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Tips for solo cross-country car trip?

SynonymousSynonymous Registered User regular
edited February 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm going to be driving across the U.S. in a few days for a move. I've gone cross-country before, but this's the first time I've done it on my own. Any tips for keeping things as safe and economical as possible?

Synonymous on

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    DaySleeperDaySleeper regular
    edited February 2007
    Motel 6s can be your friend. Try not to drive more than 12 hours in a day if you can help it. Do your best not to take in any caffeine after about 2:30pm so you'll get decent amounts of sleep. Take a cell phone and check in with your folks (or family friend or whatever) on a regular basis so they'll know if you've mysteriously disappeared.

    DaySleeper on
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    GlaealGlaeal Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Plan for sleep and make sure you get it. Don't try to be a stud and pull the whole trip in one big stretch.

    Where are you driving, exactly? We can probably give you advice for route and stops along the way.

    Glaeal on
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    RecklessReckless Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    If you get sleepy while driving, don't push yourself. Common sense really, but remember driving tired is potentially more hazardous than driving drunk. Pack high-energy snacks like raisins or trail mix, and stay hydrated.

    I am also trying like hell not to make a space diaper joke.

    Reckless on
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    KMFurDMKMFurDM Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2007
    At least a few times a day, stop, get out and walk around. Do some stretching exercises. Drink water or fruit juices. Have some light snacks in the car (fruit, nuts). To help pass the time put the iPod on shuffle and leave it alone, or lay out some CD's on the passenger seat and listen to them, all the way through, no skipping tracks. It helped me. Oh, enjoy the drive if at all possible.

    Give your car a once over before you head out. Check the oil (change it if its getting close to the time to change it), check that your tires are properly, and correctly inflated, washer fluid, blah, blah. Whenever you fill up give the car a quick look again. Check the tires too. One thing that has happened twice to me on these long drives is a bolt or a piece of metal getting stuck in my tires. No fun, and not worth driving on for a thousand miles.

    I haven't driven across country but I have driven from Ft. Lauderdale to Philly non-stop on my own. 19 hours. I can say driving that much in one go is one of the more stupid things I have done. Near the end I came very close to passing out. I stopped in D.C. ate at some shitty Dennys, pounded two Red Bulls and finished it. I didn't feel brilliant the next day.

    So...learn from my mistake.

    KMFurDM on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I recommend books on CD. They're easier to deal with than music, and I find they tend to pass the time more quickly. I also recommend a multi-CD-changer.

    Thanatos on
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    Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    One thing I don't see mentioned here is once you start to hit evening and/or middle of nowhere, be sure to find somewhere to fill up on gas and even get gas before you feel like you really need to.

    I drove myself from Iowa to southern Virginia a few years ago over 2 days. On the first day I hit the middle of nowhere, had 1/4 tank of gas, was unsure how much further until I hit the next real city where I would be sleeping, only a general idea of my gas mileage (I was towing a big ass u-haul trailer which kind of threw it all off from normal, so all I could do was estimate based on that one day of driving), and all the middle of nowhere gas stations had closed at some ridiculously early hour. That wasn't a happy feeling. Fortunately I made it to where I needed to be without running out of gas.

    Jimmy King on
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    DioltasDioltas Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Be sure to bring along a lot of upbeat music that you like, it helps a lot. Comedians are also good, Lewis Black and George Carlin got me across South Dakota last fall.

    Jimmy King talked about gas, but that can't be emphasized enough. I like to play it safe, and any time my tank goes below the halfway mark I start looking for a place to fill it up again. Especially when you're in the middle of nowhere in the west, gas stations are few and far between. And it costs just as much to fill up the top half as it dos to fill up the bottom half.

    I know my car insurance comes with a 24-hour roadside assistance program, if you have something similar be sure to have that number with you.

    Dioltas on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    If you're not already a member, you should at least think about joining AAA before the trip. If something goes wrong, you'll be happy you did.

    If you're going to be travelling through the frozen north, make sure you have an ice scraper and extra windshield wiper fluid.

    Thanatos on
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    SynonymousSynonymous Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Glaeal wrote: »
    Where are you driving, exactly? We can probably give you advice for route and stops along the way.

    From Maine to the middle of Montana. Mapquest gives 90 and then 94 as the shortest route, apparently, after wending one's way through New England.

    My insurance does come with roadside assistance, so at least that's covered.

    Thanks to everyone for the help so far; it's much appreciated and useful.

    Synonymous on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I usually just plug in my ipod, put it on shuffle and drive. Keeps me awake just fine.

    Consider carrying gas with you. Not a ton, but enough to get you to a station if you're cutting it close. I actually don't do this, but one of my good friends claims it bailed him out once.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    ArtoriaArtoria Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I’ve done this and most everyone else covered it already but

    DS’s Rules of the road

    If you haven’t done a tune up to your car now is the time. Have the oil, spark plugs, battery, transmission fluid, brakes, and tires checked.
    Have a good working spare tire not a “donut” because if you get a flat you will need a good tire to get you to the next town. A donut is not designed to handle a long distance if that is what it takes to get you to a town.
    If you do not have a membership to AAA or any similar service now is the time to get one. You never know when you might need it.
    Have a cell phone and keep it charged up. Keeping it plugged into the cigarette lighter while you drive is ideal.
    I don’t care if you have been there before or not have a map printed out form Mapquest or at least a road atlas. Ideally you want a GPS but those are expensive. If you can barrow one and mail it back to a person do that.
    Good music is your friend also books on CD. If you have an MP3 player and can pipe that through your car Radio do it. It will save you from fumbling around with CDs
    Keep your eye on the road at all times even when changing a song, getting a snack, drink. You should be at a level where you know where stuff is and not have to look at it. If you have to look then pull over.
    Drink enough water/soda/juice to keep you hydrated. But not so much where you will have to run to the bathroom a lot.
    Never let the gas ever get lower than ¼ tank when you start getting between half to ¼ it’s time to find a gas station because you don’t know when you will see another one.
    Keep some snacks in a handy place. If you start getting hungry and you are far form any eating establishment you will start to get dizzy or get a head ache. It’s amazing how much longer you can drive if you eat a milky way when you are in the middle of nowhere and can’t find a restaurant.

    Good luck may you have a pleasant and safe journey. Let us know how it went when you get back.

    Artoria on
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    locomotivemanlocomotiveman Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Are you cool with crossing thru Canada? If you are rather then heading south along lake Erie when you reach Buffalo turn north, go across Southern Ontario and into Michigan then head westward towards Chicago and onward to Montana.

    locomotiveman on
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    chuck steakchuck steak Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Thanatos wrote: »
    If you're not already a member, you should at least think about joining AAA before the trip. If something goes wrong, you'll be happy you did.

    If you're going to be travelling through the frozen north, make sure you have an ice scraper and extra windshield wiper fluid.

    Having a blanket and a couple candles in the trunk is also a good idea if you're travelling through cold weather.

    If you have an Ipod fill a good chunk of it with podcasts. For a few months I drove 2.5 hours twice a weekend (to and from work) and once I started listening to podcasts instead of music the drives started to fly by. Find some you like and download the backlog. I personally enjoy Penn Jillettes podcast (of his radio show) and Never Not Funny a whole lot. They're really funny and interesting, and they both have a large backlog of episodes that mostly age really well.

    chuck steak on
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    Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I'm not sure of the wildlife situation in america but I know in Australia Kangaroos are most active at dawn and dusk. If you have similar type of car crashing animals try and drive when they are least active.

    Blake T on
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    GlaealGlaeal Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Blaket wrote: »
    I'm not sure of the wildlife situation in america but I know in Australia Kangaroos are most active at dawn and dusk. If you have similar type of car crashing animals try and drive when they are least active.

    Deer.

    If you're driving through the North be aware. Even more reason to stop each leg of the trip before dark.

    Glaeal on
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    EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    If you're driving for a move, make sure that everything fits in your car now. Nothing like getting ready the night before and realising that your boxes don't quite work with the shape of your car. In general, if you can get away with not boxing somehting, it's usually better that way. Stuff usually fits together in the back of a car much better than boxes do, unless you' ve got a truck or something with a lot of space, like a van/trailer.

    The podcast idea is a really good one, books on tape are even better. If you think you might enjoy them, you also might want to check out "Old Time Radio" broadcasts, which are all public domain now. They're old radio broadcasts from the 20's up to the 60s and beyond, recorded from the original tapes and reels to .mp3 and posted online. Stuff like The Shadow, the Mercury Theater on the air, and things like that. War of the Worlds is a good hour or so, and anyone who is remotely interested in sci-fi should hear it at least once (I have it on vinyl). OTR programs are downloadable from various websites online, but I'm not at my computer right now so I can't give you any links.

    Not a lot of it survived (it was mostly live back then, performed once for the east coast, and then once again a few hours later for the west coast), but some of the performances were recorded. The Army bought a bunch of them from various studios and cut out the commercials so that they could be listened to by soldiers stationed overseas back then, but sometimes you can find a performance with the commercials intact.

    It sucks you're going alone (nothing is better than someone to talk to/driving partner), but calling people and giving them updates often is a really good idea. Not only so they know where you are if something goes wrong, but it's a nice thing to hear someone else's voice to break up what can sometimes be very monotanous.

    Also, make sure you've got extra batteries for the .mp3 player, or a ciggarette lighter adaptor to charge it if it's got a built in battery like an iPod. If your car has a tape deck, a cheap cd player "car kit" is the best idea, but if it doesn't have that or an audio-in jack, you might have to spend a little more on an FM transmitter.

    Good luck with your trip.

    Einhander on
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    blincolnblincoln Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I drove further than that in the fall (6500+ miles total). I did a write-up here that includes my prep work. A lot of it has already been discussed here.

    One way I saved a ton of money was by sleeping in my car at rest stops two out of every three nights. Since it was just me, I would have felt like a sucker paying for a motel or hotel more than necessary. I have a shaved head, and shaved my face with an electric razor when I slept at rest stops, so I could look at least sort of presentable most of the time. Showering every third day wasn't my most favourite thing ever, but I kind of treated it like camping which can mean much longer than that with no shower.

    It can get really cold in the midwest, so if you go that route bring a good sleeping bag, a warm coat, gloves, and a hat to wear while you sleep.

    blincoln on
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    Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Glaeal wrote: »
    Blaket wrote: »
    I'm not sure of the wildlife situation in america but I know in Australia Kangaroos are most active at dawn and dusk. If you have similar type of car crashing animals try and drive when they are least active.

    Deer.

    If you're driving through the North be aware. Even more reason to stop each leg of the trip before dark.
    The midwest is the same way. In some parts of Iowa some cities actually pay snipers to shoot deer during non-hunting seasons that are too near town because they cause so many accidents.

    Jimmy King on
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    blincolnblincoln Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Do those "deer warning" horns actually do any good? I mounted two behind the grille in my car before my trip, and never saw any deer in the road outside of Yellowstone - day or night. It may just not have been a season when a lot were around though.

    blincoln on
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    Re: nholderRe: nholder Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I have some of those on my car... I think I saw something on myth busters that said they didn't work but I have yet to see any deer when I drive. I live in NE and travel to IA and MO a lot so there should be plenty of deer....

    Re: nholder on
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    Evil_ReaverEvil_Reaver Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I've driven from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles (24 hours) and Oklahoma City to Nashville (11 hours) by myself. While not exactly "all the way across the country," they are pretty fucking long drives, so I figured I could contribute to this thread.

    Evil Reaver's Rules of the Road:

    1. Make sure your car isn't going to fall apart 2 hours after hitting the road.
    - Change the oil
    - Check your tires
    - Fill up all repositories that hold liquid

    2. Have power foods within easy reach during the drive.
    - Water and Gatorade for hydration
    - Granola bars and trail mix for snacking
    - A big bag of sunflower seeds for something to chew on when you're not hungry but want to munch on something anyway

    3. Stay away from soda and fast food.
    - They make you shit
    - This is bad

    4. Pull over and get out of the car to stretch every couple of hours.

    5. Don't drive longer than 10-12 hours per day.

    6. Don't drive after dark if you can help it.

    7. Have a cell phone that is fully charged in the car at all times.

    8. An mp3 player loaded with your favorite music/podcasts/books on tape will be your best friend for the entire trip.
    - Don't be afraid to sing as loud as you can to your favorite songs. You'll laugh about it later, but it's a good way to keep your brain engaged and it's fun when you have nothing else to do.

    9. ALWAYS have a map of your route. Review it religiously before you hit the road every day.
    - Invest in an atlas for good measure

    10. Start looking for a place to fill up when you hit 1/2 a tank. You never know when you'll have another chance to top off the tank.

    11. Have some fucking fun, dude. Road trips are a blast even when you're by yourself.

    Evil_Reaver on
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    bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Synonymous wrote: »
    Glaeal wrote: »
    Where are you driving, exactly? We can probably give you advice for route and stops along the way.

    From Maine to the middle of Montana. Mapquest gives 90 and then 94 as the shortest route, apparently, after wending one's way through New England.

    My insurance does come with roadside assistance, so at least that's covered.

    Thanks to everyone for the help so far; it's much appreciated and useful.

    I just made the trip from Detroit to Seattle in November. Couple things I did and found along the way.

    - Get sleep along the way. Don't pull long stretches. I set goals for myself to reach (reasonable) and I drove between 12-14 hours a day. I wouldn't recommend much more than that. I think my first day was the toughest as I was just exhausted when I got to Wisconsin.
    - Make sure your car is ready for the challenge. I took mine in for a tune-up about a week before I left to make sure that I had time to get anything fixed that might have come up.
    - Take some snacks, but I rarely ate any on the road (wanted to keep focused on the road) so I'd make sure to stop for lunch and walk around a bit. Things I HIGHLY recommend include bottled water and blankets.
    - Take a cell phone and most importantly, CHECK YOUR COVERAGE. I'm so used to having coverage I took it for granted and when I had to drive for almost 2 days without a signal it was a bit nerve racking as there were a couple times where I wouldn't see anyone on the road for 5 minutes at a time. I also had 2 phones on me during the trip (one personal and one work) with both Sprint and Cingular coverage. When going through South Dakota and Wyoming I think Verizon was the only carrier that I knew of in the area (according to a bartender I talked to at one of the hotels). Also a wireless/bluetooth earpiece for your phone will come in handy, I wore mine the entire trip and would charge everything up at night. Also make sure to have a car charger for your phone as well, just in case.
    - Let family/friends know where your goals are, when you expect to be there, and if you can check in with them along the way. We always hope nothing will go wrong, but in case it does, they will have an idea of where you were at what time.
    - Don't take odd routes that you hadn't planned, especially if you have to drive through the mountains. The whole James Kim thing last year scared the bejesus out of me.
    - Keep half a tank of gas or more as often as you can. There were times where I wouldn't see a gas station for hours. A couple I stopped at were closed but I was able to pay at the pump with a credit card and still get my gas so I got lucky.
    - Check to make sure that the freeways are not closed due to weather. I saw plenty of snow fences and places in the central US that had the ability to close the freeway completely if the weather was really bad.
    - Take plenty of music. I had my iPod and I used it the whole way. Make some playlists if you use your player to hold all your music like I do, otherwise you might spend so much time fumbling looking for a decent song. (Bob Seger was great for the trip).
    - Have fun, try to plan to see some sights along the way if time permits. I was on a tight schedule but still managed to make some quick stops at Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands and they were the highlights of the trip (along w/ the mountains in Idaho).

    bigpanda on
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    bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Are you cool with crossing thru Canada? If you are rather then heading south along lake Erie when you reach Buffalo turn north, go across Southern Ontario and into Michigan then head westward towards Chicago and onward to Montana.

    Not sure, but don't you need a passport now to get through Canada?

    bigpanda on
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    GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Atlases are your best friend. Keep it up front and check it as often as you need to. And then a few more times. I prefer one of the Rand McNally deals you can get for a couple bucks at Wal-Mart. It has been a godsend on every family road trip we've done. You don't get lost for one, plus you can get an idea of where the next gas station, hotel or restaurant might be and plan accordingly.

    When I say Rand McNally, I mean Rand McNally. The Triptik things are good for shit, plus Rand McNally marks off little attractions you can use for side trips along the way.

    Gosling on
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    EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    On a side note, I was just thinking that if you are going to be staying at motels you might want to keep your really valuable boxes of stuff inside your trunk, in case anyone becomes interested in your car.

    I don't really know a whole lot about theiving, but if I was looking for something to break into for a quick snatch-and-grab, a car filled with the entirety of someone's posessions would seem like a nice score. People might figure that there might be something interesting, even if they could only grab a box or two before they took off.

    Or just label everything "Kitchen Utensils", "Bath Towels", "Christmast Lights", or "Pillows - Jim's Room".

    Einhander on
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    W2W2 Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I'm seeing a lot of "take an iPod" posts, and I think it's a really good idea, but I'd just add that you should make sure you have the means to charge the iPod while you're driving (one of those car cigarette lighter kits). Same with your cellphone.

    I would hate to get like four hours into a long trip and have my iPod run out of battery and then be in the middle of nowhere with no other radio reception. :)

    W2 on
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    corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    You all live in countries that are too big and too sparsely populated. You would run out of Britain to drive through after a 14 hour day, ignoring traffic jams anyway.

    corcorigan on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Out of curiosity, where in Montana you heading to?

    Anyway, looks like most stuff is covered. Try not to drive more than 10 hours or so a day...you may see alert enough to drive after that, and can almost definitely keep a car in between the lines, but your reaction time to something like deer (or another stupid driver) is going to suffer. You'll also start seriously zoning after that at which point you won't be watching for things like deer.

    Did I mention deer? I drive across Montana pretty much weekly (100 miles home every weekend, 200 miles for drill once a month) and the deer are a damned infestation up here. You know you really have to watch out when you see the more general "Wildlife Crossing" sign...that means things bigger than deer.

    You're driving across the great frozen wasteland, so have shit ready. Warm clothes, including boots/gloves/hat. Sleeping bag. A bit of food and water. Always fill up when you hit about half a tank...if you get stuck somewhere the running car may be your only source of heat for a while, and it needs gas. Use your fillup breaks to walk around a bit...I find going inside rather than simply paying at the pump and dashing helps wake me up a bit, but perhaps I'm just strange. Be prepared for the long, ugly, boring drive that is North Dakota.

    After about Chicago or so (or perhaps Minneapolis) you're going to have to plan a bit when it comes to hotels/motels. For instance, there are hour or two stretches between Minneapolis and Billings where there are either A) no motels or B) no motels your ass wants to stay at. Better to stop an hour earlier than you'd like and sleep somewhere decent than to push it and end up having to sleep at the Bates Motel.

    Also, another word of warning: you may want to call ahead to a hotel in the town you're planning on stopping in. Get the number off the 'net. Because in some of these podunk-ass towns, even something like the State Wiffleball Championships can fill up every hotel in town, and the next two towns over. We were driving from Chicago to Montana and ran into this in North Dakota. Unpleasant...we ended up having to drive an hour or two farther than we had intended to, and were tired as hell.

    Also, if you plan on stopping in motels (as opposed to rest stops), a AAA membership might damn near pay for itself...you'll get a discount each night for having it. And if you break down and need to be towed, it will definitely pay for itself a couple times over.

    I don't recommend rest stops, except perhaps every other night. Depends if you're the kind of person who can actually get restful sleep in your car. Motels are almost worth it just for a guaranteed place to take a decent shit and shower, the latter of which will help you feel more awake in the morning.

    mcdermott on
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    DaySleeperDaySleeper regular
    edited February 2007
    bigpanda wrote: »
    Are you cool with crossing thru Canada? If you are rather then heading south along lake Erie when you reach Buffalo turn north, go across Southern Ontario and into Michigan then head westward towards Chicago and onward to Montana.

    Not sure, but don't you need a passport now to get through Canada?

    Not yet for ground crossing. That starts January 1, 2008. Air travel requires it now (started Jan 23 of this year).

    DaySleeper on
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    EverywhereasignEverywhereasign Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    DaySleeper wrote: »
    bigpanda wrote: »
    Are you cool with crossing thru Canada? If you are rather then heading south along lake Erie when you reach Buffalo turn north, go across Southern Ontario and into Michigan then head westward towards Chicago and onward to Montana.

    Not sure, but don't you need a passport now to get through Canada?

    Not yet for ground crossing. That starts January 1, 2008. Air travel requires it now (started Jan 23 of this year).

    That's true, but if you have a passport, keep it available. They're starting to give people a hard time about it even though it isn't law.

    I think everything has been said more then once. The only things I will add, is that when I did my trip, I took some time to organize my "living space". I put a cooler in the passenger foot well with snacks and then carefully placed things I needed on the passenger seat and behind it. Keep in mind that things will shift around if you've got a curvey road. It took a stop or two, but I quickly had everything I could possibly need in blind arms reach of my seat.

    I also brought a camera and cam-corder. I have a mount that locks it into place over the passenger seat. I used it to shoot some random road footage as well as talk to it when the "crazy" set in. It made for a fun video when edited, and the still camera produced some awsome shots of random wilderness.

    Everywhereasign on
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    bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Einhander wrote: »
    On a side note, I was just thinking that if you are going to be staying at motels you might want to keep your really valuable boxes of stuff inside your trunk, in case anyone becomes interested in your car.

    I don't really know a whole lot about theiving, but if I was looking for something to break into for a quick snatch-and-grab, a car filled with the entirety of someone's posessions would seem like a nice score. People might figure that there might be something interesting, even if they could only grab a box or two before they took off.

    Or just label everything "Kitchen Utensils", "Bath Towels", "Christmast Lights", or "Pillows - Jim's Room".

    When I made my trip, I made sure to use a king size blanket to cover up everything that would have been in plain view. Didn't have any problems, but then again I stopped at mostly small towns to sleep so i doubt crime was much of an issue at any of them.

    bigpanda on
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    bigpandabigpanda Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    DaySleeper wrote: »
    bigpanda wrote: »
    Are you cool with crossing thru Canada? If you are rather then heading south along lake Erie when you reach Buffalo turn north, go across Southern Ontario and into Michigan then head westward towards Chicago and onward to Montana.

    Not sure, but don't you need a passport now to get through Canada?

    Not yet for ground crossing. That starts January 1, 2008. Air travel requires it now (started Jan 23 of this year).

    That's true, but if you have a passport, keep it available. They're starting to give people a hard time about it even though it isn't law.

    I think everything has been said more then once. The only things I will add, is that when I did my trip, I took some time to organize my "living space". I put a cooler in the passenger foot well with snacks and then carefully placed things I needed on the passenger seat and behind it. Keep in mind that things will shift around if you've got a curvey road. It took a stop or two, but I quickly had everything I could possibly need in blind arms reach of my seat.

    I also brought a camera and cam-corder. I have a mount that locks it into place over the passenger seat. I used it to shoot some random road footage as well as talk to it when the "crazy" set in. It made for a fun video when edited, and the still camera produced some awsome shots of random wilderness.

    Good point about the camera. I brought mine and would take random shots on the road. When I load it up and look at it now, it brings back memories even though I was bored as hell between Chicago and the foothills of the rockies.

    One last thing nobody mentioned which just hit me is snow chains/traction tires. Not sure if you'll need them to get through the Appalachians but alot of the passes for the Rockies can require them if the weather is bad. I barely made it through Snoqualmie pass before they started stopping people and making them put on chains (15 minutes later and I would have been screwed).

    bigpanda on
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    blincolnblincoln Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I forgot to mention - you may want to consider going on I90 all the way through South Dakota instead of North Dakota. That's the cross-country route I've had recommended from a couple of people, and plus if you feel like it you can take a few hours off and visit the Badlands.

    blincoln on
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    SpackleSpackle Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Some good advice here. I recent drove from Detroit to Colorado springs, stretched it out over two days. Got myself a TripTik which was awesome.

    I had set a goal to get to Omaha on the first day, and even went so far as to know which hotel i'd stop at. Setting a goal was beneficial, for me as the closer I got, I knew i'd be stopping soon for the night.

    Multi-disc player helps. AM radio is actually pretty cool, because you can tune into a station for long period of time. I listened to almost an entire football game.

    The biggest thing is, at about 1/2 tank start thinking about stopping for gas. You really don't want to get stuck.

    Spackle on
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    Elessar ElfstoneElessar Elfstone Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I'm sure this has been suggested but never hurts to say it again. I had a friend who drove from Toronto to Vancouver, which is roughly the same distance as you are covering. The two most important things he said for his trip were A) his mp3 player with tons of music / casts and B) some easily accesible snacks, like a bag of baby carrots or trail mix.

    Also, its probably a good idea to take your car into one of those oil change places and ask for a long distance check up. They're pretty affordable and can save you a lot of trouble if they catch something.

    Enjoy the trip man!

    Elessar Elfstone on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    bigpanda wrote: »
    One last thing nobody mentioned which just hit me is snow chains/traction tires. Not sure if you'll need them to get through the Appalachians but alot of the passes for the Rockies can require them if the weather is bad. I barely made it through Snoqualmie pass before they started stopping people and making them put on chains (15 minutes later and I would have been screwed).

    If he's heading to Livingston or points east (including Billings), I don't think he'll have to worry about any passes. Bozeman or Helena, just one (east of Bozeman). To Missoula or Butte, I think there's just one more between Bozeman and Butte (well, one and a half). To Great Falls I think there's a bit of a pass north of Helena, but not as bad as any of the others.

    If he has front-wheel or four-wheel/all-wheel drive, he should be fine without chains. I've gone over the Bozeman pass in near white-out conditions in a Civic with nothing but some standard all-weather tires, no real problems (well, it was scary as shit). Plus, we've been having a pretty mild winter so far, though snow is forecast here for the next couple days, as well as early next week. Either way, unless it's currently snowing they generally do a good job keeping the passes clear/sanded, and even while it's snowing it stays pretty decent as long as it's not coming down hard.

    mcdermott on
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    GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    After about Chicago or so (or perhaps Minneapolis) you're going to have to plan a bit when it comes to hotels/motels. For instance, there are hour or two stretches between Minneapolis and Billings where there are either A) no motels or B) no motels your ass wants to stay at. Better to stop an hour earlier than you'd like and sleep somewhere decent than to push it and end up having to sleep at the Bates Motel.

    I live in the section between Chicago and Minnie he'll be driving through (I live about 10 miles north of I-94), and he'll want to start planning in advance after Madison, Wisconsin Dells. Before then he'll still be fine stopping wherever, but civilization starts thinning out after that.

    Gosling on
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