7/8 Arlington, Mass. to Montreal
Boy, some days on the highway you just don't get a chance to stop for "Welcome to (insert state here)" signs. We missed a sign for both New Hampshire and Vermont. For some state line crossings we have taken the time to get on a back road where the welcome sign is usually easier to stop for, but for this leg of the journey we just didn't have the time to spare. We stayed an extra day in Arlington, Mass. and had an all day drive to Montreal.
We did take the time for a lunch of New England style hot dogs at Stowe Dogs (in Stowe, Vermont naturally). For those of you who haven't had one and are curious, hot dogs New England style seems to be mostly about the bun (there may well be a New Englander or two who will correct me). The buns are a nice soft, slightly sweet with an amber tanned top. Imagine a standard bun baked shoulder to shoulder with its neighbors so that each bun has an almost square cross section and two long sides that have no crust. These are sliced down the middle of the brown top and grilled/toasted on the two long sides. This adds a grilled cheese sandwich (or grilled panini) kind of toasty crunchy (sometimes buttery) thing to the completed hot dog. The buns also seem to be a bit smaller and matched to the size of the dog. A bit less bun per dog ratio. At Stowe Dogs we had the snappers with natural casing. Very tasty on their own, but I went for my personal favorite toppings, spicy mustard and some sauerkraut. Nyom nyom nyom.
After Stowe Vermont we drove through Smuggler's Gap. In the winter this is a ski area, but after passing under the ski lift cables we passed through the gap's summer cool green coat.
Just a bit north of Smuggler's Gap interstate 89 carried us to the international border. There must be more traffic here sometimes but the road was eerily empty. To add to the peculiar atmosphere all the road signs were covered with black plastic. We got a bit spooked and wondered if there had been some horrible international incident and we were naively heading for a closed border. At last we saw the customs plaza and a few cars waiting to cross into Canada. We showed our passport cards* answered a few questions and the Canadian official wished us a pleasant trip (after shaking his head at hearing that we had indeed driven all the way from California). I asked him, "Say, how do we get to Montreal, anyhow?" He chuckled and said, "That-a-way."
*So, if you're a citizen of the U.S. and you are planning to drive (or bicycle or walk) to Canada or Mexico absolutely do not forget to apply for and obtain a passport of some form, well in advance. These days you must have a passport or you will be turned back. The Canadians and the Mexicans really don't want you stuck in their country and they know that the U.S. officials will not let you go home with out a passport. The standard Passport book will do the trick BUT there is a cheaper option these days if you are going to drive (or bicycle or walk) to either Canada or Mexico. The new Passport Card costs less and will fit anywhere a credit card will, so you can keep it in your wallet. For more info see the Passport site. You will still need a birth certificate, and some small photos, and a fee, but get your act together and do it early. It takes at least a month by mail.