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Old 07-08-2010, 05:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizbet10 View Post
I thought 80 went to Seattle? I will look into the hours. Days of driving are a pain too.
Either way, AC will be on all the time. A little car means wind noise and I have little kitties (older kitties). Yes, I thought about the heat -- and breakdown -- terrible situation. Mountains are rough too but cooler, and I thought of that. I am just so unfamiliar with these roads except from what I imagine and know from other drives on other routes.
I think driving through Ohio was the nicest all in all. Flat clean roads, service stations everywhere.
Driving through the Rockys is not fun in a little car with animals. The thought of breaking down in the desert is frightening.

80 goes to Sacramento. Taking that route only adds another five hours or so and it's much cooler and in my opinion and easier route to drive.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Texas
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You're overthinking it. Traveling on the interstates is not any more dangerous than going across town. Statistically, in fact, it's less so. While it's still possible to die sitting in the breakdown lane, it's extremely rare. This IS a modern, civilized country and if you have mechanical problems, you won't be there long before the cavalry arrives. That's especially true in desert areas where the state police aggressively patrol for people with mechanical problems. Just don't get off the freeway and wander off.

From Chicago to OC, here's your two best bets:

1. I-80 across IL, IA, NB and WY. You'll have no mountain passes to deal with and the weather should be good, except for the occassional thunderstorm. Whatever services you may need are rarely more than an exit away. The traffic is heavy enough that you'll never be alone. There's one pretty good downgrade between Cheyenne and Laramie, WY, but it won't hurt your car. In fact, it'll give it a rest. Your biggest threat will be wildlife, especially at night, so keep your eyes open.

Just after the WY/UT line, take I-84 west to I-15, then south right on into San Bernardino, CA. By taking that short I-84 detour, you'll avoid the only real mountain on this route and it won't cost you 30 extra minutes.

I-15 through Utah is through urban areas for the first couple of hundred miles, then it gets a little desolate but it's nothing to worry about. You do have a pretty good downgrade into the Virgin River valley before you get Mesquite, NV, but it's no sweat. You'll go right through Las Vegas.

After Vegas, you enter the real desert but traffic is generally pretty heavy, especially on the weekends. In fact, if you leave Vegas heading south on a Sunday afternoon, you're likely to encounter some monumental traffic jams.

Just after you go through Primm, NV (and it's collection of casino's), you'll cross the CA line and almost immediately start up Mountain Summit. If it's the middle of the day, just keep an eye on your water temperature gauge and back off the throttle and turn off the AC if it gets much over 200 degrees. If you're REALLY worried about it, turn on the heater. That'll carry away more heat from the cooling system. But, millions do it every year without a problem.

You have a 19+ mile downgrade into Baker, CA but it's no problem for a car. By this time, you're well into the real desert and the temps can easily be 110, but modern cars can usually handle that pretty well. It IS a long way between services once you cross into California and longer still after you leave Baker. There is nothing between there and just before you get to Barstow, but the CHP is out there 24 hours a day tasked to look out for people in trouble. If you break down, just stay with the car and I guarantee you won't be there 15 minutes before a black and white pulls up behind you. Cell phone service in this area is spotty at best.

Just before Barstow, you'll have to pass through the California agriculture inspection station, but don't worry about it. They'll ask if you have any fruits or nuts and just tell them the truth. They may ask you to surrender them, but it's doubtful. The biggest problem is that on a Sunday afternoon, it can cause a backup of 5 or 6 miles. If you're hungry about then, I'd recommed Peggy Sue's diner in Yermo, if it's still there.

After Barstow, you go through one of the fastest growing areas of California and there's plenty of services along the way. You'll have to go down Cajon Pass, which is 6 miles of 6% grade, but downhill's won't hurt you. Just watch your speed.

The route you'd take on into the OC would depend upon where you're going.

I once ran that exact same route from Chicago to Newport Beach in just over 36 hours in a loaded truck. But, then again, I pushed pretty hard.

2. I-55 south to St. Louis, then I-44 to Oklahoma City. Forget the I-240 bypass around St. Louis as it's usually pretty crowded. Just bust right through the middle. WARNING: Slow down for the exit ramp just after you cross the Mississippi River. It's a tight turn!

I-44 crosses through beautiful country and anything you need is readily available. In Oklahoma, it's a toll road and you have to know how it works to avoid a big ticket. Everyone pays once at the big toll plaza near Big Cabin. The plaza is off to the right, not right across the road as you're probably used to, and you have to exit into it. It's well marked, so you don't have any excuse for passing it, but a lot of people do and the OHP is waiting for them. If you get off the turnpike before that plaza, you'll pay what you owe for the distance you've traveled. If you get off after the big plaza, you'll get a refund because you pay for the entire distance from the state line to Tulsa. After Tulsa, it's another toll road on to Oklahoma City and it works the same.

Just stay right on I-44 through Tulsa and OKC. It'll lead you to I-40 just west of downtown OKC. Take 40 west all the way to Barstow, CA, where it deadends into I-15. After that, it'll be as I described above.

Western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle are the Great Plains and it can get boring, but there's plenty of towns and services along the way. Just before the New Mexico line, you'll drop off the Caprock (don't worry, it's only about 2 miles down) and you'll enter a high mesa area which lasts until you start down the canyon into Albuquerque. There are spots where services may be 20 miles apart, but it's nothing to sweat. WATCH YOUR SPEED GOING DOWN THAT CANYON! It's a good place to get a ticket.

After you climb up Angels View leaving Albuquerque, it's high desert on to Flagstaff, AR. It's probably some of the prettiest scenery in America and not overly hot most of the time. (It can get colder'n hell in the winter, though!). By the time you reach Flagstaff, you've gradually increased your altitude to about 7000 ft, but you'll never notice it happening. The Flagstaff area is a welcome, green interlude in the desolation which lasts until just after Williams, where you go down off the highlands. In fact, it's generally downhill from Williams to the California line and it gets progressively hotter with each decent. Services are more than adequate in the towns with little in between.

By the time you reach the Colorado River, you're in a lower altitude bowl where the temps can be really, really hot. There's a California ag inspection station just across the river which is similar to the one I described above.

After going through Needles, you start up a pretty long grade which can cause overheating problems, but just do what I suggested above or go around it. To avoid the upgrade, take the exit to US-95 north and go a few miles until you come to a railroad track, then turn left toward the little town of Goffs. Stay on that road and you'll come back to I-40 in about 30 miles. It's a county road which has a lot of high-water dips in it and there's not much traffic, so you might not be comfortable going that way. There are NO services at all. The only advantage to going that way is that you avoid the hard climb. Take your choice.

From there onto Barstow, you're in the Mojave Desert all the way and services are very limited. In fact, there's literally nothing between Essex and Ludlow, a distance of just less than 100 miles. After Ludlow, there's another pretty long distance through the lava field until you start to enter civilization once again. However, just as on I-15, the CHP is out there all the time and if you break down, just do what I suggested before...stay with the car.

There ya go. Hope this helps. Forget I-70 unless you just WANT to go through the mountains. After Denver, you have to climb up and down Loveland Pass, then later do the same with Vail Pass. Western Colorado is pretty dry and there isn't much out there after you leave Grand Junction. Additionally, over in Utah, you have to go down into a deep canyon (about 6 miles), then back up out of it again (also about 6 miles).
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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Thanks for that StillKit -- so it seems 80 to 15 or 40 to 15.

Question on agricultural inspection. What do they do if you have animals? I mean coming from Boston -- where I am from, then from Chicago, I don't want to be trapped with ailing little four legged kids in the car after a grueling drive and then run into a problem. It is the US not Mexico after all and my critters are valid New Englanders.

This is not quite a travel issue but a pet issue. My animals are geriatric and one has cancer. So running to get them vaccinations up to date when they are all indoor is not really what I want to do. Do they give you a hard time with pets -- I mean can't they see your driver's license and say "hey she's from the US." Unless you get an inspector who is allergic.

Anyway to avoid that altogether and shoot into Cali and then go south besides the 80/5 S route?
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:59 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,627,330 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizbet10 View Post
Thanks for that StillKit -- so it seems 80 to 15 or 40 to 15.

Question on agricultural inspection. What do they do if you have animals? I mean coming from Boston -- where I am from, then from Chicago, I don't want to be trapped with ailing little four legged kids in the car after a grueling drive and then run into a problem. It is the US not Mexico after all and my critters are valid New Englanders.

This is not quite a travel issue but a pet issue. My animals are geriatric and one has cancer. So running to get them vaccinations up to date when they are all indoor is not really what I want to do. Do they give you a hard time with pets -- I mean can't they see your driver's license and say "hey she's from the US." Unless you get an inspector who is allergic.

Anyway to avoid that altogether and shoot into Cali and then go south besides the 80/5 S route?
It could be a problem if they haven't had rabies vax. Make sure you get a letter from the vet for each animal it's contraindicated for to present. Chances are you won't be questioned at all about the cats or dogs, they are more interested in making sure you don't have fruits, vegetables, or plants.

If you've got ferrets, don't even try it.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,676,707 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizbet10 View Post
Thanks for that StillKit -- so it seems 80 to 15 or 40 to 15.

Question on agricultural inspection. What do they do if you have animals? I mean coming from Boston -- where I am from, then from Chicago, I don't want to be trapped with ailing little four legged kids in the car after a grueling drive and then run into a problem. It is the US not Mexico after all and my critters are valid New Englanders.

This is not quite a travel issue but a pet issue. My animals are geriatric and one has cancer. So running to get them vaccinations up to date when they are all indoor is not really what I want to do. Do they give you a hard time with pets -- I mean can't they see your driver's license and say "hey she's from the US." Unless you get an inspector who is allergic.

Anyway to avoid that altogether and shoot into Cali and then go south besides the 80/5 S route?

Animals won't be a problem. Nobody is going to ask to see their papers or shot records. Their only concern is to keep agricultural pests from entering the state.

Don't worry about it at all.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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I heard that about Ferrets.
They have had rabies in the past but seriously -- indoor geriatric cats are not kids you want to vaccinate nor are they a threat to CA. I do know or have heard through chats/posts that it's not just fruit. They could give you a hard time -- just bc. But I do know I have to get the certificates.

If they are not vaccinated for Rabies I wonder if (one is toothless -- like he's going to bite anybody) even with a certificate -- dummy inspectors will create a hassle.

I mean what do people do when they just test titers? Many people who do not have animals or who are not into holistic healing and so forth may not know that now titers can be tested so that you know if an animal is protected ie. so that they do not need Rabies. Now this works in MA and in New England and in other states, but I wonder what people do if they pass through one of these borders? They break down and get a vaccination.
Vaccinations lately are also making many animals sick so getting an initiall vaccination just to pass a fruit/inspection /ag border after days of driving is really not what one wants to do with their loved ones.

The only way around this inspection points it seems is 90 to 5 S -- waaay to long a trip. I read online and 80, 40, 15 all have inspection points.

CA is not an island and at this point with illegals a check point inspection in the US from US states to another US states seems a little ridiculous.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:12 AM
 
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I'm going to go on that Stillkit and hope that is the case. Still need to get their health certificates though. After spending thousands on vet bills for their real health it is just an added stressor and expense.

I guess there is also that lack of familiarity.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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Trucker maps -- someone posted about a trucker map -- maps that list all the gas stations etc. in all the little towns and so forth and I can't seem to find the post or info. If you posted something on this please let me know how to get one or what any good ones are called. I'd like to look into this.

Re: animals/pets -- just called --- after many calls and transfers requirements for pets -- dogs and kitties at check borders. No restrictions or health certificates needed for kitties and proof of rabies is recommended but not required.

And they sent me formal statements on this.
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:08 PM
 
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When we were relocating, made the drive to/from LA - Chicago, and took 80. Smooth ride. nothing too wild. It was a nice straight shot unless I am forgetting something huge!!

Oh yeah, we drove straight through pretty much. Four days is more than enough time I would think.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:40 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,358,707 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizbet10 View Post
Trucker maps -- someone posted about a trucker map -- maps that list all the gas stations etc. in all the little towns and so forth and I can't seem to find the post or info. If you posted something on this please let me know how to get one or what any good ones are called. I'd like to look into this.

Re: animals/pets -- just called --- after many calls and transfers requirements for pets -- dogs and kitties at check borders. No restrictions or health certificates needed for kitties and proof of rabies is recommended but not required.

And they sent me formal statements on this.
lizbet10, I'll second Stillkit's routing advice; I-80 to I-84 to I-15 to I-10 in the L.A. area, since you're going to Orange Co. You'll find the scenery on I-15 in Southern UT especially breathtaking; it's one of my favorite stretches of interstate. And, as Stillkit says, you won't be very far from help on today's interstates. Don't wory, just relax and enjoy. There are books called "Exit guides" available at truck stops and I believe Cracker Barrel carries 'em, too. They tell you what services/food/lodging is available at each interstate highway exit. The one I have also shows highway rest areas and even indicates whether reentry to the highway is difficult or even if the exit is from the left lane (if the exit number above the exit sign is on the left side, that means it's a left-lane exit...)

Have a great trip!
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