Pick your route? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-17-2011, 02:35 PM   #1
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Pick your route?

I was wondering how do you choose which route you're going to travel especially in states you've never been in? Do you type your destination into either a GPS/Mapquest/Google Maps etc and then check "no interstates/toll roads"? Or do you look at a state map and blindly choose a state highway and hope it's in good repair and doesnt drag you through miles and miles of town driving and stop lights? We want to stay off the interstates this summer between FL and WY but dont know how to choose a good route. We've never been off the interstate. E'body we know (who still drive for travel) have always traveled the interstates b/c they want to get to their destination the fastest way possible. My folks have an Arctic Fox 5th wheel which they tow with a Ford F-350 Diesel Quad Cab so they can easily drive 75 mph on the interstate and it doesnt bother my Dad who is a commercial pilot and used to traffic and stressful situations. So since nobody I know ever ventures off the interstate I thought I'd ask folks here how they choose which roads they're going to travel barring a particular site/stopover etc. We have nothing in particular we are side tripping on this excursion. We plan on siteseeing once we arrive in WY. We're coming back through TX as the inlaws got wind of this trip (thanks Hubby) and want us to stop in on our way back. I'm looking for a nice pleasant relaxing drive with some pretty scenery along the way without going waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of my way. I wish there was a simple State Highways Map without all the interstates cluttering e'thing up.

Thanks for any input!

Melissa
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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Hi Melissa, we tow at 55, too. We combine interstates and state and county roads based on time available and what day of the week we would be on which roads. Also talk with others who have experience on particular roads, if possible. Sometimes it's best to make route decisions as you go. Wait staff, gas station attendants, shop clerks can be helpful. And detours and delayed traffic due to repairs are often posted miles before so you can make changes, but are not always easy to determine in the planning stages (weather constantly changes the schedules). Sometimes side roads are not the best option during weekends. Although the speed limit on non-interstates is 55 here in Minnesota, many travel faster and we end up with impatient people on our tails. Interstates usually allow people to easily and quickly get around us. Happy travels!
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:25 PM   #3
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http://www.infomercantile.com/images...ys%2C_1955.jpg

This is a link to a pretty neat pre-interstate map that is downloadable. We use streets and trips by microsoft and select for non-interstate roads.

Norm
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:55 PM   #4
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The only thing I use mapquest for is to get an idea of the distance I need to go.

When you reach the States find a WalMart and buy the WalMart Rand McNally road atlas. I just glanced at the state of Colorado and I saw how I would drive through that state if I were you.

You probably will find yourself on interstates part of the time, because the reality of some of the boring "scenery" makes you want to get through that state as soon as possible.

Besides having the atlas of all the states you may like to stop at all the state information centers when you cross over from state to state to pick up tourist info and state maps. They often have the scenic roads marked on the state maps.

Have a great time, summer is very hot and humid in many of the state you will be traveling through. Just another reason to get to mountains and cooler climate west.

Nancy
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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He and me prefer backroads to the interstate. We start by looking at campgrounds along the way in the general direction we want to go. We check out the ammenities and reviews and then sort of hope for the best...so far we've done quite well...I can think of only one private one we'd probably not revisit in the 3 years we've been camping. (yeah...I know that's not a long time and none of it has been in Li'l Scamp unfortunately cuz she's not quite ready for the road...though I am.)

When we do travel the intersates stopping at the state line visitor centers is always a good choice...we've made a few plan changes based on what we picked up that netted us some pretty cool stops as have the "let's see what's down this road" choices. We love the little bitty towns we've been through and the great mom'n'pop eateries we've found in our short term of explorations.

We pick up maps or often take the laptop with Streets and Maps loaded onnit or stop somewhere with Wi-fi. Rerouting ourselves in the middle of a trip is often fun...it's how we found Waldo (Florida that is.)

We can't wait to hit the road full or mostly full time in the next couple of years...or sooner.

Hope you have a wonderful trip.
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Old 03-17-2011, 06:00 PM   #6
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I use Delorme Street Atlas to plan the trip. Like others, I like to stay off the interstate. It is more interesting and relaxing but sometimes the options are very limited. I do not so much use the avoid interstates to plan the route as I place via and stops along the route to "fool" it into routing me the way that I think might be interesting.

Once in the truck, I use the in-car navigation system to keep me pointed in the right direction, especially as we approach the designated campsite. Sometimes have log heated arguments with the "lady in the dash" to convince her that I do NOT want to make a u-turn and the next safe opportunity. That just adds to our entertainment and creates a sence of satisfaction when we figure out how to fool her.

We have never accidentally gotten onto a road that was too rough or unsafe.
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Old 03-17-2011, 06:22 PM   #7
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Hi Melissa,
I travel long distances a few times each year; 2,000 miles plus. I usually start with Google maps and avoid tolls. Then I switch on 'terrain' to see if the initial route provided has lots of hills or mountains. I can drag the route line to avoid terrain I'm not happy with. I ALWAYS avoid New Jersey; tolls every 2 miles, compounded by higher rates for trailers and 'peak hour' rates and constant traffic jams to boot. I split my route between interstate '55 mph' driving and routes that will take me around large cities. The state roads through small towns provides lots of wifi hot spots so I can use my lap top to check mail and make phone calls. If I'm concerned about road conditions I can always use Google street view to actually see quality pictures of the roads involved. When I'm satisfied with the route I program it into my GPS with multiple waypoints to ensure I can duplicate my route. Access to wifi along the way allows me to check Google maps in case I want to change my route or if I've changed my route spontaneously to take in something I hadn't planned for originally.
Cheers,
Barrie
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:06 PM   #8
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And nobody ever ends up driving miles and miles through town with endless stop lights? That happened to us going through Miami down to Key West on U.S. 1. No wonder the GPS kept trying to direct us to the turnpike, lol. That was the trip I burned out an ABS sensor from braking every few feet. Never seen so many stoplights so close together!
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:35 PM   #9
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I love scenic routes, so my approach for the last couple of long trips was to decide where I want to go, make a list of stops, then use AAA paper maps, America's Byways, a collection of locations I've gathered from reading travel blogs, etc, and lay out the trip (usually in Street Atlas) forcing it to take the route I want, hitting as many scenic drives as possible.

Now I use a all-in-one GPS, and the during the transfer from Street Atlas my Garmin usually recalculates the route. I do need to find a way to get the flexibility of the Street Atlas for the planning, but be able to view the route on a smaller unit that fits on my dashboard. My laptop (a 17") is just too large for my RAV4...
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:45 PM   #10
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Melissa,

I have paper maps of every State and Canadian Province plus an Atlas from Walmart.

I'm currently working on plotting a trip to Nova Scotia, the Maritimes and Quebec from California. I know there is nothing that I want to see until I get to the east side of Iowa, so I plan to travel on I-80 for the first 5 days. However, from Iowa on I simply look at each state map and decide what and where would I like to go and see. I've been through the northern parts of Il, In and Ohio so I decided that I'd head to southern portions and will follow the Ohio river until Ohio then travel up to visit my friend June and the Amish country. Any way, I simply continue looking at each state map and plot a route, identifying sights of interest. I'm also not on the move everyday. My trips are long and leisurely. Most stops are for a minimum of 3 to 4 nights and even longer. That way I've got time to persue the surrounding area. Now if there is absolutely nothing of interest then I'd just stay the night and be on my way. Also, I generally travel about 200 to 250 miles on my travel day. Maybe 300 or so if it's simply a boring area. That would be rare.

My main requirement for any of my trips is that I avoid freeways, turnpikes, interstates etc. And, I avoid all big cities. In doing this I have never had to deal with endless stop lights. Heck, most towns I go through don't generally have any stop lights. I have really never run into any road problems.

Once I have an idea of what my itinerary might be I then start looking through all my camp books as well as using the internet to locate a number of possible campgrounds at each location. I make reservations if I think it's necessary, such as over a holiday or if I'd be close to a metropolitan area.

I have plotted my route on a map of the US which I put on a piece of plywood overlaying it with clear contact paper. I use earable markers to plot the route, identify points of interest and mark the number of nights at each stopping point. This map will not go on the trip with me.

To date, I have written 7 pages of text which describes the trip day by day with travel miles on travel day, points of interest and possible campgrounds. This is what I'll take with me and give to friends and relatives. Now consider that this is just a guide. It's not written in stone. Every time I look at it, it changes and would while on the trip.

Trip planning really depends on your time frame and your interests.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Barrie Bochoff View Post
Hi Melissa,
I travel long distances a few times each year; 2,000 miles plus. I usually start with Google maps and avoid tolls. Then I switch on 'terrain' to see if the initial route provided has lots of hills or mountains. I can drag the route line to avoid terrain I'm not happy with. I ALWAYS avoid New Jersey; tolls every 2 miles, compounded by higher rates for trailers and 'peak hour' rates and constant traffic jams to boot. I split my route between interstate '55 mph' driving and routes that will take me around large cities. The state roads through small towns provides lots of wifi hot spots so I can use my lap top to check mail and make phone calls. If I'm concerned about road conditions I can always use Google street view to actually see quality pictures of the roads involved. When I'm satisfied with the route I program it into my GPS with multiple waypoints to ensure I can duplicate my route. Access to wifi along the way allows me to check Google maps in case I want to change my route or if I've changed my route spontaneously to take in something I hadn't planned for originally.
Cheers,
Barrie
This is my process exactly. If fact I have actually traveled some routes using "Street View" when traveling on an unfamiliar route or when the turns are close together. It provides me landmark cues (like gas station, etc.) so I don't miss an important turm.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:17 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by melissab View Post
And nobody ever ends up driving miles and miles through town with endless stop lights? That happened to us going through Miami down to Key West on U.S. 1. No wonder the GPS kept trying to direct us to the turnpike, lol. That was the trip I burned out an ABS sensor from braking every few feet. Never seen so many stoplights so close together!
Hi Melissa,
There is no question we learn as we go. Any time you find yourself in a densely populated area, such as south Florida, you're going to have to choose between toll turnpikes and city streets, but using your example, Miami is generally considered a destination. The same logic applies with any bottleneck. Cape Cod has one main road from one end to the other. If you go in the summer you'll hit traffic. For too long my travel routes were "the shortest, fastest..." but I missed so much. Now, it's as much about the trip as it is the destination. I'm retired now so I'm not pressured in my decisions by having an absolute time frame for the round trip and not everyone can take the extra time if the whim strikes you. As you travel more you'll develop a strategy that suits you and you'll modify it with experience.
Happy travels,
Barrie
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:55 AM   #13
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Hi: All...One of my favorite quotes is by Charles Kurault. He said " The U.S. interstate hwy. sys. allows Americans to drive from coast to coast, without seeing anything", or words to that effect. Sometimes you need 'em, sometimes you don't!!!
We live 20 min. south of the second busiest freeway in North America. Canadas notorious 401...Detroit USA. to Montreal QUE. thru Toronto ONT.. TRUCKS, TRUCKS, and more TRUCKS. YIKES!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 03-18-2011, 08:55 AM   #14
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OH! I never thought of using Street views and Terrain Views to get an idea of what the area looks like. If I knew what towns I was going through I could look them up to see if they're huge and to be avoided. Last year I got stuck in Atlanta I think it was. All I know is EIGHT highways converged onto one spot under a bridge and there was an accident. Everybody actually shut off their engines b/c we were not budging. Of course that was about the time my 7 y/o says "Mommy, I have to potti". All I could think was Thank God I wasnt towing a trailer through that mess. It was stressful enough trying to navigate w/o a trailer and that was with my GPS warning me of lane changes. I love that "Keep Left" or "Keep Right" when you are trying to stay on the same road. I made notes on my printed map to be sure I never go through there again! I'll have to look and see but I'm pretty sure it was Atlanta.

Thanks for all the great tips! I know a lot of this knowledge can only be gained by experience. Last yr when I went to WY was the farthest I've ever driven. Before that I've only navigated from FL to TX and FL to NC and FL to OK. It was always the same, I-95 to 295 around Jacksonville to I-10. Or I-95 North to the Carolinas. I'm looking forward to taking the roads less traveled and seeing some sites for a change. Also hoping for less gators on the state roads as I never hit so much road debris as I did last summer on the interstates.
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