Need help for X-Country road trip!
Me and a few buddies were planning on taking a pretty serious road
trip around mid-January or so and I am looking for any information
about cities, nightlife, travel tips, etc to help us on this little
journey. Our tentative route is as follows:
NY straight across to probably Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, MPLS,
somewhere in the Dakotas until Billings Montana, and then Missoula ,
Boise, possibly somewhere in northern Nevada to San Fran, down the
coast to proabably San Diego, shoot up to Vegas, then Denver with a
stop in between, down to New Orleans with a stop somewhere in between,
across to Charlseston, SC with a stop somewhere, up to Wilmington, NC,
the maybe Maryland then back to Long Island.
Feel free to comment if you think this route is ridiculous. We're
just a bunch of college kids with little direction and no experience
in anything outside of New York really. If anyone lives in any of the
above mentioned cities or near this route, please offer sugestions for
nightlife (very important), scenery, etc. Any info would be greatly
appreciated. We are pretty damn clueless at the moment.
The BEST route
NO route is "ridiculous," my friend! The best route is the one you WANT to take. My own particular goal is to drive them ALL. I have about 30 years left, I figure, to get this accomplished, and I already have a good start!
I can give you advice on scenery, historical attractions, or the "art" of road-tripping, if you have questions.
Someone else will have to provide the nightlife advice, that's not my "thing" and I am ignorant about it!
Even if you don't do any more planning than where you are at right now...you will have the time of your life. Be open to whatever comes across your path and leads you while on the road. The less planning the better...lead the Spirit lead you...and enjoy the ride.
I am from Boise...really cool town, now live in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Well, thanks for the encouraging words. I needed them. We've been getting a lot of skepticism for taking our choice of route in winter and the variety of information about how bad it will be has been a bit confusing. On some otheer traveling forums, we've heard been told to bring emergency flares, flashlights, snow tires, etc. bc the trek through Montana, Idaho, WYoming, and the Dakotas is going to be deadly. Others have told us that as long as we stick to the interstates to get to the cities we will be ok. I don't really know what to expect now. I've thought about skipping Minnesota and the Dakotas for a more southern route through Iowa and Nebraska to get to Wymoming, Montana and Idaho. Would this be any better? Unfortunately, leaving in winter is the only time that the three of us are all able to make this trip and since we've all had some strange fascination with that region of the country, we plan on getting there. Brad, you said you were originally from Boise. How bad will driving in the Rockies be in January? (I'm a bit scared of the answer actually). And what about getting to Cali from Boise? Should we go over to Oregon and down, through Nevada or down through Utah and over? As much as I would just like to be a free sprirt and go, my OCD won't let me just wing a giant trip like this. Thanks in advance!
PS-Our ride will most probably be a 95 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Not planning a route is fine, just be sure to take necessary precautions for winter driving. You'll probably be fine, but problems arise very quickly in the dead of winter.
An interesting note about the northern route during the absolute dead of winter...it seems the farther north you go, the less likely snow becomes. It literally becomes too cold for snow. Snow CAN occur during frigid temperatures, but it's much more likely when it's in the high 20's and low 30's.
Good luck and safe driving.
SFO to LAX via canada and the East coast.
We are arriving in SFO from australia on Oct 5 2004. we will have 12 weeks to go from SFO to vancouver bamff lake louise back down to yellowstone across to the great lakes to new england down the eastern states to florida and back to LAX across the desert states. our only concern is driving in snow. it's not something we see in australia.we would appreciate any tips you could give us. Thank you
Hello, Debbiew! Some tips for driving in snow (at least in New England).
1. Take it easy - under the snow is often ice...I've seen too many cars up on their sides (usually SUVs...on straight roads, no less) to not emphasize this. Keep enough distance from the car in front of you, sudden braking can be hazardous. Speed limits reflect optimum road conditions.
2. Wait until roads have been plowed/sanded...spending an extra half-hour inside is better than hitting a tree. A sanded road with some snow on it often provides better traction than an unsanded-plowed road.
3. Know your route! There's nothing worse than being lost in conditions you've never experienced before.
4. Know your vehicle! Tires should be inflated to recommended specifications, lights and windows should be clear, washer fluid full and wipers operational (not frozen to the windshield). In the winter there are often people driving around around here with "snow hats" that blow off the top of their vehicles and onto the windshield of the car behind them. Don't be one of these people!! Also, the porthole through the window frost should be avoided. I guarantee you will see what I mean!
5. Don't panic. See #1.
The major routes in Southern New England are usually kept quite clear, but the salt spray and 18-wheeler ice sheets can be dangerous.
bring emergency flares, flashlights, snow tires, etc
This is good advice. Snow or studded tires are a big help in icey conditions and well worth the cost, IMHO, if you are going to be driving where ice and snow might occur. When I used to commute to work through some hills that often were very icey (40 miles each way), I would routinely put studded tires on my car each winter. You still need to watch for ice and slow down if conditions demanded it, but your chances of slipping and sliding are much less with studs.
In addition to emergency flares and flashlights, I would suggest the following:
*food (but eating out of a cooler is always a good idea while traveling so you will probably already have this)
*AAA membership or some other auto club
*a CB may also be helpful but isn't mandatory but it is good to converse with others and find out the condition of the road ahead or get help if your cellphone isn't getting servic
*a bag of kitty litter is handy in case you can't get traction you can sprinkle it under your tires
*small shovel, those folding camping types work well and don't take up much space
*emergency candles...I always have a couple of those 24-hour candles that come in a can and have extra wicks for more heat, if needed. They aren't much bigger than a can of tuna fish and could be real handy to provide extra warmth if you are cold so you don't have to run your engine to keep warm
*I also have an aluminum hiking cup that can heat water on the candle and a few packets of cup-a-soup. Again, takes up little space but could provide valuable warm nourishment if stuck for awhile
*IMPORTANT: If you are stuck for awhile and need to run your engine to keep warm, get out of the car and ensure that snow hasn't plugged up your exhaust pipe or carbon monoxide can back up into your car
I'm not writing these things to scare you. If you use common-sense, the chance of needing these items is not great. However, these items take up little space and could make a huge difference if you are stuck for awhile. Even if you are stuck with a lot of people while waiting for a pass to be cleared or something, and are not in any danger, they can sure make your stop more comfortable if it's very cold out.
Oh, last hint: I love my GPS receiver. You can buy a good quality one for about $100. I just have the inexpensive Garmin eTrex. I use it for hiking and geocaching but it would be handy if you do slide off the road in a place without much traffic or just plain don't know exactly where you are when you call for help via cellphone or CB. You can mark your coordinates and give someone your exact longitude and latitude. Again, I highly doubt you will have occasion to need this so I don't want to scare you. But it's a fun gadget, has a lot of good uses, and would be handy to have "just in case."
Again, don't take these suggestions in a way to scare you off. Many folks travel the routes you have planned during the winter without ever encountering any problems. These are just some common-sense items to have in the unlikely event something does happen.
I say GO FOR IT!!! Don't overplan so you can follow your whims and have time for sponteneity and totally enjoy your trip!! And come back here when you return and let us know how it went.
The one item no one is listing is chains! Definitely bring snow chains, available at an auto supply store, and practice putting them on your tires before you leave. Many passes in the west are inaccessible to vehicles not using chains after/during a snowstorm. They're much more effective than snow tires in heavy snow. I would not travel in the west in winter without them. Otherwise, go for it, you'll have a great time!!
As much as everyone hates putting on those blasted things, they can be lifesaver. Certainly practice a couple of times in dry weather -- if done correctly, it is easy to stay warm and dry putting them on.
I carry a set of custom-made chains (for the Phoenix One) that weigh 80+ lbs -- their presence have served to ensure that the roads are clear whenever we are on the road (kind of a like getting a car wash guarantees it is going to rain).