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  1. Default Oregon to Florida and beyond next month

    Hello All,

    I am traveling from Oregon to Florida next month via the southern route and then going up the east coast and back home thru the midwest. I will be doing this alone over a 2 month span and staying with friends/couchsurfing/motels along the way. This is my first long road trip and just as a lot of the other posts I have read, I am a bit apprehensive. I have my route planned out and have made most all of the necessary preparations. I am excited to go but a little scared at the same time. I know alot of people have said they felt the same way before going but afterward, felt great that they had done so. I would just like any advice, info, suggestions, experiences, any sort of input would be much appreciated!

    PS- Security is a MAJOR concern. I am wondering how safe everyone felt on their journeys. I would carry my handgun as I have a conceal carry license but it is not recognized in many of the states I will be passing thru and I do not want to break the law. Would it really be necessary to carry?

    Thank you all in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default security

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    When it comes to security there's really one thing that's important to remember: Every place you'll visit is someone's hometown.

    I don't find there's anything dramatically different I do on the road for security, than I'd do at home. Basically, we're just talking common sense stuff and also using the sort of built-in radar that says if something doesn't seem quite right, it's time to move somewhere else. Otherwise, try to blend in with others - meaning don't look like the obvious tourist who is out of their element, and not actually paying attention to the things around them.

    As far as the gun, I certainly would not recommend bringing it. I generally don't have a problem with conceal carry, because there are plenty of situations where it does make sense (although I also think too many people use it as a statement more than a need too). I can tell you with certainty that there has never been a situation on a roadtrip where I felt I needed to be carrying at all, and as you mentioned, the variety of laws make the legalities very questionable at time. However, more importantly, I'd say a gun will be far more likely to get you into trouble that to provide actual protection. When you're on the road, you are going to be in unfamiliar situations that you are far more likely to misread. Those are times where a gun could very easily escalate what would otherwise be a very mild situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    I would strongly advise you not to carry. In some jurisdictions, you can't even carry a handgun broken down in the trunk of your car. Use your built-in "radar" to help keep you out of areas where you don't belong. If something doesn't feel or look right, it probably isn't. I personally try to stay out of big cities, especially at night, except to go to popular tourist areas. If you have friends in those cities that's a different story, they should know what's safe and what's not, and there's more safety in numbers. You should be able to research the various cities before you go. I would also avoid the Mexican border, but if you need gas or need to spend a night in a city such as Yuma or El Paso, it's generally safe right off the Interstate exits if you see some "better" chain hotels such as a Hampton Inn.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Simple Answers

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I have now driven somewhere on the order of a million miles on RoadTrips and have never once been in a situation where a loaded concealed weapon (or a weapon of any kind for that matter) would have made me any safer. Quite the contrary, in fact. And you are absolutely correct to be apprehensive about breaking various state laws in the process of carrying on such a long trip. I very recently had cause to check with lawyers in 3 separate states on their CCW laws, and they were all over the map. The reciprocity issue is just one of the hurdles to be faced, as is where you can carry and under what circumstances. All of those vary markedly from state to state. Simple advice: Leave the gun home, or if you must carry, lock it (unloaded) in the trunk, lock the ammo in the glove compartment, and have all your paperwork with you.

    But again, I have never been in a situation where I've felt the least threatened on the road. There have been occasions where someone is obviously manifesting road rage, but the easiest solution is to just let them have their way. They will eventually crash and/or be arrested. You just don't want to be the victim when they do. Flashing a weapon at someone in that state of mind will NOT calm them down. Quite the opposite. Remember that wherever you are on the road, you will be on somebody's local streets. Unless you are carrying 100% of the time at home, this is no different. Again, the simple advice is: Leave the gun at home.

    You say that you are concerned about safety, and yet you plan to walk into unknown homes and place yourself at the mercy of the 'kindness of strangers'. That is where your biggest problem is, and yet you do it willingly. Were you planning on bringing your concealed, loaded weapon into those people's homes without telling them? How safe would you feel if someone did that in your home? If you feel safe in placing yourself in a situation over which you have precious little control, then I really don't understand your concerns about random acts in public. Again, leave the gun at home and if safety is really a concern pay for a room with a deadbolt lock.

    Finally, this should be a pleasant adventure, not a trek through a war zone, so seek out those places where people are in a relaxed, enjoyable state of mind. parks, wildlife refuges, nature trails, and the like. You should do this every few hours anyway as a method to keep your self fresh while driving and as a chance to see more of the country than just billboards and exit signs. But please, leave the gun at home.


  5. Default

    Thank you all for your advice! That makes me feel more assured that I will be safe without the gun. AZBuck, you make good points about bringing the gun into strangers homes and staying there "at their mercy". I probably would not bring the gun in anyway, but it is a good point. I think I am just concentrating on the negative situations that could arise on the trip and thinking I would be safer with the handgun but I need to try to concentrate more on the positives. It just concerns me with being in unfamiliar territory for a long period of time because I have never done that before. I know I will keep my wits about me and not venture into unsafe areas or put myself into situations that could potentially be dangerous. Thanks!

  6. Default Security Alarm

    Also, I was thinking about getting a shock sensor for the security alarm installed on my car. I have a standard anti-theft system where if the car is broken into, the horn sounds and a thief would be unable to hotwire the car since you need the key with microchip to start the engine. Obviously the risk of getting broken into depends on where I am at. I will be in some larger urban areas and will try not to park it in skectchy areas. Do you guys think it would be a good idea or do you think the standard anti-theft system will suffice? Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I suppose it wouldn't hurt, but I personally think you are being a bit over the top. Once again I'll say if you remember the basic rules of common sense, as well as remember that everywhere is someone's hometown and you're really unlikely to have a problem.

    Getting beyond your fear, is this something you would ever consider getting if you weren't going on a roadtrip, and do you really think it will provide significantly more protection than your standard car alarm (which everyone already ignores)?

  8. Default Finished Trip

    Hey all, I posted about 2 months ago about a solo cross country road trip I was planning. Well, I just finished it! I have to say, it definitely changed my life! In my previous post, I was concerned about security. I never once felt threatened or endangered on my trip. I just stuck to my wits and common sense and I was good to go! I now truly realize what a beautiful and awesome country we live in. I can't wait to take another trip! There is so much more to see and do out there. Anyway, just wanted to get back in touch. Safe and happy travels to everyone and I really appreciate the advice!

    PS- My total trip was a little over 13,000 miles. Not trying to brag or compete or anything, but I'm curious if anyone out there has done more. I also did 1100 miles in one day. Not the smartest thing I have ever done, but I was really looking forward to getting home! Has anyone done more than that in a day? Just curious. Thanks!

    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-27-2011 at 12:32 PM. Reason: Merged with original Thread about this trip

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