USA / New England


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Day X has come! While Chantal quietly enjoyed her breakfast, I couldn’t quite hide my tension. In the last few days I’ve read all sorts of stories about crossing the border: If one would take our freight more exactly under the magnifying glass, then perhaps the laughter could pass us soon.

In a few minutes after our departure from the campground – we cleaned our jeep extra – we reached the Canadian post. The present officer had with our wish that she should note the export of our vehicle in the passport or otherwise, her trouble and it was immediately clear that we were no everyday case. In any case, we hoped that all papers were in order and that the jeep did not have to stay behind in Canada for customs purposes.

After a few meters we reached the US border post, which was literally on a green meadow. Right at the entrance to the area the first photo box flashed at us, and we were ordered into the office with a serious expression. Looking back, however, I can say that all the formalities and controls were very obliging and the officer simply did his job. He was also very caring about our travel plans and schedules and reminded us several times that under no circumstances should we exceed the day of departure at the end of March, as this would make all later entries unaccounted for.

After about half an hour he wished us all the best and: “Have a good time and enjoy your trip in the States!

In a good mood we started to turn over fields and woods to the next village in Maine. The first impression was also intense and soon the sun laughed at us; hurrah, we are there.

The music in the first shopping center couldn’t have been more fitting; we heard Nina’s “99 balloons” from the ceiling speakers. But we were also positively surprised by the general cleanliness in the villages, on the streets and even around the individual houses. In Canada everything just lies around somehow and leaves a somewhat messy impression; here it is simply tidy.

In spite of the cold, we were again filled with the desire for something new and a quickest possible trip to the south was stopped. We discovered the Baxter State Park and sunshine was announced for the following days.

The whole north of Maine is, besides agriculture, a huge forest and in the middle of this landscape lies the State Park with the highest peak of the state. Our first stop was also outside the park in a monument park, where you can and may live out your “motor” desires in all ways. The maps and brochures at the reception of the campsite promised a lot more than we could ever have imagined.

The weather prospects kept what they had promised, and we experienced the Baxter Park from its most beautiful side. The ranger at the entrance gave us some tips and suggestions for our day trip and we were already outside in the quiet landscape. In the park there are different rules than outside and we enjoyed the wonderful highlights at the different points. The forests changed their dress of leaves and enchanted almost all corners into beautiful color carpets and the sunlight let the colors shine especially.

The last highlight I experienced was the walk to a waterfall a little off the tourist paths, where shortly before reaching the small Niagara Falls something was moving. At first I thought that some marmot was looking for space and enjoyed the wonderful view, when I arrived at the stream, when I suddenly looked into the eyes of a lynx – a few meters in front of me. Slightly shocked, I looked at the animal and enjoyed the brief moment before it definitely took off. For something like this, there is hardly enough time for photographic capture, but the memory remains deep inside me.

Then we spent a complete car day! Petrus apparently opened all the locks and let some rivers and waters in Maine rise above their normal levels and the fresh temperatures made us tremble again. Always when leaving the protective roof the softened ground immediately drew our attention and our wish to go as fast as possible to the south became stronger again.

The south coast of Maine – its Riviera – where almost every historical place trumps the next, but also the landscapes in between are like a picture book. But behind the windshield and with a buzzing windshield wiper everything was only half fun.

But somewhere in the dark weather forecasts we suddenly saw a big sun hole! We changed our plans immediately and we headed north again into the White-Mountains. The history of this park could almost be that of our national park; first the nature was completely robbed, until some personalities committed themselves for the nature so that we can experience this park today in such a way.

Although we stood at the foot of the highest mountain of New Hampshire, we omitted the ascent with the rack railway and the diesel locomotive. But we enjoyed the ride back through the park and on this Friday we were not the only ones who enjoyed this wonderful autumn day.

So we reached the Atlantic coast on another way than planned and already we were standing in front of the first American big city. Since it was the last weekend at which most of the camping sites were open, the search for a place to stay turned out to be a little difficult and at the end we were content with a parking place in a state park.

For the visit of Boston we chose the approach with the ferry and thus we already experienced the extent of American cities with the outward journey. This city also has something very likeable about it: the streets in the center are not arranged in a square, but as the city once grew. Boston can also proclaim its important role of independence from the British for itself, and this can be felt and seen throughout the city. Such wise thinkers from former times would perhaps do today’s world good again.

With many impressions, we returned through the harbour bay back to our “house”, which was waiting for us in the harbour parking lot in Winthrop.

Already the travel guide draws our attention to the difficult driving in Boston. Despite Columbus day it was very exhausting to find the right way through this American traffic bustle. We just wanted to visit the last miles of the historic road and the hill of Boston, where once much blood flowed for independence.

In the middle of the afternoon we also found the right way out of the urban jungle and were surprised by a local demonstration; the people expressed their displeasure at the bad job payments and the “Working Poor” generation.

Thoughtfully we followed the coast of the peninsula south – or is it even an island? – Cape Cod towards: And these people are supposed to be poor here? Already on the “mainland” we were very impressed by the complete marketing of this coastal strip: one villa and holiday residence followed the other and the places were accordingly dressed up. In the local harbours lay one yacht after the other!

Cape Cod was followed by an increase in what we had seen so far: the villages and towns are all very worth seeing; certain things are already so kitschy that they are beautiful again. Apart from all the houses, almost half of the island is a protected area, and huge dunes usually decorate the background.

As a novelty – in the nature reserve! – a Jeep-Trail, which meanders from the northern over the eastern coastal section by the dunes, and against corresponding dollars one gets also the permit. Unfortunately our injuries didn’t allow us such activities at the moment. Chantal and I are both injured at the right hand, respectively wrist/finger and could never have dug our jeep out of the sand.

Back on the “mainland” again, we mostly wiggled along the coast, enjoyed a side trip to a headland every now and then, others we left out and looked for some change from the many villas and generous country estates in the interior.

A hurricane in the south influenced the weather situation at the east coast again very strongly, and dark clouds soon pointed to rain. And so we experienced Connecticut like most Americans – passing through from west to east, or vice versa.

That it can be so strong and long “pouring”, we did not want to have so far true, but it did! And nevertheless; not interstate or another highway, but beautiful along our pleasure ways we enjoyed the landscape, villages and small town: Even with rain, no matter how strong!

From New Haven it was finally over with enjoyable “crusen” on the country road. One city followed the next and despite torrential rains there was a lot going on on the roads. Also the accommodating driving style of the Americans changed abruptly and urban street manners challenged us enormously.

In the many suburbs around the New Yorker metropolis there were for us globetrotters also no more big possibilities for free overnight stays nor any camping sites. The evening searches led again and again to nerve-racking moments and it became several times late, until we could open our tent.

The trip from Greenwich to our booked campsite was a ridiculous 60 km as the crow flies, had to make a small detour via Manhattan (NY) and took 7 hours. But we could enjoy in the “Stop and Go” traffic with sunshine the drive through the center of the city of all cities. But first of all; for weak nerves such a crossing is nothing and put even at Chantal and me everything so far experienced in the shade.

Leaving Manhattan for Brooklyn, the additional traffic started and the sun was already low when we arrived in Jamaica-Bay, where somewhere on a disused airport we should stay for the next nights.

Hardly turned off the main traffic axis, our jeep began to lead a new life of its own with strange jerking movements and stuttering. Something mechanical gave loud noises of itself and in the walking pace, with free road (!), we moved towards the sleeping place.

Long into the night we puzzled about the possible evil and how we can solve this problem as fast as possible.

At the moment we lie, despite the proximity far away from our communication possibilities (…among other things no Internet nor Tel. connection!) and the forthcoming weekend does not make a fast solution simpler.

With great excitement and anxiety we went to bed early: Maybe New York offers an unconventional solution?




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