I am considering a x-country trip from CA-to-MI in July. My goal is speed, not site-seeing, unfortunately. I would be travelling w/ just a small R-Pod so don't need much in the way of amenities. Does anyone have any specific recommendations on campgrounds or routes, dos/don'ts, etc?
I'll throw in my two-cents in general terms about high speed cross country trips. Check weather across the country and think about a route away from "bad" weather. Bad can be a massive heat wave, thunderstorms and rain, tornadoes, etc. Go away from it. If you are going to be camping, a working air conditioner may be mandatory if traveling in heat.
Then after roughing in a route or two check out road construction along that route. Maybe avoid the area or plan on passing through late at night when work is shut down or there would be minimum traffic.
Next, plan your driving to pass through big cities way way outside rush hour traffic. That means adjusting your schedule quite a bit to do that. Midnight is a good hour for cities.
Obviously, this type traveling is not for a fixed schedule 8 or 10 hour a day traveler. When I need a somewhat fast trip back east I'll use the SUV if I plan on motel stops. If it's a true high-speed trip I take the Silverado and roll out a sleeping bag in back along with a small stove, cooler, etc. It all depends on how you want to travel.
Now the next time I have time for a real relaxed trip back east I'm pretty sure it will be on Route 50 in the RV. I checked it out late last year for a trip but things didn't work out.
Last thing. On long distances across country there is not all that much difference in miles traveled whether you do a big swing around to the north or across a southern route. Play around with some mapping software a bit and this will become obvious. Or maybe win a few bar bets with the unbelievers.
I'll assume that you're heading out from southern CA since you mentioned a southern state route. Starting from MI last summer and heading out to NM I would suggest the route we took, but you obviously would be reversing it.
My suggestion is this: Take I-40 east all the way to Oklahoma City and catch I-44 northeasterly through Tulsa and follow it to St. Louis, MO. From there follow I-70 to Indianapolis, IN. Depending upon where you're headed in MI, you might want to take I-69 north into south central Michigan. Take I-94 east or west, depending upon where you're going, or stay on 69 to Lansing.
Traveling from southwest MI we were in Santa Rosa, NM the evening of our 2nd day on the road. I put 10-12 hours per day into the driving pulling our 5th wheel.
We found a campground in Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa Campground & RV Park), exit #275 off I-40 and then straight east on old Route 66 to the campground. It was fine for one night. They had FHU and shower facilities, which we didn't use as we used our own and paid a little over $30. Places to eat nearby too. Our only other overnight was at a Flying J just east of Joplin, MO.
Thanks very much to all who responded. My exact route would be from Palm Springs, CA to Caseville, MI (top of the "thumb", eastern side of the state north of Detroit). Original plan was to go I-40 through AZ, NM, TX, OK, ...all the way to TN and hit 75-North mainly because I haven't done much of that route before (have taken the Iowa, KS, MO, Utah, etc route). Still debating between taking just my Jeep Liberty or towing a new trailer w/ pickup. Challenge, I think, would be finding a campground as we go on what will be the weekend before the 4th. So, just taking the Jeep and stopping at a motel when tired might be logistically easier.
in July the daytime highs will be near 100 from Texas north thru Nebraska all across the flat mid section of the country and almost as hot in the midwest until you get into the northern part of Michigan. You can check the daily averages for every city for that month on various weather sites. We used to call July and August the dog days of summer in Wisconsin where I grew up. Unless you are lucky and a rare summer cold front moves thru it will be hot! Last summer there was record heat all over the place and the very mild winter seems to indicate more heat to follow. Even on the Maine coast last summer we ran AC (most people there don't have AC) even at night. The water temps at mid-coast Maine used to stay very cool in the summer- high 50's- too cold to swim. But now the lobster industry is concerned because LOBSTAH"S don't like warm water. Global warming or just a normal vacillation in trends? Who knows for sure, but I lean towards Global Warming. I've crossed the country on all the main routes, I10,40,70,90, etc. As somebody else said, they are all about the same as long as there aren't tornados, traffic accidents or major construction. The UP should be cooler because of the lakes once you get there if there is a breeze.
Order is illusion. Chaos is reality. But right or wrong I'm still the captain.