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  1. Default Cross country trip...fears...

    I donít know if itís appropriate to post my fears but here goes...I am south Asian and old now but way back in the 70ís, I took my first road trip across, from St. Louis to San Francisco in an old Ford with my girl friend. Then, in the 80ís, working and living in Fresno, Ca, took a few cross country trips, both, solo and with wife in a plain Honda Accord. I enjoyed every one of those.

    Now, retired, at 72, living in St. Louis, I want to do it again, go from St. Louis to San Francisco and back, over 15 days, give or take a couple of days. However, upon retiring, I had got myself a cute, bright red, sports coupe. Might draw unwanted attention.

    I want to make the trip but these times, brown and old, worried about safety in these times when animosity towards brown people seems much higher, though I have always had friendly experiences in the past, perhaps a little less confident I could do it driving by myself...donít know. Maybe I am looking for encouragement.

    If I decide to do it, given time of year, what might you recommend as route to take going and returning. Would ai run into winter weather issues or is it still early enough to not have to encounter it? No hiking but certainly,some scenic places to drive by and stay.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,125

    Default What, Me Worry?

    Not much has really changed about RoadTripping in the intervening 40 or so years since your last significant drive. The roads, attractions, restaurants and lodging choices have gotten a little bit better and prices have gone up, but that's about it. Yes, the vitriol surrounding the national election is still strong, but that should die down as final votes are counted and a winner declared (by the states, not the news organizations).

    Your car might be attractive to thieves, but random car thefts are fairly uncommon. If it's a concern to you, though, it's a legitimate concern. You can get a 'kill switch' installed for around $100. That should prevent most random thieves from starting your car and driving away even if they break in.

    As to miles vs. time, there are several possible routes between St. Louis and San Francisco that all clock in at about 2,100 miles. That could be done in just 4 days of serious driving, but you're looking for a pleasant experience while taking time to stop and smell the roses. If you only drove half as far each day, you'd still only need 16 days total to make the round trip. So you certainly have time for such a trip. It will be up to you how to distribute your non-driving time.

    As for weather, even if there is early snow in the Rocky Mountains or Sierra Nevada the Interstates should remain open or experience only relatively brief closures. You can mitigate the chances of seeing such a closure by taking a more northerly route westbound (I-70/I-29/I-80) and a more southerly (I-5/CA-58/I-40/I-44) eastbound. The other advantage to such a routing is, of course, that you're constantly driving 'new' road rather than just seeing the same stuff going both ways.

    So, in general, I think your fears have some basis in reality but not enough to forego this trip. Taking a few common sense precautions will help put your mind at ease and let you enjoy the trip.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Not much has really changed about RoadTripping in the intervening 40 or so years since your last significant drive. The roads, attractions, restaurants and lodging choices have gotten a little bit better and prices have gone up, but that's about it. Yes, the vitriol surrounding the national election is still strong, but that should die down as final votes are counted and a winner declared (by the states, not the news organizations).

    Your car might be attractive to thieves, but random car thefts are fairly uncommon. If it's a concern to you, though, it's a legitimate concern. You can get a 'kill switch' installed for around $100. That should prevent most random thieves from starting your car and driving away even if they break in.

    As to miles vs. time, there are several possible routes between St. Louis and San Francisco that all clock in at about 2,100 miles. That could be done in just 4 days of serious driving, but you're looking for a pleasant experience while taking time to stop and smell the roses. If you only drove half as far each day, you'd still only need 16 days total to make the round trip. So you certainly have time for such a trip. It will be up to you how to distribute your non-driving time.

    As for weather, even if there is early snow in the Rocky Mountains or Sierra Nevada the Interstates should remain open or experience only relatively brief closures. You can mitigate the chances of seeing such a closure by taking a more northerly route westbound (I-70/I-29/I-80) and a more southerly (I-5/CA-58/I-40/I-44) eastbound. The other advantage to such a routing is, of course, that you're constantly driving 'new' road rather than just seeing the same stuff going both ways.

    So, in general, I think your fears have some basis in reality but not enough to forego this trip. Taking a few common sense precautions will help put your mind at ease and let you enjoy the trip.

    AZBuck
    Much thanks! Donít you think itís already too late taking the northern route and I-80?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,125

    Default No, I Don't

    If you need 100% absolute certainty that you will see NO adverse weather on a 2,000 mile trip, you're not going to get it, ever, anywhere. As I mentioned, the Interstates are kept open if at all possible. The are, after all, known officially as the "National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". They are the nations main arteries and having one close for even a day, let alone two, would be highly unusual, especially this early in the season. If you do hit weather you're not comfortable driving in, just take a day off. You've got time. This is why I suggested taking the northerly route outbound and the southerly route home, when you might be on a slightly tighter but still comfortable schedule.

    Personally, I wouldn't let the small chance of seeing weather, the even smaller chance of seeing any road closures, and the almost nonexistent chance of experiencing a significant delay keep me from making this trip if I wanted to.

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    If you need 100% absolute certainty that you will see NO adverse weather on a 2,000 mile trip, you're not going to get it, ever, anywhere. As I mentioned, the Interstates are kept open if at all possible. The are, after all, known officially as the "National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". They are the nations main arteries and having one close for even a day, let alone two, would be highly unusual, especially this early in the season. If you do hit weather you're not comfortable driving in, just take a day off. You've got time. This is why I suggested taking the northerly route outbound and the southerly route home, when you might be on a slightly tighter but still comfortable schedule.

    Personally, I wouldn't let the small chance of seeing weather, the even smaller chance of seeing any road closures, and the almost nonexistent chance of experiencing a significant delay keep me from making this trip if I wanted to.

    AZBuck
    Agreed! Now, how do I plan. I suppose I head west from St. Louis on I-70 to Kansas City, take I-29 to I-80 west. I would likely drive around 500 miles the first day, probably less each following day till I get to San Francisco (where ai plan to stay 2-3 nights at my brothers place). I want to identify some towns to stay at.

    How do I best plan a trip. In the past, I just headed out, pulled into a motel when ai was ready to sleep.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,123

    Default

    Take I-435 around the NE side of KC. At Nebraska City, take IA-2/NE-2 into Lincoln to US-77 to I-80.

    In the past, I just headed out, pulled into a motel when ai was ready to sleep.
    You can still do this. If you want to make this trip in 4 days, look at overnights:

    Grand Island NE
    Rawlins WY
    Elko NV

    This is just over 500 miles a day.

    If you want to take part of a 5th day - which may be advisable so you don't hit SF at rush hour:

    Lincoln NE
    Cheyenne WY
    Salt Lake City UT
    Reno NV

    This is around 450 miles the first 4 days and a bit over 200 miles the 5th day.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Take I-435 around the NE side of KC. At Nebraska City, take IA-2/NE-2 into Lincoln to US-77 to I-80.



    You can still do this. If you want to make this trip in 4 days, look at overnights:

    Grand Island NE
    Rawlins WY
    Elko NV

    This is just over 500 miles a day.

    If you want to take part of a 5th day - which may be advisable so you don't hit SF at rush hour:

    Lincoln NE
    Cheyenne WY
    Salt Lake City UT
    Reno NV

    This is around 450 miles the first 4 days and a bit over 200 miles the 5th day.
    Excellent, Thank you. Gives me time to take some pictures. Canbtake a day or two longer to get there if any National Parks, scenic sites are places I migh5 take pictures at. Thanks!

  8. Default

    Your suggestions call for me to go from St. Louis to Kansas City, North to Lincoln, ZnE and then into WY.

    I am wondering if it might be more scenic to go through Colorado, or is scenic enough traveling through western Nebraska and to Cheyenne, WY. Might not it be much colder, less scenic in mid November?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,123

    Default

    The route I suggested is actually the fastest way, if that makes a difference. You certainly could stay on I-70 through Colorado, but if the weather is not good it can get pretty hairy as it's a lot more mountainous west of Denver, plus Colorado is having fire issues. Then how do you get back to I-80? You could take US-50 west of Salina all the way to Reno, but that's called the "loneliest road" for a reason - services are few and far between. Otherwise, you would have to take I-15 south to Las Vegas and work your way across and up to SF from there.

    I-80 through Wyoming is not immune to bad weather. You should check on both weather and road conditions as you progress and adjust your route appropriately. This can be done with a smartphone but a laptop or tablet would give you better options as you can use a desktop browser instead of a mobile browser. Safetravelusa.com has links to road conditions in each state. I travel with all 3 devices and if I can't find wifi I can tether my phone to the laptop.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,681

    Default

    I honestly don't think you have anything to be concerned about other than those same things in your home town. Just use common sense as to where you stay and if you get a feeling some place doesn't feel quite right, use your gut instinct and move along. Everywhere is someones hometown with good honest people and you often have to go out your way to roll into the 'wrong side of town'. If you decide to take this trip and put your concerns to one side it's time to start looking at maps and do some research as to what interests you along the way and start mapping them out, this will help determine the route(s) and work out where to stay overnight. I would look at a different route each way to see new things, heading further south to I40 would also be an option, route 66 towns, Grand canyon, Monument valley etc etc. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts and road conditions and be open to change, but given the option I would certainly choose I-70 for the scenery. The more days you have te more you can do with them so once you have outlined your plansd we can certainly make further suggestions and offer 'tweaks' to your plan where(if)needed.

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