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  1. Default Moving from VA to CA in August...need advice!

    We are moving from Roanoke VA to San Francisco CA this August and could use some advice.
    So far, we have decided to just sell most of our stuff and pack our car instead of renting a moving truck.
    It's a 1995 Toyota Camry with 316,000 miles on it, but it's in really good shape. So my questions are:

    1.) Is it doable to travel cross country in such a high mileage car?
    2.) If so, should we take I40 or I80? Which route would be easier on the car (ex:desert/mountains)?
    3.) Which route is more populated? (in the case that the car needs service along the way)
    4.) How many travel days would it take? How many hours/day would you suggest driving?
    5.) Are there any websites with specific info on the hotels/restaurants along either interstate?
    6.) If possible, we would like to see the Grand Canyon, but is it too hot for it in August?

    Basically, I can use any advice or suggestions from anybody who has done this trek in an older,
    high mileage vehicle. Like I said, our car is in very good shape with all major work being done to it
    to keep it going. I'm just nervous about the heat/desert and whether that will be too much for our car.

    Thanks in advance for your help!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Your mechanic should have the answers.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Road Trip Forum.

    You know your car best. Get it checked out by a trusted mechanic. Tell them your plans. Get a AAA premium membership as extra insurance (if you do not already hav e a roadside assistance plan). If all is well, there should be no reason why it should not make it. The Camry is a solid workhorse. None-the-less, I would still drive it gently.... respect its age.

    I drove one with almost that many miles a few years ago. Drove it all over the 48 States.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SFbound View Post

    1.) Is it doable to travel cross country in such a high mileage car?
    Good answer above -- have your car inspected for any issues that might be creeping up on you, get them fixed, and be nice to your car. :-)

    2.) If so, should we take I40 or I80? Which route would be easier on the car (ex:desert/mountains)?
    Others will probably chime in, but we like I-40. The climbs are gentle. Interstates, as a general rule, are built with gentle grades, and they are well marked when there is a tougher (6%) grade.

    4.) How many travel days would it take? How many hours/day would you suggest driving?
    It's 2800 miles, and that would be a nice 6 day drive without pushing it heavily.

    5.) Are there any websites with specific info on the hotels/restaurants along either interstate?
    Try urbanspoon.com, yelp.com, and tripadvisor.com. Those are the 3 that I like. If you take I-40 and stay in the Ft Smith AR/Sallisaw OK area, there are lots of good catfish places. The one we liked well 3 years ago, and still gets good ratings, is Shad's Catfish Hole in Sallisaw, OK.

    6.) If possible, we would like to see the Grand Canyon, but is it too hot for it in August?
    It's never too hot or never too cold for the Grand Canyon. It's at 7000 ft elevation, so in the summer it's usually pretty nice on the Rim.

    Basically, I can use any advice or suggestions from anybody who has done this trek in an older,
    high mileage vehicle. Like I said, our car is in very good shape with all major work being done to it
    to keep it going. I'm just nervous about the heat/desert and whether that will be too much for our car.
    Keep track of your radiator fluid -- check it periodically, same with oil. We crossed the country in a car with 125,000 miles and 9 years old, three years ago, and we were comfortable. Only you know your car; we don't.


    Donna

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

    Default high miles

    I've taken plenty of roadtrips in high mileage vehicles. I really think nothing of a getting in a car with 200k+ miles.

    Having said that, you are talking about a 20 year old vehicle that has crossed the 300k mark, and that means there are things that are simply going to be wearing out - that includes things that may not be noticed on a routine inspection. Really, you basically have to go into this trip for a plan about what will happen if something does fail. Certainly, some kind of roadside assistance is essential, and as Lifey mentioned, if you go with AAA, make sure you're getting the Premiere membership so you get 100 miles of towing, not just the 5 that comes with a basic membership. The other thing you need to think about are repairs themselves. How much are you willing to pay if something does go wrong - considering it wouldn't take too much for a repair to cost as much as the car is worth - and what will you do if the needed repairs are too much.

    Again, that's planning for a worst-case situation, and it doesn't mean you shouldn't try to make this drive, it just means you need to plan for things that are more likely because of your car's age. A pretrip inspection by a mechanic is also essential, and if there is anything in questionable condition - like belts, hoses, fluids, etc - they should be repaired before getting on the road.

    The reality is that roadtrip miles really are among the easiest miles you can put on your car. They are far less stressful than short, stop-and-go, city trips. The challenge is that if something does become a problem, it is a much more difficult processes to get it fixed.

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

    Default

    In this case, I'd seriously consider selling the car before you leave. Reason being is you have to pass an in-depth emissions (smog) check before you will be able to register the car in California. It is more than a simple test that you will find in other states and it may cost you more to get it compliant than it's worth.

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