Ten things to do as you're driving from Ft. Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, on U.S. Highway 1:
- Buy peanuts and Cracker Jack at a Portland Sea Dogs game at Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine.
- Take a tour of the Rhode Island State House in Providence, R.I.
- Look at exotic animals at the Bronx Zoo in the Bronx, N.Y.
- Sample gourmet mushrooms at Phillips Mushroom Farms in Kennett Square, Pa.
- Get lost driving through Baltimore
- Eat a fresh doughnut hot off the line at the Krispy Kreme in Alexandria, Va.
- Watch drivers turn left very quickly at the Rockingham Speedway in Rockingham, N.C.
- Hike Tate's Trail through the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson, S.C.
- Visit the Walt Kelly Museum at Okefenokee Swamp Park in Waycross, Ga.
- Check your e-mail while eating a slice of key lime pie at Crossroads Internet Cafe in Key West, Fla.
I have long been interested in driving the entire length of U.S Highway 1. Why? No good reason, really, though I think that local roads are inherently more interesting than interstate highways. Of course, driving on local roads can also be quite aggravating; the fifth item on this list is drawn from my own personal experience. Back in 2001, I drove up to New Jersey for a TWoP Buffycon (or would it have been an MBTV Buffycon at that point? Let me look into this... yes, the name change came in 2002), and having a lot of time on my hand—I had been laid off literally the day before—I decided I would make the entire trip on U.S. 1. For no good reason—a recurring theme where this particular fascination of mine is concerned—I documented my trip by stopping every tenth mile and taking a picture of whatever happened to be in sight.
I've traveled on another long stretch of U.S. 1, the part that connects the Florida Keys to the mainland. I was a passenger for that trip;boliver's husband was in the driver's seat. And a fine job he did too! Not only did he find the Internet cafe mentioned in item no. 10 above, he also found the spot at which U.S. 1 ends. And, for that matter, begins.
Aside from nos. five and ten above, I drew the other activities from a book I just finished, The Great American Road Trip: U.S. 1 Maine to Florida by Peter Genovese. Like me, he was interested in driving the entire length of U.S. 1; unlike me, he actually has done it, and (obviously) written a book about it. He made his trips over a decade ago, so some of his information is out of date—for example, when he visited Rockingham Speedway, it was called the North Carolina Motor Speedway and hosted two NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, whereas now it is not on the NASCAR circuit—but I verified that the places I chose for the list are still located along the highway.