Day 1 was just driving. Beautiful fall colours all through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Had a bit of a scare watching the mileage, but that was after hours of facing a headwind, and uphill; on flatter terrain the mileage was slightly better than I had planned for. On a 9000km trip with very slim financial margins, these things make a difference! Crossed the border after dark and made it to Portland, Maine, where I found a comfortable place to park for the night in about 5 minutes.

Day 2 was just driving too. Freeway and trees, with the odd tollbooth. Paul Simon in my head: “so when I reached my prime, I left my home in the maritimes, headed down the turnpike for New England, sweet New England…” I’m relying on the signs, having completely used up my $25 roaming data by early morning, just from using my phone’s map feature a few times.

Just as it’s starting to get dark I arrive, mapless, in the largest city I’ve ever visited. I take a random exit, turn a bunch of times trying to avoid all the potholes and taxis, and find myself lost in a neighbourhood that’s all latino autobody shops. The Bronx, I learn later. I love that it feels just like non-touristy Mexico, but it takes me a few minutes to adjust. I stop and park, collect my thoughts, and go for a walk. Try to look tough. Can’t find a place to use internet. Definitely no Starbucks. Find a store, buy a paper map. Get back to the van, relieved. After studying the map for about half an hour I go for a drive, manage to find my way to Manhattan, and park around 80th and Lexington. I think I’m allowed to park here this time of night? Go for another walk, find a Starbucks: internet, thank god! I have a horror of fussing with my huge, already torn paper map, so I download an offline one that can use the phone’s gps to tell me where I am, yay! Research a few likely YMCA’s for a shower and a swim, tomorrow. I’m guessing daytime parking anywhere on the island will be impossible, so I drive back to the Bronx for the night. Settle in, sleep like a baby.