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  1. Default Route 66 Thanksgiving - Car Advice

    Hi there.

    I'm contemplating a road trip starting around Thanksgiving time.

    I would either start out in my home area Metropolitan New York, rent a car, drive it to Chicago where I'd visit some relatives for Thanksgiving, and then set out on Route 66. I would like to go as far as Albuquerque, or perhaps even halfway into Arizona before returning home.

    I would have a little over two weeks for the whole trip. I have not decided yet whether I would fly one-way into Chicago and rent a car for the trip and the drive back, or simply rent a car and drive it to Chicago, Route 66, and back east again. The trip from New York to Chicago would have to be rushed, and I don't think it would be especially exciting ---but renting a car one-way is much more expensive than returning it to the same place you rent it.

    1. What is the best kind of car to use for this trip, (as I imagine I may run into some tricky weather)? I was thinking that a 4 wheel drive vehicle would be best, but they are also more expensive and bigger.

    2. I was considering getting a car that was big enough to sleep in occasionally --- but I don't know if that makes any sense in cold weather -- unless there are gizmos out there that allow you to heat the car without draining the battery???

    3. Any thoughts as to how bad the weather might be at that time of year on the route? Which parts of the routes would be most problematic at this time of year?

    I welcome any thoughts and advice.

    Thanks!

    Susan

  2. Default Choice of vehicles

    Some will recommend SUV's with 4WD and I certainly respect that choice for the reasons they will offer, but I wouldn't hesitate to go with something more mundane -- my vehicle of choice for comfort and convenience on the most likely trips I take is a standard sedan or coupe, winter or summer. I prefer a convertible, but rarely spend the extra cash for them. You probably have plenty of winter driving experience, but you could read about safe winter-condition driving if you're concerned about that.

    With gas prices the way they are, you might consider searching out an all-wheel drive (for the added peace of mind) sport-wagon for this journey -- a Subaru or Volvo perhaps, instead of a heavier and gas-hoggish SUV. Bob

  3. Default further question on cars

    I could possibly get a very good deal on renting a Chevy Astro van, which I'm told has 4WD. Would a van be an ok idea at that time of year --- and also on older, narrower roads?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default If it is paved....

    Quote Originally Posted by SusanT
    I could possibly get a very good deal on renting a Chevy Astro van, which I'm told has 4WD. Would a van be an ok idea at that time of year --- and also on older, narrower roads?
    With the possible exception of Santa Fe, New Mexico, if the road is paved, it will accomdodate any passenger vehicle in the USA -- A Chevy Astro van is no wider than most SUVs and only slightly longer than a couple of them. I wasn't aware that the Astro had 4-WD. As far as portable heat goes -- most of the discount department stores (WalMart, Home Depot, etc.) sell a small rectangular ceramic heater (110-V) that could be plugged into an inverter and it could be used to heat your vehicle, with the huge caveat that generally, I wouldn't think this is a great idea when in snow country. Too easy to get too cold and face hypothermic problems.

    Mark

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    With the possible exception of Santa Fe, New Mexico, if the road is paved, it will accomdodate any passenger vehicle in the USA --Mark
    I would definitely like Santa Fe to be part of my itinerary. It's one of the things I'm looking forward to. I wasn't sure whether your comment meant that Route 66 in that area might not be great for a van, or whether it referred to other roads in the area.

    Also - and please excuse my ignorance here - but does using an inverter for a heater mean that I could use the heater when the car engine is turned off without risking a dead or overly drained battery? (I do understand and appreciate your caveat about sleeping in the van in snow country, and will certainly avoid doing so if at all possible.)

    Thanks!

    Susan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    I really don't see the need for 4-wheel drive. If you hit ice, you slide just as much with 4-wheel drive as you do with 2-wheel drive. I see a lot of people in 4WD vehicles driving dangerously on icey/snowy roads thinking that 4WD will keep them safe. And your fuel consumption is much higher with 4WD. If you're not used to driving a van, remember that they are a bit top-heavy and don't corner as well as most cars do. Personally, if I was going where there might potentially be ice and snow, I would stick to something lower-to-the-ground and more maneuverable. But not too low-to-the-ground. You will want to have clearance in case there is snow. I think I would focus on renting a vehicle that you're comfortable with driving, and a car that has excellent safety ratings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Just the old pueblo section

    Quote Originally Posted by SusanT
    I would definitely like Santa Fe to be part of my itinerary. It's one of the things I'm looking forward to. I wasn't sure whether your comment meant that Route 66 in that area might not be great for a van, or whether it referred to other roads in the area.
    No, I'm only referring to the center of Santa Fe -- the old pueblo area -- you can certainly drive there -- it is just more challenging than just about any other city in America. But locals and tourists drive there every day in every sort of vehicle.

    Mark

  8. Default Driving a van

    No reason why you couldn't do this in a van -- the gas mileage will be a little less -- probably similar to what you'd get with most SUV's. I recall that an Astro is in the mid-size range if I am not mistaken. There are special considerations when drving these vehicles though, so you might want to familiarize yourself by reading about their "special" problems.

    Bob

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