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I got the notion to travel the Boston Post Road (More or less US-1 between New York City and Boston) a few months ago after finishing “The King’s Best Highway” by Eric Jaffe a few months ago.

This last weekend, we finally did it, after finally putting our place up for sale in Philadelphia.  After a good nights rest with the in-laws in New Jersey, we pushed on to intersect the road in Rye, Greenwich, or thereabouts.  We had hoped to get there in an  hour and half, but traffic was going to be a force though out the trip, with congestion on the Garden State Parkway, the George Washington Bridge, and the Hutchinson Parkway.  The last was so severe that we exited in the North Bronx and found a Barnes & Noble in the Bay Plaza shopping center to get our bearings.

When I have infinite time and resources, I’d like to do this trip honestly, starting from the financial district of New York and journeying straight to the peninsula at the northern heart of Boston, the full path taken for the post road by 1727.  It probably would take us as long to get though New York City as it would to get through most of Connecticut.

After a visit with a high school friend I hadn’t seen since college, we got on US-1 at the amusingly dangerous traffic circle at Greenwich Connecticut.  The road was four lanes throughout, but the configuration kept changing betwen and within towns.  Sometimes the fastest lane was outside, sometimes inside.  We learned to ignore our GPS’ frequent pleas to exit onto I-95.  I took a picture at every red light.  Taking pictures every minute would have been even more illegal, and my wife wasn’t having it.  Ideally, we would have been able to make a video with one frame every minute, but I had to pick my priorities.

Canolis and italian sweets were the priority at Angelina Mia’s in Norwalk.  My wife spotted them as we approached yet another onramp to I-95, with enough time for me to steer into the parking lot and get a big box for our hosts that night, and a small box for us.  The GPS told us our arrival time was slipping beyond our host’s understanding, so we decided to zip up I-95 to Boston.

Huge mistake.  I-95, the Merrit Parkway, I-84 and I-90 were congested much of the way through to Boston.  My favorite was a sign on I-84 asking that drivers “slow down for tunnel”.  They did, and we were stuck in traffic for 20 more minutes gazing through the far side of a short tunnel.  I’m sure we got there sooner than we would have on US-1, but we had less fun.  I was in much more danger of dozing off, were it not for the constant braking in queues.  On US-1, the constant traffic lights, walkers, and parking lots kept the trip exciting.

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Detail of Moll’s 1727 map, the second map showing a road in the United States

Thursday I’m going to talk a bit more about trips in the US since 1995, and next Monday I’ll talk about our stay in Boston.

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