Posts tagged US Highways

A drive like we took back in the day….

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I’ve really been been itching for a road trip! For the past couple of months, we hadn’t been able to go on many road trips because we’re providing some necessary care and maintenance to our house, which has been neglected for just a little bit too long…due to so many spontaneous road trips and camping trips! So now, we have to be responsible homeowners! But regardless, I’m still itching for a road trip. LOL But, as I posted recently, our vacation has been moved up from September to July, so now I can really anticipate an upcoming road trip!

But about two weeks ago, before this latest change in plans, I was traveling home from a doctor appointment in a part of the city I don’t normally visit, and I decided to return home via local roads I don’t usually travel. As soon as I reached the Michigan Road, I needed to turn south to head toward home…but I was wishing I was turning north to head to Michigan instead! One of my favorite drives is along the coast of Lake Michigan. We have done the entire loop twice. The first time, in September of 2005, we made the trip clockwise, starting in Chicago and looping through the UP, across the Mackinac Bridge, and along the Michigan coast. In September of 2012, we made the trip counterclockwise, starting in New Buffalo, Michigan and effectively ending in Chicago. Coming home from a doctor appointment and waiting at a intersection of a road that has taken me on some fun adventures instantly made me long for a road trip.

There’s so much fun, freedom, and adventure to be had on a road trip. You get to see and experience real America – something you don’t do when you fly over it. Sometimes, you can on the Interstate (there are some that have some nice scenery) – but for the most part, the Interstate is just an endless slab of monotony with the same generic rest stops, indistinguishable from one another.

By contrast, America’s two lane highways have so much more to offer. We have found these quirky little museums in small towns and cities that have this claim to fame that they cling to and are so proud to share with visitors. And you’ll rarely find anyone as passionate as the local volunteers who work at these museums and share their stories. Blink and you might miss them; but stay and you’ll learn all about things you probably would never have!

I have mentioned this previously in our US 12 Heritage Trail post, but I am entranced by the “Pure Michigan” ad campaign, in particular, the radio ads featuring Michigan native, actor Tim Allen. They are mesmerizing and perfectly capture the spirit of travel and specifically to the featured Michigan locations. This ad below remarkably epitomizes road trips.

The family road trip. It was the high point of summer. The car packed to the gills, a folded-up road map at the ready, surrounded by enough snacks and drinks to last into next month. Well, let’s go there again. Take a drive away from our schedules and routines…to a sandy beach, a cozy bed and breakfast, or a secluded trailhead. Someplace that right now is calling our name at the top of its rustic little voice. It’s time to go fishing, to go exploring, to experience firsthand some of Michigan’s small town treasures. Miles of shoreline, forests, and endless lakes and trails. Let’s follow our noses and see where we end up. Because adventure is out there…waiting for us at the end of a drive. A drive like we took back in the day. The kind of summer to remember…that’s Pure Michigan.

May 16, 2013: Day 7 – East Bound and Down

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Above is today’s trip map created using my Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app.
Click the link above for a bigger map.

We left Schenectady and after getting my Dunkin Donuts fix (153 feet from the hotel!), we were off on a side trip to Bennington, Vermont for a side trip to the Blue Benn Diner, highly recommended by one of my coworkers.

Blue Benn Diner - Bennington, VT

We briefly took the Interstate until we reached State Road 7, which we took northeast, then SR 279 into Bennington. After discovering the Blue Benn is cash only, we quickly found a nearby ATM, and headed back with our wallet full and our stomachs empty!

I’d been hearing about how wonderful the crunchberry pancakes were, so I already knew that was what I would order. I added a little bacon so I could have some protein to offset the carbs! The pancakes were as good as they look, if not better!

Breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner
Pat opted for a slightly more protein-heavy meal of eggs, corned beef hash, and home fries with toast.
Breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner

After filling our stomachs and emptying our wallet, we headed out of Bennington on SR 9, and took it until SR7. On the way in to Bennington, we had seen a cool country store and would pass it on the way back, so we decided to stop. It was called the Big Moose Deli & Country Store in Hoosick, New York. We stopped to pick up some snacks and small souvenirs.

Big Moose Deli & Country Store - Hoosick, New York

We headed north on a local road into Hoosick Falls, and onto a few state roads until we picked up US 4. In Hudson Falls, we saw this neat old Rexall sign at the local pharmacy.
McCann's Rexall Pharmacy, Hudson Falls, New YorkPat was in need of some ibuprofen, so we decided to stop and provide them some business. I also happened to find they had some homeopathic ear drops which provided some very much needed relief from the discomfort of my scratchy eardrums.

We continued west on SR 254 until we intersected with US 9, and took that north into tonight’s destination, Lake George, New York. Lake George is a very popular tourist destination in the Adirondacks with loads to do for all ages. I’d been there as a child (don’t really remember) and again as a teenager with my parents and friend Joann. That trip was loads of fun, as we went to the now-defunct amusement parks Gaslight Village and Frontier Town and hung out in the bustling Village of Lake George. I was curious where we stayed on that trip, and had some vague recollections of where our motel was. I know it was in the actual Village, on the main drag, and recalled it being on a slight hill. Sure enough, I found two locations side by side, one of which was likely our motel. One was currently a motel, and the other was a nightclub with an area on the side that looks like it was at one time a motel. A little searching on the internet revealed that it was in fact, a former motel. This is the geeky stuff Pat and I really enjoy. :)

This trip, we stayed on the north side of the village, at the Sundowner Motel, right on Lake George. We were a week away from the start of peak season, so as we walked around town, though some businesses were open, more were not. We still got a feel for the place, and from what I described to Pat, he thought it would make a good place to add to our list of vacation destinations. It was actually about the same distance as his favorite childhood vacation destination of Park Rapids, Minnesota.

Here’s the view of Lake George from our motel:
View of Lake George from the Sundowner Motel

We had dinner at a neat little restaurant south of Lake George called The Loft:
The Loft Drive-in, Lake George, New York
This restaurant was directly across from our motel and just looked like it was straight out of the late 50’s:
Mario's Restaurant - Lake George, New York
This motel was directly next to ours. Nice sign!
Surfside on the Lake - Lake George, New York

Despite coming down with some bad traditional allergy symptoms to something in the area (that I never usually have!), we went for a late evening walk, with only locals around, at the few bars open on a Thursday night. This would look quite different in about a week, when the area would be teeming with tourists.

We settled back in at the motel and had a peaceful sleep by the lake.

Today’s Photographs

Below is a slideshow of all of today’s photos. Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157633529679406″ width=”600″]

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