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Driving across the country...

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
So, I've decided to bring my truck to school. Problem......truck is in NY and school is in CA. So....this coming week I'll be departing on the trek across the country. Mom wants to come along and help with the driving and I think my brother may be coming along just to come along.

Any tips? Right now we want to take the southern route so that we can see the grand canyon, hoover dam, and possibly spend a day in LA before getting to Berkeley. This would take a lot longer but, I don't get to drive across country too often so it seems worth it. The northern route is a lot faster but seems to have less quick but interesting stops we could make.

Any suggestions? We're planning to do it in 5 days which is going to push us to the limit as far as driving per day but we think we can pull it off.
post #2 of 36
Leave the family home and do it solo.
post #3 of 36
My family drove across the country once when I was in the 3rd grade. Here's a tip. Don't let your MG break down in Arizona without spare parts.

Do get a CB radio though. If you get stuck in traffic once you'll wish you had a radio so someone could tell you what's up.
post #4 of 36
Bean-o
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by ThinkingDifferent
Leave the family home and do it solo.

there's no chance in hell i could do it in the allotted time with only me driving
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by applenut
So, I've decided to bring my truck to school. Problem......truck is in NY and school is in CA. So....this coming week I'll be departing on the trek across the country. Mom wants to come along and help with the driving and I think my brother may be coming along just to come along.

Any tips? Right now we want to take the southern route so that we can see the grand canyon, hoover dam, and possibly spend a day in LA before getting to Berkeley. This would take a lot longer but, I don't get to drive across country too often so it seems worth it. The northern route is a lot faster but seems to have less quick but interesting stops we could make.

Any suggestions? We're planning to do it in 5 days which is going to push us to the limit as far as driving per day but we think we can pull it off.

One very important suggestion:

If you feel too tired to drive, pull over immediately. Don't convince yourself "I'm okay", play the radio, shake you head and slap yourself to stay awake. It won't work and you'll end up in a ditch, or worse. If you've got someone traveling with you, and everyone's too tired, just sleep on the side of the road.
post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
One very important suggestion:

If you feel too tired to drive, pull over immediately. Don't convince yourself "I'm okay", play the radio, shake you head and slap yourself to stay awake. It won't work and you'll end up in a ditch, or worse. If you've got someone traveling with you, and everyone's too tired, just sleep on the side of the road.

yea, too often i have done what you have described. especially last fall driving back from sacramento on no sleep and after a race.....and nodding off. at the time i didn't think much of it but now i realize i was pretty dumb to keep going.
post #8 of 36
I've driven across country 7 or 8 times, and there's not much I can add. I highly recommend driving no longer than 8 hours before switching to a driver that has slept- not one that has been a passenger watching you drive. Other than that, I think you should stop at stuff you find interesting- I've met some wonderful people stopping in what a lot of my friends consider "flyoverland"

What is your itinerary in LA? If you are coming in the morning, I advise you to take the 10 to the 110, get off at the Gower Exit, follow the signs for Beachwood Drive, and take the road up to the Village Cafe for breakfast.

From there I can give you a plan trip for LA before you go to school

But. I am not going to send you on the 5, which is fastest.
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post #9 of 36
I've driven across country many times and the southern route is good. The mountains aren't as steep as other parts of the country.

5 days? Shit, I've mostly done it in 2-3 days. Granted, that's Chicago to CA, but NY is only 12 hours more.

PS. If you have any other questions feel free to shout out.
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post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by tmp
I've driven across country 7 or 8 times, and there's not much I can add. I highly recommend driving no longer than 8 hours before switching to a driver that has slept- not one that has been a passenger watching you drive. Other than that, I think you should stop at stuff you find interesting- I've met some wonderful people stopping in what a lot of my friends consider "flyoverland"

What is your itinerary in LA? If you are coming in the morning, I advise you to take the 10 to the 110, get off at the Gower Exit, follow the signs for Beachwood Drive, and take the road up to the Village Cafe for breakfast.

From there I can give you a plan trip for LA before you go to school

But. I am not going to send you on the 5, which is fastest.

yea, im hoping we have time to make a few random stops at places me find interesting along the way.

in LA i have a couple friends I may meet up with. not really sure what the plan is. I've been there several times. Thinking of doing a disneyland day maybe. kinda just doing things as they come.

Quote:
've driven across country many times and the southern route is good. The mountains aren't as steep as other parts of the country.

5 days? Shit, I've mostly done it in 2-3 days. Granted, that's Chicago to CA, but NY is only 12 hours more.

PS. If you have any other questions feel free to shout out.

my girlfriend's parents said the southern route is a bit risky this time of year due to the possibility of overheating. how much of a problem could that be?

well....5 days considering we want to see the grand canyon and hoover dam and spend a day in LA otherwise i'd hope it'd be less. as it is im worried im underestimating how long it will take.

I bought Route USA 2004 for the Mac. what a shitty piece of software
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by applenut
...hoover damn...

Is that a political statement?
post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
Is that a political statement?

haha. sorry, shouldn't type while on the phone
post #13 of 36
Overheating is probably a possibility, but I'm in Chicago right now and it's like 47 degrees out. Overheating is the last thing on my mind.

How old is the car? I'd just watch the temperature and see the Grand Canyon. You can always buy another car, but the Grand Canyon is unique.
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post #14 of 36
Well Nut I'm envious. I used to love the 13 hour drive from New Orleans to Columbia MO when I was in College. I made that trek probably about 16 or 18 times by myself and miss it tremendously. Theres something to be said for your clarity the couple of days durring and after a long road trip, I always feel so much more connected to life. It is nice to remind yourself every so often how beautyful the country is. Anyway sorry to rattle on, but have a good trip and be careful on the road.
post #15 of 36
The northern route (I-80) doesn't have good places to check out like the southern route does (unless seeing a sign for Happy Jack Road in the middle of Wyoming is your idea of a good time). It might take longer, but you can check out stuff like the petrified forest, grand canyon, painted desert, Las Vegas, etc., etc.

Heck, turn it into a mini-vacation, especially if you're heading off to school.

Bezerkely can be fun, depending on what you're into. San Fran is amazing for its architecture and varied social elements (hippies in the parks, gays in the Polk district). Heading towards Santa Cruz, check out Greyhound Rock. Of course the boardwalk in Santa Cruz is cool as well.

Most of all, have fun!
post #16 of 36
Kickaha and Amorph couldn't moderate themselves out of a paper bag. Abdicate responsibility and succumb to idiocy. Two years of letting a member make personal attacks against others, then stepping aside when someone won't put up with it. Not only that but go ahead and shut down my posting priviledges but not the one making the attacks. Not even the common decency to abide by their warning (afer three days of absorbing personal attacks with no mods in sight), just shut my posting down and then say it might happen later if a certian line is crossed. Bullshit flag is flying, I won't abide by lying and coddling of liars who go off-site, create accounts differing in a single letter from my handle with the express purpose to decieve and then claim here that I did it. Everyone be warned, kim kap sol is a lying, deceitful poster.

Now I guess they should have banned me rather than just shut off posting priviledges, because kickaha and Amorph definitely aren't going to like being called to task when they thought they had it all ignored *cough* *cough* I mean under control. Just a couple o' tools.

Don't worry, as soon as my work resetting my posts is done I'll disappear forever.
post #17 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by bunge
Overheating is probably a possibility, but I'm in Chicago right now and it's like 47 degrees out. Overheating is the last thing on my mind.

How old is the car? I'd just watch the temperature and see the Grand Canyon. You can always buy another car, but the Grand Canyon is unique.

it's a 2002 dodge dakota quad cab....so... i would think it would do fine.... just being a bit cautious since I've never had to drive through a desert before.


Quote:
The northern route (I-80) doesn't have good places to check out like the southern route does (unless seeing a sign for Happy Jack Road in the middle of Wyoming is your idea of a good time). It might take longer, but you can check out stuff like the petrified forest, grand canyon, painted desert, Las Vegas, etc., etc.

Heck, turn it into a mini-vacation, especially if you're heading off to school.

Bezerkely can be fun, depending on what you're into. San Fran is amazing for its architecture and varied social elements (hippies in the parks, gays in the Polk district). Heading towards Santa Cruz, check out Greyhound Rock. Of course the boardwalk in Santa Cruz is cool as well.

Most of all, have fun!

yea, I'm trying to see when exactly I have to be back at berzerkely. I originally thought the 22nd but it could actually be a couple days later.

Thanks for the suggestions for places to see/stop. That's what I'm most in need of. It's easy to look at a map and say grand canyon, hoover dam, LA, maybe Las Vegas, etc.....but I know there are some other less popular/well known gems along the way.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by applenut
it's a 2002 dodge dakota quad cab....so... i would think it would do fine.... just being a bit cautious since I've never had to drive through a desert before.


On my way to school from Portland to San Antonio last year, my 1999 300M broke down in the middle of the Arizona desert. Thank god there was a Chrysler dealer 40 miles down the road in some crap town. Yes, it is indeed fun to drive in the desert. Oh, make sure your A/C works Also, you're taking a truck to Berkley? Ok...
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post #19 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by G4Dude
On my way to school from Portland to San Antonio last year, my 1999 300M broke down in the middle of the Arizona desert. Thank god there was a Chrysler dealer 40 miles down the road in some crap town. Yes, it is indeed fun to drive in the desert. Oh, make sure your A/C works Also, you're taking a truck to Berkley? Ok...

AC is blowing hard.

What about taking a truck to Berkeley?
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by applenut


What about taking a truck to Berkeley?

Parking nightmare.

But as a New Yorker, I'm sure you are used to that.

To be honest, I'd worry more about overheating trying to get over the rockies a lot more than I would getting over the desert.
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post #21 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by tmp
Parking nightmare.

But as a New Yorker, I'm sure you are used to that.

To be honest, I'd worry more about overheating trying to get over the rockies a lot more than I would getting over the desert.

well, i've got a 24/7 parking permit for campus. so I can park right behind my dorm all year. not too worried about that.

i've heard that the rockies could be a bigger problem. how would you handle that? do you make stops every so often to cool down or not use AC or....?


also, any tips for lodging? i figure just nap in the car..... but, a night or two in a bed wouldn't be the worst thing.
post #22 of 36
Before you head out I would have a complete tune-up and oil change. Make sure that the pressure of your tires is what it should be, and have the brakes evaluated. Have all of the fluid levels checked.

If you are going over the Rockies, turn off the AC. (I would say the same thing if you take the 5 from LA to Berkeley- the "grapevine" portion of it can be brutal on a car) But a realtively new car like yours should be fine. Most cars are pretty much loafing on the highway as far as stress on their engines.
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post #23 of 36
Motel 6 is pretty cheap, and they are everywhere, and reliably clean.
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post #24 of 36
Kickaha and Amorph couldn't moderate themselves out of a paper bag. Abdicate responsibility and succumb to idiocy. Two years of letting a member make personal attacks against others, then stepping aside when someone won't put up with it. Not only that but go ahead and shut down my posting priviledges but not the one making the attacks. Not even the common decency to abide by their warning (afer three days of absorbing personal attacks with no mods in sight), just shut my posting down and then say it might happen later if a certian line is crossed. Bullshit flag is flying, I won't abide by lying and coddling of liars who go off-site, create accounts differing in a single letter from my handle with the express purpose to decieve and then claim here that I did it. Everyone be warned, kim kap sol is a lying, deceitful poster.

Now I guess they should have banned me rather than just shut off posting priviledges, because kickaha and Amorph definitely aren't going to like being called to task when they thought they had it all ignored *cough* *cough* I mean under control. Just a couple o' tools.

Don't worry, as soon as my work resetting my posts is done I'll disappear forever.
post #25 of 36
Take 80 all the way to Nebraska then 76 to Denver. If you make good time the first day with little traffic, from NY to somewhere West of Chicago then you can make it to Denver easily the next day. There's little worth seeing in between unless you want to hit Chicago up regardless of which route you take.

Then take 70 into Utah and go down via 128 to Moab. Hit up Arches. It's like going to Mars. Then back up to 70 and past Green River and then down along 24 and then 12 through Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon. Then take 89 or 89A down and around through the canyons and ridges to the Painted Desert and then GCNP. North Rim is better (67) but if you want to go SOuth Rim (64) more power to you. It's all good either way. Then down to 40 via either 89 (North Rim) or 180 and 64 (South Rim). Take 40 West to Kingman and then up along 93 to the Hoover Dam. Wackest part of The Fugitive, no fucking way Harrison Ford could have gone off that dam and lived. Continue on along 93/95 and you're in Vegas. After that you still ahve many options. Either go down to LA on 15 and then up the Pacific Coast or go up to Area 51, through Death Valley, then 395 North and then 120 across Yosemite. Too many good options.

Quote:
i've heard that the rockies could be a bigger problem. how would you handle that? do you make stops every so often to cool down or not use AC or....?

Depends on your car. If you've got an old junker then that is a reasonable idea. If your car is modern then don't sweat it. Even the Rockies are tame though if you are on the interstates.

Quote:
also, any tips for lodging? i figure just nap in the car..... but, a night or two in a bed wouldn't be the worst thing.

Go for smaller cities. Generally cheaper. Motel 6 is the cheapest of the chains and it is usually fine in small towns. Looking at maybe 40 bucks. Avoid it in big cities as it may or may not tolerate locals (ie dealers and prostitutes).

If you really wanna be cheap, some states let you sleep at rest areas legally. Once you get to Iowa that is, East of there it would not be adviseable. You can do it at others, if not legally then with little risk of polizei problems. Do so at your own risk but I've done it dozens of times and never had a problem. Park in a lit area by truckers but not too close to the shitter.

Quote:
If you feel too tired to drive, pull over immediately. Don't convince yourself "I'm okay", play the radio, shake you head and slap yourself to stay awake. It won't work and you'll end up in a ditch, or worse. If you've got someone traveling with you, and everyone's too tired, just sleep on the side of the road.

Agree with the part about pulling over. It's probably obvious but if you're gonna sleep on the side of the road, get off and stop by a ramp, never stop on the shoulder if possible. People get killed all the time along shoulders.

Personally I would skip LA. You can get there in six hours, making it easily doable from the Bay Area on a three day weekend. Spend your time somewhere in between that is less accessible from SF or NY.

Quote:
it's a 2002 dodge dakota quad cab....so... i would think it would do fine....

You'll be fine. Desert is hot but not that much hotter. Don't try to go up a mtn at 90 miles an hour and keep your RPMs midrange. Any new car should be fine at any temp that you'll see in North American. You could drive through Death Valley if you want, no problem.

It sucks to have a car break down in the middle of nowhere. I was assraped for $600 for tires in Needles CA this February. I got stuck in Kansas once for nine days when my car broke down. But altogether I've driven cross country at least 25 times and usually it is all good. Keep a good spare, not a donut, pay attention to your oil, tire pressure and radiator and you'll be OK.
post #26 of 36
Plenty of good advice here.

If you need to make time, the key is to not stop for long. Don't push yourself too hard, or drive too fast, just stop long enough to fuel and then jump back on the road. A diet of water (enough to stay hydrated), salt (to retain the water) and protein will keep you going without having to stop much at all. This is why every truck stop is full of various nut mixes and jerky. Of course, if you have family in tow, stops for actual meals and real food might be inevitable.

Definitely stop and nap anytime you get drowsy, if there isn't anyone who can take over. This is *really* important once you hit the western states, because you'll be driving through vast, thinly populated expanses.

Also, keep a good supply of water on board, and sunscreen. Your truck should have no trouble getting through the southern desert - my little Saturn's done it easily - but in the remote case where something breaks, you'll want those. Also, do not crank the A/C in the desert. First, it heats up your engine. Second, stepping out of a cold car into a desert noon can hurt you. Your body doesn't take shocks like that well. Keep the temperature in the car on the warm side of bearable.

If you take I-80 through Nebraska before heading south, give me a heads-up. I'm right off the highway in Iowa City.

Good luck! It should be uneventful. And 5 days should be plenty of time. I can make San Diego in 2 days from here.
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post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph

If you take I-80 through Nebraska before heading south, give me a heads-up. I'm right off the highway in Iowa City.

Good luck! It should be uneventful. And 5 days should be plenty of time. I can make San Diego in 2 days from here.


thanks everyone for the great advice. has definitely given me some ideas and a little bit more excitement about the trip.

so you think i could do the route CoplanderofDeath described in 5 days? I looked into it and it looks like it'd be a fun trip using his suggestions I just really have a hard time grasping a realistic time frame of doing it in.

I figure we'll stop as little and short as possible, stock up the cooler, make sure we have snacks and good tunes.

I'm hoping that it may turn out I actually have an extra day or two. I have to found out what day my first practice is.
post #28 of 36
I think you could do it. My first trip across (in 1984) was from New York to Los Angeles (via San Francisco), and it took five days in a '79 Toyota Land Cruiser that couldn't break 60mph due to it having all of the aerodynamic efficency of a medium sized public library. We stopped everywhere and it was great.

Now that I think about it, you may want to skip LA. As much as I love it, you can get here in 5 of 6 hours on the 5 or take a plane here for 50 bucks. Spend the extra time in Yosemite of Tahoe.
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post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by tmp
I think you could do it. My first trip across (in 1984) was from New York to Los Angeles (via San Francisco), and it took five days in a '79 Toyota Land Cruiser that couldn't break 60mph due to it having all of the aerodynamic efficency of a medium sized public library. We stopped everywhere and it was great.

Now that I think about it, you may want to skip LA. As much as I love it, you can get here in 5 of 6 hours on the 5 or take a plane here for 50 bucks. Spend the extra time in Yosemite of Tahoe.

yea. it depends if the brother comes along. if so, my mom wants him to see USC, CalTech and San Louis Obispo. \

Plus, US1 is a pretty drive.
post #30 of 36
Damn I'm jealous, for far too long now I've wanted to drive coast to coast in the States, it's really not such an impressive undertaking in my small island. I would want to take my time and allow for " what's that place like? " moments along the way. I'm also impressed that Scott tried it in an MG, may I ask you what model?

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post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by applenut
thanks everyone for the great advice. has definitely given me some ideas and a little bit more excitement about the trip.

so you think i could do the route CoplanderofDeath described in 5 days? I looked into it and it looks like it'd be a fun trip using his suggestions I just really have a hard time grasping a realistic time frame of doing it in.

Well, it depends on a lot of things. Left to my own devices, I tend to straight-line to places, stopping only when necessary, and I put in 12-16 hour drives. If you want to stop for sit-down meals, or if you can't do more than 8 or 9 hours, or if you decide to stop and sightsee, or if you hit the Rockies at about the same time that a storm does (if you take the northern route) then obviously things will take longer.

Quote:
I'm hoping that it may turn out I actually have an extra day or two. I have to found out what day my first practice is.

You should have at least one extra day, even if you stop in I.C.
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post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by ColanderOfDeath
go down via 128 to Moab. Hit up Arches. ... North Rim is better (67) but if you want to go SOuth Rim (64) more power to you. It's all good either way.

If you want to go to the south rim, you might want to check out the route from Arches via Canyonlands, Monument Valley as an alternative to the capitol reef / bryce canyon route.
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post #33 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by GSpotter
If you want to go to the south rim, you might want to check out the route from Arches via Canyonlands, Monument Valley as an alternative to the capitol reef / bryce canyon route.

advantages/disadvantages?



yea, amorph, i hear what you're saying. we're more fast food, eat while you drive kinda people when we're on a roadtrip and we're used to driving long distances....so, i think we'll hold up alright and keep the stop lengths to a minimum unless we see some cool stuff that's worth the time.
post #34 of 36
Red Bull.

I drove a UHaul from central Jersey to central Florida about 2 months ago. 18 hours straight, left at 9PM, got here at 3PM. It sucked, especially since the AC was broken.

I was the dude sweating his ass off somewhere south of Savannah, on I-95, in a beat up truck with no shirt on.

Good times. I was almost hallucinating at the end of it. I stopped at South of the Border, too, at for a second thought it was a halluciantion itself.
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post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by applenut
yea, amorph, i hear what you're saying. we're more fast food, eat while you drive kinda people when we're on a roadtrip and we're used to driving long distances....so, i think we'll hold up alright and keep the stop lengths to a minimum unless we see some cool stuff that's worth the time.

Actually, fast food is lethal in my experience. Too much food, too many carbs and sugars, and soda just goes right through you.

I stick to water, salted nuts and jerky. It's the ultimate road food. Drink and eat enough to keep the edge off, and you won't need to stop for hours. Of course, as I said initially, the family might not appreciate it. But if you want to make time, there's nothing better.
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post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
... Also, do not crank the A/C in the desert. First, it heats up your engine. Second, stepping out of a cold car into a desert noon can hurt you. Your body doesn't take shocks like that well. Keep the temperature in the car on the warm side of bearable.


I had this happen to me in reverse. I went to Fairbanks, Alaska, in February for my brother's wedding. I walked out of the 70F airport to the -15F outdoors and it was like being slammed into a brick wall, the change was so drastic!
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