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  1. Default Florida to California...This week, Need advice please!

    Hello there! I am relocating to Los Angeles, Ca. I am leaving later this week. I have been researching and researching my route for weeks and am simply torn between I-10 and I-40.

    I am was originally planning on leaving on I-10 right from Jax, and taking it the whole way. Plans have changed some, and now I will be leaving from Orlando, but still going to get on I-10. But a part of me really doesn't want to take 10 the whole way.. For one, west Texas goes on FOREVER. I'd end up stopping in El Paso, and probably Beaumont first. But how safe are these places to stop?

    Not to mention. I really don't want to deal with the stopping and hassel of the internal border patrol stops. I am packing my car full, and just don't want the hassel. If I take I-40, it seems as if the cities to stop will be safer.

    The weather isn't bad right now, and there are no storms forecasted for later in the week. And because I will be driving around Christms, I kind of would like to stop in a scenic, chilly and "homely" looking place. I've never done this before, so I would like to drive the most scenic route. And I-40 just seems more scenic. However, I am a little worried about altitude. I'm not sure if the altitude of I-40 will mess with me any...not to mention, I am traveling with my dog, who is a senior, although she is in good health. I don't know if the altitude will mess with her any either.

    Can someone please help me out. Which is more scenic, I-10 or I-40? Which is safer? Will altitude be an issue? Which road is more desolate, as I would prefer to take the less desolate option? Will altitude be an issue? And which will be more of an experience?

    Thank you so much for anyone who can give me some insight. As I said, I have been researching, but sometimes its just better to ask specific questions that pertains exactly to you! Thanks again!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-20-2011 at 10:06 AM. Reason: added some white space for easier reading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Dilemma #1: I-10 vs I-40. Go to Interstate Forecast on The Weather Channel website the day before you leave, and on that morning too. Keep an eye all along the way, on the weather. Either interstate can be a problem in the winter. While I-10 sounds like it might be the better bet, there are some higher elevations along the way that have had snow and ice storms. Already that road has been closed for short periods of time this season. The same goes for I-40, which gets above 5000 ft in NM and AZ. Watch the weather and bring a good map with you. If the highway gets shut down, realize that it's for very good reason, so hole up in a motel somewhere and enjoy the break. (For this reason, you should have an extra travel day or two in your plans.)

    Dilemma #2: safety concerns. If you are concerned about the south-of-the-border unrest, stay on this side of the border. Use the same safety rules that you do when you're home, and if something doesn't feel right, don't stay there. (One time, I thought about staying in a certain motel in a certain area, until I drove up and found gang graffiti and bars over windows in the surrounding area. I decided to spend $20 more and stay in a safer area.)

    Dilemma #3: can you check with your veterinarian before you depart? It's been our experience that dogs travel better in cars, with "their people pets", than they do on airlines. But your vet, and you, know your pet better than you. There are several good motel chains that don't mind pets -- La Quinta comes in mind. (Others will chime in with other chains, as off-hand I can't remember the others. We don't travel with our cat.)

    Dilemma #4: Scenic. Both I-40 and I-10 are scenic.


    Donna

  3. #3

    Default A look ahead

    Bromo82,

    Perhaps some emphasis is in order:

    The blizzard started pre-dawn TODAY in Albuquerque, NM, which lies at around 5,000'. I-40 reaches just under 7,800' near Clines Corner, NM and is 7,075' at the Continental Divide near Gallup. Further east on I-40, Amarillo, TX is under a blizzard warning today/tonight (it's raining there now).

    I haven't a clue as to real conditions along I-10, but it is written herein that I-10 has some elevation and gets some winter weather. Given the size of the present storm, I'd be looking carefully at its forecast track as relates to I-10 in TX, NM, and AZ.

    I take it your fear about Border Control stops are on the US side, where areas in some proximity to the border are patrolled and vehicles stopped and searched. If what's been in the mainstream media is true, I would share this concern and would endeavor to stay well away from the border, trying to stay away from both the bad guys AND the good guys.

    Back to the weather: Much of what I saw on the news 20 hours ago forecast snow accumulations "through Wednesday". I'd be plotting out my trip from now for the next 48-72 hours and see where that brings me in terms of the Texas Panhandle and adjacent parts of OK and NM.

    Foy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

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    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    In addition to what Donna said, There absolutely nothing dangerous about stopping in West Texas. In fact, despite neighboring Juarez being one of the most dangerous cities in the world, basically none of the violence has spilled over the border and El Paso is actually one of the safest cities in the us.

  5. Default

    Thanks for your timely replies. I did see winter storms along 40 for today and possibly Wednesday I am leaving FL Thursday, and don't anticipate being out towards nm, or even 40, until Friday evening, or Saturday. The forecast, emphasizing as of now, states clear weather during the weekend. I do not want to be stuck in a blizzard, lol. Nor do I want to experience high altititude sickness. Although, according to some experts, people don't start to experience altitude sickness untill about 10k feet? I know around Flagstaff, AZ, the highest pass is around 8k.

    Anyhow, as for the internal border patrol stops, yes they are not south of the border. From what I understand, there are 2-3 of them, right along I-10. And although there is no reason for me to be paranoid, I've heard horror stories about these stops. I am younger, am heavily tattooed and I just don't want to risk being "profiled", be stuck there for an hour and have all my belongings ruffled through and taken out, as I will spending a lot of time packing my car in the most efficient manner to ensure everything fits without blocking any of my windows whatsoever. I know tha may sound silly, but last year while porting back in from a cruise, the border patrol INSISTED I had "something to hide", held me in customs for an hour, as they took out each and every item out of my bag, including my dirty underwear, and shook them out, in clear view in front of everyone. They refused to believe I didn't have illegal, and searched my stuff and repeated the process of shaking out my stuff, dirty underwear and all, at least 4 times! It was embarrassing and infuriating. As I said, I have a lot of tattoos and I guess look like I'm a pothead or something, although I am not. This all begain after they asked my occupation, and I said, "I'm a kitchen manager", and they replied, come with me please....irrelevant, but the situation left a very bad taste in my mouth and I am now terrified of these people and enduring the hold-up, not to mention, the embarrasement, again.

    Also important is the desolation of the roads, west texas may not be dangerous, but the desolation of it scares me some. Is 40 just as desolate? A part of me really wants to see scenary and mountain views that 40 has to offer, but 10 is a straight shot and seems less risky, except for those pesky border stops!

    I understand their purpose, although they have been known to pick on the wrong people...
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-20-2011 at 10:05 AM. Reason: added some white space for easier reading

  6. #6

    Default Being "in the right" and doing what makes sense

    The politics of the matter are the subject(s) for other forums, that's for sure, and you're in fact quite gracious about your concerns. Yes, the Border Patrol and TSA have jobs to do, and sometimes we should all just think about that, as you have, before "going off" on them. That said, the one time in recent memory when I literally "saw red" and briefly contemplated slugging someone "upside the head" was when abuses by TSA personnel at Chicago's O'Hare airport affected me via the treatment my wife experienced which followed nothing less than an "assault by groping" which the gentleman in front of us endured. He was wheelchair-bound. But I digress.

    I think I'd be searching up some real-time still photo webcams and streaming video webcams for parts of TX, NM, and AZ, and planning on getting a look at them via smartphone or wifi laptop once I got ready to head west from Beaumont. Mind you, I've never driven it, but it looks like you could venture northwest from I-20 west of Abilene, TX, through Lubbock to Clovis, NM and west/northwest from there to join I-40 at Santa Rosa, NM. From there, you'd still have the highest elevations along I-40 within NM to contend with, but the scenery west of, say, Clines Corners perks right up. Approaching Albuquerque from the east is very nice, as are some of the areas closer to Grants and Gallup. And you're right, by Flagstaff and on most of the way to Kingman from there, AZ is high and enjoyably mountainous. By doing some searching for webcams, you can estimate for yourself what you'll encounter. I know Colorado, Texas, and Arizona offer loads of webcams through their state departments of transportation (google "Texas DOT webcams, for example), and it appears NM does NOT, but the point is you can have a daytime real-time look at conditions a full day or two before heading in that direction. As of this particular moment, western AZ looks quite nice, but I-40 through Amarillo, TX is starting to look bad.

    I'm fairly sensitive to altitude, and I start to "feel it" by around 5,000'. With me, it's never a matter of altitude sickness, but instead just some difficulty sleeping, dehydration, and mild headache until I get acclimated, which means a matter of a 24 hours or so.

    Look ahead and safe travels!

    Foy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
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    It's been a while, but I've driven through many of the freeway border patrol checkpoints and its never been anything more than a very minor inconvience. The worst is been was a stop on I-15 in Southern California that was causing a rather significant backup.

    But if you are thinking these checkpoints are anythings like the border patrol/customs issues you'll face when arriving back in the country, I think you are rather significantly overreacting.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Southern California
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    I would make the comment that you might want to stick to I-40 (if possible) to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints. Like Michael, we've never found them to be more than a minor nuisance. Since we could both be mixed up for Mexican (the girls in HS used to talk to me in Spanish until I'd look at them puzzled and say, "English, please?"), we just smile, say "Hi, how are you, it's hot today," or something similar to that. My husband has the misfortune to have been born in a town in Missouri with a rather foreign-sounding name, too, so if asked our birthplace, he always says "mid-Missouri" and leaves it at that.

    The forecast is looking good for later this week along I-40, with a little bit of snow predicted for Memphis on Friday.


    Donna

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

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    I also try to avoid the border patrol checkpoints - I was hassled and searched a couple years ago at one on I-8 west of Yuma. I still don't have a clue why, but it was a full vehicle search with a dog and a detailed patdown.

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