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Roadtrip time! YAY!...oh wait (minor problem)

DoxaDoxa Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
(I've searched for an hour or so on google and I can't find what I'm looking for)

I'm 17 years old (got my diploma recently) and have some free time so I decided I would like to see some relatives before getting swamped into college life this spring. I would fly but the relatives I need to see live in the middle of nowhere so the closest airport costs a fuckton to get a flight into and another long long drive. So I thought about just driving up there.

The length of the course is one thousand miles. I have a relatively straight shot from Texas to South Dakota. Its a 20 hour drive so it would take me around 3 days to do it.

Questions:

1) Is it legal for an unaccompanied 17 year old to be driving alone to that magnitude? What restrictions apply?

2) Is it possible for me to get a hotel/motel room? Or could I just camp my way up there?

3) Help/Advice to achieving this thousand mile trek depending on the factors presented by the answers to the previous questions is much appreciated.

Doxa on

Posts

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    1) As long as you're not on a learner's permit, there should be no restrictions on how long/far you can drive without accompaniment.

    2) Some hotels will require 18+ or 21+ (and/or a credit card) to book a room. This is probably less of a problem if you're looking at random smaller roadside hotel type places, but it's something to consider.

    Edit: Actually on further investigation it does appear that some states have restrictions on when you can drive, how many passengers, etc for under 18 drivers. So you should go to the DMV sites for the states you'll be driving through and look for restrictions for young drivers.

    http://www.dot.state.tx.us/
    http://www.dps.state.ok.us/dls/
    http://www.ksrevenue.org/dmv.htm
    http://www.dmv.state.ne.us/
    http://www.state.sd.us/drr2/motorvehicle/

    Daenris on
  • GlaealGlaeal Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Doxa wrote: »
    1) Is it legal for an unaccompanied 17 year old to be driving alone to that magnitude? What restrictions apply?
    Assuming you have a real Driver's License, you probably won't be breaking the law.
    2) Is it possible for me to get a hotel/motel room? Or could I just camp my way up there?
    No and No. This is a bad idea, and it's way to dangerous for you to do this on your own.
    3) Help/Advice to achieving this thousand mile trek depending on the factors presented by the answers to the previous questions is much appreciated.

    Don't do it. It isn't safe, you're too young, and your age will present too many problems for you along the way.

    Glaeal on
  • cogellcogell Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I've made the Texas -> South Dakota trek before. I'll tell you right now, it isn't fun. It is possibly the most mind numbingly boring drive you can make, up until you're actually most of the way through SD. The fact that you're 17 is going to prohibit you from getting a hotel/obtaining a camping permit. What do your parents think about this?

    cogell on
  • edited September 2008
    Doxa wrote: »
    (I've searched for an hour or so on google and I can't find what I'm looking for)

    I'm 17 years old (got my diploma recently) and have some free time so I decided I would like to see some relatives before getting swamped into college life this spring. I would fly but the relatives I need to see live in the middle of nowhere so the closest airport costs a fuckton to get a flight into and another long long drive. So I thought about just driving up there.

    The length of the course is one thousand miles. I have a relatively straight shot from Texas to South Dakota. Its a 20 hour drive so it would take me around 3 days to do it.

    Questions:

    1) Is it legal for an unaccompanied 17 year old to be driving alone to that magnitude? What restrictions apply?

    2) Is it possible for me to get a hotel/motel room? Or could I just camp my way up there?

    3) Help/Advice to achieving this thousand mile trek depending on the factors presented by the answers to the previous questions is much appreciated.

    I don't think you'd have to camp get a hotel room because I think the drive could be made as a straight shot. Make sure though however if you feel sleepy in any way to at the very least pull into a parking lot and sleep in the drivers seat even if you can't get a motel or just don't want to pay for one. No one wants to fall asleep at the wheel. I find music too be bad to keep you up, talk radio helps me more to stay awake, but I use music in the early stages of the drive. I need talk radio to keep me thinking. Also Kansas sucks so hard its literally unbelievable.

    BlackbeardonGuitar on
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  • DoxaDoxa Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Cogell: My mother is game for it though she doesn't know the restrictions that are placed on me.

    BlackbeardonGuitar: A twenty hour drive is sort of intimidating to me. Although I have stayed up for massive amounts of time I see my inexperience as a limiting factor. The longest drive I've made before was four hours, but I had someone in the car.


    FYI: I have a driver's license. I've had it for a year and five months, so not long.

    (looking at the DMVs now)

    Doxa on
  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited September 2008

    I don't think you'd have to camp get a hotel room because I think the drive could be made as a straight shot. Make sure though however if you feel sleepy in any way to at the very least pull into a parking lot and sleep in the drivers seat even if you can't get a motel or just don't want to pay for one. No one wants to fall asleep at the wheel. I find music too be bad to keep you up, talk radio helps me more to stay awake, but I use music in the early stages of the drive. I need talk radio to keep me thinking. Also Kansas sucks so hard its literally unbelievable.

    Maybe if you are crazy loco. This is dangerous and will at the very least make you absolutely miserable. I've done Dallas to St Paul in one shot (almost exactly 1000 miles), but we had two drivers which was fucking huge. Camping or Sleeping in your car will also suck, but will suck less than driving in a straight shot. Plus, unless you are leaving like tomorrow you'll have the weather to deal with wherever you decide to stop.

    What I'd do is see if you can have your parents call a motel along the way and book you a room. I'd say you'd only have to plan on staying one night, somewhere 12hrs along the way or so.

    Monolithic_Dome on
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  • DixonDixon Screwed...possibly doomed CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Im currently 20 and I drove down from the Toronto Area (Canada) to Florida one year with a friend and I drove about 16 hours and he drove about 10. That was a not a fun drive. I deffinetly wouldn't do it alone in case something happens, I mean a blown tire or something can be fixed but it is a lot harder if you have never done it before and if your by yourself.

    Dixon on
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I don't think you'd have to camp get a hotel room because I think the drive could be made as a straight shot. Make sure though however if you feel sleepy in any way to at the very least pull into a parking lot and sleep in the drivers seat even if you can't get a motel or just don't want to pay for one. No one wants to fall asleep at the wheel. I find music too be bad to keep you up, talk radio helps me more to stay awake, but I use music in the early stages of the drive. I need talk radio to keep me thinking. Also Kansas sucks so hard its literally unbelievable.

    Yeah, I only looked briefly at one or two of the DMV sites, but it looks like in a lot of states you're not allowed to be driving between 12AM and 5AM if you're under 18 unless it's for work/school/medical reasons. So doing it all in one shot -- in addition to being a bad idea as a solo driver -- would likely be infeasible for someone under 18.

    Daenris on
  • Penguin_OtakuPenguin_Otaku Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm sure there are PAers from here to there. If need be you can stay here, Norman, for the night.

    Penguin_Otaku on
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  • edited September 2008
    Isnt that what speed is for?

    BlackbeardonGuitar on
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  • skyybahamutskyybahamut Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I've gone from MYTown in Southern MN to Forsyth MT in one setting. It took 12 Hrs including stops for gas and food. Driving back towing a U-Haul trailer at ~less than the speed limit took 16 hrs. I have also made the trip from MyTown to Deltonal FL in 3 days with stops for sleep.

    I recomend Trail Mix (Peanuts, Almonds, Raisins, etc.) and Coffee or the caffinated beverage of your choice. I like those 5-hour energy things. They are wonderful.

    When you stop for gas, take at lest 15 min to strech your legs and use the rest room.

    Stop at sit down restaurants, not a McDonalds or what have you.

    If you can, get a buddy to ride along with you. It helps soooooo much.

    skyybahamut on
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  • KPCKPC Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    How about taking the train?

    KPC on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    If you DO do this, bring a couple hundred in cash. If you stop at a hotel/motel and they refuse to rent you a room due to your age, explain that your situation, and offer to pay in cash if that helps.

    Improvolone on
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  • Shark_MegaByteShark_MegaByte Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I suggest asking your family to call around to motels at approximately the halfway point, in advance. See if they can make reservations for you and let the place know you're 17 so you won't run into the situation of getting shut out by an ID check.

    Don't try the 20 hour continuous drive; that'd be very dangerous. Stick to daylight driving and take it in 2 days with an overnight stop.

    Make sure your car has a good spare tire and know how to change it. Practice if you've never done that before. It can save you a lot of pain. So can making sure you have your insurance's roadside assistance number handy.

    Shark_MegaByte on
  • Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Don't be a wus you can do this in a straight shot.

    Get plenty of sleep before you go.
    Bring LOTS of music and food
    If you start micro sleeping pull over in a rest area and sack out in the back seat. (bring a pillow + sleeping bag)

    Other than that just hit the road and dont be a wuss man.


    When I was 18 I drove from Indianapolis to Keywest to spend the summer working in a hotel It was a 24 hour drive. Just sac up and drive. Sleep when you need to and bring some book tapes and shit.

    This isnt rocket surgery.

    Limp moose on
  • GlaealGlaeal Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Limp moose wrote: »
    This isnt rocket surgery.

    No, but it is horribly fucking unsafe and incredibly stupid.

    The fact that it is physically possible does not mean it should be done. If you can stop, stop.

    And for fuck's sake, take someone with you. Find a friend who's looking for a vacation, or take your mom. Going alone is a terrible idea, regardless of your age.

    Glaeal on
  • X3x3nonX3x3non Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Glaeal wrote: »
    Limp moose wrote: »
    This isnt rocket surgery.

    No, but it is horribly fucking unsafe and incredibly stupid.

    The fact that it is physically possible does not mean it should be done. If you can stop, stop.

    And for fuck's sake, take someone with you. Find a friend who's looking for a vacation, or take your mom. Going alone is a terrible idea, regardless of your age.

    While at 17 teenagers can be very different in their level of confidence or experience I am sort of with Limp Moose in that it is not as big a deal as you all make it out to be. If you know your limits and have previous experience with driving long stretches at a time then it is worth a little adventure. Better than wasting those precious pre-college summer days on the computer.

    X3x3non on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    But he doesn't have experience driving long distances, and driving by yourself that long is boring as all fuck.

    Improvolone on
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  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    And waiting until you're "micro sleeping" before you pull over is just asking for an accident. Yes it can be done. Yes it's unsafe and stupid to try, especially for a relatively new driver with no experience on long drives.

    Daenris on
  • ErandusErandus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm sure there are PAers from here to there. If need be you can stay here, Norman, for the night.

    This may work. I would assume you're looking to take I-35 and I-29 for a majority of the trip. There's bound to be some forumers along the way. I know there's some in Des Moines, including me, if you're going that route. You can also try Couch Surfing your way there.

    Erandus on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Its not like the way to south dakota is filled with bandits, zombies, and traps. He is going to be driving on a major freaking US interstate. Its not the damn Oregon trail.

    Take as many stops/naps as you need to and hit the road. Don't listen to all these nannies.

    Limp moose on
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2008
    There are major freaking stretches of a hundred miles or more on the major freaking interstate that if he breaks down there is no freaking help for miles. Especially in South Dakota.

    It'd probably help us more if you could tell us the city you're coming from and the city you're going to.

    FyreWulff on
  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    A 20 hour straight shot sounds like a shitty shitty trip. You can always sleep in your car to break it up.

    Gafoto on
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  • Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    There are major freaking stretches of a hundred miles or more on the major freaking interstate that if he breaks down there is no freaking help for miles. Especially in South Dakota.

    It'd probably help us more if you could tell us the city you're coming from and the city you're going to.

    Bring a cell phone. Have triple A's number for roadside assistance.
    Don't go in a POS car that breaks down.

    Limp moose on
  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies drinking coffee in the mountain cabinRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Doing this without a second person would be stupid. Too many things could go wrong, finding a place to sleep would be difficult, and even if everything goes right you are driving through boredom for 20 fucking hours. Get a second person, fly, take the train (best idea!) or don't go.

    Powerpuppies on
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  • SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    A second person will help the drive go by if you can find one. I've done twenty hour trips, but only about ten hours at a stretch, and at your age as well. Alone, I might add.

    It was fun. I got lost (in the cities, not the highways) and that was kinda fun too. A night in the backseat at a rest-stop (different trip) is meh, but doable; I would definately look into a motel on the way and have a room pre-booked for you. Crappy motel room is also part of the adventure.

    Dangerous? As long as you're on the road you should be fine. Cell phones are awesome, bring one (i didn't have one at the time, but the times are a changing) and a reliable car is a must. Have a check in point with your folks so they know you are okay, and call someone on each leg, so they know things are going well.

    Really, with a bit of planning the risk is less than driving around your hometown (most accidents occur within close range of the home) and certainly something you can say you did when you were younger. The Road Trip is almost a rite of passage, and a good expereince to get under your belt.

    Sarcastro on
  • Hobbit0815Hobbit0815 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Limp moose is going the completely wrong way. It was way too dangerous for a relatively inexperienced driver to go 20 hours on caffeine, junk food and snacks for 20 hours, ESPECIALLY on a highway. Things are going 90 miles an hour, and anything could happen in a split second, and you would want to be at your best.

    And I imagine there are long stretches of nothingness on these 'highways'... and if you ended up in a Hills Have Eyes remake.. you wouldn't want to be falling asleep. :O

    Basically, sleep in your car, it's not a big deal IMO.. But sleep whenever you need to, and DON'T overdo yourself on the driving. Get as far as you can without starting to get tired, and take stops along the way to eat/stretch.

    Hobbit0815 on
  • Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm not saying he should only stop for gas. Im just saying everyone telling him to not go or take a train/fly are silly.

    He is a licensed adult he can maneuver an automobile 1000 miles.

    Its like half of you guys have never gone on a long drive before.

    Truckers with the same education as this dude do it in a big rig hopped up on speed and booze. I am pretty sure this kid can make it 1000 miles in a day or 2

    Just make sure you stop when you're tired so you don't fall asleep at the wheel and you're golden.

    Limp moose on
  • Hobbit0815Hobbit0815 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Actually he's not technically an adult. And hasn't had his driver's license for years and years and years like truck drivers.

    Hobbit0815 on
  • nosnibornosnibor Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm going to agree that the best option is to get a buddy to go along with you. Preferably one who is 18, so you can get into a motel without too much trouble if you need to.

    I went on a roadtrip one summer when I was 17. My buddy was 18, coming up to WA state from Florida, and his parents weren't comfortable with him driving the whole way, so I met up with him in Kansas City. We stayed a couple of nights in motels, and the last night in a rest stop.

    This limpmoose fellow is giving incredibly bad advice. Don't listen to him. You need to have someone with you for a trip of this magnitude, if only for the company. Also it's great to have someone along in case something goes wrong. My buddy would have been totally screwed if I hadn't been with him on the road trip, and I would have missed out on some great memories.

    nosnibor on
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  • DoxaDoxa Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well I'm in southeast Houston planning on going to Tripp, SD. I'm boarding up my house for the hurricane, taking a break atm. I'm taking probably an eight hour drive to a safe haven tomorrow starting early (this is including the traffic estimates) so I'll see how I feel about my driving endurance after that. I will be in the car alone so I'll sort of have a practice run and speculate if I could handle something triple that.

    I do have confidence in my driving ability so I'm not too worried about the 8 hour trip.

    I don't really worry about my car breaking down too much, I've taken really good care of my Toyota Corolla.

    Questions, (this is pertaining to my eight hour evacuating drive, so sorta different.)

    1) If I feel like I need to nap where would a good place be to stop? I thought many places looked down upon such behavior. Maybe a Wal-Mart parking lot?

    2) Eating wise. I'm going to eat lots of pasta tonight to get an energy boost tomorrow. As for the actual trip, should I avoid fast food and take the chance to go to a diner or something to rest/stretch a little and for a little better nutrition or just pack some sandwhiches and such?


    I may have a second person to come with to the 1000 mile trek so I'll try to snag him if I can.

    Doxa on
  • ErandusErandus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Rest stops along the interstate are about the best place for a nap.

    You're not going to get in trouble for stopping at Wal-Mart for a nap, but they may ask you to just move along.

    Erandus on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Doxa wrote: »
    2) Eating wise. I'm going to eat lots of pasta tonight to get an energy boost tomorrow. As for the actual trip, should I avoid fast food and take the chance to go to a diner or something to rest/stretch a little and for a little better nutrition or just pack some sandwhiches and such?

    Yeah, in general you should try to avoid fast food for long trips like this, or at least don't eat ONLY fast food. Make a stop at a sit down place and just have a relaxed meal and stretch. For only 8 hours it's not much of an issue, but it's still usually going to be better to actually stop and get out of the car rather than grab something and go.

    Daenris on
  • Hobbit0815Hobbit0815 Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    It's what Denny's are for! =D

    Hobbit0815 on
  • wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I just arrived in Los Angeles two weeks back from driving across from Massachusetts. I did it in three driving days - MA to Chicago (14 hours), Chicago to Boulder (16 hours), and Boulder to Los Angeles (16-18 hours). I had a great car to do it in and I'm fairly good at long drives. That said, there's a few tips I'd impart:

    Stop every few hours at a rest stop. Nothing is more refreshing than getting out, stretching your legs, sitting at a picnic table for a few minutes to take in the scenery. It really breaks up the road.

    Take naps. Your mind will be incredibly alert and aware after a short, 20 minute nap. Even just getting off the road and closing your eyes and forcing yourself to sit there will help.

    Speed limits. A lot of those midwest states come with horror stories of State Police harrassing out of state individuals. I stuck to the speed limit the entire way across.

    Good, healthy meals. You can load yourself up on Cheetos and Dr. Pepper, but nothing helps you keep going all day like a bottle of water and a proper lunch.

    NPR was my best friend. I was trying to save money so I couldn't afford an iPod and left in a hurry so I didn't have very many CDs. The radiostations get pretty bad out in the Bible belt, so I became really intimate with the BBC news broadcasts and Terry Gross.

    As far as how I handled getting across with sleeping: I slept in a rest stop one night. My Audi A4 was packed so I slept with my back to my driver's door and my feet in my passenger seat. it wasn't comfortable but it did the job. It was the first night, and I don't think I could've done it twice. The second night I stayed with a family friend in Boulder, and then I was at my new apartment by the third night.

    Lastly, regarding the hotels under 18. I wanted to romance my girlfriend in college but couldn't rent a room in my homestate if I was under 21. Her mother ended up renting the room for me, and they had no problem with me checking in with her name. Her family really liked me.

    wallabeeX on
  • RendRend Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    If you possibly can, bring someone else with you. This will help you IMMENSELY.

    Other than that, plan well, and don't let yourself get to the point where you can't handle it. If you think "i can make it just a little bit more" then you can't, and pull over to take a nap at the next stop, or whatnot, or even on the side of the road if you have to.

    That's really the only danger, pushing yourself too far. Know your limits.

    Rend on
  • wmelonwmelon Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Erandus wrote: »
    Rest stops along the interstate are about the best place for a nap.

    You're not going to get in trouble for stopping at Wal-Mart for a nap, but they may ask you to just move along.


    Every time I've tried to nap at a rest stop, I've been run off by highway patrolmen after a couple hours.

    I've had better luck at Wal-marts. But if you do that make sure to go in and talk to somebody inside before hand to make sure it's ok. I've had the cops called on me when doing this without checking in. Usually they're pretty cool about it and I generally stop in and get a drink and a snack before getting back on the road.

    wmelon on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I would make sure that you call ahead to find out whether or not lodging is a realistic possibility (hotels on the route should be easy to find with the internet), but assuming that's not an issue, I say do it.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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  • .kbf?.kbf? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I did a 32 hour drive once. Never again.

    .kbf? on
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