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Old 08-11-2013, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA to San Antonio, TX
154 posts, read 183,403 times
Reputation: 206

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Hey everyone,

I will be driving back to college in about two weeks from Southern California (Orange County) to Texas (San Antonio area).

Has anyone else on here made that drive? I'm 19, so I've never driven that kind of distance before. I will also be doing it alone, so what can I do to keep myself awake on the road? What will I need in case of an emergency?

Also, I was planning to leave early in the morning to drive all the way to Las Cruces, NM for some rest. I was thinking of getting to Texas in two days. Is that recommended? What's a good/affordable hotel to stay in for the night? Any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:46 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
77,936 posts, read 69,884,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erickz623 View Post
Hey everyone,

I will be driving back to college in about two weeks from Southern California (Orange County) to Texas (San Antonio area).

Has anyone else on here made that drive? I'm 19, so I've never driven that kind of distance before. I will also be doing it alone, so what can I do to keep myself awake on the road? What will I need in case of an emergency?

Also, I was planning to leave early in the morning to drive all the way to Las Cruces, NM for some rest. I was thinking of getting to Texas in two days. Is that recommended? What's a good/affordable hotel to stay in for the night? Any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks!
I've driven back and forth between Albuquerque and the Bay Area a couple of times, roughly the same distance, give or take. I break the trip up into roughly 6-7 hr. segments. You would have to make longer segments. I'd suggest making your 1st stop for the night in Flagstaff, AZ. There are a number of affordable motels right off the highway on the north side of town. (Be sure to avoid holiday weekends.) From there, it's about 4-5 hrs. to Albuquerque, so you should be able to make it to Texas or near there on the 2nd day. Generally I stay in Motel 6 type places. Get your fluids checked in your car before you leave, and maybe carry some extra coolant in case of overheating, but if your car is in good shape, you should be fine. Realistically, you're looking at a 3-day trip.

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 08-11-2013 at 10:01 PM..
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:52 AM
 
3,048 posts, read 6,554,226 times
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When I take long trips I always have a GPS with me, car cell phone charger, and of course cell phone. I have AAA road side assistance. Like the other response said I make sure my oil has been changed and tires are ok. For hotels in an area I am not familiar with I try to find one where you have to enter fro the inside so no motels. It is best if you can look online first and trip advisor gives some good info and ratings. I am sometimes don't pre plan where I will stay since I try to drive as far as I can but usually can get a feel for an area when I get off at an exit.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
17,999 posts, read 22,723,480 times
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I don't like to drive at night, so when I do a long road trip like that, I get up before dawn, and drive, drive, drive. As long as it's light out, I'm fine, and don't get sleepy. When I stop for gas, I grab something to eat, drink, use the restroom. I don't usually take the time to stop at a restaurant.

I agree with what's already been posted as far as getting the car ready, cell phone, etc. Take some music, because you won't get good radio reception all the way. Take lots of water for yourself, and you'll be there before you know it!
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Upper Midwest
1,877 posts, read 3,711,306 times
Reputation: 1884
Quote:
Originally Posted by erickz623 View Post
Hey everyone,

I will be driving back to college in about two weeks from Southern California (Orange County) to Texas (San Antonio area).

Has anyone else on here made that drive? I'm 19, so I've never driven that kind of distance before. I will also be doing it alone, so what can I do to keep myself awake on the road? What will I need in case of an emergency?

Also, I was planning to leave early in the morning to drive all the way to Las Cruces, NM for some rest. I was thinking of getting to Texas in two days. Is that recommended? What's a good/affordable hotel to stay in for the night? Any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks!
No Doz and Starbucks were two really good buddies of mine on a cross-country trip from Montana to Wisconsin in 2007!

Get a good night's sleep the night before the trip, and sleep as well as you can during stops on the trip. I guess it's personal preference, but I like Best Westerns myself. Used to work in one.

Random tips:

-Don't just stare at the road non-stop. Look to one side, and then the other side once in a while. Roll your shoulders. This will help you to stay alert too.

-Get out of the car, breathe in the fresh air, and stretch out plenty.

- Avoid junk food and junk drinks. I avoid sugary drinks on long trips. Other than that morning Starbucks, I stuck with water. Only buy bottled waters and go for the healthier items at gas stations (yogurts/string cheese/basic cold sandwiches/fruit/pretzels). Stick with Subway. Etc. You get the point.

- You don't need to be scared, but park in well-lit parts of the hotel parking lot. Don't park in a dark corner where it's a long walk to where anyone will see you. lol Avoid rest stops at nighttime and stick with the busier ones, if you do use them. Avoid gas station restrooms that can only be accessed from the outside, even with a key. (Those are rare anymore anyway, I think. I never see them.) Just good common sense.

- Free tip, if you want to save some money. We did this in Billings, Montana once, I don't know if you can do it everywhere... at a 24-hour Walmart, they may let you park and sleep in the parking lot overnight. We just went in and let them know we were doing that, and a guy kept an eye on us all night. I don't remember who the guy was. Patrolling cop, security with the store... I don't know. It wasn't my idea, it was my friend's. So there's an idea.

- Maybe get on weather.com and take note of around when the sun will be setting and plan to get off the road accordingly. Preferrably to stop for the night altogether.... but at least long enough for the sun to go down. At certain parts of my trip I was finding it very difficult to drive in the evening with massive sunlight shining in my eyes. Even sunglasses weren't helping. I actually think it's safer to drive in the dark!
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,469,879 times
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Moving to OK from socal, we took three days. We stopped in Winslow Az the first night, New Mexico the second and got to Texas early the third day, then left early so we'd get here when offices were open. We had two drivers and they alternated. Trips out to visit from California, socal, they take a second driver and do much the same.

A little less driving, enough stops for food and most importantly enough sleep will make it a much safer drive. If your sleepy, stop and sleep. Even a cheap motel will do, but don't have stuff piled inside the car. On the open road with few distractions its easy to stop paying attention but if you ever wonder if your too tired, you are.

And enjoy the scenery. There are some awesome places to see along the way.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:19 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,140 posts, read 20,307,607 times
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My sister has made the trip a couple of times a year since she was your age (she's going to graduate school in San Diego). She usually makes the trip in three days rather than two, so she can stop and take pictures on the way. She doesn't like to stay overnight in El Paso and will stay somewhere in New Mexico instead.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA to San Antonio, TX
154 posts, read 183,403 times
Reputation: 206
Thank you all for your advice!

I have another question...so I have a AAA membership. Say, for example, I get stranded 85 miles east of Tucson, AZ and I can't do much without somebody's assistance.

Would AAA come all the way out there to help me out? Or would I have to be within a larger city for AAA to help me out?
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:44 PM
 
Location: WA
605 posts, read 553,761 times
Reputation: 2050
For ourselves, every two or three hours from Western WA to Oklahoma City, we would pull over to a rest stop just to stretch our legs, just 5 to 15 minutes seem to make the trip
easier.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
17,999 posts, read 22,723,480 times
Reputation: 34897
Quote:
Originally Posted by erickz623 View Post
Thank you all for your advice!

I have another question...so I have a AAA membership. Say, for example, I get stranded 85 miles east of Tucson, AZ and I can't do much without somebody's assistance.

Would AAA come all the way out there to help me out? Or would I have to be within a larger city for AAA to help me out?
They should. I have AAA Plus, where they'll tow my car up to 100 miles or something like that. Why don't you give them a call to find out? I programmed them into my phone.

I wanted to say I agree to avoid rest stops. I always used MacDonald's restrooms and have slept in my car in a 24 hour MacDonald's before. Once I even slept in my car in the parking lot of the police station in Grant's Pass. I figured I couldn't be safer anywhere else. Ironically, they never noticed me :-) I just woke up and drove away.
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