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 > Favorite way to skip the interstates?

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Posted: 07/19/22 09:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just yesterday I had an incident that supports why I use interstates when possible. I was traveling US 20 between Albany and Newport Oregon. I was going about 5 over the speed limit towing a 5 th wheel.
A pickup following me decided I was going too slow. He started to pass and when he was beside the trailer another car pulled out from a side road onto the highway in the same lane as the pickup.
Now someone has to do something. The car can only brake as no place to pull over as road is narrow with steep drop off and no shoulder.
I felt if I were to brake the pickup would not make it around me in time. Luckily the pickup decided to brake hard and wait for me to pass him before he came to the car.


No paticular place.

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Posted: 07/19/22 09:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

I hate the interstates, as I drive slowly to conserve fuel and funds.

If the goal is to conserve fuel and funds, interstates are your best option (assuming they are connecting your start and end point in a relatively direct route).
- A nice steady speed (even if faster) will typically be more efficient than stop and go or slowing for lots of sharp curves. (Just look at MPG ratings...highway is almost always better than city)
- Also, that braking will result in more wear and tear vs smoothly humming along.
- Harder to define but non-interstate driving you are around 50 times more likely to get into a crash...which tends to be expensive.

As someone else mentioned, Google Maps has a setting to avoid highways but once you leave the highways, it's smart to look at the proposed route before heading out in the morning. Generally if you stick to "US" or State Routes, you will be OK (not always but most of the time). When you get down to county and/or local roads, it's much less reliable.

Another key issue is construction. There is a lot of time/money/effort put into limiting delays on interstates. You still get a fair amount of effort on major arterials but the further down the food chain you move, the more likely there is minimal effort put in. That may put you on very long and/or questionable detour routes. Google Maps will generally show you and/or avoid them. A paper map will show it as smooth sailing.

Another trick, is to jump into Street View and look around (particularly if it looks twisty turny or otherwise questionable).

Some of this varies based on the type of RV.
- With a truck camper, you can back out or turn around on some pretty marginal roads. So winging it is much more viable.
- A big diesel pusher flat towing or a 40ft 5er and if you get a couple miles down an inappropriate road...your options are far worse.

Honestly, don't get the obsession with avoiding the interstate system. We drive the roads that get us where we want to go. Sometimes that's interstates...sometimes it's not.

Tammy & Mike
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2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV



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Posted: 07/19/22 06:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Basically it boils down to this. There is no one solution to traveling. Some folks like US/SR highways, some like interstates and others like a mix of the two. Sometimes there just aren't any interstates that will take me where I want to go but there is a US/SR. Sometimes there isn't a good US/SR highway that will take me where I want to go but a short stretch of interstate highway is available. Contrary to what many think, there is no one single option that is right. They are all right. I find that the US/SR highways are less tiring to travel on. And many of the ones I have been on are 3 and 4 lanes in addition to the two lanes.

I have also noticed that a great many truckers have shifted off sections of the interstates. Sometimes, I can just make better time on a US Hwy than on the interstate. I have a often used route that will add 60 miles to my drive but cut 1 hour of "drive time" off a trip simply by avoiding Atlanta and all the traffic. I like the route, I like the countryside and I'm not as tired at the end of the 5 hour/265 mile trip as I am when I have to go thru Atlanta. And to me, that is very important. A tired driver is a dangerous driver.


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Posted: 07/22/22 03:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sorry I've been a ghost in my own thread.

I appreciate the responses (most of them) and the insights. ("Get a map and learn to use it" might be one of the most condescending things I've read here in ages. Lordy lord.)

I don't remember where I was when I posted this, but I had given myself a week or so to drive by car from Orlando to southern California. I've already made this trip a bunch of times this year (it's a long story), and I wanted to see more of our heartland and spend less time breaking the speed limits.

I ended up going north through GA, SC, NC, and into VA to catch the Blue Ridge Parkway for a while. Such a gorgeous drive.

After that I decided to keep using my nav, but to quit giving it major cities as destinations. I didn't have a copilot to help me navigate this time and didn't have the energy in the evenings to study the maps and make notes for myself, so I just kind of fooled my Google Maps app by feeding random rural towns into it as my destinations and making big ugly zig-zag sutures across the gash of the interstates.

This worked for me until I made it through TN, KY, IL, and MO (and hitting many of these states more than once along the way).

I finally pooped out in Kansas and jumped on I-70 across the plains until I hit Denver and crossed the Rockies into Utah. From there I-15 is a pleasant and familiar drive and I took it most of the way home until I couldn't deal with the nutty traffic anymore and switched back to the smaller highways.

It was a beautiful way to see a good slice of America without dealing with I-10 and I'd probably do it again.

We live in a beautiful place and I always feel sorry for the folks who don't get out to see it.

Thanks again for all of your input and sorry again to be the typical disappearing OP.

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Posted: 07/23/22 09:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I toured the Blue Ridge Parkway, starting from Chicago, around 1990, before internet or gps navigation. Clearly print maps were important, but also books. I was getting into geology at the time, and had picked up a geological tour book, the kind written for day trips during conventions. The other was Roadfood, a guide to best and regional restaurants. At one Virginia restaurant, the waitress asked if I was using that book, based on what I'd ordered.

Come to think of it I used to hear the Sterns on NPR's Splendid Table. Now there are a lot more sources of information on food options - other books, Food Network (haven't watched that in years), youtubers. Now I'm using Google Maps more for that. Often though it seems to be easier to find a park and picnic (for lunch) than to find a suitable restaurant, especially on hotter days when we can't leave the dog in the car alone.

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