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Open Roads Forum  >  Roads and Routes

 > Favorite way to skip the interstates?

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Trekkar

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Posted: 07/17/22 06:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BarabooBob wrote:

We get AAA maps of every state we are traveling through. For states where we are spending extended time such as Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, and Idaho, I carry the Delorme Atlas & Gazeteer for each state. Mine are a few years old but they show (almost) every road in each state. We carry a plastic tote in the back seat of the truck to store all of our maps, camping books, and atlases to keep them in good shape when we are not using them.
I also preplan our trips on the computer with Google Maps.

The road less taken is more interesting. Stop frequently and actually talk to the locals. They will point out some amazing places to visit.


I agree with using the DeLorme state maps. These show an amazing amount of information.

I don't believe the interstates help you enjoy the TRIP; only the DESTINATION. Before retirement, we also felt the need to hurry through the 'let's get there!' portion so we could enjoy our destination. After retirement, we found it much more enjoyable to meander. General direction and vague destinations let us enjoy the whole trip.


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pianotuna

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Posted: 07/17/22 06:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all,

The Rand McNally maps are available at Walmart. Mine is about 22 years old. I guess it is time to update.


Regards, Don
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LMHS

NM

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Posted: 07/17/22 09:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a Next Exit book, a Rand McNally trucker's atlas and a Rand McNally mid sized road atlas. I ripped the midsized atlas apart and it lives in sheet protectors in a 3 ring binder, just like the Next Exit does. I always have my route written down on paper.

I use Onlyinyourstate.com to find places to visit.


To plan a trip, I use websites, the Next Exit and the midsized atlas. Since I run US highways along with a few state and county roads, I use the trucker's atlas to make sure there isn't a problem with my route. Once I get my basic route marked out on the Mid sized atlas with wet erase markers (and why they are in sheet protectors), I double check my stops on Google satellite view to see where my best parking will be. GasBuddy.com is good for finding fuel stops. Although I default to Sam's Clubs and Murphy's for fuel, particularly if overnight parking (ONP) in a Sam's Club lot (most of the time, not always, those two have the cheapest prices). Unfortunately not all Sam's Clubs have diesel. I do unhook to get fuel as it's easier and I top off fuel either the night before or in the morning before heading out. Once my trip is finalized, I plug it into the CoPilot. Each day is a "trip". I have discovered that is easiest.

paulj

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Posted: 07/17/22 10:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would distinguish between trip planning at home (or on the road with wifi and good size screen), and on the fly navigation with only a phone or GPS unit.

Google maps (and others) have just as much information as any paper maps - in fact more so. Precomputer I had to use Thomas Guides, topo maps, forest service, and county road maps to get similar levels of details. For Canada, the Backroads Mapbooks still rival the online detail.

Just last night I was sketching out a short camping trip around Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Neither DeLourme or Bench Mark gave the same sort of detail on Forest Service campgrounds that I could get from GM.

On the road, it can be hard to get the big picture from small-screen devices, especially while it's actively giving directions. For that a paper map can be a useful backup - if your human navigator can read it.

In familiar territory, I like to select a destination, and then deviate from the directions, and watch how the system recalculates things. That gives me a better idea of how the navigation system picks alternatives.

Speaking alternatives, it's easy to explore alternative routes on GM, at least when using a full browser. Just click on the suggested route line, and drag the point to some other intermediate road. That gives an idea of how the distance and time changes. Often distances change little, but times change a lot due to different speed assumptions. With GM I can also zoom in, check the topography, look at the actual road with streetview, and gradients (the bike route option provides this).

The size of your rig may also make a difference in how you plan. A big RV - 70ft with toad - limits how far you can deviate from the freeway, mainly other paved highways, whether they have federal or state labels. But a smaller van or suv (or bicycle) opens up all kinds of alternatives, especially in the mountains. Years ago when I moved from Chicago to Seattle in a pickup camper, I used freeways at both ends, but "snuck" across the SD/WY, WY/ID and ID/OR borders on backroads. The WY/ID legs was on the forest service road sandwiched between Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

In the past I used to browse book stores - big box, used, and local (and BC Ferries) for guide books. I have various 'backroads' and 'byways' guide books, hiking guides, waterfall guides, etc. Now I do more of that browsing online, but still pull out the old books (even my 1987 Alaska Milepost) to get ideas.

garmp

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Posted: 07/17/22 02:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm curious about avoiding highways. Our Garmin RV890 is designed for RVs and many times we do get off the beaten path and it warns us showing a RV with a ?. But it still takes us that way. Would we have to endure this warning the entire trip being unsure of what's up ahead?
Guess we'll have to try it on our upcoming trip in territory we're familiar with.


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johnhicks

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Posted: 07/17/22 04:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Garmin will display that if it doesn't know what kind of road it is, suitable for large vehicles or not, aside from paved or unpaved. Just today it showed me that for Mississippi SR-6, of all things. I just ignore it.


-jbh-

Veebyes

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Posted: 07/17/22 06:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Been doing it for years. Basically it is using the roads that were the primary highways before the interstate system was built.

There are many. Not just rt66. Rts 2,36,50,40,1,301 just to name a few.


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BB_TX

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Posted: 07/17/22 08:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Veebyes wrote:

Been doing it for years. Basically it is using the roads that were the primary highways before the interstate system was built.

There are many. Not just rt66. Rts 2,36,50,40,1,301 just to name a few.

Pretty much any US designated highway and some states such as Texas have very good state highways.

bukhrn

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Posted: 07/18/22 03:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Horsedoc wrote:

We still have an road atlas from 2000 and still use it a lot if Seri can't talk with a satellite. I guess I am spoiled to the interstatesunless I am in the 'relax and see the country' mode.
Us too, we are generally destination travelers, getting there is the first priority, then we'll relax.


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paulj

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Posted: 07/18/22 07:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most US# highways were completed before the Interstates, with varying degrees of improvement since then. Some have been extended (e.g US12 in Washington), others upgraded to interstate standards. Some state highways are limited access as well. So you can't identify the nature of the highway simply by the numbering system.

US# number generally is even for EW, same as for Interstates, but with smallest numbers in the north. US2 is northern most. NS are odd, with US101 generally hugging the Pacific coast.

Some highways ceased to exist when Interstates were built. US10 is mentioned in histories of I90 in Washington State, and there are sections called "Old US10" in Montana. Now it mainly exists in MN and WI. All sections of US99 have the same state number. In much of California it's a limited access alternative to I5. Around Seattle it's a major arterial, with the new tunnel under downtown being its latest reroute.

US2 has a major gap around the Great Lakes. US20 crosses Oregon, Idaho, etc. I've also driven it in Indiana. US30 starts out in Oregon north of 20 (it's a scenic drive through the Columbia Gorge paralleling I84), but most of the time it is south of 20. It's the Lincoln Hwy in the east. US50 is famous as a 'lonely' crossing of Nevada, but in Utah it is I70, and one of just four cross state highways in Colorado.

There are a number through NS highways in the West. US97 starts at Weed, CA, and runs up the east side of the Cascades to Canada. US95 runs border to border, with alternates like 195 and 395. Part of 395 is now I580, a new Interstate south of Reno. US 93 and US89 are other major NS routes. Some of these continue with the same number into Canada.

Further east the number of alternatives of all categories increases. The Interstate number is only one criteria.

Many of these highways have a Wiki page. US52 is an unusual 'diagonal', running NW from SC to ND

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