Navigating Boston – The Big Dig City

Today should have been a really easy day, with a short 200 mile hop down the coast to stay with friends in Plymouth, Massachusetts. But, we have to drive through the centre of Boston, and our kids tell us Vancouver has a major hockey rivalry going on with that city. Should we cover up our British Columbia plates on the front and back???

Saturday 4th October 2014

Augusta/Gardiner KOA, ME to Plymouth, MA

Temps – 11 to 20C

Weather – Initially clear, then broken overcast

Wind – Light airs

Cloxs – No change (Z-4)

Distance today – 245 miles

Total Distance – 6,277 miles


The campground is within a couple of miles of I-295 and I-95 is on the opposite side of a lake, so we elect to start the day on I-295, joining I-95 just south of Portland. Both Google and the GPS then suggested switching to Hwy 1 in Boston, then to I-93, which would take us down to Plymouth.

Departure Augusta/Gardiner KOA

This is a well treed, long and narrow campground built on a slope leading down to a lake. Our site had a tree on the inside corner as we pulled out and another one across the road to prevent taking a wide swing. This required backing up to move the coach to the extreme passenger side of the site to provide sufficient room to make the turn out of the site, missing all the trees.

Next challenge was the steep exit and two sharp turns prior to departing through a narrow gate and finally onto the road. Had we been new to this rig I would have been sweating.

Probably our most challenging departure ever.

Detailed Voyage to Plymouth, Massachusetts

Our ETA in Plymouth was 1600, so we planned to leave about 1100 and take a easy drive down the coast. With a few hours to kill in the morning, we decided to get caught up with the hoovering and other assorted cleaning tasks. However, the cleaning and slow departure meant it was actually 1120, on Andy’s watch, by the time we hit the road, so he is computing a new speed to attain the ETA, when we notice the car clock says 1020. Bingo, he changed the car clock yesterday, but on arrival forgot his watch. So we actually departed early at 1020, which required yet another speed computation to achieve the ETA.

Finally and safely on the road, at the correct speed, a couple of swigs of steaming hot tea got Andy’s heat rate back to normal. The next few hours heading down the I-295/95 were totally uneventful. However, once we departed I-95 we were in for a shock, as the next section wasn’t highway, it was city streets and very poorly maintained ones. Passing a mall at lunch time we pulled into the parking lot for a quick lunch. With the power cable and various other stuff in the back of the truck we didn’t want to leave it unattended, so Andy stayed with the dogs while Judi scoped out the mall for food. She came back with a couple of great burgers from Jake’s Wayback Burgers. Hadn’t heard of them before, but they were made to order, were hot, fresh and tasty.

With nourishment, we departed the mall pulling into the melee that is Boston traffic. Don’t know if it was the British Columbia plates, but courtesy isn’t a skill abundantly displayed by the locals. Making good progress, then boom – we see a sign for a Toll Bridge that has NO cash option. Not having a U.S. transponder we depart at the last exit onto a not overly pleasant area of the city. We are immediately faced with a 90 degree right turn, so I hold the middle of the road with my right signal on, so I have sufficient room to make the turn. You guessed it, about 3 very small cars squeezed up the inside of us. Not only don’t they have any courtesy, we suspect they are brain dead.

Finally somebody clues into what we are doing and blocks the inside so we can make the turn. The next 1/2 hr was interesting to say the least. At one point we rounded a corner to be faced with a 13’6″ bridge. OMG – at 13’4″ that only leaves us 2″ clearance, needless to say we passed under the bridge very slowly. We survived our sojourn through the streets of Boston, eventually reaching the I-93. However, this is one of the roads involved in the Big Dig Project, Boston’s $16 Billion project to dig the motorway system under the city centre. Judi of course doesn’t like tunnels, so I reassured her that at least it wasn’t water above. Fortunately the traffic jam didn’t happen until we cleared the tunnel.

Prior to arriving at our fiend’s home we made a couple of stops off the highway to collect dog food and beer/wine, which were generally uneventful. We eventually arrived at 1615, a mere 15 minutes late, which wasn’t bad considering our trials and tribulations of passing through Boston.

2 thoughts on “Navigating Boston – The Big Dig City

  1. Unexpected toll roads, hmmm, I remember my sweerty, Elaine, running back and getting the little jar of laundry quarters out from under the bed so we could pass through an unattended toll booth. I am sure every one thought we were Looney! We later learned that there was a call button, no label or sign just a call button that we were assured would summon help.


    • Ha Ha! We almost had a similar experience in Chicago back in August while stopping at Costco. Had lots of notes for the tolls, but didn’t expect to see unattended booths that only take coins. Fortunately we were lucky and just had enough.

      Liked by 1 person

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