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  1. Default Long Drive California to Florida via Hwy I-10 Solo Driver Seeks Advice Please

    New to RTA -- Great information! Solo female driver relocating from California to Florida driving 14' U-Haul truck packed with boxes and small furniture plus towing my 2-door car on a carrier. Last week in December (7 days) - I seek any expert advice about what to expect along the route. No sightseeing just straight driving (gas, coffee, snacks, sleep, drive). AAA has mapped a triptik for me and I don't plan to drive at night. Parakeet is my co-pilot. Thanks for your help!

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

    Default Overview.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Over a period of 7 days you can expect to be on the road for 8 hours or so per day. [depending on start and finish points]. There shouldn't be a need to book lodgings in advance, which will allow you a little 'wiggle room,' where you might be able to go a little further if you feel good and the weather is fine, and then in the event of poor weather have a little time spare just to sit it out.

    Are you using a trailer for the car, or a dolly ? The trailer is a better choice as it is more stable and secure and if need be you can reverse with it, which isn't an option with a dolly.

    If you have any specific questions please ask.

  3. Default

    Hi Southwest Dave I appreciate the prompt reply. I reserved a car tow which lifts all 4 wheels off the road (I don't know if it is a trailer or a dolly,U-Haul refers to it is as a car carrier?).

    My specific concerns are about safety on the road, especially between Phoenix and San Antonio. Also, someone told me to cover the car with tarp or a cover to prevent rocks from damaging the car. Do you think I can make it by myself? I'm confident but a little scared too!
    Would you say OK to your sister, or female friend to do this drive alone?
    Are there regular highway patrols? Will the AZ & NM "checkpoints" slow me up?

    I will definitely take it slow and easy depending upon the weather. Keeping my cell phone charged and handy. No plans to backup at all only forward driving. If I forgot any thing important please bring it to my attention.
    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    That does in fact sound like a trailer. Whether you are PLANNING on backing up or not, you need to be prepared. If you have never towed before, have the guys at the U-Haul lot teach you how before you even leave the lot. I don't really see a need for a tarp, it's just one more thing to come loose and blow away - and a tarp slapping on the paint cross country could scratch it up pretty bad.

    As long as you stick to the major Interstate highways, and stay in hotels at the exits, I would have no hesitation recommending a solo drive for anyone. I would not recommend staying in large cities, if you are approaching one at night time, I'd stay out in the suburbs. Eastern suburbs would be preferable, less traffic hassles in the morning. Same goes for fuel and food stops, I'd avoid cities if possible. Bottom line, if you feel uncomfortable there's probably a reason, and it would be best to move on.

    The border patrol checkpoints will not delay you significantly.

    I-10 through West Texas is very desolate, but you should have continuous cell coverage if you use a major carrier.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    I reserved a car tow which lifts all 4 wheels off the road
    That's the one !

    Also, someone told me to cover the car with tarp or a cover to prevent rocks from damaging the car.
    Rocks are just as likely to damage a car while driving it, if not more so. If you were to cover it you would need the right type of cover or risk the paint work getting scratched if the sheet rubs against the bodywork. You would also need to make sure it is really securely tied down, as you don't want it to start flapping around on the Interstate. Not sure about this one, but if you wanted to cover it, get the right type with eyelets and make sure you strap it down properly. I don't really see the need.

    Do you think I can make it by myself?
    There are many solo female drivers that take long road trips with no major concerns, if you are confident in your own ability there is no reason why not.

    I'm confident but a little scared too!
    Perfectly natural. The fact you have concerns, show that you have thought things through and that you are "tuned in". Using your common sense and 'built in radar' that keeps you safe at home should make for a trouble free journey.

    Would you say OK to your sister, or female friend to do this drive alone?][/
    You haven't met my sister !! Lol. If the person concerned is experienced and mature enough to cope with it, there is no reason not to let them go. I would like regular contact and updates from a loved one, just so I can keep tabs on them.

    Are there regular highway patrols?
    You will never be far from a friendly face and service areas.

    Keep alert, don't push too far and take plenty of regular breaks and I am sure you will be fine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Sure

    I'd have no hesitation advising any single female, including my sisters, daughter or anyone else, to make this drive solo, so long as I had confidence in their driving ability. That is really the primary determiner of your safety on this trip. Remember that every mile of Interstate Highway, though it may be the 'middle of nowhere' or completely foreign to you is somebody's local freeway. I've driven the entire length of I-10 and nowhere along it should you be out of sight of at least a dozen other drivers, and cell phone reception should be sufficient for calls everywhere. Just a few general comments and hints.

    First, don't worry about "checkpoints". At most I think you'll have to stop for one agriculture/immigration inspection. At worst, they'll have a dog sniff your car, take a peak inside and ask for some ID - and that's at worst. Most likely, if you have to stop at all, you'll roll up answer a few quick questions and be on your way.

    Second, while it's probably best in your case to not make reservations so that you have some leeway to deal with unexpected events, both good and bad, as Dave suggested, it probably is a good idea to know roughly where you would need to be each night to be on schedule to arrive in Florida on time. Since I don't know exactly where you're starting from or what your final destination is, I can't give you precise way points, but assuming Los Angeles to Orlando over 6 days (holding one day in reserve) they would be: Phoenix (AZ), El Paso (TX), Roosevelt (TX), Beaumont (TX), Pensacola (FL). Those are relatively easy 400 mile days. In general, you will be better off, from both a price and ease of entry/exit, to stay a fair bit outside of the major cities, and to get through any large metropolitan area before turning in for the night. That way, you won't be trying to drive through downtown during the next morning's rush hour.

    Third, driving a truck is work and will take more effort, both mental and physical, than what your are used to in driving a car. It is particularly important that, even though you may not have time for sight seeing, that you take fairly frequent breaks to get out of the truck and take the time to shut your mind off as well as stretch and relax. Fortunately there are many, many great locations just off the Interstates for such time-outs.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    Thanks glc ... your response is also very helpful. Now I'm more confident.

    I trust this trip will be a little fun although I might be attempting a slight "speed run" just to accomplish the task as quickly and safely as possible.

    How do I check current I-10 road conditions during the trip?
    AAA told me to dial 511 on my cell phone, any other tips, radio station reports, websites, etc.?

    Happy/Merry!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default 511 is good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luv2DriveUSA View Post
    .

    How do I check current I-10 road conditions during the trip?
    AAA told me to dial 511 on my cell phone, any other tips, radio station reports, websites, etc.?
    If you have Internet connection you can check the latest on the various State sites here, listen to local radio, and check the weather channel from your Motel room or on line.

  9. Default

    OhMyGoodness! You guys are all super fantastic! Thanks to each of you for your careful, clear and thoughtful advice ... I feel like you're on my side. This is the BEST site and I'll recommend it to my gal pals and other road trippers, including my Dad (a former taxi cab driver) in NYC ... he is the biggest nay-sayer about me making this trip alone. Your expert advice and my constant cell phone contact with family & friends should be all I need for a successful trip!

    Again, you guys are extra special!

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

    Default Good luck !

    my Dad (a former taxi cab driver) he is the biggest nay-sayer about me making this trip alone.
    It's only natural, it shows he cares but will be proud of you all the same.

    If you think of any other questions just ask, if not have a safe and enjoyable journey, and please drop by and let us know how your trip went.

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