston
GA 23 to Okefenokee Swamp

Okefenokee Swamp (GA)

313 miles

Cumulative mileage: 2519


Georgia – Florida – Alabama

Okefenokee Swamp (GA)

GA 23 to Macclenny (FL)
I 10 to Tallahassee
US 319 to Sopchoppy, Carrabelle, Apalachicola
US 98 to Panama City
US 331 to De Funiak Springs (FL)

I 10, AL 64, Alt US 98 to Fairhope (AL)

Fairhope (AL)

486 miles

Cumulative mileage: 3005


Alabama – Mississippi

Fairhope (AL)

Alt US 98, AL 59, AL 21 to Monroeville
AL 41 to Camden, Selma
US 80 to Demopolis (AL)

US 80 to Meridian (MS)
MS 19 to Philadelphia
MS 15 to Louisville
MS 25, MS 19 to Kosciusko
Natchez Trace Parkway to Jackson, Port Gibson

Port Gibson (MS)

528 miles

Cumulative mileage: 3533

DAY 10

Mississippi – Louisiana

Port Gibson (MS)

Natchez Trace Parkway to Natchez
US 61 to Woodville (MS)

US 61 to St Francisville (LA), Baton Rouge
I 10 to New Orleans

New Orleans (LA)

226 miles

Cumulative mileage: 3759

DAY 11

Louisiana – Texas

New Orleans (LA)

I 10 to Baton Rouge, Lake Charles (LA)

I 10 to Beaumont (TX), Houston
US 290 to Giddings, Austin, Johnson City, Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg (TX)

592 miles

Cumulative mileage: 4351

DAY 12


Fredericksburg (TX)

US 290, I 10 to Segovia, Sonora, Ozona
TX 290 to Sheffield
TX 349, TX 2400, US 285 to Sanderson
US 90 to Marathon, Alpine
TX 118 to Fort Davis
TX 118, TX 166 round the scenic loop

Fort Davis (TX)

460 miles

Cumulative mileage: 4811

DAY 13

Texas – New Mexico

Fort Davis (TX)

TX 17, I 10, TX 17 to Pecos (TX)

US 285 to Loving (NM), Carlsbad, Artesia, Roswell
US 380 to Lincoln
US 380, US 70 to Ruidoso
US 70, NM 244 to Cloudcroft
US 82 to Alamogordo
US 70 to Las Cruces
I 25 to Caball
NM 152 to Hillsboro, Kingston

Kingston (NM)

536 miles

Cumulative mileage: 5347

DAY 14

New Mexico – Arizona

Kingston (NM)

NM 152, US 180 to Santa Clara, Silver City
NM 90 to Lordsburg
I 10, NM 80 to Rodeo (NM)

AZ 80 to Douglas (AZ), Bisbee, Tombstone, Benson
I 10 to Tucson

Tucson (AZ)

317 miles

Cumulative mileage: 5664

DAY 15


Tucson (AZ)

AZ 86 to Sells, Why
AZ 85 to Ajo, Gila Bend, Buckeye
I 10, RR to Vicksburg
AZ 72, AZ 95 to Parker, Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City (AZ)

385 miles

Cumulative mileage: 6049

DAY 16

Arizona – California

Lake Havasu City (AZ)

AZ 95 to Parker Dam (AZ)

RR, CA 62 to Earp (CA), Vidal Junction, Twentynine Palms, Palm Springs
I 10, I 405 to Los Angeles

Los Angeles (CA)

327 miles

Cumulative mileage: 6376

DAY 17

California – Nevada

Los Angeles (CA)

I 405, I 10, I 5, local roads, I 210, I 10, I 15 to Barstow, Zzyzx, Baker (CA)

I 15 to Primm (NV), Jean, Las Vegas
I 15, NV 168, US 93 to Moapa, Alamo
US 93, NV 375 to Rachel

Rachel (NV)

466 miles

Cumulative mileage: 6842

DAY 18


Rachel (NV)

NV 375, dust lanes to Area 51
Dust lanes, NV 375 to Rachel
NV 375 to Warm Springs
US 6, dust lane, US 6 to Lunar Crater, Currant, Ely
US 50 to Eureka, Austin
NV 305 to Battle Mountain
I 80 to Winnemucca
US 95 to Orovada, McDermitt

McDermitt (NV)

617 miles

Cumulative mileage: 7459

DAY 19

Nevada – Oregon

McDermitt (NV)

US 95 to Burns Junction (OR)
OR 78 to Crane, Burns
US 20 to Brothers, Bend, Sisters
OR 126 to Redmond
US 97 to Madras
US 26 to Government Camp
OR 35 to Hood River

Hood River (OR)

440 miles

Cumulative mileage: 7899

DAY 20

Oregon – Washington

Hood River (OR)

I 84, US 30, I 84 to Portland (OR)

I 5 to Kelso (WA), Olympia, Tacoma
I 5, I 405, WA 520 to Seattle

Seattle (WA)

259 miles 

Cumulative mileage: 8158

DAY 21

Washington – Idaho

Seattle (WA)

WA 520, I 5 to Seattle Center
I 5 to Everett
US 2 to Sultan, Leavenworth
US 2, US Alt97 to Chelan
RR, WA 172 to Chelan Falls, Mansfield
WA 172, WA 17, WA 174 to Grand Coulee, Electric City, Wilbur
US 2 to Spokane, Newport (WA)

US 2 to Priest River (ID), Sandpoint

Sandpoint (ID)

421 miles

Cumulative mileage: 8579

DAY 22

Idaho – Montana

Sandpoint (ID)

US 95 to Coeur d’Alene
I 90 to Wallace (ID)

I 90 to Clinton (MT), Butte
I 90, MT 2 to Three Forks
I 90 to Bozeman, Livingston

Livingston (MT)

446 miles

Cumulative mileage: 9025

DAY 23

Montana – Wyoming

Livingston (MT)

US 89 to Gardiner (MT)

US 89 to Mammoth Hot Springs (WY), Tower-Roosevelt, Canyon, West Thumb, Old Faithful, West Thumb
US 89 to Moose, Jackson
WY 22 to Wilson

Wilson (WY)

268 miles

Cumulative mileage: 9293

DAY 24

Wyoming – Utah

Wilson (WY)

RR, WY 22 to Jackson
US 89 to Alpine, Afton, Smoot
US 89, ID 61, WY 89, US 30 to Cokeville, Sage, Kemmerer
US 189, I 80 to Diamondville, Evanston (WY)

I 80 to Park City (UT)

Park City (UT)

304 miles

Cumulative mileage: 9597

DAY 25


Park City (UT)

I 80 to Salt Lake City, Great Salt Lake
UT 201, I 215, I 15 to Provo
US 6 to Helper, Price
I 70, US 191 to Arches National Park, Moab, Monticello

Bluff (UT)

439 miles

Cumulative mileage: 10036

DAY 26

Utah – Colorado

Bluff (UT)

UT 163, UT 262 to Aneth (UT)

CO 41, US 160 to Four Corners (AZ/NM/UT/CO)
US 160 to Durango (CO)
US 550 to Silverton, Ouray, Montrose
US 50 to Salida
CO 291, US 24 to Florissant
RR to Cripple Creek
CO 67 to Victor

Victor (CO)

481 miles

Cumulative mileage: 10517

DAY 27

Colorado – Kansas

Victor (CO)

CO 86, US 50 to Fowler, Swink, Holly (CO)

US 50 to Syracuse (KS), Dodge City, Hutchinson
KS 96 to Nickerson

Nickerson (KS)

479 miles

Cumulative mileage: 10996

DAY 28

Kansas – Oklahoma – Arkansas

Nickerson (KS)

KS 96 to Wichita

I 35, US 60 to Ponca City (OK), Pawhuska
OK 99 to Hominy
OK 20 to Claremore, Pryor, Salina, Spavinaw, Jay (OK)

AR 72 to Gravette (AR), Bentonville, Pea Ridge
US 62 to Garfield, Eureka Springs

Eureka Springs (AR)

410 miles

Cumulative mileage: 11406

DAY 29

Arkansas – Missouri

Eureka Springs (AR)

US 62 to Mountain Home, Salem
AR 9 to Mammoth Spring (AR)

MO 19 to Alton (MO), Winona
US 60, MO 21 to Centerville, Pilot Knob, Caledonia
MO 32 to Farmington, Ste Genevieve

St Genevieve (MO)

342 miles

Cumulative mileage: 11748

DAY 30

Missouri – Iowa

Ste Genevieve (MO)

US 61, I 55 to St Louis
I 70 to Wright City
I 70, MO 47 to Troy, Winfield
MO 79 to Clarksville, Louisiana, Hannibal
US 61 to Wayland, Kahoka (MO)

MO 81, IA 2,W40, IA 1 to Bonaparte (IA), Bentonsport, Keosauqua

Keosauqua (IA)

353 miles

Cumulative mileage: 12101

DAY 31

Iowa – Nebraska

Keosauqua (IA)

IA 1,IA 16, US 3, US 63 to Ottumwa, Oskaloosa
IA 163 to Pella
RR to Reasnor, Monroe
IA 14, RR to Pleasantville
IA 92 to Winterset, Bridges of Madison County, Massena
US 71, Us 34 to Red Oak
IA 48 to Essex, Shenandoah (IA)

IA 2 to Nebraska City (NE)
NE 2, US 6 to Lincoln

Lincoln (NE)

397 miles 

Cumulative mileage: 12498

DAY 32


Lincoln (NE)

US 6 to Friend, Hastings, Minden
NE 10, I 80 to Gothenburg
NE 47, NE 40 to Arnold
NE 92, RR to Anselmo
NE 2 to Thedford
US 83 to Lovejoy Ranch

Lovejoy Ranch (NE)

374 miles

Cumulative mileage: 12872

DAY 33

Nebraska – South Dakota

Lovejoy Ranch (NE)

US 83 to Valentine (NE)

US 83 to Mission (SD), White River
SD 44 to Wanblee, Interior
SD 377 to Badlands Nat Park
SD 240 to Wall
I 90 to Sturgis
US Alt 14 to Deadwood
US 85, I 90 to Spearfish
US Alt 14 to Lead, Deadwood
US 385 to Crazy Horse Monument
SD 244 to Mount Rushmore
US Alt 16, US 385 to Deadwood

Deadwood (SD)

436 miles

Cumulative mileage: 13308

DAY 34

South Dakota – North Dakota

Deadwood (SD)

US 85, I 90 to Spearfish
US 85 to Belle Fourche, Redig, Ludlow (SD)

US 85 to Bowman (ND), Belfield
I 94 to Medora
I 94 to Dickinson, Mandan, Jamestown
ND 1, ND 46, RR to Fort Ransom
RR, ND 46 to Leonard

Leonard (ND)

582 miles

Cumulative mileage: 13890

DAY 35

North Dakota – Minnesota – Wisconsin

Leonard (ND)

ND 18 to Casselton
I 94 to Fargo (ND)

US 10 to Moorhead (MN), Detroit Lakes
MN 34 to Park Rapids
US 71 to Lake Itasca
MN 2, MN 9, MN 3to Bemidji
US 2, MN 194, US 53 to Duluth (MN)

I 535, US 2, WI 13 to Herbster (WI), Cornucopia, Red Cliff, Bayfield

Bayfield (WI)

430 miles

Cumulative mileage: 14320

DAY 36


Bayfield (WI)

WI 13, US 2, US 63 To Hayward, Trego
US 53 to Eau Clair
WI 93 to Independence, Arcadia
WI 95 to Fountain City
WI 35 to La Crosse
US 14 to Coon Valley, Spring Green
WI 23 to Dodgeville
US 151 to Mineral Point

Mineral Point (WI)

409 miles

Cumulative mileage: 14729

DAY 37

Wisconsin – Illinois – Indiana

Mineral Point (WI)

US 151 to Platteville, Dickeyville (WI)

US 151 to Dubuque (IA)

US 20, IL 84 to Hanover (IL), Savanna
US 52 to Dixon
I 88 to Chicago (IL)

I 94 to Highland (IN)
I 94, I 80, IN 13 to Middlebury
US 20, IN 5 to Shipshewana

Shipshewana (IN)

392 miles 

Cumulative mileage: 15121

DAY 38

Indiana – Michigan

Shipshewana (IN)

IN 5, IN 120, IN 9 to Howe (IN)

IN 9, MI 66 to Sturgis (MI)
US 12 to Coldwater, Allen, Clinton
US 12, US 23 to Ann Arbor
MI 14, I 96 to Detroit
I 94, MI 3, I 94 to Port Huron

Port Huron (MI)

243 miles

Cumulative mileage: 15364

DAY 39

Michigan – Ohio

Port Huron (MI)

I 94, MI 59, MI 97 to Fraser, Roseville
I 94, I 96, MI 14 to Ann Arbor (MI)

RR, US 12, US 23 to Toledo (OH)
I 475, US 20, US 250 to Ashland, Wooster, Wilmot
OH 212 to Zoar, Zoarville
OH 800 to Dover, New Philadelphia
I 77, OH 39 to Sugar Creek
OH 93, OH 643 to Keene
OH 83, US 36 to Roscoe Village

Roscoe Village (OH)

363 miles

Cumulative mileage: 15727

DAY 40

Ohio – Pennsylvania

Roscoe Village (OH)

US 36 to Coshocton, Newcomerstown
I 77 to New Philadelphia
OH 39 to Mechanicstown, Wellsville, East Liverpool (OH)

PA 68 to Glasgow (PA), Rochester, Butler
US 422 to Kittanning
PA 85, PA 210, US 119 to Trade City, Punxsutawney
US 119 to Du Bois
PA 255 to Weedville
PA 555 to Driftwood
PA 120 to Westport
RR, PA 144 to Hammersley Fork, Carter Camp, Galeton
US 6 to Wellsboro

Wellsboro (PA)

366 miles

Cumulative mileage: 16093

DAY 41

Pennsylvania – New York

Wellsboro (PA)

US 6, PA 287, PA 249 to Cowanesque
PA 49 to Gold, Raymond
PA 49, PA 44 to Shinglehouse (PA)

NY 417 to Olean (NY)
NY 16, NY 400 to Franklinville, Buffalo
I 90, I 290, I 190 to Niagara Falls
NY 104 to Lockport
NY 93, I 90, NY 414 to Seneca Falls
US 20 to Skaneateles, Cazenovia
US 20, NY 28 to Cooperstown

Cooperstown (NY)

444 miles

Cumulative mileage: 16537 

DAY 42

New York – Vermont

Cooperstown (NY)

NY 80, US 20 to Esperance, Albany
I 787, NY 7 to Troy, Hoosick (NY)

VT 9 to Bennington (VT)
US 7 to Manchester
VT 30 to Dorset, Middlebury
US 7, VT 125 to Hancock
VT 100 to Stowe

Stowe (VT)

280 miles

Cumulative mileage: 16817

DAY 43

Vermont – New Hampshire

Stowe (VT)

VT 100, VT 15, RR to Craftsbury Common, Craftsbury, Greensboro
VT 15 to Joes Pond
US 2 to St Johnsbury (VT)

VT 18, I 93 to Littleton (NH), Franconia, North Woodstock
NH 112, NH 16 to North Conway
NH 16, US 302 to Crawford Notch, Willey House, Twin Mountain
NH 115, NH 115A, US 2 to Jefferson, Six Gun City
US 2, NH 16 to Berlin
NH 16 to Gorham, Jackson

Jackson (NH)

271 miles

Cumulative mileage: 17088

DAY 44

New Hampshire – Maine

Jackson (NH)

NH 16, Auto route to Mount Washington Summit
NH 16, US 302 to Redstone (NH)

US 302 to Fryeburg (ME)
ME 5 to Bethel
US 2 to Hanover
ME 232 to Bryant Pond
ME 219 to Winthrop
US 202 to Augusta
ME 17, ME 90 to West Rockport, Camden

Camden (ME)

211 miles

Cumulative mileage: 17299

DAY 45

Maine – Massachusetts

Camden (ME)

US 1 to Rockland, Brunswick
I 95 to Portland
US 1 to Kennebunk
ME 99 to Kennebunkport
ME 9 to Wells (ME)

I 95, MA 114 to Salem (MA)
MA 114 to Middleton
MA 114, I 95, MA 9 to Wellesley

Wellesley (MA)

236 miles

Cumulative mileage: 17535

DAY 46

Massachusetts – Rhode Island

Wellesley (MA)

MA 9, I 95, MA 2 to Concord
MA 2, MA 2A to Lexington, Boston
I 93, MA 3 to Plymouth (MA)

US 44, I 495, RR, MA 126 to Woonsocket (RI)
RI 99, RI 146 to Providence
I 195, RI 114 to Bristol, Newport, Jamestown
RR, RI 138 to Plum Point
RI 1A to Wickford

Wickford (RI)

207 miles

Cumulative mileage: 17742

DAY 47

Rhode Island – Connecticut – New York City – Hoboken (NJ)

Wickford (RI)

US 1, RI 1A to Watch Hill (RI)

RI 1A, US 1 to Mystic (CT)
US 1, I 95, US 1, CT 9, CT 154 to Essex
RR to Deep River
CT 153, I 95 to New Haven, Bridgeport
US 1 to Westport, Stamford (CT)

I 95, Hutchinson River Parkway, Bronx Pelham Parkway, US 1 to New York City

I 95, NJ 3, NJ 495 to Hoboken (NJ)

209 miles

Cumulative mileage: 17951

DAY 48

New York City

Total cumulative mileage to La Guardia: 17973