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After driving the eastern segment of US 2, I moved on to US 3. I again left my home in Vermont early one morning heading north on I-91 to just past St. Johnsbury, then up VT 114 to US 3. I continued north on US 3 in New Hampshire, admiring Lake Francis and the Connecticut Lakes as they glistened in the morning sun. I also encountered a couple of moose up in the northern New Hampshire timberlands along US 3. It was only the second time I had encountered one of the animals in the wild. This was also the first place I had ever seen a sign telling me I was crossing the 45th parallel, half way between the equator and North Pole.
As I reached the US border station, I turned around and began my trip down US 3. I found the quiet early morning ride through the mountains most enjoyable. As I continued south to where US 3 runs along the Vermont border, traffic picked up a little bit, but it was still a nice ride. As US 3 reached its first junction with I-93, it went through Franconia Notch State Park, providing the route for the I-93 traffic through the park. As US 3 continued south, it was paralleled by I-93, resulting in almost no traffic as it wound its way through the small New England towns.
As US 3 reached the Lake Winnepesaukee area, traffic increased a lot, both due to US 3 being one of the main roads through the area, and it being a sunny weekend day. After driving through the middle of Concord, I was on the section of US 3 I had taken many times before to bypass the toll on I-93. In Nashua, US 3 became a very narrow crowded limited access highway. Although I’m sure it was faster than the old route, it was far more stressful to drive. The highway continued into Massachusetts where it eventually met I-95. From I-95 though, US 3 returned to being a surface street as it made its way through the suburbs of Boston. Although the local driving habits seemed to imply that traffic laws were just suggestions, not something people actually adhered to, the road did go through some beautiful old neighborhoods, eventually paralleling the Charles River as it made its way through Cambridge. As the US 3 signs disappeared, I made my way over to Storrow Drive and back to I-93 to head home.
I took my pictures of US 3 on various short trips. When taking the pictures of the northernmost section of US 3, I once again encountered moose. As I had the first time I drove this section of US 3, I thought this section of New Hampshire was very beautiful. The road between the West Stewartstown, where the first signs for Vermont appear, and Franconia Notch seemed much longer than I had remembered from the first time I had been there, and the weather kept changing from rain to sun, but it was still a nice ride once again.
As I was going through Franconia Notch State Park, I stopped at a rest area hoping to find a US 3 shield to photograph, but instead settled for a nice picture of the profile. Little did I know that in a few years, the profile would be gone.
I took my pictures in the Boston area on a Sunday morning. I was excited to find what I thought was an old cutout US 3 shield to photograph. After taking this picture, I continued south the last few miles to the end of US 3. As I approached the end of US 3, I was at first disappointed to see that the road was closed so people could bike and skate on it. Luckily being a Sunday morning I easily found parking on the other side of the Charles River, and walked back over to Cambridge to take my last picture. It actually turned out to be a great day for a walk, and I was happy to find that the last reassurance sign for US 3 was another old-style cutout.
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