My original plan for hitting the first mile of Route 1 was to sneak up on it through Canada. Fort Kent, Maine, is practically Canada. If you Google places to stay near Fort Kent, you’ll see a bunch of lovely motels… in Canada. If you Google a route to Fort Kent, Maine, from where I live in Maryland, the fastest way there requires CANADA.
Back in March, therefore, I expected to approach Ft. Kent from above. First, I’d visit my father’s hometown of Ogdensburg, New York, which sits conveniently along the banks of the St. Lawrence River within spitting distance of Ottawa… if you can spit 60 miles. After a night in Ogdensburg, I’d slip into Ontario and take the excellent Route Transcanadienne to the northern border of Maine.
However, thanks to the Delta variant and the incomprehensible, self-destructive, expertise-eschewing fancies of enough Americans, I will not be risking multiple international border crossings at this time.
I remain curious enough about my paternal ancestry to keep Ogdensburg on the schedule, in spite of it not being even remotely on the way. So rather than toodle through Canada along the St. Lawrence River like Paddle-to-the-Sea, I will now be sidling through northern Vermont and New Hampshire, eventually hooking up with I-95 to Bangor, then up to a snowmobilers’ favorite motel just outside of Washburn, Maine.
Washburn sits an hour south of Fort Kent on a road that is *not* Route 1. Part of the plan: not to double-back at any point along the road if it can be avoided.
Preparatory & Ambient References
Anderson, F. (2005). The War that Made America. Simon Vance, Narr. [Audiobook]. Old Saybrook, CT: Tantor Media, Inc.
To listen to in fur-trapping country.
Cooper, J. F. (November 1956.) The Last of the Mohicans. Classics Illustrated (#4). NY: Gilberton Company.
I’m never going to read the actual book.
Holling, H. C. (1941) Paddle-to-the-Sea. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company.
One day, I will recreate this trip not in a canoe.
Schweizer, W. (Director). (2003). Von Werra: German Fighter Pilot. [Film; online video]. Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion AG; Lichtblick Film- und Fernsehproduktion.
Franz von Werra was the only German POW to escape Canada and return to Germany. Rowed to Ogdensburg!
Speare, E. G. (1957) Calico Captive. New York: Houghton-Mifflin Company.
Childhood favorite. Forgot it was about the French and Indian War.