Here we go! Up early this morning for one of our two longest continuous stretches of driving. Our destination today is the Hyatt Regency at the inner harbor area of Baltimore Maryland. Thanks to @mudrun for all of the great information about the Baltimore area!
This leg of the trip is about 650 miles and Google is estimating about 11 hours on the road, so it's going to be a long day. The plan is to leave at 4 am in order to miss rush hour traffic in Charlotte and DC. The original plan was to travel I-85 to I-95, but after noticing that the back roads through Virginia only take 20 minutes longer, I think that's the route I'll take, and that's the route you see in the map above. We'll get lots of pictures and videos along the way, and I'll be posting those as time permits.
We wanted to get past Washington DC to find a place to stay for the night, because early the next morning (Friday) we are going to Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. I didn't want to have to battle early morning DC traffic and we need to be at Independence Visitor Center when it opens (you need tickets), so Baltimore was a good stopping point. From our place in Baltimore, it's about 100 miles and a little less than a 2 hour drive to the Independence Hall parking. We need to be there at 8 am as they start selling tickets at 8:30 even though it doesn't open until 9.
I don't mind the long haul driving, we drive 8 hours one way to see my parents in Sarasota, and when I go to the SCCA National Championships in Lincoln Nebraska we drive for 14-15 hours. My longest drive was 22 straight hours from Atlanta to Boston once, so 11 is very pretty doable. And since I don't normally like to ride with other people driving, so unless I can't keep my eyes open, I'm it. :-) With lots of different things to look at, the side roads won't be as boring as the interstates, so staying awake in broad daylight shouldn't be a problem.
Update Friday AM: Well, we made it to Baltimore. No, not in 10-11 hours as planned, but instead it took us 15 HOURS to get here. If you think Atlanta traffic is bad, try DC traffic. Let me say this... if you ever thought you might like to live in northern Virginia/Maryland... you'd better drive those roads before you decide.
One 14 miles stretch took 1:10 and after that the next 39 miles took 53 minutes. So 2 hours to go 53 miles. For those in Gwinnett that know the road, we took Lawrenceville Hwy all the way through Virginia. 🙂 Yes, highway 29 goes all the way through Virginia (NC too). For the most part, Hwy 29 was an awesome drive. The speed limit is lower, but it's a 4 lane divided highway, and you can sit back, stick it on cruise and relax. It's nothing like taking I-95.
We're off to our next overnight stop in Connecticut, this drive will be a lot shorter and we're going around NYC instead of through it.
This is going to be the story of our two week vacation through the New England states, complete with all of the places we will see, things we will learn, and memories that we will make. Amy and I will include as many pictures, videos, links to the places and things we do, as well as any other information we can find to help document the entire trip. (You know, just in case you'd like to go sometime :-)
When I was 16 years old my parents took us on a trip to the New England states and I still remember parts of that trip to this day. Since my wife Amy has never been to that part of the country (except for a trip to NYC), it will be a new experience for her and a great refresher for me, and there are a lot of places that we'll be going that I've never seen as well, so this ought to be fun!
This is going to be a driving trip. We thought about flying up and getting a rental car up there, but there are so many great places to see along the way, it would be a shame to not take the scenic route by driving versus flying. The total round trip length is about 3000 miles, so it's going to be a long haul with many days in the car. And since I didn't want to put that kind of mileage on my own vehicles, we are renting a SUV (Ford Explorer supposedly) for the trip. We have most of the itinerary planned now, so I'll be posting maps and more details as we get closer in time.
Basically, we pick up the rental vehicle at on Wednesday the 29th, start the trip on the morning of the 30th, and we return home on Wednesday, June the 12th. During the time we are gone, we will pass through a total of 15 states, 11 of which Amy has never seen. On the way up we will travel through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and into Massachusetts. We will set up home in West Yarmouth (next to Hyannis, see map below) in Massachusetts for a stay at the Holly-Tree Inn condo. From there we'll spend almost an entire week exploring Cape Cod and the surrounding area before we embark on a two day drive up the coast to Bar Harbor Maine where we'll stay another two nights at the Coach Stop Inn Bed and Breakfast. We plan on getting off the beaten path and hug the coast as much as possible in order to see all the sights along the way. Our route will pass through a very small section of New Hampshire (Portsmouth) on our way into Maine, and we will be stopping at numerous places all along the coastline before staying at Kennebunk Friday night. The next morning (Saturday) we take the back roads that will lead use to Bar Harbor. Sunday morning after arriving in Bar Harbor, we have to get up REAL early so we can go capture the sunrise (the sunrise is 4:50 am!!!) from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. From there we will drive up to the US-Canadian border at Eastport Maine, maybe see the "Old Sow", the largest tidal whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere, and eat a lobster roll at Quoddy Bay Lobster before heading back to Bar Harbor.
The return trip begins after breakfast on Monday the 10th, and the first day on the road will lead us across the beautiful forest and mountains of northern New Hampshire. We stop for a three hour round trip ride on the Cog Railway to the top of Mount Washington before continuing the trip south along the Vermont/New Hampshire border where we'll stop to sleep in Woodstock, Vermont. After an overnight rest, we get up early the next morning to begin a long day of driving toward the Cave Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast in Virginia. Rising with the sun on Wednesday the 12th, we'll drive on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina before hopping back on the interstate to finish the trip home.
We have a lot of things planned while we're gone, like stopping at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, taking the ferries to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard islands for day trips, a 4 hour whale watching tour, a guided walking tour in Boston, a trip to the top of Mount Washington, and stops for what is supposed to be some of the best seafood (IE... lobster) and lighthouses anywhere. In between, there will be a thousand other things to see and do, and I hope we can capture it all so you can follow our fun.
I'll break all of this out by making a new post for each day of the trip, so we should end up with a minimum of 14 different post. I'm sure I will also create a special post or three for those special side trips, highlights, and activities that we do. I'm also sure the post will be delayed since I can't spend all my time writing blog post :-) Who knows... I've never documented a two week trip before. I'm just winging it right now ;-)
In order to capture all of the sights and sounds of the trip, I just "had" to buy more electronic gadgets and equipment. Of course :-) The camera I really wanted to buy I just couldn't get right now, a Sony A6400 camera with a couple of nice lenses. Of course I couldn't just stop with the camera, I would also need a good gimbal to go along with it. By the time you add all of that up, I'm in the $2500 range (IF I'm lucky), so all of this will have to wait until sometime after the trip. That won't leave me with a shortage of cameras though :-)
Samsung S7 Edge
Even though this is my phone, this is one awesome camera. The picture quality is superb and it handles low light conditions with ease. While the camera can record 4K videos, I will have it set for 1080p resolution to help save space and make them easier to share. I plan of doing a few time lapse videos using the camera and hopefully one of those will be the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
To make sure I get the best pictures and video possible from this camera, I purchased an EVO Pro Gimbal to help me keep things steady and a Sandmarc polarizing filter to help with the image quality/reflections in bright light conditions. The gimbal is the EVO version of the Zhiyun Smooth 4, and I have it paired with the FiLMiC PRO app (paid app) on my phone. I can control almost all of the cameras features from the handle on the gimbal, even things like exposure and focus, as well as start and stop videos and take pictures. The FiLMiC PRO app is a must have if you use your the camera in your phone for lots of photography and/or videos. I'm also using another paid app called Lapse It Pro. Lapse It Pro is a full featured time lapse application for your phone.
I've had this camera for a while, and it's still a great little camera. This has been my autocross camera for 3-4 years now. It too will take 4K videos but I will be using this in 1080p resolution. I really love the quality of this camera. I also like the fact that I can set it up to do time lapse videos, so it will be used for those as well. And like my S7, I also purchased an EVO SS 3 axis wearable gimbal that I can use with this camera as well as the new Akaso 4K camera that I purchased (see below). I might look stupid with it on, but I also have a Stuntman Chest mount that I can attach the gimbal to for hands free recording. If you'd like to see how smooth the gimbal is on a chest mount... take a look at the video below.
Akaso V50 Elite 4K Action Camera
I just got this camera for the trip. It was pretty inexpensive (cheaper than the GoPro) and packed with a lot of features, so I thought I'd see how it works compared to my GoPro. Preliminary thoughts are that the picture quality is not quite as good as the GoPro, which is a little disappointing. But I'll give it a chance and put it through its paces. Again, I will "probably" not be shooting 4K videos, but I might try to do one or two just to see how they turn out. 1080p is all that most people can stream, so I'm going to stick to that resolution for the most part.
This camera and the GoPro can be mounted on the EVO gimbal, a head strap, chest strap, pole, suction mount, roll bar mount, or any mount that a GoPro can mount on. I will have a lot of flexibility in how I mount and use these, so I'm going to try to be creative. I'm really going to have to learn more about Adobe Premiere Pro to manipulate all my videos.
Rove R2-4K Dash Cam
One more. :-) This will be my dash cam for the trip. I haven't had it in the car yet, but played with it in the house and really like this. This tiny camera has a ton of features:
Samsung S4 (x2)
When you need a backup. We have two working S4 Galaxy phones that also shoot 1080p videos. We will use these as supplemental devices just in case. I also have a Samsung tablet that is used for various miscellaneous uses that will go with us.
That's all I've got :-) I really hope we can get some great shots of the trip... if not it will entirely be my fault :-)
I almost forgot a couple of items that I can't do without. I know I'm leaving out things like my tripod, power strips, various mounts, all kinds of cables, flashlights, kitchen sink, and all types of other assorted pieces that you would possibly ever need. Or not. Be prepared I say! :-)
Key Power Quick Charge 3.0 6-Port USB Wall Charger (x2)
Because I have SO many devices that charge using an USB charger, I needed lots of charging ports. This is the latest charger that I've bought, and I bought two of them.
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 5-Port USB Wall Charger
This is the first charger that I purchased a year or so ago. These are the only way to charge when traveling, especially if you have a lot of devices to charge, and I could really use one more like the one above. I believe I counted about 14 things that I own that need a USB charger. This one is a 60 watt/6.4 amp charger.
With all three chargers, I have a total of 17 charging ports. I have a separate 2 port charger for our Fitbit's, and a separate charger for the storage battery (see below).
Ultra High Capacity ZeroLemon ToughJuice 30000mAh 7A Output Portable Charger
While it says charger, it is a giant battery that you can use to charge your devices. This is a "MUST have" if you do any extended picture taking or recording and you aren't going to be near a power source. If you found yourself in that situation, this would be one of those items you wouldn't want to be without.