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Old 07-06-2012, 09:38 PM
 
Location: WA
605 posts, read 556,355 times
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Thank each one of you for your Posts; husband of 41 years died February; am planning for the future.
Dreaming, thinking of doing this solo, though like the idea of a train as all those miles by myself do seem long.
Possibly fall next year ? Start the beginning of September ? Driving with the possibly of staying in towns where
I Possibly may relocate-MO, AR, NC, TN ?

DH and I made a trip by airplane, then rented a car in 2008, visited the Great Smokies for about 10 days, fell in love
with the scenery, wonderful, helpful, friendly folk. This was late September, a fabulous faire at a college in Sylva.
One side crafts, another side food vendors and lots of bluegrass music ! First time I tasted sweet tea, and one place
I enjoyed it, almost had a diabetic coma and I am not a diabetic! We felt right at home.

Sorry if I disappoint you, as I am only thinking/praying about this. It's what DH and I dreamed about, about taking
another trip, this time by 2009 Toyota. Now, just myself, with no medical needs---at present!

Again, thank you!
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:02 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,555 posts, read 39,934,465 times
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Choose the route you like, and take your time (and travel via Guest homes as I PM'd) ~ 400 -600 miles / day and less when you are in areas you want to enjoy (stay a couple or few days in areas like Black Hills and Colorado.) I always appreciate a day at a 'hot springs', tho I usually drive LONG hours to get there and REST. I prefer to drive boring stuff at night (most of ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, NE, KS, IA).

For Sept, I would certainly look to enjoy the Aspen colors of MT, ID, UT, CO while on my way. Search via Harvest Parties / Festivals and plan your route to attend a few of those. I frequently find myself interrupting my vacation to help out with someone in need. That is more fun than living by a schedule... BTW, I have never owned a watch...

Take your time, and take the backroads (AAA can be of help BUT I DO NOT like a 'trip tick'.... I'm not much for 'following directions', I like to explore and enjoy the adventure. )

America's Byways®: National Scenic Byways Online
Where We Eat | The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper | American Public Media
Roadfood.com - Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:11 AM
 
34,371 posts, read 41,455,107 times
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Wow sounds like the makings of quite an adventure,and going by car gives you a whole level of freedom you wont get on the train, not sure what you are interested in but i would join AAA and ask for a Triptik itinerary as its more than just a map and a route it highlights points of interest along the way and gives a running description of geology and history of areas you are passing through.=
aaa triptik - Google Search
AAA will also provide roadside assistance if you have a problem.
A reading suggestion to get you in the mood of being out there

William Least Heat Moon's "Blue Highways" He basically lost his wife through divorce and having nothing better to do got in his vehicle and drove around America.

Also Bill Bryson's "The Lost Continent" is a hilarious description of his 14,000 mile trip visiting small town America.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Sarasota Florida
1,236 posts, read 3,607,670 times
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Default Interesting topic !!

Just recently, I did something very adventurous. Me, a gal who had never driven more than 40 miles anywhere, drove 500 miles (1,000 miles round trip). I was "motivated" at the time, but that's another story The fact is, I did it, and now I know it's possible. We are stronger than we know !!

Sera; if you pass my way, give me a holler and we can meet up !! My area offers some fun summer activities!
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,390,876 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sera View Post
Know this is the 21st century, though would appreciate your wisdom, IF I decide to venture across
the USA, Seattle to possibly Charlotte, NC with stops along the way.

Essentials for driving, how long should one drive for the day, DH would venture two hours, break for 5 minutes, usually covered 400-500 miles a day.

Note: When I traveled to Kansas City by bus from CA, in 1965, folks thought I was very daring !

Thanks as always to this helpful Forum.
Sera! What a brave and adventurous girl!!! If I'm still in Minneapolis, you must stop here (I may just go with you).

Have a safe trip - when are you going?
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:42 PM
 
2,996 posts, read 4,918,163 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sera View Post
Know this is the 21st century, though would appreciate your wisdom, IF I decide to venture across
the USA, Seattle to possibly Charlotte, NC with stops along the way.

Essentials for driving, how long should one drive for the day, DH would venture two hours, break for 5 minutes, usually covered 400-500 miles a day.

Note: When I traveled to Kansas City by bus from CA, in 1965, folks thought I was very daring !

Thanks as always to this helpful Forum.
First if there is any way possible, i would suggest you dont do the trip alone and get another person to travel with you. But if you must do it alone, then :

1. Plan on driving no more than about 4 hours per day making frequent stops for stretching and meals.

2. Choose a motel that is well occupied and has good security with cameras on the outside and well lit.

3. Carry SOME kind of personal protection like a small can of pepper gas that can be purchased at an Ace Hardware or other local source. Try it out momentarily by aiming it at a tree trunk so you can see how it shoots out and the direction it goes in. DO NOT blow personal protection off as motorists on their own, especially the elderly, are often targetted because they are easy to overpower. Pepper Gas will buy you crucial moments to make a quick exit from a Perpetrator . If you are being followed during your trip, simply drive into the nearest Police Dept parking lot or the Fire Depts parking lot and start blowing your car horn until someone comes out to investigate the noise.

4. Have a cell phone with you and be prepared to call 911 to give them your exact location whereever you are at the time.

5. Take a GPS unit with you which will tell you where food, gasoline, and lodging is readily available.

6. Check the national weather forecast each morning before setting out so you can know what the weather will be like for each leg of your journey.

7. When you stop for meals, phone a loved one and tell them your exact location and town.

8. Be sure to pack : a flashlight, plenty to drink, snack bars, ground cloth, etc...and make sure the tires are pumped up, radiator full, oil full, trans. fluid full, wipers are good, all lights on the car work, and that there are no unusual noises coming from the car .

9. If you feel tired, pull over in a safe place and get some walking in , throw water on your face to liven up, and drink a caffinated beverage .

10 . (Theres always ten things isnt there ???!) . Dont take pets along because they will distract your driving and might take your focus off of your personal safety . Practice wisdom and give thought to various potential things that could go wrong and what you would do IF they did occur at any given time.

Give yourself plenty of time to reach your final destination , dont push the driving, get there SAFE even if it means half a day late . Keep your eye on the gas guage and start looking for a gas station when you reach a quarter tank . Dont take chances with anything , dont stop for strangers, and dont swerve to miss road animals --- its their own fault for not looking both ways.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,241,442 times
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Buy a Rand McNally Road Atlas at Walmart for about $6. Stay off the Interstates and go between big cities, instead of through them. Follow big signs with arrows on them along the road that tell which way your highway goes. If you get lost, get out the map, ask somebody what town you're in, and find another route to get where you're going. There is no such thing as a "back road". They are all safe to drive and all go somewhere -- go see where. Go across Missouri on roads that have letters instead of numbers. When you get tired of driving, stop at a yard sale. Every town in Kansas has a goofy museum. Cross the Mississippi or the Ohio on a ferry. If you come to the Canadian or Mexican border, you're too far north or south. Unless you're pressed for time, take an extra week. It will be the best week of your life and you'll never regret it.

Last edited by jtur88; 07-07-2012 at 11:01 PM..
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:57 AM
 
10,510 posts, read 8,428,809 times
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I am glad you're considering driving through the Ozarks - Arkansas is beautiful in the fall, when the weather is pleasant, generally dry, and gorgeous fall color can last clear up to Thanksgiving (or can be gone by late October, if the wind blows hard enough...).

The Southern Appalachians are also fantastically beautiful in the fall. However, do find out about road conditions in the western Smokies: a terrible windstorm struck there just last week and did a lot of damage to the forests, while taking two lives and seriously injuring a number of others when trees fell in the park near Cade's Cove. I would assume that the blocked roads are being cleared up and by fall everything will be dealt with, of course - but do take a look at the national severe weather conditions just before you start out each day, to be on the safe side. Usually fall in the Smokies is cool and pleasant, but morning fog can linger at high elevations and rain can fall. Frost usually occurs in October, with an occasional (but unusual) snowfall in the upper elevations. Roads will be congested during the peak of fall color, and prices go up for tourist accommodations.

If you do go to the southern Appalachians, don't miss the Blue Ridge Parkway in both NC and VA. Absolutely gorgeous, peaceful and spiritually uplifting. The creation of the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the best things our federal government has ever done, imho.

There are delightful fall festivals of various kinds each weekend in both the Ozarks and the Southern Appalachians, so you won't lack for things to do. You may burn out on corn dogs, quilts, and bluegrass music, however!
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Old 07-08-2012, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,416 posts, read 17,388,691 times
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Hi Sera,

I'd take it slow and easy. Make this a real adventure. Stay out of the cities; small towns are safer, cheaper, easier to navigate, friendlier. Back roads (U.S. and State Highways) often take you to more interesting sights and have nicer landscapes. (Bring a camera and note pad; take lots of pictures and notes.)

With minimal planning, there's no reason this need be anything but a pleasant trip. You might even want to take a jog through Yellowstone, the Black Hills (Mt Rushmore), etc. You're off the clock. Keep in touch with someone now and then so they know you're not lost in the Everglades, but just take your time and experience the land you're traveling through.

When my late wife died I tried my best to run away from the reality of it. (Probably not the best idea, but it worked for me.) I covered the U.S. from the east coast to the west coast, from Texas to Alaska. I read lots of books, took a few pictures, stopped and visited old friends and made new ones. Driving alone brings about lots of remembering, soul searching, ideas, even some planning. I highly recommend it.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:41 AM
 
34,371 posts, read 41,455,107 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 007.5 View Post
First if there is any way possible, i would suggest you dont do the trip alone and get another person to travel with you. But if you must do it alone, then :
Problem with getting a buddy to go with is the friendship you thought you had may not be there after several weeks of close confinement and the traveling companion ends up driving you nuts., long weekend or 1 week trip you probably do well with buddy, this trip is somewhat open ended and has the feeling of going on a walk-about to re-synch with ones inner self, reflecting on life in ones senior years.
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