THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Bar Harbor
Across Lake Champlain

Bar Harbor ME to Burlington VT

On the road in the White Mountains, NH

I started yesterday with a splendid breakfast, enlivened by a brief and unexpected political row. The other guest at my B&B, also English, took exception to a remark I made to our hostess about tax rates in Britain. He informed me that it was my "duty" to pay taxes and that I should regard it as a pleasure, adding with a meaningful look that if "the rich" paid more, all would be well.

The station for the Cog Railway
The little train that might have

Suddenly all the envy-laden nastiness of British politics disturbed our peaceful New England kitchen. I established he was a retired head teacher from Kenilworth living large on an unfunded pension at the expense of current and (as I wish him no ill-will) let's hope future taxpayers. Suddenly his views on the sacred nature of government depredation made perfect sense. I changed the subject to spare our inn-keeper's blushes and calm returned.

I checked the website for the Mt Washingon Auto Road and discovered, to my disappointment, that it would not open until Saturday. I had hoped to drive Speranza to the summit, but could not lose time by waiting. I decided I would take the cog railway to the summit instead, noting that it had opened for the season in the last few days. After a charming drive through Maine and New Hampshire, however, I arrived to find it already closed. I took a few photos and headed off towards tonight's resting place.

I was stopped before long by a pleasant young NH police officer who, having checked my documents and confirmed my lack of previous convictions informed me I had exceeded the speed limit by more than 20mph and had earned myself a fine in the curiously precise amount of $206. He was kind enough to "cut me a break", however, and settled for a friendly warning. He told me I was going to stand out like a sore thumb to every policeman on my way and that I was therefore going to have to pay special attention to my speed. Suitably chastened I thanked him and drove on steadily, annoying other motorists for the rest of my time in New Hampshire by keeping to the limits.

I was touched by the enthusiasm for my car of a young man at a gas station in Vermont. One of his colleagues alerted him to my arrival and he rushed out to see and touch this marvel. It was delightful see someone made so happy by the mere presence of a Ferrari - and a reminder of how lucky I am. We parted with him promising to devise a plan for a new business so that, years from now, he can have his own. I hope he succeeds. Speranza inspires such ambition in young men as she passes, one can almost feel GDP rising in her wake.

I overnighted at Burlington VT and plan to cross Lake Champlain by car ferry today. One of my native guides tells me by email that I am setting too fast a pace and will be all done in a month at this rate. So I will take it easy today and stay off the interstate highways. I plan follow part of the Lake to Locks Passage and most of the Route 20 Scenic Byway taking in (if I get there on time) the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. If I can understand the attractions of America's national game, maybe I will be on my way to understanding America.