Hi. I live in Boston and me and some of my friends are going to be going on a road trip this summer. It is basically going to be california and back. I am a bit worried about states like the Dakotas, Montanna, Wyoming, Texas and all those other states with a larger cow population then people. We agreed that we dont want to go off any main highways and we dont want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere. I am kind of worried about going through texas the most. The tearrain will be flat and it will be in the summer. What can we expect for places that will have no stores, hotes, cell signals, etc... The whole stranded in the middle of nowhere thing really worries me
1. Carry a cell phone. Think about converting your plan to cover long distance and free roaming before you go -- this is usually possible and CHEAPER by far than paying long distance and roaming charges for even just a few calls during the trip.
2. A CB Radio is recommended.
3. Use a vehicle that is in good condition, and have it checked before you leave by a good mechanic. TELL him (or her) why you are having the car checked, so he knows what to look for.
4. Don't overstress. Literally THOUSANDS of people drive this country's highways each day. You will not be alone. You can find stretches of road that are fairly lonely if you try real hard, but these are the exception, not the rule.
5. Carry an emergency kit. You can find info on this site about what you need to put in such a kit.
^ Exactly what he said. Any form of communication will be invaluable if you happen to get stuck. I might also suggest a GPS if you're worried, that way you'll alway know where you are and how close you are to major highways and towns. Don't rely on any form of electronics or anything else to get you out of a jam, just think of it as a emergency backup in case something goes wrong.
But I wouldn't stress about it. I would say not THOUSANDS, but MILLIONS of people drive the country's highways everyday, so the chances of you going somewhere where they're absolutely no help around is going to be slim, especially if you stay on main highways. Some crazy people (like myself) actively search for desolate places, trust me, it's getting harder and harder to find. Just think, why would the government spend millions of dollars to build a nice paved road, just so one or two people can drive on it? Besides, getting lost is half the fun, as long as you're prepared. First thing to bring, plenty of water
Compared to Boston, almost anything West of 495 could be considered desolate (or is that, in Boston, anything West of 495 is not considered???). Heh...
One thing you'll have to worry about is how nice the people are in areas with less population. I remember the Nebraska 'index finger wave', the Dakota smiles, and even the Shamrock, TX 4 a.m. emergency room doctor-comedian (okay, so at the time it wasn't that funny). The pace in these areas is slower, so try not to get frustrated. The people are far removed from the Megalopolis mentality, and it's mighty refreshing. Out there, you can tell the difference between the cattle and the people (only the cattle are the ones being herded).
Getting stranded is pretty hard to do, especially in Summer. You'd have to go on some unimproved roads to do that. In New Mexico I saw an eighteen-wheeler from my hometown (classic car transport), so the world really is a small place. You cannot get away from the usual chains: McDonald's, Red Roof Inn, Wal-Mart, etc.
With regards to TX, what is your intended route? Panhandle or the whole pan?
You have received good advice from others already. I just want to emphasize that your fears are probably quite groundless. I have traveled through much of these areas, sometimes I've been a woman alone when doing so, and I have not encountered any problems. Cell service is sometimes not available but I have found it in most areas.
In addition to what you've been advised so far:
1. I would recommend AAA Plus membership for assistance if you do have a breakdown. Plus is needed because of the greater towing coverage provided.
2. Most of the time if services are going to be limited for awhile, there will be a sign on the highway notifying you of that. Example: "No gas or other services for 53 miles." When you are driving along areas where your map indicates that there aren't any towns for while, just stop when you see a station and fill up your tank, even if you are still have half a tank. That way, the availability of fuel won't be an issue.
3. Most modern cars that are well-tuned won't have any problems in hot-weather driving for long stretches. You might want to consider a heavier weight oil for this drive than you are used to using due to the heat. You also might want to make sure you know how to check your oil and radiator fluid and know how to add what might be needed along the way appropriately. I have never had to do this if I get a maintenance done before a trip but it doesn't hurt to know how. You might want to carry a container of each just in case.
4. People in small towns and along these desolate stretches are generally nice and helpful if you need help. While I always advocate developing a good personal radar system regarding safety issues, most of the time people will try to help and not harm you. In other words, don't unnecessarily fear strangers.
5. Because there are stretches of road in those areas where roadside stores will be few and far between, I always carry food/drink in a cooler. I do it to save money and stock up at grocery stores along the way. But you can't depend on a restaurant when you are hungry or thirsty so it's a good idea to carry these items. I doubt there's anywhere where you will be driving for more than an hour, at most, without a gas station/convenience store or restaurant along the way, but it's good to have these items available just in case. Especially if you do find yourself having to wait for a tow truck for awhile.
Have a great trip and don't let unnecessary fears prevent you from having a wonderful time!
Thanks all! I feel better already!
> Compared to Boston, almost anything West of 495 <BR>
> could be considered desolate (or is that, in <BR>
> Boston, anything West of 495 is not <BR>
> considered???). Heh...<BR>
I can see 495 from my office and I thank my lucky stars that I am on the east side of 495. I can't bear to think what might be on the other side!
Heh heh heh....The rest of the nation! ;-)