Author Topic: Lessons from a road trip across the US  (Read 1488 times)

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mmswm

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Lessons from a road trip across the US
« on: December 14, 2012, 02:46:54 PM »
I'm just about at the halfway point of my road trip.  I thought I'd share some humorous and interesting insights I've gathered along the way.

1) The Pacific Northwest is gorgeous, in spite of the rain.
2) Try to time your drive so you don't drive through entire states in the dark.
3) Stop at the rest stop on the top of Tejon Pass. The view is like nothing you've ever seen.
3) When you get going again, hop over to I-15. Double bonus: you get to bypass the nasty traffic of LA, and the scenery along 15 is stunning. Also, on the way to San Diego, the most awesome bridge ever crosses the road.
4) The speed limit through huge chunks of Texas is 80mph
5) Driving 80mph is murder on your gas mileage.
6) Tumbleweed can get bigger than you'd imagine.
7) When driving 80mph and a gigantic tumbleweed hits your car, and it's dark, you might think a bomb just exploded.
8) Your 10 year old son will think it's the coolest thing ever and insist that he gets to keep the bits of tumbleweed that got stuck in your front grill.
9) According to the Texas DOT, Santa Claus is coming to town, so don't hit him (actual road sign on I-20).
10) If you turn California on it's side, it's still not as long as the width of Texas.
11) North Dakota is the only state that has free wifi in every rest stop. Texas claims to have wifi at one, but they lied.
12) There's a rest area a few miles west of the Arizona state line, where I-8 runs so close to the Mexican border that they have to squeeze the whole rest area in the median between the east and west bound lanes. There's only two lanes of traffic, so if you throw a rock, and you have a reasonably decent throwing arm, it would land in Mexico.

I'm stopping for a little while to visit with a friend in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, so I'll update when I get some more tidbits.  Also, there's huge chunks of the country I haven't covered, plus all the roads in other countries, so please feel free to add your own road trip insights!
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

snowfire

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 11:00:24 PM »
When driving through the middle of Nevada, use the rest stops when you get a chance. When they say "Next rest area 100 miles", they MEAN IT!  There's an awful lot of nuthin' in the middle of Nevada & I'm not fond of doing the sagebrush shuffle on the side of the road.

Dr. F.

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 11:11:28 PM »

3) When you get going again, hop over to I-15. Double bonus: you get to bypass the nasty traffic of LA, and the scenery along 15 is stunning. Also, on the way to San Diego, the most awesome bridge ever crosses the road.


The Rainbow bridge. No, really, that's what it's called. It's the turnoff to the formerly hippie community called Rainbow out there in the middle of nowhere. It's an awesome bridge.

http://www.rickphenicie.com/archives/591

mmswm

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 11:14:30 PM »
That's the one!  It's so beautiful to look at while you're driving towards it.  It looks so high when you first spot it, and then you twist and turn for a bit, and climb a bit, and then you're under it.  It's such a beautiful bridge, and you get to look at it for quite some time.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

lilfox

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 11:43:17 PM »
If you're ever taking I-90 across the upper Midwest, the following things are worth the detour:
Devil's tower -cost us 3 hours or so, but come on, "it ... means something..."

Mt. Rushmore - it's a lot smaller than I thought it would be but very cool at dusk with the lights just coming on

The Badlands - crazy landscape

Yellowstone - plenty o' buffalo to see, up close and personal when they decide to take the road rather than a trail.  Also, it's a super volcano so you get that frisson of fear knowing the entire area could just sink into a pool of magma and steaming water.  Bits of it do, you know.

Octavia

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2012, 10:29:20 AM »
2) Try to time your drive so you don't drive through entire states in the dark.
......Except for the part of the drive on the toll road across northern Indiana. I used to do that drive a lot when traveling for business and tried to time it for after dark or before sun-up. Not much to see there.
"I never explain anything." ~Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins

greencat

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2012, 07:44:29 PM »
From driving up and down Florida and the Eastern Seaboard up to Boston:

A) If you are driving from Naples to Miami or vice versa, take a good long restroom break first, and drive with extreme caution. Your chances of surviving a crash on the stretch of Interstate 75 between the two cities is much lower than you'd think - hint: the road is nicknamed "Alligator Alley," it is basically a bridge across the swamp, and a trip taken across it on a tall bus demonstrated just how many alligators there were laying in wait in the canals right off the shoulder.

B) If you are in Florida in the summer and it starts raining - if you're not on a timetable, find somewhere to have dinner and pull off.  You don't want to keep driving in the electrified swimming pool we call summer thunderstorms. 

C)  Orlando has worse traffic than Miami, Atlanta has worse traffic than Orlando, and Boston has worse traffic than Atlanta.  Driving through New York City didn't even phase me after Boston. 

D) Florida small towns have a lot of neat little tourist attractions to visit - people actually used to go many places in the state for vacations, not just the MouseTrap.

E) There are a lot of places in between the Georgia/Florida border and Atlanta that barely have a store beyond travel plazas.  Do not plan on being able to buy anything they don't sell at Flying J's off any random exit off the highways in that area.

F) The Blue Ridge Parkway is breathtakingly beautiful, although you will want to skip it if you're afraid of heights.  I needed to be sedated for much of that drive!

G)  Jerky and dried veggies/fruit and lots of juice packs are the best travel food and drink - they aren't greasy or bubbly like chips and soda and so don't cause you stomach pain.

H)  There's a hotel restaurant somewhere in Pennsylvania that has the best prime rib I've ever tasted.  I'm pretty sure the beef was local - there were lots of cows and not much else where we were!

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2012, 08:09:27 PM »
While driving across flat, uninteresting areas of the US in the dark can sometimes seem like a good idea, if roadkill isn't cleaned off said area in a timely manner, you can sometimes get a huge surprise when your headlights suddenly show a huge gout of blood and a dead animal in front of you!  DH was traumatized driving through Wyoming at 2 am due to the swaths of blood splashed across I-25 every few miles.   :P

JenJay

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2012, 10:08:11 PM »
Tumbleweeds! DH and I were making a late-night drive from CA to OR one year. He was driving, I was snoozing. He thought it would be oh so hilarious to startle me out of my nap with a loud "Ohmygod!" I woke up, saw this giant thing headed straight for us, screamed, and flung sunflower seeds all over the car. The tumbleweed went "crunch" as we safely drove right over it and DH laughed his butt off. That was nearly 20 years ago and he still cracks up about it.  ::)

I learned while making a cross-country move 18 months ago:

Have one of those neck pillow things handy - for your butt!
If you're traveling in more than one vehicle a good set of walkie-talkies are worth every cent!
It doesn't matter whether or not everyone thinks they need a rest stop, if you stop anyway, everyone will decide to try. lol
The rest stop thing? It'll add at least an hour to your drive-time each day. Plan for that.
I can save my money on the elaborate travel goodie bags I fixed for the kids. They're only interested in the candy.  ::)
As the hotel staff where to eat.

clio917

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 01:13:27 PM »
If you're ever taking I-90 across the upper Midwest, the following things are worth the detour:
Devil's tower -cost us 3 hours or so, but come on, "it ... means something..."

Mt. Rushmore - it's a lot smaller than I thought it would be but very cool at dusk with the lights just coming on

The Badlands - crazy landscape

Yellowstone - plenty o' buffalo to see, up close and personal when they decide to take the road rather than a trail.  Also, it's a super volcano so you get that frisson of fear knowing the entire area could just sink into a pool of magma and steaming water.  Bits of it do, you know.
The lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore is very nice. They show videos about the construction of the monument and about each president featured, then they call all the veterans in the crowd to help take down the flag before they turn on the spotlights. (Gets cold at night though!) We got there just before dusk, so we got some daytime pictures (with nice sunset light) and then nighttime pictures as well.

And the #1 rule of driving in Yellowstone is... buffalo have the right of way :)


mmswm

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Re: Lessons from a road trip across the US
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 02:13:35 PM »
Louisiana apparently does not believe in rest stops.  There's a "Welcome" rest stop just inside the state line, but only for the direction of travel into the state.  This makes for a VERY long 90 minutes where all you can think of is "I need to pee and get off the road for a little while".
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)