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Old 04-08-2015, 04:38 PM
 
4 posts, read 7,453 times
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I live in Iowa and sometimes I make interstate road trips from one extreme end of the state to the other. I was thinking of how cool it'd be to do that in a much bigger state like California or Texas. I went to google maps and looked to see what the driving distance of one extreme end of CA to the other would be so I set up a point in the southeastern most point in Imperial County and the northwestern most point in Del Norte County and it turned into like a 17 hour drive! 17 HOURS? You serious? Anyone ever tried it? Was it fun? A lot of sights to see? Traffic? Need tips. I'm planning to do this in every state eventually.
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:48 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,033 posts, read 8,744,408 times
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I've driven/ridden (my motorcycle) in every county in CA, but not all at once. That trip from Smith River to Andrade would be long and occasionally tedious, but you'd also see some great scenery along the way - especially if you were to take Highway 1 instead of 5/101. You'd hit heavy traffic in the Bay Area and especially around LA, though you could cut north (via Bakersfield and Mojave) and miss some of it that way.
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:14 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,596 posts, read 70,482,002 times
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I'm not sure why the surprise about a 17-hr. drive. Do you mean, has anyone ever done it all at once, without overnight stops? What are you asking, exactly? I've done a 14-hr. drive from Seattle to the Bay Area. It's not a big deal. CA has some beautiful areas to drive through. If I were you, I'd plan it more as a scenic drive (redwoods! Big Sur coastline!), rather than a marathon. If you plan it as a marathon to get it over with by the shortest route, you'd miss a lot of scenery.
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Washington state
5,436 posts, read 2,759,563 times
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Ruth, did it really take you 14 hours? I went from San Jose to Bremerton, driving a U-Haul and towing my truck and I was able to do the trip in 12 hours. I didn't stop though. I drove straight through, except for getting gas.

To the OP: it depends on how you "drive". I drove from Minnesota to Seattle and found out that I am just fine with driving for a 9 to 12 hour stretch. I got across North Dakota and a little bit of Montana in one day, the rest of Montana and just past Spokane the 2nd day, and into Seattle by 2pm the 3rd day. But then I really didn't stop except for gas and an occasional meal. Oh, yeah, and a 2 hour stop in Bismark because of a failed sensor. Some people don't like to drive that long and many people will stop for a couple hours for a break.

If I were you, I'd take my time, check ahead for weather, have emergency supplies in your car and make sure your car is checked over from front to back to make sure it can do the trip. I slept at the rest stops in my car, and I had no trouble, but some rest stops don't allow you to park there after dark and some can be dangerous. Make sure you have camp grounds picked out in advance and if you are planning to stay there overnight, make sure you start looking for them before dark. Some little towns you go through roll up the carpet at 6pm, so plan your meals accordingly if you need to shop.

Make sure you bring plenty of money on a credit card and have some extra cash stashed away, maybe even some traveler's cheques. Bring quarters, too. You might have to go to a laundromat on occasion. Get a Rand McNalley Road Atlas for the current year and as many maps as you can get hold of and learn to read them. Don't be afraid to ask directions, but if your gut tells you it's not safe to get out of your car, don't get out of your car and drive somewhere safer.

If you drive the Pacific Hwy in California, it's going to take you some time, but it's beautiful. Don't leave your patience at home. Cars are supposed to pull over when they have 5 or more vehicles behind them, but some of them don't. Actually, a lot of them don't. By the same token, if you are wanting to enjoy the scenery and someone screeches up behind you, wait until it's safe, pull over and let them pass. When you do pull over, park at a slight angle and make sure to keep the nose of your car facing out, so you can get out of there in a hurry if you need to. You don't want someone to be able to box you in.

Also, check online and see what there is to see. Once a month on new moon nights, many astronomy clubs converge on Fremont Peak in San Juan Bautista for star gazing. There's a campground there too. Get there early and bring a filtered flashlight and some warm clothes. The rule is no white light. It ruins night vision. Many of the astronomers will let you look through their scopes and there is a 30" telescope open to the public past the ranger's house.

A drive around Carmel will let you see many of the Carmel cottages. As you approach Santa Cruz, there are places where you can park and walk along the beach. Wander up to San Francisco and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. Keep going and visit the redwoods. And have fun!
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Santa Maria
52 posts, read 69,690 times
Reputation: 55
Default Motorcyclists call these Iron Butt Rides

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThrillSeeker3000 View Post
I live in Iowa and sometimes I make interstate road trips from one extreme end of the state to the other. I was thinking of how cool it'd be to do that in a much bigger state like California or Texas. I went to google maps and looked to see what the driving distance of one extreme end of CA to the other would be so I set up a point in the southeastern most point in Imperial County and the northwestern most point in Del Norte County and it turned into like a 17 hour drive! 17 HOURS? You serious? Anyone ever tried it? Was it fun? A lot of sights to see? Traffic? Need tips. I'm planning to do this in every state eventually.
I have completed a Coast to Coast trip (USA) in under 50 hours, Mexico to Canada in less than 24 hours and Key West, FL to Prudhoe Bay, AK. Is that what you mean? Not in a car though. The motorcycle community has the Iron Butt Association to sanction these rides including 1000 miles with one state (under 24 hours). Their best safety tips are here: Archive of Wisdom and include details on 28 tips that could apply to automobile travel such as:

1. Know your limits and plan your trip around them.
2. Forget about high speeds.
3. Leave your drugs and coffee supply at home.
7. Pack wisely; keep personal supplies handy.
8. Be ready before you leave, don't waste time shopping on the road.
9. Learn how to avoid boredom.
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:46 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,033 posts, read 8,744,408 times
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Ha. It took me 16 hours in one day to make it from SF to Seattle on my V-Strom (840 miles). I don't think I could do 1000.

One thing I'd add is that it's not possible to do the entire trip on the "interstate." Smith River - the last town on the California coast before Oregon - is nowhere near I-5.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Cottonwood CA
334 posts, read 947,047 times
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I love road trips too. Have visited each of the 58 CA counties. The trip you describe, from extreme SE to NW would exemplify the varied landscapes and climates in the Golden State. No other state can compare, although TX from east bayous to west Chihuahuan desert is pretty amazing too.

Our recent longest trips have been 750 or so miles. We've done that twice, first from Kingman AZ home (Cottonwood CA) at the end of a 3 week coast to coast trip, the second on our first day out when we drove from home to Park City UT.

If you live in CA and want to go East beyond the neighboring states, you'll have to cross a lot of barren desert miles. We figure it's roughly two normal driving days to get thru the desert, or one "marathon" driving day. All depends on you origination and route. For that reason we often prefer to fly. One hour of flying equates to a normal driving day.

In my younger days the wife and I drove pretty much non-stop from Central TX to home. That was about 34 hours as I recall. Didn't want to waste any military leave sleeping in a motel! Lots of caffeine and "No-Doze".
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Old 04-09-2015, 10:42 PM
 
3,806 posts, read 5,198,590 times
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I spent about a month and a half driving around the U.S. last year. My family did several of these when I was a kid, and I was sad to see how many of the old tourist traps had shut down.
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,083 posts, read 22,934,448 times
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Even when I was young and enjoyed long driving trips, 12 hours was my max. Now, I don't even like driving a 4 hour round trip LOL. What I want to do, is get a vehicle I can sleep in and put a little camp toilet in. Even if it just has a mattress and a little port-a-potty. Then, I could take long trips with my dog and just stop and sleep when I want to - somewhere where I don't need to worry about getting out to use a restroom. I don't want to deal with a super large vehicle or tow a trailer. Just a small van, I'm thinking, that I could just park at a McDonalds even and just look like a regular parked vehicle.

I'd do a lot more traveling if I could do that. Can't afford hotels, and hate sleeping in tents on the ground.

Anyway, if you come do a long drive in CA, that's what I'd suggest, if possible - a vehicle you can just sleep in if you decide to take a detour and get off schedule, or you just get tired.

It would be fun to see the desert in the south, and then come see the redwoods and the ocean wayyyyy up here in Del Norte Pole County.
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
60 posts, read 69,838 times
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Yeah I've done a cross-country interstate trip before. The idea of doing another appeals to me a lot though.

The route I did was basically Kentucky -> Ohio -> Indiana -> Illinois -> Wisconsin -> Minnesota -> North Dakota -> Montana -> Idaho -> Washington. Made stops in Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Montana while on the drive. It got neat the further West I went.
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