2022 Road Trip
From Cape Flattery in WA state to W Quoddy Head in the state of ME,
then up the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, following the St Lawrence River
west to the Great Lakes, crossing the border at Sault Ste Marie
This past summer, I took an epic road trip. 6 weeks and 9604 miles. 19 US states and 3 Canadian provinces. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, we rarely ate inside restaurants, so the final count includes innumerable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, supplemented with many just-add-water meals and not nearly enough French pastries.
|From the Pacific Ocean (Seattle, WA)|
To the Atlantic Ocean
in 5 days
What all these states have in common:
Wind turbines in corn fields
The trip was inspired by insanely high plane ticket prices, the death of a much-loved cat, a progressive disease, photos of Quebec's pastry shops, the pandemic, and the inability to decide what else to do. The six-week trip was goal-posted by medical appointments, and the time frame was held firm by two family gatherings with distinct dates. Therefore, this was not a leisurely, "explore America" kind of road trip, but rather one in which car travel was a means of reaching the next destination.
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Maine --
Easternmost point in the contiguous US
Nevertheless, the destinations were spectacular -- family visits in CT and WI, multi-day vacations in Quebec City and Montreal, a respite in an off-the-grid Quebecois cabin, driving the upper Mississippi and the length of the St Lawrence Rivers, and exploring Yellowstone National Park. In addition to the multi-day destinations, we designed the trip to meet key geographical markers: the westernmost and easternmost points of the contiguous USA (Cape Flattery, WA and West Quoddy, ME). Even when traveling between destinations, we experienced amazing scenery, visited old friends, and discovered new locations and activities.
The Prius at the eastern-most
point of the trip,
Big smiles at the start
(hopefully at the end, too)
Rain gear on the trail
I dream of a van rigged out for camping, like the kids have. Of course, mine would also be accessible, with a ramp. This van would have been ideal for this journey, providing cheap(er) and easier lodging (no search for lodging each night and no carrying luggage back and forth), a means of hauling a wheelchair, and accessible seating.
Trails on the Gaspe Peninsula
Unfortunately, we still don't have this dream vehicle; but we do have the trusty Prius and a Fold N Go power wheelchair. This wheelchair is great at handling distances and hills, drives by a joystick, folds up easily, has rugged tires with big casters, and is waterproof; however, it is heavy, doesn't fit me well without an extra seat cushion, and is dangerous when fighting slope and cross-slope simultaneously. The jury is still out on their -- maybe fantastic, maybe horrible -- customer service.
Here is a list of some of the (accidentally brilliant) items we packed to make the road trip possible (For motel items, see the list in the following blog):
- Roho MiniMax inflatable seat cushion (to sit on in the car)
- Pillow and blanket (for the car and for cheap motels)
- Phone charger for cigarette lighter
- Folding metal ramp
- Wooden transfer board
- Compression socks
- Tablet for all e-books
- Hand sanitizer
- Therabands and TENS/NMES kit for exercise
- Electric kettle to boil water
- Spoons, forks, and cups
- Dish soap
- Wheelchair and cushion repair kit
- Rain poncho, rain hat, and stadium blanket
- Pee bottle, for car
- Phone apps:
- Gaia (fee)
- Spotiify (fee)