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  1. Default Vegas to Atlanta

    Took the southern route to avoid snow. Stopped in Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans and Montgomery, Ala. Checked weather forecasts and had expected rain, but instead found nice weather in every place but Atlanta, where rain greeted me.

    Food highlights included dim sum in Houston, barbecue on the Texas barbecue trail (City Market in Luling -- thumbs-up) and beignets in New Orleans.

    I drive a car without a trunk, so I got a cargo box for my rooftop. Worked well, though had to be careful about clearance in a couple of garages. I had two passengers, but I drove the whole way, because neither drives.

    Stayed at Marriotts along the way because I'm a rewards member. Most rates were about $100 a night. I'd not expected to need reservations because it's low season, but I made them starting with El Paso because of conflicts with football bowl games.

    A few car comforts that worked well for me:

    I've always navigated with maps and had little trouble. But someone gave me a Garmin GPS before my trip, and I found it very useful and freeing. Kept my maps handy, of course. The voice directions were helpful, especially because my passengers don't know English well enough to help navigate. I'm lazy about learning gadgets, but the Garmin was easy to use, though not perfect, of course. Still had to use common sense, like not turning on to one-way streets that the Garmin didn't recognize in at least a couple of instances.

    AAA is worthwhile because the free maps and roadside assistance can easily pay for themselves.

    Got my tires and oil checked before starting off. Found Jiffy Lube helpful because it's a national chain with many locations. I found that reassuring as someone who knows next to nothing about cars.

    For my rooftop cargo box, I found translucent handled bags from Ikea very handy and cheap. I stored emergency blankets and shoes in them (they come in big sizes) and they cost only three or four bucks and can be reused many times. Their translucence helped in identifying stuff without removing the wrong bag from my rooftop cargo box.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-02-2009 at 10:48 PM. Reason: added a link to the original planning thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Thanks for the packing ideas

    Sounds like it was a nice trip. Thanks for returning and providing some of those tips!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by vegas08 View Post
    Found Jiffy Lube helpful because it's a national chain with many locations. I found that reassuring as someone who knows next to nothing about cars.
    Funny, when I think of Jiffy Lube, I also think of people who don't know anything about cars - but that's mostly the people who work there! Not that there really is anything wrong with going there for something as simple as an oil change, but personally, I don't trust them to know how to do much else other than change oil and tell people they need to buy things like new windshield wipers.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and the good ideas you used, especially for hauling your cargo.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I don't even trust them to change oil - they have a history of leaving drain plugs loose and using the wrong oil filter. If you know nothing about cars, I'd recommend you have the dealership or a trusted independent shop change the oil - many of them have a "menu" price that's competitive with the quick oil change joints.

  5. Default

    Thanks, glc. I've used Jiffy Lube without problems for a few years, just for oil changes. I like them because I can drop in and get out anytime. I don't like having to schedule things with the dealership, where I would get other types of maintenance. On the road especially, I wouldn't expect to be able to drop in on a dealership. I bought tires at a national chain for a similar reason; if I get stuck in the middle of the country, I can go to one of its branches and get taken care of more easily, limiting my costs. The chain I use, for instance, guarantees my tires for many miles and would give me prorated credit if I needed to replace them unexpectedly.

    Jiffy Lube also has a location within two blocks of my house, near a Starbucks and such. Handy.

    Chainwise, I also joined a gym with locations nationally. I stay at hotels, but joining a national gym might work in a pinch if I needed a shower or such on the road.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-08-2009 at 10:25 PM. Reason: navigation

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    A lot of dealerships offer an "express lube" these days, with no appointment required. I'm not saying that all Jiffy Lubes (or other quick oil change chains) are bad, but the track record is a bit spotty - they have a tendency to hire kids that don't know what they are doing or even care about what they are even doing. There is also the issue of dishonesty, selling you things you don't need and not replacing things they charge you for. I buy my tires at Sam's Club, for essentially the same reasons you listed. If you need a shower on the road, you can get one at most truck stops for $10 or less.

  7. Default

    I can't say I've had that experience with Jiffy Lube over the past five years or so in three states -- Nevada, California and Oregon. I sure wouldn't keep using them if I'd had problems with them. My husband has been using them for his oil changes, too, and he hasn't mentioned such either. They sold me an air filter once in three years and asked whether I needed wipers the last time I was in. In those cases, I actually needed both, though I declined the wipers because I figured I could change them myself.

    And I joined the gym because I use it regularly. The possibility of using their showers on road trips is essentially free.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-08-2009 at 10:24 PM. Reason: navigation

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