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  1. Default Irish Lad First-Timer looking for info..

    Hello all,

    Long time reader first time poster here. I'm trying to organise a trip for January/February. I have read through the site...which is great!! and I bought books on Road Trips...I still have a few questions for those in the know!

    bit of background on me...

    I'm Irish from Dublin my mother is from Boston. I'm moving to the States in the New Year and I'm gonna start it off with a Road Trip. I'm taking redundancy from work and hauling everything accross the pond although I'm not taking all that on the trip ;)

    so a few questions...

    1. What will the roads/Weather be like in January? I'm starting out in Boston and going south through down to Georgia and then right accross the southern states and then from LA to Washington and more than likely fly back from there.

    2. I'm bringing a WiFi Laptop and camera with me to update a blog. How good are WiFi spots. I know Starbucks has them in some stores is this an option? and are there many of them on Highways or is there another set up I could use?

    Thanks all....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Winter adventures

    Quote Originally Posted by withnail View Post
    Long time reader first time poster here.
    It is always cool when a long-time lurker "comes into the light"... Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    1. What will the roads/Weather be like in January? I'm starting out in Boston and going south through down to Georgia and then right accross the southern states and then from LA to Washington and more than likely fly back from there.
    New England weather is pretty similar to what you are used to in Ireland -- cold, sleety, snowy and rainy. As you move south the air temperatures will warm and sleet will change to rain, in a normal January. But the southeast is in the midst of a near-epic drought and so there may not be much rain in January this year.

    Weather that originates in the Gulf Coast of Texas (warm, moist air) rises and moves north and slams into arctic air over Texas with freezing rain and snow always a possibility in January and February in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

    In most years, California gets most of its rain in January and February -- but again the drought has been very persistent and so rain is a huge unknown this year. Oregon and Washington, on the other hand, have been hammered with above-average rain and snow over the last 18 months or so.

    So, in summary, I would say there is a good chance you will be hitting some serious weather in every state you visit. Here are some winter driving tips.
    2. I'm bringing a WiFi Laptop and camera with me to update a blog. How good are WiFi spots. I know Starbucks has them in some stores is this an option? and are there many of them on Highways or is there another set up I could use?
    Here is a very good report about Wi-Fi from May, 2006 . I have also commissioned an article that we will publish in January about the availability of alternative wireless networks across the southern parts of the USA. Here is a recent field report from a road tripper who update his blog exclusively from a cell phone on the road.

    I use some form of Wi-Fi or fixed cable Internet access every day when I am on the road -- I never use Starbucks because of the unsecured nature of those networks. I prefer encrypted service service offered by most of the motel chains. A good compromise is the partially secured service provided in just about all Holiday Inn Express motels and Marriott hotels.

    Hope this helps.

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default

    If security is an issue (I don't get too excited, I just don't check my bank account or use my credit card!) then many hotels have proper 'wired' internet access available if you enquire. Certainly most Express By Holiday Inn do in my experience.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Lots of connections...

    ...along the way.

    As was mentioned, if you don't have a lot of personal stuff on your laptop there are lots of WiFi spots. In addition to those already mentioned, all Panera Bread restaurants have free WiFi. On several occassions, I've just pulled into the parking lot of a hotel along the highway and turned on the computer to see if I can pick up a signal without even getting out of the car. It worked well over 50% of the time.

    If you want more security, all FedEx Kinkos stores have workstations where you can plug into their ethernet connections (usually for free if you aren't using their computers).

    I hope you are allowing plenty of time for what could be more than 5,000 miles worth of driving...at least 3 weeks.

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

  5. #5

    Default A tip

    Quote Originally Posted by RedCorral View Post
    On several occassions, I've just pulled into the parking lot of a hotel along the highway and turned on the computer to see if I can pick up a signal without even getting out of the car. It worked well over 50% of the time.
    I've done that also and picked up an interesting bit of information on the way. It is often cheaper to book a hotel/motel online than it is to walk in but not always so. With this in mind I pull into a likely looking place, boot up the laptop, check out their online prices then walk inside to the reception. I always haggle on price and it's very handy to have the online price in mind as you do so. On several occasions I've been assured that the best discount they could offer was 10 bucks and they were unable to move on that. When informed that their online price was 20 bucks cheapr than their walk-in price they immediately agreed to match it...

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