Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. Default Flattest way through, or around, the eastern mountains, to Raleigh.

    I am deathly afraid of driving or riding through the mountains.

    Specifically, drop offs and steep slopes--especially on narrow, winding roads--are horrifying to me. The sight of a steep grade warning sign makes me literally break out in a cold sweat. Driving next to a drop-off makes me physically sick. I have no interest in "scenic views" or "vistas" seen through a car window while driving.

    I'm saying this up-front, because I keep reading well-meaning folks say things like, "Just relax, the view is so beautiful that you won't even notice." In my case, that is not true -- I am nearly in tears as I write this. (I'm not just a weak, crazy person -- there was an incident in the Rockies, and another on the pigtail roads of SD, that have left me this way.) Please don't scoff or tease me. This feels like life and death to me. It's not only me that's going to be in this vehicle, but everyone that I love, and all of our hopes for the future.

    On April 1st, 2016, my family and I will start out on a trip to relocate from MN to NC. Our plan is rent a minivan and drive. We have up to a week to travel. We are not towing a trailer, thank goodness. My husband will be doing most of the driving, and I can spell him on the flattest, most boring parts of the route. (I don't have much experience with freeway driving and interchanges in and around cities, but he's very comfortable with all that.) We are willing and able to find hotels along the way so that everyone can rest properly.

    We would fly, but we are taking our much beloved dog and cat with us, and I've not heard good things about large dogs (especially) flying. It would also be cheaper to drive than to fly, and with the expected costs of resettlement in our future, I can't ignore the price difference.

    Please help me map a route that will minimize the mountain features that will terrify me.

    We are willing to go all the way to Georgia and take a left (so to speak) if that will really make a difference.

    This could be a fun road trip for our family. (Believe it or not, I love flat-land road trips.)

    By the way, once we get to NC, I plan to learn to love the softer, gentler mountains of the east coast, but I'll being doing it gradually and gently via day trips and long weekends out of Raleigh. I don't want to live with this kind of fear for the rest of my life.

    Help me get there with minimal trauma so I can start to heal?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Your best choice, unfortunately, is to let your husband make the drive solo and you fly.

    Exactly where in MN are you leaving from?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The (Very) Long Way 'Round

    It is possible to get from Minnesota to Raleigh while staying below roughly 300 feet above sea level all the way, but there is a price to pay: about a day and a half extra on the road, an extra 650 miles of driving (and gas) and an extra day's lodging. But if you are willing to take up to a week rather than the little over two day minimum required to drive the straight-through-the-mountains route, then this might work for you. You're basically going to have to follow the Mississippi River all the way down to the Gulf Coastal Plain (but not the Gulf Coast) and hook around the Appalachian Mountains.

    You will need to get a very good set of paper maps, and not rely on GPS which will constantly be trying to put you on the 'most direct' route (through the mountains) on the 'best' roads (Interstates). Specifically, and trying to avoid both high-traffic highways and large cities(!), start out on I-35 south down to around Mason City IA. (This avoids having to drive through Rochester MN.) There, pick up US-18/US-218 (duplexed in part with I-380) to Montrose IA and US-61. You can use MO-47 to swing wide around St. Louis, picking up US-67 or I-55 south of town. If you take US-67, you'll want to use MO-72 to cut over to I-55 at Cape Girardeau to set yourselves up to cross the Mississippi from the 'bootheel' of Missouri, using I-155 then US-412 to Jackson TN and US-45/Alt-US-45 down to near Meridian MS. At this point you'll turn east, starting on I-20 but then using US-80 to Macon GA. From Macon, a series of state highways, GA-49/GA-22/GA-24/GA-88 (I did tell you that you'd need a good set of paper maps, no?), will take you through Milledgeville and Sandersville to Wren GA, and from there you can pretty much follow US-1 the rest of the way to Raleigh.

    As noted, this is a longer and much more intricate routing, so whoever is driving will need the 'passenger' to be more of a navigator, keeping track of exactly where you are and what your next turn(s) will be. You may also want to check the exact routing and alter it to suit your own needs and desires, particularly if it brings you relatively close to some place you've always wanted to visit. And it will be longer, a minimum of four days, but it is indeed possible to make the journey by going around rather than through the mountains.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-16-2016 at 11:37 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    Generally interstates are neither narrow nor winding and have extensive guard rail systems.

    Long ago when we were scouting whether to live in Colorado my wife and I borrowed a car from her aunt and uncle and went for a drive. At one point the road was scary to the point where she just decided to look at the transmission hump until it wasn't scary anymore. Works if you trust the driver and it's only for short stretches.

    But still, it might just be better if you fly and skip the road trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Doing the sums.

    'Would it still be cheaper to drive, if you factor in the cost of accommodation and wear and tear on the vehicle going the 'flat'route? I would not be too concerned about the pets. The major airlines are very good at transporting them - probably better than being cooped up in a car for 4+ days.

    My children have twice taken a large alsatian on flights of more than 12 hours, without any ill affects. The discount airlines may not be as good at it.

    L8ifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You don't have to factor in the wear and tear on the vehicle, because the original post says they are going to rent a minivan. You just have to factor in the rental cost, including the one way drop fee, and fuel. Flying is looking cheaper and cheaper........

    Do you not own a vehicle?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I'm in agreement with NoFanofCB. Interstates, particularly the ones through the Appalachian Mountains, will not have sheer drop offs or steep slopes. Their maximum allowed grade is 6%. Usually the only way we know we're climbing a hill is because the large trucks slow down.

    What you might want to do, to compare the costs of flying vs. driving, is to actually do the math. Find out the cost of the flight/s, crating and shipping the pets, luggage costs, transportation to/from the airports involved. Figure out the cost of renting the minivan including the drop off fee, overnights going around the long way (as suggested by AZBuck), food for all those days on the road, gasoline, and other sundry expenses. Add 20% to each side, as inevitably there's an expense that you'll have forgotten. Then compare. Flying may not seem so expensive.


    Donna

  8. Default

    Thank you. This appears to be a great resource, for now and for later, when I'm exploring NC. We're leaving from just outside St. Paul.

  9. Default Answers for everyone :)

    Oh, I see. I don't need to respond to each individual post. (I'm new to the forum format.)

    Thank you all for your responses! What a wonderfully active and friendly site :) I can see what a great resource Roadtrip American is -- for now, and for later, when I'm exploring NC. I look forward to contributing eventually.

    Let's see, where to start?

    I am quite interested in the route suggested by AZBuck. I'm thinking of joining AAA and asking to have a "triptic" (sp?) created. I assume that would be a good source for up-to-date and reliable maps? I don't mind the intricacy of it at all ... I'm a great map-reader and a calm navigator. Plus it sounds like a great way to see a lot of the country.

    By the way, we do own two vehicles, but both are too small to hold us all in anything approaching comfort, and too old to be entirely trustworthy on such a long trip. Luckily we have friends with a "goose-neck" trailer (?) who will be hauling one or both of the vehicles and our household goods FOR us. (They just did a similar trip to resettle their daughter in CO, so they are not remotely nervous about the Appalachians :) They will be taking the fastest, most direct route from here to there. We'll leave before they do and we'll meet up in Raleigh. I know we are very blessed to have them do this thing.) Also, someone mentioned that the road trip might be harder on the animals than flying, but both are used to going on shorter road trips with us and like it.

    After reading through all the replies, I have started to research current information about flying out, for the purposes of cost comparison. Though fares have come down some from the $500+ per ticket, which I found when I first checked, I've run into a NEW problem. Apparently, Delta will no longer transport animals on passenger flights as of March 1st. They need to be shipped on a different, cargo plane. I don't like the idea of them being on a separate plane, with multiple stops, but perhaps the accommodations are much better. I will research further when the appropriate offices are open, and I can talk to someone. (Some internet research indicates that the dog would likely be between $300-400, and the cat between $150-200.)

    If anyone has used Delta Cargo to ship animals, I'd be very interested in hearing about the experience.

    IF I can live with the cargo shipping, we wouldn't worry about having a non-stop flight for the people, and that does lower the per-ticket cost quite a lot.

    My preliminary findings suggest that the minivan still seems a better bargain by comparison, though I would have to book it soon to get the best price. I believe she quoted approx. $1200 for 7 days, with unlimited miles, one-way fee included. Of course we do need to factor in gas, food and lodging as suggested, and that can add up fast.

    I will definitely continue to work toward a detailed budget for both alternatives.

    In the meantime, I'm still very interested in thoughts about the "go-around the Appalachians" route suggested by AZBuck ... especially from anyone with experience driving it, along any section from TN forward. (We've done much of the earlier part of the trip, as described, on various road trips through the years.)

    I don't really know how similar interstates are from one area of the country to the next. I know they can get really wide, with many lanes going in each direction, and that sounds ideal. I'm more worried about it narrowing to just two lanes in each direction, with the right lane (where we're supposed to drive) running along the drop-off edge.

    I wonder if I can find a 6% grade around here in central MN so I can get a feel for the experience. (Even practice / desensitize myself :))

    That's MORE than enough prattling for now. Thank you all, again, for your thoughts!

    Renae

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default You are welcome.

    . I'm thinking of joining AAA and asking to have a "triptic" (sp?) created. I assume that would be a good source for up-to-date and reliable maps?
    Renae,

    That would be a good move, and their maps are among the best. I have never bothered with the tripticks, they always have so much information I don't care about. But I love reading the maps. You won't need AAA for roadside assistance as that will be covered by the rental company.

    By the way, we do own two vehicles, but both are too small to hold us all in anything approaching comfort,
    In that case I would fly.

    They need to be shipped on a different, cargo plane. I don't like the idea of them being on a separate plane, with multiple stops, but perhaps the accommodations are much better
    Whereas I understand your concertns for animals you obviously treasure, you might like to check, but as I understand it, at every stop the animals are taken off the plane and checked over by vets, to be sure they are OK. The vets know long before the plane lands, all the details about all the animals arriving.

    If you have ever seen one of those TV shows where animals are transported on planes, and then lovingly cared for by the vets on duty, it is heartwarming. The vets will often talk about how many more stops an animal has to make and how they prepare the animal for them. Their comfort and wellbeing is uppermost in the minds of those who take on the responsibilities.

    Of course we do need to factor in gas, food and lodging as suggested, and that can add up fast.
    You don''t need to factor in food, since no matter which way you travel, you will still be eating.

    I wonder if I can find a 6% grade around here in central MN so I can get a feel for the experience. (Even practice / desensitize myself :))
    What a brave suggestion. I congratulate you on making it. I spend a lot of time in MN and St Paul, but right now can't think of anywhere. Maybe others can.

    But as for the drop offs when driving in the right lane, that rarely if ever, happens other than in the Rockies. Usually there is a good size emergency stopping lane (big enough for a truck) and then there is the barrier, beyond which, at least in the east, it slopes down. On roads such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, you might get those drop offs, but having driven through the east extensively7, I can't recall any interstate with steep drop-offs.

    I look forward to contributing eventually.
    That would be really nice. Many hands make light work. (But be careful, it becomes addictive. lol) Perhaps you could start by keeping a journal during this trip, and writing a Roadtrip Field Report for us, so we know how you went, and how relevant all the advice was for you. Regardless whether you fly or drive, please write a report and let us know how it all went.

    Lifey

Similar Threads

  1. Rving through the Great Smoky Mountains in December
    By Firemansflame in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-04-2015, 03:42 PM
  2. Madison to Pasadena. What car and which way through the Mountains?
    By billharford in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-12-2010, 05:21 PM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-02-2008, 11:14 PM
  4. Driving through the mountains
    By chwife0320 in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-22-2008, 11:12 AM
  5. Los Angeles To Portland (or the other way around)
    By Mephisto in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-02-2006, 10:01 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES