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  1. Default 1st RT and scared/excited! SD->AZ via Rt 66! HALP! :)

    Hey everyone, so thrilled to have found this amazing spot on the net. It's just what I've been looking for.

    Like a decent number of others on this forum- been reading old posts the last few nights- I'm getting started with my love of the road a bit late in life (I'm 36 and this will be the first time I've ever driven more than 2 hours alone)! I'm both terrified and thrilled. I just can not wait to get out there and have the experience!

    But I do have some questions. After buyinga few books and searching the web, I'm still a little unsure about a few things. Any help would be much appreciated. Here's where I am stuck:

    #1- I will be going from San Diego to the Grand Canyon. I would love to go by way of Route 66 but how long will it take? I've seen people say SD to Grand Canyon is 11 hours, give or take, but I can't tell if they mean via the 2 lane roads of Rt 66, or via fast, modern expressways.

    #2- I know everyone is different, but what's a realistic amount of time to drive/day for a brand new road tripper? Sure I can stay awake and do a 10 hour stretch in a day...but what do you guys/gals feel is the most realistic and pleasant amont of time behind the wheel/day, assumng I'm not in a mad dash but also assuming I don't want to take 3-4 days to reach my destination.

    #3- If I go via Rt 66, what precautions do I need to take to keep my car running. My biggest fear is overheating or breaking down on one of those isolated stretches that run for 50 or 60 miles. I am assuming those exist, at least when I read my ROAD TRIP books, it sounds like they do. Can you get cell reception the whole way in case I do break down? Is it hours before someone else comes driving by? Should it be a fear that a car could overheat in those areas (assuming it's a good car and not prone to problems in the best of conditions) or is that not likely? I will be travelling Sept or Oct, so I'm not sure how hot it gets out there.

    #4- In trying to map my trip out, I don't see Rt 66 on maps. Is it called something else (like I seem to recall the 40-is it the 40?-that seems to be the main road that runs east/west...is THAT Route 66?)...anyone know a good way to map out a route 66 path?

    So there you go. Even if you only have time to answer one of these questions, I sure would appreciate it. Again, I'm a solo road trip virgin and I am so jazzed to get out there. For me, this really is a personal challenge (being with myself for so long, putting myself in new situations,etc). I know I wil grow from this and can't wait to get started! So thanks for this great forum to help push me out of the nest!

    Spidey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Be thrilled, not terrified

    Quote Originally Posted by spidey View Post
    Hey everyone, so thrilled to have found this amazing spot on the net. It's just what I've been looking for.
    I'm glad you like it.

    Like a decent number of others on this forum- been reading old posts the last few nights- I'm getting started with my love of the road a bit late in life (I'm 36 and this will be the first time I've ever driven more than 2 hours alone)! I'm both terrified and thrilled. I just can not wait to get out there and have the experience!
    Nothing to be terrified about; a LOT to be thrilled about. Many of us here have done numerous solo roadtrips without a problem. Just use good common-sense and be prepared. Just like you would do for a 2 hour drive.

    But I do have some questions. After buyinga few books and searching the web, I'm still a little unsure about a few things. Any help would be much appreciated. Here's where I am stuck:

    #1- I will be going from San Diego to the Grand Canyon. I would love to go by way of Route 66 but how long will it take? I've seen people say SD to Grand Canyon is 11 hours, give or take, but I can't tell if they mean via the 2 lane roads of Rt 66, or via fast, modern expressways.
    They mean via the freeway. Basically I-15 to Barstow; I-40 to William, AZ; then Hwy 64 north to the Grand Canyon.


    #2- I know everyone is different, but what's a realistic amount of time to drive/day for a brand new road tripper? Sure I can stay awake and do a 10 hour stretch in a day...but what do you guys/gals feel is the most realistic and pleasant amont of time behind the wheel/day, assumng I'm not in a mad dash but also assuming I don't want to take 3-4 days to reach my destination.
    I would recommend limiting your driving time to 4-5 hours/day. This should get you about 250-350 miles down the road depending on traffic and speed limits. However, this varies a lot, too. It depends on the type of traffic you run into, how many interesting things you want to stop and explore along the way, etc. I think most of us agree that 500 miles is about the maximum you should drive in a day to stay rested and alert and still leave a bit of time to get out of the car and see/do things. However, you might have a day where just driving fits the bill and you are happy to go 6-700 miles, and other days where 100 miles is hard to cover. Hard to answer.

    I think the best thing to do is to not over-schedule yourself. Plan out an itinerary with suggested places to stop for the night to sleep but don't lock yourself into it. This way you can have the flexibility to stop earlier some days, and drive longer other days based on how you feel and what you end up doing.

    #3- If I go via Rt 66, what precautions do I need to take to keep my car running. My biggest fear is overheating or breaking down on one of those isolated stretches that run for 50 or 60 miles. I am assuming those exist, at least when I read my ROAD TRIP books, it sounds like they do. Can you get cell reception the whole way in case I do break down? Is it hours before someone else comes driving by? Should it be a fear that a car could overheat in those areas (assuming it's a good car and not prone to problems in the best of conditions) or is that not likely? I will be travelling Sept or Oct, so I'm not sure how hot it gets out there.
    It's always a good idea to get your car checked out before you leave on a roadtrip. I hope you have a trusted mechanic who can go over your car and give you advice on what may need to be done. Maybe only the basics, maybe more. Make sure fluids/filters have been changed or topped off, if needed. Make sure your brakes and tires are fine. Know how to add oil, air, etc. if needed and the proper way to check your oil and tires. If you are close to any major maintenance times....for example, my car suggests a very major maintenance done at 80k, 160k, etc. miles...then get it done before you go. Modern cars really shouldn't have any problems with overheating unless there is something wrong with the car in the first place.

    It's always a good idea to have some kind of emergency road service plan, extra supplies/tools for things you can do yourself, etc. I think most areas have relatively good cell service these days. I've never had problems in that part of the country myself. But, of course, that doesn't mean there won't be some places without service. It's always a good idea to travel with some things for your own safety and comfort just in case. Water...lots of it in these hot areas...a snack, working flashlight with extra batteries, a book or something to read in case you're sitting for awhile, a blanket, are just a few of the basics you should carry with you just in case.

    #4- In trying to map my trip out, I don't see Rt 66 on maps. Is it called something else (like I seem to recall the 40-is it the 40?-that seems to be the main road that runs east/west...is THAT Route 66?)...anyone know a good way to map out a route 66 path?
    Route 66 has been decommissioned so you won't find it on any maps. I-40 parallels a lot of old Route 66. Most of where Route 66 still exists are the main roads going through some of the towns along I-40. We have an excellent Route 66 Roadtrip Planning page here that you might want to explore for more specific suggestions on stretches of Route 66 to check out, etc.

    So there you go. Even if you only have time to answer one of these questions, I sure would appreciate it. Again, I'm a solo road trip virgin and I am so jazzed to get out there. For me, this really is a personal challenge (being with myself for so long, putting myself in new situations,etc). I know I wil grow from this and can't wait to get started! So thanks for this great forum to help push me out of the nest!
    Traveling with family/friends to share experiences with is a lot of fun. But so is traveling solo. It gives you time to think, clear your head, be spontaneous and do what you want to do without having to be concerned that the other people are enjoying themselves, too; and can even be a bit spiritual giving you a chance to get in touch with your feelings, etc. And afterwards, you'll feel that you can do anything by yourself. A good feeling.

    Enjoy...and come back with more questions, that's what we're here for. Hope this all helps a bit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default The mother road

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    In trying to map my trip out, I don't see Rt 66 on maps.
    The biggest problem with driving on route 66 is that route 66 hasn't been an official US highway for years. The road was decommissioned as it was replaced by the Interstate system (I-40 for this stretch).

    There are still sections of the road that are out there. Some of them have are labeled "Historic US-66," some have been renamed, and some have no real names at all!

    Of course the road still has a big following, so if you want to follow what's left, it really is best to pick up one of the many books on the topic. We've got some recommendations in the route 66 section of the RTA website, and This Thread has some more personal recommendations from those who have followed the route.

  4. Default Rte 66 and stuff...

    Hi Spidey --

    Some comments..

    #1- For a reasonable introduction to Rte 66, you might consider taking the I-15 to Barstow, and then heading east on I-40, and then taking National Trails Highway (the old route of Rte 66) through Amboy to Needles. You'll be on the "old road" and see some of the deserted old buildings including at least one which has been used in lots of TV shows. It's a very good quality 2 lane road, and not deserted, although its sparsely populated. From Needles if you want to follow old Rte 66 you can then go through Oatman to Kingman, and then the old Rte 66 through Peach Springs to Williams.

    To get to the Grand Canyon this way, I'd recommend 2 days -- with an overnight in Needles or thereabouts. That way you're driving, but not pushing really hard.

    You can make it from SD to Williams AZ for example on the superhighways in a day, but you're talking 9-11 hours on the road, and that may be pushing it.

    #2- I wouldn't push it until you get comfortable with things. Needles is a good break point.

    #3- Car trip precautions: First couple would be a) Bring a charged up Cell Phone, b) a credit card, and c) have some type of road-side service available just in case (like AAA). You'll probably have cell phone coverage 90% of the time (99% if you're on the superhighways), and someone like AAA will send someone to come tow you into town if you need it (You get a few miles free then you get a discounted rate). And the credit card is to cover emergency expenses like a new tire and a hotel room if needed. And oh yeah.. the right maps and something like a AAA Trip Book (which lists hotels, restaurants and places to visit).

    As Judy says, a well maintained car is a good thing. But if worse comes to worse (and I include things in this like locking your keys in the car, getting off the road into soft sand, or getting a leak in the radiator in the middle of no where), don't panic. None of these roads are totally deserted. There are other cars along every minute to maybe 30 minutes, or you'll be in cell phone range. For in-car emergency equipment I always keep jumper cables (for like when I leave my lights on over night -- AAA will come and start you if needed...), a small tool kit (so I feel like I can do something..), flashlight (and batteries), a small first aid kit (scraped fingers...), a roll of duct tape, and some basic survival stuff. That is a hat, good shoes, sunscreen, extra water and food (you're bringing a cooler right?), and a good book to read while I'm waiting.

    So.. do some basic planning, put in some basic emergency equipment for that off-chance you might get stuck somewhere, and have fun! Being prepared is always good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default The scenic route

    Hi,

    This sounds like fun - watch out, you are likely to become addicted!

    A fun route might be from SD up to Temecula, east to Palm Desert, through Joshua Tree National Park, north to Amboy, east to I-40 on old 66, then take state highway 66 (old route 66) through Peach Springs and on to Williams.

    That is definately the slower way, at least 2 days, but you'll see lots of lovely countryside and little of the Interstate highway system.

    Coming home you could head south from Flagstaff through Sedona, and on south to I-10 via Prescott and on down to I-8.

    Have a great trip, and, no, it shouldn't be too hot. Just listen to all this good advice and you'll do great!

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  6. Default Does this Rt 66 Plan make sense? First timer help please :)

    Hey all! I posted a few days ago and got some great feedback on my first solo road trip (San Diego to the Grand Canyon by way of freeways and some of old Route 66). I really, really apreciate it. It put my mind at ease and got me even more excited to hit the road.

    Since then I've done a rough map out of my path but I have two questions:

    1- how long do you think the trip will take, one way? Since I plan on hopping off the interstates here and there to explore a bit of old Rt 66, I have no clue what kind of drive time I'm looking at.

    2- I really want to see some of the old road, some great scenery, and make sure I'm not just looking at dull intersate the whole way. Does the route I have planned out allow for that and does driving the 40 show any nice sights as well or is staying on the 40 a pretty dull visual experience?


    So here's my plan (I used the book EZ66 to help me plan it but I have nothing but the author's sketches to know if the areas I have chosen will take me thru some nice looking places and he doesn't say what part of the route he used for his sketches..otherwise, great book!)...ok here goes:

    1. 15N
    2. Hop onto old 66 around Victorville (off HWY18).
    3. Stay on 66 till Needles, at which point I'll hop onto 40E.
    4. 40E until around Kingman,Az
    5. Back on 66 somewhere around Kingman (not sure the best place to hop back on 66 once I get into Kingman).
    4. 66 till around Ashfork and then stay on the 40 until the 64.
    5. 64 up to the Canyon.

    Because I only want to spend a total of 4 days driving (both ways), adding this much 66 to the route may end up killing my chances of gettng to the canyon (and I may need to decide if I want to see a bit of 66 and miss the Canyon this time, or vice versa). Because I was only hoping to do 6 hours/day (which-from what I gather- could get me to the canyon on interstates in about 11 hours...getting off the interstate? Doesn't seem likely, eh?)

    Anyway, there's my roughed out trip. Any help to those two questions above would be really, really appreciated. Thank you all so much!

    Spidey

  7. #7
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Well Signed

    Quote Originally Posted by spidey View Post
    Since then I've done a rough map out of my path but I have two questions:

    1- how long do you think the trip will take, one way? Since I plan on hopping off the interstates here and there to explore a bit of old Rt 66, I have no clue what kind of drive time I'm looking at.

    2- I really want to see some of the old road, some great scenery, and make sure I'm not just looking at dull intersate the whole way. Does the route I have planned out allow for that and does driving the 40 show any nice sights as well or is staying on the 40 a pretty dull visual experience?
    I haven't driven the route myself before, but depending on how much out of car sight seeing you do, I would say 2 days tops for travel time one way, 3 if you stretch it out quite a bit.

    There's a lot of the old road left up in that area, and it is well signed (at least the parts through AZ are fairly well signed). The stretch from Kingman to Ashfork is the longest stretch and will occupy most of your I-40 E travel. Don't forget about the Grand Canyon Skywalk tour at Peach Springs, off of Route 66.


    So here's my plan (I used the book EZ66 to help me plan it but I have nothing but the author's sketches to know if the areas I have chosen will take me thru some nice looking places and he doesn't say what part of the route he used for his sketches..otherwise, great book!)...ok here goes:

    1. 15N
    2. Hop onto old 66 around Victorville (off HWY18).
    3. Stay on 66 till Needles, at which point I'll hop onto 40E.
    4. 40E until around Kingman,Az
    5. Back on 66 somewhere around Kingman (not sure the best place to hop back on 66 once I get into Kingman).
    4. 66 till around Ashfork and then stay on the 40 until the 64.
    5. 64 up to the Canyon.
    I noticed you're missing a large section between Needles and Kingman on 66, goes up through Oatman. It's narrow and winding, but unless you're running an RV or a trailer, you should be fine.

    Because I only want to spend a total of 4 days driving (both ways), adding this much 66 to the route may end up killing my chances of gettng to the canyon (and I may need to decide if I want to see a bit of 66 and miss the Canyon this time, or vice versa). Because I was only hoping to do 6 hours/day (which-from what I gather- could get me to the canyon on interstates in about 11 hours...getting off the interstate? Doesn't seem likely, eh?)

    Anyway, there's my roughed out trip. Any help to those two questions above would be really, really appreciated. Thank you all so much!

    Spidey
    It really depends on how much out of car sight seeing you want to do. I would leave earlier in the morning so you can get the interstate parts out of the way since that seems to be your primary motivation for the route. I would probably plan on stopping for the evening in Kingman and then again at either Tusayan or Grand Canyon. You might have to add 2 more hours or so to each day, but it would be worth it. The return trip, though, you could probably just take the interstates home that way you save time.

    Just my 2 cents.

    -Brad

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