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Old April 12th, 2012, 09:48 PM   #7941
JackFrost
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADCS View Post
Note - that's 13182 km. 390 mi is 628 km.



That's very ambitious.

NYC to Niagara Falls is about an 8 hour drive factoring in traffic. The Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago legs are much more reasonable, 3-5 hours each.

Chicago to Omaha is a brutal 8 hour drive of absolutely nothing but plains and cornfields. Omaha to Denver is an even worse 8 hour drive that manages to have less along the way. I'm not sure you can understand how incredibly boring drives across the Great Plains are unless you've done a few. You'll be exhausted from these trips.

There is no good way to get from Denver to Salt Lake City. That may seem a little outlandish to you, but it is true. As a result, you get a crushing 9 hour drive, but with a few hills along the way to break up the scenery.

Salt Lake City to San Francisco is an oppressive 12 hour drive. For the first 2/3 of it, you get to drive across Nevada, which also consists of absolutely nothing. Then you get to Reno, and while you're drained from the long drive you've already put in, then you get to take the twisty I-80 through the Sierra Nevada. Then, when you get to the Bay Area, you might find that you're stuck in traffic for two hours waiting to get across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco. Even in August, that's all your daylight right there.

San Francisco to Los Angeles is another 7 hours, allowing for traffic. Driving through the lush Central Valley, you get to see... a whole lot of nothing but crops. Thing about driving in the United States is that in the West, there is a whole lot of empty space, or agricultural fields. That's what makes driving across it such a chore.

LA to Las Vegas is much more reasonable; a breezy 4-5 hours depending on traffic. Of course, at this point, with that much traveling, I'm not sure you'd even want to be up for gambling or drinking, especially considering the driving you have ahead of you.

Las Vegas to Albuquerque is 9 hours. It's also much more scenic than many of the routes you took before. On the same note, let's think about gasoline expenses here. If you're going 8,200 mi, and getting about 10 mpg in the RV, that means you're going to be buying about 820 gallons of fuel. At the current average price of $3.80/gal of gasoline, you're talking about spending $3,116 on gas alone. At current exchange rates, that's 2380, or 1,963. That's a lot of money, needless to say.

Albuquerque to Dallas is a long, long 11 hour drive. Once again, there is practically nothing along this route. I have personally driven the Amarillo-Fort Worth section several times, and I can tell you - you'll wonder how a place so desolate and boring could exist in a state as populous as Texas. At least stop in Amarillo for the 72 oz (2.04 kg) steak.

Dallas to New Orleans is a 9 hour drive factoring in traffic. It's much more interesting given that trees start to enter the picture again, and population densities begin to rise back to more familiar levels.

New Orleans to Tampa is where the size of the United States begins to play tricks on you. It is a legitimate 11 hour drive. The Florida Peninsula is much bigger than it may seem on the map. Also, remember the time of year you're going to be driving - late August is prime hurricane season on the Gulf Coast and in Florida. It would be really unfortunate if you got caught in an evacuation or had your progress impeded because of a hurricane that wreaked havoc across your route.

On a side note, I'd also like to point out what the non-catastrophic weather situation will be at this time of year in much of the country. From Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the high temperature will likely be 105F, or 40C. In Las Vegas, the temperature can very easily get to 115F, or 46C. From that point onward, all throughout the Southwest and the South, until you get out of South Carolina, you can expect the high temperature to be greater than 95F, or 35C. In the Southwest, it will simply be incredibly hot. In the Southeast, it will be hot and oppressively humid. Not only will this make being outside for any appreciable length of time uncomfortable, but it will put an enormous amount of stress and wear on your RV's motor. It doesn't take much for those things to overheat, and that would place a damper on your trip real quickly.

Tampa to Miami is more reasonable; 5 hours with traffic. But Florida's going to get tricky again...

Miami to Savannah is an 8 hour drive. Yes, this is entirely ridiculous. No, you will not want to do this drive at this point in the trip. And yes, you also risk getting hit by a hurricane or a tropical storm here.

Savannah to Washington, DC is supposedly a 10 hour drive. However, you'll be taking the illustrious Interstate 95 the entire way. The thing about I-95 is that it gets clogged with traffic in the middle of nowhere for no reason whatsoever, simply because everyone on the East Coast has to get to that highway for indecipherable purposes. It will likely take you 12 hours to make this leg of the journey.

At this point, you will have spent 135 hours in the RV. That's five full 24-hour days and fifteen hours. That's if you're lucky and don't run into any weather or mechanical problems.

DC to Philly is 3 hours, and Philly to NYC is 2 hours.

Summary: this trip is doable in three weeks, but it will require so much driving, be so expensive, and be subject to so many variables (like if you get caught speeding, and some highway patrolman thinks that you look suspicious, so he decides to detain you for a few hours while they get all your paperwork in order), that it really stretches the bounds of feasibility.

As mentioned above, you could do most of the country east of the Mississippi River in the same amount of time, and have a lot more time to go to different places, or enjoy the places that you are at. You could even go to Canada if that's an option. The US has a lot to offer, so perhaps think about scaling down the scope of the trip, while increasing the density.
Thanks man. Would you say I am mad if I told you that I am much more in mood to drive across your magnificent country after you posted your summary? :-)))
No, just kidding, but Ill do it, definately, but I think its better to leave Florida for my next trip to the US.
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Old April 13th, 2012, 04:46 AM   #7942
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADCS View Post
Note - that's 13182 km. 390 mi is 628 km.

I'm not sure you can understand how incredibly boring drives across the Great Plains are unless you've done a few. You'll be exhausted from these trips.
On a contrary I find driving across the great plains absolutely fascinating. It's so different from anything we know in Europe. I love every hour of great plains driving. I just play some good rock or country, relax and let my mind flow along.

Quote:
There is no good way to get from Denver to Salt Lake City. That may seem a little outlandish to you, but it is true. As a result, you get a crushing 9 hour drive, but with a few hills along the way to break up the scenery.
Few hills?? That's what I call understatement

Quote:
Salt Lake City to San Francisco is an oppressive 12 hour drive. For the first 2/3 of it, you get to drive across Nevada, which also consists of absolutely nothing.
There are some mountain ranges along the way in Nevada, many of them higher than most mountains in Europe bar Alps

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Thing about driving in the United States is that in the West, there is a whole lot of empty space, or agricultural fields. That's what makes driving across it such a chore.
For me all this empty space makes driving there so fascinating.

Quote:
LA to Las Vegas is much more reasonable; a breezy 4-5 hours depending on traffic. Of course, at this point, with that much traveling, I'm not sure you'd even want to be up for gambling or drinking, especially considering the driving you have ahead of you.
It is also pain to drive on the weekends when half of LA population seems to be driving to Vegas. Considering it is only 2x2 and plenty of "left lane masters" I would avoid it on Friday night.

Quote:
Albuquerque to Dallas is a long, long 11 hour drive. Once again, there is practically nothing along this route. I have personally driven the Amarillo-Fort Worth section several times, and I can tell you - you'll wonder how a place so desolate and boring could exist in a state as populous as Texas.
There are quite few distractions. There is the famous Cadillac Ranch just outside Amarillo, there are few ghost towns along the old Route 66, there are bits of the route itself, there is Palo Duro Canyon State park near Amarillo, there is Barbed Wire Museum in McLean. I love all those small peculiar attractions (like Idaho Potato Museum where I bought my favorite T-shirt)

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Dallas to New Orleans is a 9 hour drive factoring in traffic. It's much more interesting given that trees start to enter the picture again, and population densities begin to rise back to more familiar levels.
Funny, but I found this stretch rather boring

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Also, remember the time of year you're going to be driving - late August is prime hurricane season on the Gulf Coast and in Florida. It would be really unfortunate if you got caught in an evacuation or had your progress impeded because of a hurricane that wreaked havoc across your route.
It is just beginning of the season, Sept, Oct and Nov are the most risky months. Still, tropical storms might happen and slow your progress even if there is no hurricane.

Quote:
On a side note, I'd also like to point out what the non-catastrophic weather situation will be at this time of year in much of the country. From Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the high temperature will likely be 105F, or 40C. In Las Vegas, the temperature can very easily get to 115F, or 46C. From that point onward, all throughout the Southwest and the South, until you get out of South Carolina, you can expect the high temperature to be greater than 95F, or 35C. In the Southwest, it will simply be incredibly hot. In the Southeast, it will be hot and oppressively humid. Not only will this make being outside for any appreciable length of time uncomfortable, but it will put an enormous amount of stress and wear on your RV's motor. It doesn't take much for those things to overheat, and that would place a damper on your trip real quickly.
100% agree with all this warnings. August is awfully hot and you have to be careful with pushing your RV to hard.


Quote:
Summary: this trip is doable in three weeks, but it will require so much driving, be so expensive, and be subject to so many variables (like if you get caught speeding, and some highway patrolman thinks that you look suspicious, so he decides to detain you for a few hours while they get all your paperwork in order), that it really stretches the bounds of feasibility.

As mentioned above, you could do most of the country east of the Mississippi River in the same amount of time, and have a lot more time to go to different places, or enjoy the places that you are at. You could even go to Canada if that's an option. The US has a lot to offer, so perhaps think about scaling down the scope of the trip, while increasing the density.
It is going to be hard (if not impossible) trip but if had to rearange it I wouldn't confine myself just to east of Mississippi. That would be missing a point of transcontinental travel. I would make my way from NYC to California and South Western US and then drive straight back to NYC.
Something like:
NYC > St Louis > Denver > SF >some fun in California > Las Vegas > Grand Canyon and other National Parks (Zion, Bryce) > back towards NYC
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Old April 13th, 2012, 06:40 AM   #7943
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Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
On a contrary I find driving across the great plains absolutely fascinating. It's so different from anything we know in Europe. I love every hour of great plains driving. I just play some good rock or country, relax and let my mind flow along.
Different strokes for different folks

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Few hills?? That's what I call understatement
True, but I-80 across Wyoming goes through a basin, so it's not mountainous driving like I-70 in western Colorado.

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There are some mountain ranges along the way in Nevada, many of them higher than most mountains in Europe bar Alps
True, but it's basin-and-range and very arid. I could see it being appealing to more introverted people, but for me, it would take a little work and imagination to make the drive worthwhile. Knowing some of the history of the area before I left would help, for example.

Quote:
For me all this empty space makes driving there so fascinating.


It is also pain to drive on the weekends when half of LA population seems to be driving to Vegas. Considering it is only 2x2 and plenty of "left lane masters" I would avoid it on Friday night.
Excellent point.

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There are quite few distractions. There is the famous Cadillac Ranch just outside Amarillo, there are few ghost towns along the old Route 66, there are bits of the route itself, there is Palo Duro Canyon State park near Amarillo, there is Barbed Wire Museum in McLean. I love all those small peculiar attractions (like Idaho Potato Museum where I bought my favorite T-shirt)
True, but to hit all those "tourist traps" up, you'd have to budget a little more time than I think is available in this plan. I don't know how you could do all of this without keeping on the Interstates the whole time.

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Funny, but I found this stretch rather boring
It can be, but the food starts becoming so much better around here, and the trees are incredible after spending so much time on the plains.

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It is just beginning of the season, Sept, Oct and Nov are the most risky months. Still, tropical storms might happen and slow your progress even if there is no hurricane.
At the same time, Katrina hit in late August. The season peaks on September 10th. I'd say that late July through late September is the most dangerous period, and that's from growing up on the Gulf Coast.

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100% agree with all this warnings. August is awfully hot and you have to be careful with pushing your RV to hard.
I'm not sure many can understand this without actually having been in these kinds of temperatures, and knowing what kind of effect that has on vehicles.

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It is going to be hard (if not impossible) trip but if had to rearange it I wouldn't confine myself just to east of Mississippi. That would be missing a point of transcontinental travel. I would make my way from NYC to California and South Western US and then drive straight back to NYC.
Something like:
NYC > St Louis > Denver > SF >some fun in California > Las Vegas > Grand Canyon and other National Parks (Zion, Bryce) > back towards NYC
Agree to disagree on this one. If you just want to go across the continent and back, I'd say fly across, rent a car there, and fly back. It would be much more cost-effective. If you actually want to see the country, though, it's better to take it in chunks.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 05:02 AM   #7944
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I rather like driving across plains and farmland. I drive from Madison to New Orleans every year, and the stretch from Rockford to St. Louis (I-39 and I-55) is wonderful. Relatively little traffic, open stretches and simplicity.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 11:20 PM   #7945
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I absolutely HATE driving thru that area. It's so tiring and almost puts me to sleep. I was driving thru there just a week ago and it was so bad I turned 180 halfway coz I couldn't take the torture anymore. But guess there are people who enjoy it.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 12:32 AM   #7946
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A positive aspect of driving on relatively homogeneous areas is that you get to see the progressive change in the landscape, albeit small.

At least that was the impression I got driving once from Cheyenne, WY to Kansas City, MO
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Old April 16th, 2012, 02:57 PM   #7947
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Old April 16th, 2012, 03:15 PM   #7948
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Are there service stations or one has to carry supplemental gasoline aboard?
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Old April 16th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #7949
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You guys think driving across the great plains is boring? Come here to Australia and try driving across the Nullarbor Plain:















http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullarbor_Plain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyre_Highway

http://207.45.188.234/~fctg/biketrip/Nullarbr.htm
I actually find some of these roads interesting to drive on. Whether I'd feel the same if I were there I don't know. Most probably I'd enjoy it then get bored after a couple of hours. But can't say for sure.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 02:16 AM   #7950
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I hate boring flat roads, driving in the mountains is always the best.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 02:57 AM   #7951
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I hate boring flat roads, driving in the mountains is always the best.
If I must drive through rural areas, I prefer mountainous terrain as well. Keeps me alert. Especially if there are some nice curves.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 08:12 AM   #7952
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #7953
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Straight routes are good for developing self-control and patience. There is no point in speeding or being "aggressive" because it will take long to complete the journey anyway.

When I lived in Wyoming, I drove I-80 to Salt Lake City couple times. Must admit the flats around the continental divide were tiring sometimes, but it was cool as near the UT border things get more interesting. There is an interesting feature of I-80: it runs dozens of miles through a gigantic basin that splits the Continental Divide in 2
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:25 AM   #7954
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In Italy roads that could be built straight due to terrain (mostly in the Po valley) are built with curves on purpose to keep driver's attention high.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:39 AM   #7955
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You have these wide valleys in places like Nevada with a lot of optical illusion when it comes to estimating distances. For instance, you cross a summit and see the other end of the valley, and you think "that's a good 5 - 10 minutes of driving" when it turns out to be 30 or 40 minutes.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 05:16 PM   #7956
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
A positive aspect of driving on relatively homogeneous areas is that you get to see the progressive change in the landscape, albeit small.

At least that was the impression I got driving once from Cheyenne, WY to Kansas City, MO
Then, there are the changes you don't see - like the 5,152 foot (1570 m) drop in elevation from Cheyenne to KC. That, admittedly, is one of the cool parts about driving across the Great Plains: you climb a mile in elevation while perceiving the route to be essentially flat. Only way to tell is by either looking at elevation signs, or becoming short of breath more quickly as you go west.

Another cool fact about the region - during the Cretaceous period, practically the entirety of the Plains had been covered in water.
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Old April 18th, 2012, 03:57 AM   #7957
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I hate boring flat roads, driving in the mountains is always the best.
Yo' state got no mountains... Or hills even. All Florida roads flat and straight.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 02:06 AM   #7958
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Yo' state got no mountains... Or hills even. All Florida roads flat and straight.
Not quite. Interstate 75 in Florida is mostly flat and straight except for one section north of Tampa south of Exit 293 (CR 41 near Dade City) to Exit 301 (FL 50 and US 98 near Brooksville).
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Old April 19th, 2012, 03:37 AM   #7959
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Yo' state got no mountains... Or hills even. All Florida roads flat and straight.
I also hate driving in Florida except on the long bridges lol. Actually I-10 in north Florida is very hilly going west. I also live 100ft above sea level and I'm only a few miles from the water so I live on a giant hill. =P But obviously I meant in another state, I'm going to the mountains tomorrow will be at 5500ft at one point.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 04:21 AM   #7960
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I was looking at a job in Brevard County (though not anymore, FL wasn't for me). The driving there was awesome.
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