Driving in the US as a foreigner

Jay

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Good luck. And for the love of God, I hope Nebraska isn't on one of your states to drive through. If it is, speed as fast as possible. Even my father, who is the king of driving exactly the speed limit, would drive 80-85 mph (with a caravan hitched on!) through Nebraska just to get it done.

Let's face it: The good bits are on both sides of the coast, scenery wise. The Midwest is rather dull, but you will find the nicest people there, especially Iowa and Missouri.

Too bad that you are skipping out on the Southeast, there are parts of Alabama that is well worth your time, as is the Natchez Trace parkway in Mississippi, a meandering road through just pristine nature.

Glad you are traveling by car around the US, instead of just visiting LA or New York and deciding that is what America is. Who knows...you may fall in love with it. :)
 

thedguy

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Good luck. And for the love of God, I hope Nebraska isn't on one of your states to drive through. If it is, speed as fast as possible. Even my father, who is the king of driving exactly the speed limit, would drive 80-85 mph (with a caravan hitched on!) through Nebraska just to get it done.

Let's face it: The good bits are on both sides of the coast, scenery wise. The Midwest is rather dull, but you will find the nicest people there, especially Iowa and Missouri.

Too bad that you are skipping out on the Southeast, there are parts of Alabama that is well worth your time, as is the Natchez Trace parkway in Mississippi, a meandering road through just pristine nature.

Glad you are traveling by car around the US, instead of just visiting LA or New York and deciding that is what America is. Who knows...you may fall in love with it. :)
Well he plans to hit up route 66 so that will take him from Chicago south to Missouri down a long I44 (through the Ozarks) through OK, TX and the rest of the south western states.

As much of this country as I have driven, I still have yet to hit up the south, as bad as a reputation as it has I want to see it, I hear it's beautiful country down there.
 

Phinn

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This is what the current route looks like. I won't be attempting the trip till next summer, so I'm sure to add many, many more points of interest, but this will be the rough shape of it. Ambitious perhaps, but I planning for this to be a trip of a lifetime.

http://maps.yahoo.com/#mvt=m&q15=11430&q14=23221&q13=Houston,+TX&q12=57751&q11=98109&q10=San+Francisco&q9=90291&q8=92328&q7=89109&q6=86023&q5=Chicago,+IL&q4=Toledo,+OH&q3=20500&q2=Centralia,+PA&q1=John+F+Kennedy+International+Airport,+Jamaica,+NY,+11430&trf=0&lon=-98.569336&lat=38.754083&mag=14
 

Spectre

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Something like that Camry is an excellent idea. The Cressida is rarer, but even better (it's an I6 RWD sedan, kind of like a 90's 525i).

thedguy: The pre-V6-available versions of those cars weren't as good. And at least with the V6, you can be sure that it'll have enough power to climb out. :)

Phinn: You should perhaps amend that map to take you through St. Louis, Missouri to see the Arch ("The Gateway To The West), Memphis, Tennessee to see Beale Street (birthplace of the blues, though you don't want to stop for anything else, and you'll want to leave immediately after), and Dallas, Texas (multiple reasons, not least of which is the Kennedy assassination site and the Sixth Floor Museum) on your way west, and then go through Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi on your way back, skipping Louisiana. You do NOT want to go there. Heck, that's the neighboring state, and *I* don't want to go there.


Well he plans to hit up route 66 so that will take him from Chicago south to Missouri down a long I44 (through the Ozarks) through OK, TX and the rest of the south western states.

As much of this country as I have driven, I still have yet to hit up the south, as bad as a reputation as it has I want to see it, I hear it's beautiful country down there.
Much of my driving career has been here in the South. It's a great place - just stay away from Louisiana.

Phinn: To give you an example of the distances that are involved, your entire country is about 400 miles long from tip to tip. That's less than the distance from Abilene Texas to El Paso Texas at the west tip of the state, which is 453 miles.

It's 636 road miles from Dallas, Texas, in the north central part of the state, to El Paso.

It's 1440 miles from Dallas to LA. I've made the drive in a car in 18 hours, 36 minutes. Do not try this at home - or in person. :)
 
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thedguy

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thedguy: The pre-V6-available versions of those cars weren't as good. And at least with the V6, you can be sure that it'll have enough power to climb out. :)
Good point. Though my brother had an 85 accord that didn't have properly functioning secondaries that was best described as "nothing special." I think it could have worked for this purpose.

Phinn: You should perhaps amend that map to take you through St. Louis, Missouri to see the Arch ("The Gateway To The West)
It's a big arch, it's nothing special IMO, and the rest of STL ruins it... to many homes that have been burned down with people still living in them. But if you do come, let me know, may be my self and a couple other semi-local to STL members can meet up and have lunch or something :)

edit: just loaded up your map... add in a trip through St. louis, and make it head down through joplin, MO into Oklahoma. Driving through Kansas is a waste. There is NOTHING to see there but trailer parks and farms.

Or ditch going down to Oklahoma and new mexico (again nothing really to see, especially where you're mapping out) and head through STL and kansas to Denver (taking I70). Go from denver to Grand Junction, Co and head south west though Utah. It'll take you through some nice country, Vegas, close enough to the grand canyon and cut out much of the boring crap.

When I get back on my regular computer tomarrow I'll play with your map a little bit. :D

It's 1440 miles from Dallas to LA. I've made the drive in a car in 18 hours, 36 minutes. Do not try this at home - or in person. :)
:shock: :bow: And I thought the drive from Denver to Barstow in 18 hours was fast it was 1000 miles. Though we wasted 2 hours trying to find a hotel in Vegas on a weekend at midnight. Must have been exhausted.
 
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Spectre

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Or ditch going down to Oklahoma and new mexico (again nothing really to see, especially where you're mapping out) and head through STL and kansas to Denver (taking I70). Go from denver to Grand Junction, Co and head south west though Utah. It'll take you through some nice country, Vegas, close enough to the grand canyon and cut out much of the boring crap.

:shock: :bow: And I thought the drive from Denver to Barstow in 18 hours was fast it was 1000 miles. Though we wasted 2 hours trying to find a hotel in Vegas on a weekend at midnight. Must have been exhausted.
Well... The Arch is worth looking at as an engineering feat. It is, however, another one of those things to stop, look at, explore, and then leave the area. I like a straight shot from StL down through Oklahoma on 44 (straight as a laser for MILES, but entertaining elevation changes and few places for the cops to hide).

The New Mexico stuff is worth looking at - those giant buttes are something else, especially at dawn or dusk. He may also wish to go to Arizona to see the original London Bridge (yup, we bought your bridge and imported it to the US - then put it back together.) Texas has some things worth seeing.

As for the trip - yes, I was tired afterwards. I was in a hurry to get to my destination - slept for quite a while once I got there. Amusingly, it was in, of all things, a 22R-powered 1982 Toyota Pickup. (You can see that I know all about a fourbanger droning on for hours.) You do the math as to how fast that truck had to be going for hours on end. The truck got about 20mpg, and it held 19 gallons, so I had to stop for fuel several times along the trip. I also took real bathroom breaks and got some fast food on the way.

I took two and a half days to go home.

I've actually bettered the time once, and I will *never* do it again, at least not that way. 15 hours and some minutes on a borrowed Kawasaki ZX-11D motorcycle modified with a turbo. I'd like to say that it was 15 hours and 25 minutes, but I was so TOTALLY trashed when I rolled to a halt that final time that I honestly don't really remember what the stopwatch said beyond 15 hours. What it means is that I saw the sun rise in Texas and got to my California destination just in time to see it set. While interesting, I do not recommend that sort of travel to anyone. I was only able to do it because I was young, stupid, and had lots and lots of caffeine pills. I was a wreck for almost two days after and felt horrible for a week.

I might try it again with the Series III once it gets all the upgrades I have planned for it.
 
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thedguy

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How long has Arizona had the London bridge?

BTW, what routes through Arizona/NM have you taken? I've only driven I-40, never done I-10.

Our 1000 mile trip from Denver to Barstow was a 1 shot deal, the only one I know to beat it was my brother who drove from

Phinn: My brother is recommending driving across I-10 through the souther part of the US. New Mexico as far better place to see if you take that route. But part of that is because he's driven most of route 66 so many times.
 
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Spectre

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It reopened in AZ in 1971.

"My" route is I-20 to I-10 straight into LA - although if I'm going to see family in Orange County, CA, I take the 60 from I-10 instead - some fun road there.

And yes, I-10 in NM is a much better drive than I-40. And you get to go through Las Cruces and "Truth Or Consequences" NM. :)
 

thedguy

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Ok I made a version of what I might do. Though anything east of Indianapolis or south of Memphis I really didn't know what to put as I've never been there. Keep in mind it's quite sloppy and not perfect. I'd love suggestions to tweak it.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&msa=0&ll=32.49123,-86.462402&spn=12.993764,20.566406&z=6&om=1&msid=102445884268908875096.000435788c9801a402b56

BTW, this is making me really want to take a road trip :D

I take the 60 from I-10 instead - some fun road there.
Some of the Best driving roads are in that general area. I grew up in Orange County.
 
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Spectre

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I would skip New Orleans and Houston. You can shoot across to Dallas from Memphis, and check out the vast Ozark forests and the ENORMOUS pine forests in East Texas.
 

awdrifter

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Don't get a $1000 car like Top Gear, you'll never find a good one. Do you have some friends living in the US? If so, just ask them to find you a decent car under US$3k. You can probably get a reasonably reliable car that way. Those 93-97 Camry are pretty good. Honda Accords are not bad either. If you could find a 95+ Maxima that would be great. My uncle bought a 95 Maxima for $3.5k 2 years ago, so the price might've dropped a bit. If you're travelling accross states, stick with the bigger I4 or even a V6 (if you can find one) cars. Those Suzuki Swift are not suitable for long journeys. Depend on which state you're buying your car, some states doesn't even require insurance, but it's still a good idea to get liability and medical.
 

Donington

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I fail to find anything romantic about travelling across America in a Geo. Those long, bare stretches will be an absolute nightmare, and extremely slow and boring. Get a bashed old Camaro instead, and put a rock music station on.


Or just fly the boring bits like everyone else.
 

RUU-CHAMA

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I fail to find anything romantic about travelling across America in a Geo. Those long, bare stretches will be an absolute nightmare, and extremely slow and boring. Get a bashed old Camaro instead, and put a rock music station on.


Or just fly the boring bits like everyone else.
I would recommend a Mitsubishi Galant. Most of them are 4 cylinders but you get good straight line stability for the boring freeway straightway bits and its cornering ability while maintaining a reasonably smooth ride (If I recommended a Dodge Intrepid my account would get suspended).
 
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Spectre

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The Galant is a poor choice - their engines are not very durable, and there's a great chance he'll get a bad one.

A Dodge Intrepid would be a good choice, except for their weak transaxles. If he could be assured that the transmission was recently overhauled, then that would be OK.
 

CraigB

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Ok I made a version of what I might do. Though anything east of Indianapolis or south of Memphis I really didn't know what to put as I've never been there. Keep in mind it's quite sloppy and not perfect. I'd love suggestions to tweak it.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&msa=0&ll=32.49123,-86.462402&spn=12.993764,20.566406&z=6&om=1&msid=102445884268908875096.000435788c9801a402b56

BTW, this is making me really want to take a road trip :D



Some of the Best driving roads are in that general area. I grew up in Orange County.
That's a good choice of cities to hit.

If I was headed from Salt Lake to Denver I'd drop down to Moab and visit the Arches National Park. You might even rent a 4 wheeler, Rhino or Jeep and explore the desert...
 

thedguy

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The Galant is a poor choice - their engines are not very durable, and there's a great chance he'll get a bad one.

A Dodge Intrepid would be a good choice, except for their weak transaxles. If he could be assured that the transmission was recently overhauled, then that would be OK.
Personal opinion would say stick with A Toyota, Honda or Nissan. In that order, A Dodge will more than likely get him across the country fine, but it may not do it nicely.

My dad and I drove an 87 4 cylinder Minivan (before they went electronic in the transmissions) and it was an excellent vehicle. It had no problem climbing the rockies. But every other dodge my family or friends have had all had problems, usually nothing that stuck them to the side of the road, but major inconveniences none-the-less.

CraibB: Added Moab.
 

Steve Levin

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Quite the route map. You've got some good places in there...and some not so good. Espcially for the portions Denver and west, when you get serious let me know and I can point you in the right direction, having driven virtually all of it.

Steve
 

RUU-CHAMA

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The Galant is a poor choice - their engines are not very durable, and there's a great chance he'll get a bad one.

A Dodge Intrepid would be a good choice, except for their weak transaxles. If he could be assured that the transmission was recently overhauled, then that would be OK.
I disagree. The engine and transmission are very durable and would get him across the country. The problem is that the rest of the car (paint, body etc) would most likely not unless it was made before 1999.
 

Spectre

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I disagree. The engine and transmission are very durable and would get him across the country. The problem is that the rest of the car (paint, body etc) would most likely not unless it was made before 1999.
Galants have not fared very well down here in the South. If they're not burning oil, they're crankwalking or the transmission housing is cracking. They're just not very good cars.
 
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