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JeffAndrews
06-15-2005, 06:45 AM
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is the fastest driving route from Baxter State Park to the east side of Mount Washington?

Last time I did this trip I took 95 to 302, but looking at the map, cutting across 2 or up 28 looks tempting.

Any advice would be appreciated!

spencer
06-15-2005, 06:57 AM
Resist the urge to take Rt. 2.

I haven't timed the various routes, but I do spend a lot of time driving to and from BSP and to and from western ME. I think the best route would be to take 95 south to Gray and pick up Rt. 302. there are a lot of different shortcuts in the Sebago area. I never seem to take the same one twice.

Look out for cops between exits 191 and 174 and then again from 138 south to Gray.

Burg et al. did the Katahdin/Washington route in a day a couple of years ago. It's chronicled somewhere (maybe Appalachia?) but I don't remember where.

spencer

SherpaKroto
06-15-2005, 06:57 AM
Catching Rt 2 by exiting Rt 95 at exit 157 headed toward Skowhegan would be a good route. Rt 2 is a rather slow and boring road IMO, but it will get you there a lot faster (and you can catch nice prehike brew at the Sunday River Brewery in Bethel on the way)

Just saw spencer's post. As you can see, it's a crap shoot. I don't particularly like Rt 302 :)
Just did some rough math, with help from Mapquest:
Rt 302 variation: 266 miles, 5 hrs
Rt 2 variation: 235 miles, 4hrs 40 mins.

My reasoning on Rt 302 is that depending on the time of day you hit it you can really be slowed by the Lakes (Sebago, Long, Highland, Moose) traffic whereas Rt 2 has less "tourist traps". You''l be slow, but steady.
(Edit to correct 302)

Mad Townie
06-15-2005, 10:25 AM
SherpaK, I think you meant to say your reasoning on 302, not 2. ;)

I HATE 302, especially in the summer. Lots of lower speed limit areas, lots of turistas poking along in their land yachts, very difficult to pass safely in most places. To get from Portland to N. Conway, I always go up the west side of Sebago, 25 to 113 to Fryeburg. For these reasons, I would tend to take the less populated Rt. 2 from BSP to Washington. I'm not sure if you'd save any time taking 95 all the way to Augusta, then 27 through the Belgrade Lakes to Rt. 2.

In other words, you're trying to do the impossible: go east-west in northern New England! :(

el-bagr
06-15-2005, 11:07 AM
In other words, you're trying to do the impossible: go east-west in northern New England! :(

Hey, watch out or else the government will try to build the "east-west highway".

Umm... that's Route 2.

:D

Seriously, if you're taking 302, consider taking I-95 to Gray (Route 26) or Lewiston (if you know the convoluted McFalls shortcut). Hop on 26 and all of a sudden you're in Bethel.

At least that's what I tell my wife.

twigeater
06-15-2005, 11:48 AM
You can't get there from here!

Rte 2 gets my vote. Pretty ride.
:)

I'll be biking Rte 2 Friday along with a thousand or so other people, so I'd avoid it then...

peakbagger
06-15-2005, 11:48 AM
Route 2 is the way to go but time of day is critical, during most of the day, the road gets filled up with slow moving campers and trucks, if you can drive early morning or in the evening the traffic is better (but the wildlife is more present!). The short cut around Rumford and Dixfield can save about 15 minutes (driving from the west, take the bridge over the river just after downtown Dixfield, take a right at the intersection and reconnect wth RT 2 just after downtown.

The other big time saver is to stay on I95 down to Clinton (one town north of Waterville) and cut over to route 2 rather than taking Rt 2 in Newport.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is major construction on RT 2 west of Bethel to the Maine line. It may make sense to take the North Road in Bethel and run parallel to Rotue 2 to Shelburne but North road is decidedly more rustic (it turns to dirt for a portion).

Keep in mind along the entire route is that there are a lot of local police and sheriffs who patrol the route, speed at your own risk!

JeffAndrews
06-15-2005, 05:47 PM
Thanks everyone for the great advice!

el-bagr: how convoluted is the convoluted McFalls shortcut?

peakbagger: on the map, it looks like getting from Clinton to Route 2 could be confusing. Is the route pretty straight forward? also, the how does one do the shortcut around Dixfield from the east.

I probably should have mentioned that I'm going to be traveling on a Saturday afternoon. Last time I did this, the going was pretty slow through the lakes and North Conway was a parking lot. Which is what got me thinking about Route 2.

Gris
06-15-2005, 05:58 PM
Another vote for Rt. 2. I've driven 2 from Gorham towards the coast a few times and it seemed OK. Just make sure you steer clear of the Oxford area -lotsa crazies there!!! :D :D :D

Papa Bear
06-15-2005, 06:10 PM
...
Burg et al. did the Katahdin/Washington route in a day a couple of years ago. It's chronicled somewhere (maybe Appalachia?) but I don't remember where.

spencerThe report is still here on VFTT dated 06-22-2004, posted by burg, who, alas, hasn't been active here this year.

Great trip, read it ... Report (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=2739)

el-bagr
06-16-2005, 08:50 AM
how convoluted is the convoluted McFalls shortcut?

Not so bad, unless you get off-route. Essentially, the idea is to get off the turnpike in Auburn (I'm usually coming at this from the south) and get onto Routes 11/121. Take 121 west through Minot and McFalls to join 26 at Welchville near Oxford.

I've found it can save time -- unless you get off-route in finding 11/121 and end up downtown.

I used to always take this route from Portland to Bethel, but the past year has seen me taking 26 with certain unspecified shortcuts beyond Poland that can save up to 30 minutes.

grog
06-16-2005, 11:03 AM
I went rt. 2 once and saw two accidents and many lites. After that it was 95 to Gray and Fryburg. How about BSP to Monadnock? I went cross states and it was horrible, I would rather drive cross Bronx.

grog

peakbagger
06-16-2005, 12:26 PM
My sense of direction on the Dixfield short cut was 180 degrees out. If you are coming from the East (from Baxter), drive through downtown dixfield (watch the speed limit) and turn left off of rt 2 and over a bridge over the androscoggin. Turn right at the first intersection onto RT 108 and follow it towards rumford. You will pass the puulpmill's wood yard and come back into Rt 2 just after downtown (go straight at the lights).

As for the Turn off at Clinton on I95, I dont have a detailed map in front of me but its not difficult. There are three exits very close together after you cross the river. You want to take the first exit south of the rt 201 exit. The route to Norridgewock is Rt 139. If you miss the exit, you will have another chance to get on 139 at the next exit for Waterville but there is a bit more local traffic.

There is a third short cut that I have not tried but has been recomended where you take Rt 156 in Farmington Falls and cut back to route 2 in Wilton, that will cut out the sometimes heavy traffic in Farmington.

Lawn Sale
06-17-2005, 11:39 PM
I think the easiest way is to Take I-95 to Augusta, take 17 to 133 in Wayne (just outside of WInthrop), then 219 to S. Paris, then 27 to Bethel and over the border to the Whites. Good sailing all the way and smooth roads.

JeffAndrews
06-27-2005, 10:49 AM
I did the trip this weekend and made it from trailhead to trailhead in less than 5 1/2 hours. I ended up going through McFalls, which worked out really well!

Thanks again everyone for all the help and suggestions!