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jca2's avatar

Have you ever driven across the country, and if so, what was your experience like?

Asked by jca2 (13736points) April 20th, 2022

I am exploring summer vacation ideas and thinking about possible destinations. I have been wanting to go to Europe with my daughter for a few years now, but there was the pandemic, and still is the pandemic, and in the meantime, we’ve come to really appreciate and enjoy driving trips. I like to drive and when we go long distance, I rent a car so if there are any issues, we just switch it out with the rental company.

Last summer, I drove with her from NY to Wisconsin. This summer, I am just thinking about driving from NY to the Portland area and then doing some touring around Oregon and Washington. Of course, along the way there, we’d stop by some places like Montana, Idaho, etc. and see what we see.

It’s just a thought at this point, no real plans but I want to know about other Jellies. Have you driven cross country, and if so, how was it? Would you share any advice that you may have?

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16 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I used to do that quite regularly, I really enjoyed it. I would pick routes where I knew people to visit, or stuff I wanted to see. Sometimes I would camp along the way. By the time I was doing it with a child, I would research motel options ahead of time, it saved on some stress.
It’s been a long time, but I really enjoyed doing that. I felt pretty safe, I always had at least one dog with me.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Many times.

My personal two cents: If you have the time, stay off the interstates and take US (or even local/state) roads when possible. Sure, some places it makes sense to be on the highway, but local roads, local towns, non-chain restaurants, and (especially) local craft breweries are the best!

The journey is more important than the destination.

Additional point: stop and read as many roadside signs as you have time and patience for. They can be fascinating glimpses of local history.

Final point: local small town public libraries – stop there often. First, they always have clean bathrooms. Second, the local people in libraries tend to love to talk about local history. Take advantage of them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I love driving trips. You can meet some amazing people and see fun new things by NOT planning much in advance.
You could consider driving Route 66 if you enjoy that history.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you swing by and pick me up?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

In 2000 Mrs Squeeky and myself took our fifth wheel travel trailer and drove across Canada to the Maritime provinces we took 6weeks and put on 18000kilometres.
It was a once in a life time trip and great.

Forever_Free's avatar

I have done this several times with daughter and or son. The journey and experiences in between start and end have been amazing. I have listed them in other posts.
Most epic are the cross country ones with my daughter. NH to Twin Cities, onto Big Sky, through yellowstone, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado was one.
Did one from San Diego all the way to Seattle one year which was spectacular.
A few years earlier were NH to Denver, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Sedona, scottsdale, Taos, and back.
Good idea on the rental. I thought that too, but in the end used my own Jeep. We Slept in it many a night. We Followed the weather and were not afraid to change directions just because.
We rarely had reservations. Stopped in to see relatives for even a few hours or overnight sleep.
A cross country trip is a right of passage all should enjoy. There is so much to see in the US. We camped and hit National Parks as well.
Enjoy the randomness and experiences that will be remembered forever.
Let us know how it goes. Journal it too.

filmfann's avatar

I took a bus from Oakland to Chicago and back.
I saw a lot of cool things. The Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone. There are also long periods of nothing in between somethings. Old Faithful is nice for a couple hours, tops. Figure 4 hours on either side of it where you see nothing.

seawulf575's avatar

I have driven from Florida to Ohio. Ohio to Idaho. Idaho to Texas. Texas to California. California to Ohio. Back to California and Back to Ohio. To North Carolina. I’ve seen a lot of things that were interesting and missed some I wanted to see. I particularly like the I-90 route across the country. You get to see the plains, the Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse mountain, Yellowstone, the Sierra Nevada mountains….a very nice mix. And I planned it out so I never really drove more than about 10 hours a day. Planned in the trips to the things I wanted to see.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve avoided it. The longest trips I have taken were more north and South, like Ohio to South Florida, or Memphis to Sebring, FL, that sort of thing.

My college friends drove from Michigan to California for the Rose Bowl my first year at school, and I thought it was nuts.

I wouldn’t mind doing it if I had lots of time and made tourist stops along the way.

A friend of mine drove across country and stopped in some cities for months at a time.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Back in the day, we tested cars by making road trips across the US to cover the extreme climates regimes High humidity, dense air, hot, temperatures, cold temps, high altitude, etc. That meant we visited places like Key West, Death Valley, Pikes Peak. Eisenhower pass, Grand Canyon,... I probably did that ~6 times.
We drove in a caravan/convoy of about 10 test cars with a couple of support vehicles behind. It was always super productive since we were calibrating the cars as we drove – and it was a lot of fun.

Cold testing was done in Kapuskasing, Canada in late January early February. That is a dark and miserable place in the winter.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ve driven from Charleston SC, to the UP in Michigan a couple times. Avoiding most large cities on the way.
From Charleston, to Wisconsin once. Stopped in lot’s of big cities. I kind of had to stop in Chicago. The traffic was so bad.

My vehicles did well and I always had great company. So. It was nice.

It was always good to be “home,” though.

SnipSnip's avatar

A few times…South Florida to Washington State and reverse. It is a great experience. I recommend all Americans to see your country from sea to shining sea.

zenvelo's avatar

Only time I ever made it all the way across was in 1958 when we moved from San Francisco to New Brunswick Canada. Because we were moving, we did not stop a lot. At the time, Volare was the #1 song and it seemed to come on the radio about once every 20 or 30 minutes all the way across country.

We did a family vacation from San Francisco to Seattle in 1962 for the World’s Fair. My dad stopped at every litte tourist spot. We drove the car through a Redwood tree, went to the Yreka Bakery in Yreka CA (a palindrome business name!), stopped at the Sea Lion Caves in Florence Oregon; stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It was a great road trip for a family.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was at that Fair in Seattle @zenvelo.

zenvelo's avatar

^^^^ @Dutchess_III Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Space Needle.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yup. I remember going up in it.

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