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  1. #1

    Default A young kid needs advice

    I am planning a road trip to San Francisco from Ohio (Mostly I-80, and up to Yellowstone and back down).
    I will have a ton of questions over the next few months, but here are the ones I am pondering now.

    I have a 1995 Mazda MX-3 with 130,000 miles on it. She is in reasonable shape and still pulls about 28 mpg. Can this car make it to San Francisco, and how much added wear and tear does constant driving for several weeks add compared to the daily grind?

    I want to go through Utah and Nevada in late August. How does the heat effect the car and the driving, how bearable is it for people and cars?

    I am from a fairly gritty city in Ohio, Driving through the country at night makes me uneasy, how dangerous is it to drive from Des Moines to Yellow Stone at night?

    and lastly, is a Sat phone overkill?
    Last edited by Collin64; 10-16-2008 at 10:42 PM. Reason: better title

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default It needs to be looked at.

    Hello and welcome to R.T.A.

    I have a 1995 Mazda MX-3 with 130,000 miles on it. She is in reasonable shape and still pulls about 28 mpg. Can this car make it to San Francisco, and how much added wear and tear does constant driving for several weeks add compared to the daily grind?
    Only a qualified mechanic who has looked over the car can give you an opinion on this, but it will still only be an opinion and not a garuantee, even new cars break down. If you don't know anyone you can personally trust it's always worth getting a couple of opinions. If the car is in good shape and well maintained then I would get it serviced and checked out prior to leaving including oil and coolant flush, plugs, filters and have things like the drive belts checked, brakes, tyres, [tread and pressures] including the spare and that you have a jack, wrench and a few other basic tools. If all is well I wouldn't be over concerned about the mileage, they are tough little motors. Driving sensibly I think the constant driving is actually easier on the vehicle than the "daily grind" so if all else is well............

    I want to go through Utah and Nevada in late August. How does the heat effect the car and the driving, how bearable is it for people and cars?
    For the car see above, for the driver it will be hot [unless you have air-con]. Carry fluids for both and make sure you have some snacks stashed away.

    I am from a fairly gritty city in Ohio, Driving through the country at night makes me uneasy, how dangerous is it to drive from Des Moines to Yellow Stone at night?
    It shouldn't be if all the checks are done on your car ;-)

    and lastly, is a Sat phone overkill?
    I don't know, but not if it makes you feel better, why not.

    I will have a ton of questions over the next few months
    No problem, we will look forward to it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default overkill

    I am from a fairly gritty city in Ohio, Driving through the country at night makes me uneasy, how dangerous is it to drive from Des Moines to Yellow Stone at night?
    I'm in basic agreement with Dave, and traveling long distance usually is quite a bit easier on a car than city driving, however I'm very concerned with that question.

    I would hope you are not thinking of driving from Des Moines to Yellowstone in one leg. That is more than 1100 miles and can not safely be done in one sitting, day or night. Being in the car for the 20+ hours the drive would take far more energy than one or even two people can safely maintain and still safely drive. You need 2 days for this section of the trip.

    Driving at night will always be a little more dangerous than driving during the day, because you have less visability and animals can be a concern in rural area. However, that's a very small concern relative to driving exhausted.

    Finally, I personally think a SAT phone would be overkill. If you've got the money, and you want to spend it, there's nothing wrong with it. But they are very expensive, and I don't get the impression that you will be in lots of areas where you would be so far from civilization that it would be your only option.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Rest assured, you should be fine

    Nobody can guarantee you anything but thousands of people travel the roads you'll be traveling every day, and often they do it solo. And they're fine. Remember, everywhere you go is someone's home town. If you are safe in your "fairly gritty city", then you will be safe while on the road, too. I generally recommend using the same common sense "personal safety radar" while on the road that you do at home, just turned up a slight notch to allow for unfamiliar surroundings.

    And, yes, if you're not used to driving in rural areas at night, you will need to be aware of critters on the road.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Mazda builds a tough little car. It should be fine, as long as you have it looked at and properly prepped before you go. A sat phone is overkill, but you should have a cell phone with a carrier that has good national coverage. I've almost always had good coverage with AT&T.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    169

    Default Travelling solo

    Besides as others have mentioned, having your car checked out prior to leaving...
    Be sure to carry things like booster cables (& know how to use them), flashlight, good spare tire & jack, windshield washer fluid, an extra quart of oil.
    Remember that there are long stretches on this travel that will NOT have fuel fill-ups or stations that are 24-hours. Distances are deceiving. Keep the tank filled.
    have fun! visit the national parks! enjoy!

    Will you be camping or motels or hostels?

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