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Need guidance from experienced NE to SW travelers


pegwillen

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Hello again....anyone out there who has traveled from a northeast state to a southwest state willing to share your route? I will be leaving Buffalo after a trailer repair and heading to AZ, and looking for a route avoiding dense and fast traffic, like the four lanes going 65 bumper to bumper kind. I do have an RV Specific GPS, I will be towing, and there is no deadline...thanks

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First of all stop at a truck stop and puck up a Rand McNally Motor Carriers Road Atlas. Get the large print one

The roads are clearly marked as to type and the red roads are truck routes

We too stay off the interstates when posdibke , much preceding the 4 lane US highways

Also get the All stays Truck and Travel App. You can set it to filter for grades, low clearance and fuel stops

We preplan our route as much as possible on those routes but it also alowws us to comfortable change at will

We use a regular GPS as an assist only because I believe my Brain is smarter than hers!!!

There are some 2 lane routes we avoid in the east only because they may have hilly constant grades ( Rt40 in Maryland and PA is a good example)

So at the least I would plan on a route that takes you down to US 30 west of Boardmsmn Ohio ( around Mansfield). US 30 is a great drive that will get you west to other routes

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Hello again....anyone out there who has traveled from a northeast state to a southwest state willing to share your route? I will be leaving Buffalo after a trailer repair and heading to AZ, and looking for a route avoiding dense and fast traffic, like the four lanes going 65 bumper to bumper kind. I do have an RV Specific GPS, I will be towing, and there is no deadline...thanks

Since you are a small vehicle, 16' TT and pickup truck, you can go almost anywhere without much worry about the roads. Stop by Walmart and pickup the Walmart atlas, it is a Rand McNally atlas with WM info.

 

What is your desire, to drive the 2 lane roads to get to AZ, or do you have a number of places along the way to visit?

 

When we travel cross country, I prefer to take 3-4 weeks to drive 2000 miles, which we have done the last 4 spring's & fall's going from Texas to Portland Oregon. We prefer to take a different route each trip. We pick out places we want to visit for a couple to several days and pretty much drive 200-300 miles per day to move between each destination along the way.

 

While I prefer staying off the interstates, I don't go out of my way to take the 2 lane highways. It gets kind of boring to me to just drive through one small town after another if I have no interest in the country side or the small towns. To drive the 200-250 miles on these roads takes me 6-8 hours depending on how often and how long we stop. I also find I have to concentrate harder, going through small towns spaced every 10-30 miles apart.

 

Once I have researched the places we want to spend a few days, I plan my route for the easiest drive I can find. If that includes interstates that is fine. My objective is to get from one destination to the other. Usually those destinations are only 300-500 miles apart.

 

On the interstates I try to keep up with traffic, but when going through a city where the traffic is running 65-70mph, I just drive at about 60mph and stay as far to the right without being in the right most lane. Note if there are only 2 lanes then I do drive in the right lane so I don't block traffic needing to get someplace. Even out of the cities and the traffic is running 70mph or better, I still just drive about 58-62mph and stay in the right lane. I very seldom pass anyone, maybe once per day of travel at the most.

 

I also use a computer based map, such as Delorme Street Atlas to plan my route.

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We took US45 from Padukah KY to the gulf shore and it was mostly 4 lane, 65 mph, divided hwy and very little traffic. We broke off it and headed to I-10 in MS as US 45 continues down into AL towards the gulf. It was a very stress free drive. If you go that way there is a small RV park just south of Corinth off US45 called Cross City RV. Pull thru FHU and if you are Passport America members $20 nt. Just small - nothing there, but quiet country park good for a night or two.

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We took US45 from Padukah KY to the gulf shore and it was mostly 4 lane, 65 mph, divided hwy and very little traffic. We broke off it and headed to I-10 in MS as US 45 continues down into AL towards the gulf. It was a very stress free drive. If you go that way there is a small RV park just south of Corinth off US45 called Cross City RV. Pull thru FHU and if you are Passport America members $20 nt. Just small - nothing there, but quiet country park good for a night or two.

Not sure whether they mean there is nothing at the RV Park as there is a fair amount to see in the Corinth area. There is a Civil War Interpretive Center, the Contraband Camp, a couple of Civil War Batteries, a Coke Museum, and Borroum's Drug Store. Shiloh National Military Park is not all that far away. Not that far South of Corinth on US-45 is Tupelo and Elvis Presley's Birthplace. From Tupelo, US-278 is a good highway heading West.

 

...So at the least I would plan on a route that takes you down to US 30 west of Boardmsmn Ohio ( around Mansfield). US 30 is a great drive that will get you west to other routes...

I like to stay as far away from Chicago as possible. I would pickup US-24 West at Fort Wayne, IN. For Crossing the Plains States, depending on what you want to see, US-20, 36, 50, 54, & 56 are all good roads. Further South, US-60 and 64 will take you through New Mexico into AZ.

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A very nice route we have taken was Hwy 2 from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan west to the Washington. You could drop down to the south at any point. It's a nice relaxing drive.

 

RE: the Trucker Atlas - we found that many of the 'no-no' roads for truckers were perfectly o.k. for RVs. We like the WalMart atlas better. Also, since the majoity of our travel in later years of full-timing was done in the West, we purchased individual state atlases by Benchmark (available only for the Western states). We enjoy gravel roads, too and they were very easy to find in this atlas. The atlas also defines public areas very well - national forests, parks, BLM lands, public campgrounds, etc.

 

Have a good trip!

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I-81 connecting to I-40 is a perfectly fine way to travel from the OP's starting point of Buffalo to anywhere in the SW; we use I-81 anytime we are heading northward as a way to avoiding the heavy traffic in the I-95 corridor. Sure, there are lots of trucks on 81 but that's unavoidable unless you're going to stay off the interstates entirely.

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I-81 connecting to I-40 is a perfectly fine way to travel from the OP's starting point of Buffalo to anywhere in the SW; we use I-81 anytime we are heading northward as a way to avoiding the heavy traffic in the I-95 corridor. Sure, there are lots of trucks on 81 but that's unavoidable unless you're going to stay off the interstates entirely.

This looks doable (google maps), especially if I skirt the few cities I see, thanks.

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This looks doable (google maps), especially if I skirt the few cities I see, thanks.

 

I don't know what cities you want to avoid; none of them are all that big. IMHO it is best to learn to drive your RV under all circumstances; I don't seek out big cities, but neither do I fear them.

 

As for I-81 you can't avoid Harrisburg nor Knoxville, but you're through both of them in a couple of minutes. On I-40 Nashville has lots of traffic but it's still not bad; Albuquerque is a piece of cake.

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If you are going to Southern AZ (Tucson area) there is a good route through New Mexico.

 

I-40 to Amarillo; I-27 South to US 60 West (toward Canyon & Hereford)

 

In Clovis pick up US 70 good four lane with very little traffic almost all the way across New Mexico.

 

Trailer Village in Roswell is a good overnight stop.

 

When you get to Las Cruces take I-25 South a short distance to I-10 West into AZ.

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I add a different thought -almost no Interstates. We use them around the cities if we can't avoid that area or want to visit.

Look for the Ohio River Scenic Byway, you can follow that to Paducha, KY. Visit the Quilt Museum and the Railroad museum. Along the way stop at Jungle Jim's a massive food store on US50 east of Cincinatti, OH. Slide south along the Mississippi for Vicksburg and Natchez. Then west towards Livingston, TX at visit the home park for SKP's. Then Huntsville and on to San Antonio - Alamo, Riverwalk, etc. Then into the Hill Country. Then west into the Big Bend NP.

 

Just my thoughts,

Bill

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I have done what you are going to do a number of times, NJ to AZ.

If you are going in hot weather I would stay north as long as you can.

If it is cooler weather then you can get south and go west. Have

a great time and be safe.

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If you are in no hurry and want to see the country, stay off of the interstate highways as much as possible and travel the US routes. In doing this you will pass through the small towns and communities along the way and get to experience the best part of America. You could follow a route like US30 to the west, perhaps as far as Cheyenne, WY before you start going south into hotter weather. There is a lot to be seen along that route and it would be very easy to modify it to the north or south to add attractions such as the Black Hills of SD or US26 to see the Oregon Trail sites.

 

And don't forget that the Escapade is not that far away and we still have some boondocking spots available! Remember that the southwest deserts will be very hot at this time of year.

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If you are in no hurry and want to see the country, stay off of the interstate highways as much as possible and travel the US routes. In doing this you will pass through the small towns and communities along the way and get to experience the best part of America. You could follow a route like US30 to the west, perhaps as far as Cheyenne, WY before you start going south into hotter weather. There is a lot to be seen along that route and it would be very easy to modify it to the north or south to add attractions such as the Black Hills of SD or US26 to see the Oregon Trail sites.

 

And don't forget that the Escapade is not that far away and we still have some boondocking spots available! Remember that the southwest deserts will be very hot at this time of year.

I will like do a pretty direct north-to-south-to-west route trying to avoid the big wind states and and northern states that could produce a snow problem, I'm leaving Maine about 11/1.

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If you're leaving Maine November 1 then definitely, head south right away and then cross the country. You didn't state when you were leaving.

 

The I-10 area is your best best and there are plenty of secondary roads to travel which run close to I-10. Houston will be your biggest obstacle so plan way before a way to skirt it if you want. Texas has very good secondary roads many with very wide shoulders which gives you an opportunity to pull to the side to let passing traffic go by if you're driving slower. At the Texas Visitor Center pick up their awesome camping booklet which will give you lots of help off the interstates. The public parks are very good.

 

Highway 190 in Louisiana is very nice and make sure you stop in Eunice for some fine Cajun food and music. A informal band used to play in the music store and there also used to be a live radio show with Cajun music - fun.

 

Any big city would be easier to navigate on a Sunday morning.

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Ayuh . coming out of Maine in November is relatively easy. I-95 to I-495 to I-90 to I-84 to I-91 to I-691(avoids Hartford mess) to I-84. Follow I 84 to PA border then US 209 to I-80 (about 5 exits) to Exit for PA-33. Follow PA-33 to I-78 to I-81. Run I-81 to I-40 to I-75 to I-26 to I-59. Then either I-20 west to Jackson, MS or I-65 to Mobile, AL and then I-10.

I don't know where in Maine you are starting from but Gardiner to Danbury, CT is right on 300 miles. Winchester, VA is about 700 miles. Chatanooga is about 1250 miles.

Your weather worries are pretty much over in Virginia.

Recommended staying in Summerdale at Rainbow Plantation. About 15 miles from I-10.

 

Good luck,

Bill

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We've done basically the same route that you are planning and since you are starting in Buffalo, I 90 is the only choice. Stay on it to Erie, Pa and then go I 79 to I 80 to I71 to I 70. I 44 to I 40. I 40 will get you in to New Mexico. There are a couple of routes you can take in NM depending on the area of AZ you are going, like 54 & 60 or I 25. We have done this route and other than St Louis, the driving and traffic wasn't too bad. We tend to travel in the 58-60 mph range. I can give you specifics on places we stayed along the route if you would like.

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Bill, I believe he said he that he will be leaving from Buffalo due to some repairs to the trailer.

 

Yes, she (me!) is, so initially, I will likely backtrack to Syracuse and pick up 81...I was considering Summerdale for a few days if the weather is good. I would like one last chance for sea exposure before going to the desert.

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