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Author Topic: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations  (Read 474 times)

jschmelzer

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Planning a couple of regional and cross-country trips (one to three month long trips). We have time to visit along the routes. We also feel that the way points are just as important as the destinations. So, do you travel on the Interstates only? Mostly Interstates with local Hwys for side trips to local points of interests? Regional and local Hwys only? I certainly understand that each part of the country is different - so regional preferences makes sense.

Pros (Interstates): Faster speeds, better roads, less hazards for RVs, closer to bigger cities, better access to service/repairs, ...

Cons (Interstates): Not as scenic, congested roads through big cities, more trucks, farther away from interesting places such as parks, beaches, small towns, ...

Is the convenience of the Interstates more important than the journey of the regional and local roads? What are your preferences and why?

Thanks,

John
Regards,

John
2017 Winnebago Vista LX (31T)
New to RVing and Long Distance Road Trips

jschmelzer

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 06:01:17 PM »
For those of you who know California, here are five very different routes between Northern and Southern California: I5, Hwy 99, Hwy 395, Hwy 101 and Hwy 1 (PCH). For people new to Cali, Hwy 101 is a good compromise. I love Hwy 1 but it is often closed due to major rock/mud slides, can be treacherous for RVs, takes a long time to travel, not much in terms of Infrastructure if you need it.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 06:30:09 PM by jschmelzer »
Regards,

John
2017 Winnebago Vista LX (31T)
New to RVing and Long Distance Road Trips

SeilerBird

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 06:21:16 PM »
For those of you who know California, here are three very different routes between Northern and Southern California: I5, Hwy 101 and Hwy 1 (PCH). For people new to Cali, Hwy 101 is a good compromise. I love Hwy 1 but it is often closed a major rock/mud slides, can be treacherous for RVs, takes a long time to travel, not much in terms of Infrastructure if you need it.
Actually there are five routes. You did not mention 99 and 395.
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2017, 06:27:41 PM »
Whether the Interstates are worth the convenience is really a personal choice.

We're often on a tight vacation schedule, so we look for the quickest route. However, if there is a back road that looks promising, we'll take it. We've discovered some of our favorite routes this way, and use them to avoid the Interstates on future trips.
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jschmelzer

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2017, 06:29:21 PM »
Thanks - memory lapse. Corrected my post to include 99 and 395.
Regards,

John
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New to RVing and Long Distance Road Trips

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2017, 07:30:25 PM »
I generally stick to the Interstates or at least a truck route for a couple of reasons that do not always apply to other RV's.

At close to 14 feet high a low bridge could ruin my day.  I also can usually turn around using off ramps easier from an Interstate.  Diesel is usually more available near an Interstate, and I am more relaxed driving in the right lane on a generally straight road with a shoulder.

I do not get in a hurry and it is easier to just go with the flow and let everyone pass me.

My normal rule is that if a Semi Truck can safely use that road then I so can I.

I think it really depends on what you are driving.

It is also not uncommon for me to take a week or two to get somewhere, so if I want to see the sights I park and use one of the cars.
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2017, 08:02:33 PM »
Generally, I prefer secondary non-Interstate routes to sharing the superslab with everyone eager to put as many miles as possible behind them ... both cars and trucks.  But it depends on where I'm going, how much time I have to get there and what part of the country I'm in.

For those of you who know California, here are five very different routes between Northern and Southern California: I5, Hwy 99, Hwy 395, Hwy 101 and Hwy 1 (PCH). For people new to Cali, Hwy 101 is a good compromise. I love Hwy 1 but it is often closed due to major rock/mud slides, can be treacherous for RVs, takes a long time to travel, not much in terms of Infrastructure if you need it.

In the lower Central Valley, there are a couple of lightly travelled highways that provide a nice break from the freeway traffic.

On I-5,  Hwy 33 from just north of Coalinga on the north to Hwy 166 at the south end bypasses a large portion of the "racetrack" between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Go all the way to Hwy 166, then east to I-5 if you're going to Los Angeles.  Or you can head east on Hwy 46 and pick up 99 if you're going over the Tehachapi Mtns.

Or you can take Hwy 43 from Hwy 99 in Selma to the north until it joins I-5 west of Bakersfield, then continue into L.A.  If you're going over the Tehachapi Mtns take Lerdo Hwy east at Shafter to 99.   43 parallels the Union Pacific railroad tracks.   Just watch out for the zig in Wasco where you take Hwy 46 under the railroad tracks as the highway moves from one side of the tracks to the other.

Both of these are good, lightly travelled 2 lane roads through farm country and the occasional small town.   They add a few miles compared to taking the freeway but they're good alternatives if you have the time.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 08:15:04 PM by Lou Schneider »

Patnsuzanne

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2017, 08:25:53 PM »
Youíve identified several important pros and cons. We have found that the right lane of an interstate, while generally not the most scenic of routes, is often less stressful than small, rural two-lanes. We maintain a comfortable 60mph and watch the world go by. In the event of a problem, from the right lane, you can usually get to a good shoulder and out of the way. Four lane state highways are also good if you arenít in too much of a hurry. Weíve pulled down a number of little backroads, but after having had a fairly major issue, in the back of my mind Iím always worried about where or how to get the truck and trailer off the road in a hurry.  As far as a scenic drive is concerned, when we are on the back roads, particularly in hilly territory, I donít get much of a chance to admire the view since Iím concentrating on the road. DW, on the other hand, has a great time telling me all about what Iím missing.  😀
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Isaac-1

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2017, 08:38:23 PM »
I prefer sticking with mostly US federal highways with paved shoulders, what I hate is getting stuck on those narrow secondary highways with no shoulder and an oncoming 18 wheeler that thinks 15 mph over the speed limit is fine and your side of the double yellow line is where his left side belongs.
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halfwright

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2017, 09:19:14 PM »
Charles Kuralt said it best.

"Thanks the interstate highway system, you can travel across the country from coast to coast and never see a thing."
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Old_Crow

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 04:17:01 AM »
Depends on if I have to be someplace, or we're just traveling.
Coming home from AZ last month we traveled 64 across northern NM and OK into Arkansas(no schedule, no place to be).  Headed back out there in the spring, we'll be tight for time(a wedding at one end, a job at the other)so we'll hit I-40 and just roll.
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Oldgator73

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2017, 05:27:32 AM »
I would much rather travel what used to be called the "Blue Highways". The Blue Highways were called as such because they were colored blue on maps. They were the back roads. There is a book titled "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat-Moon, 1982. He purchased a van and traveled across the US on these back roads. That being said there are pitfalls to traveling the back roads. No rest stops. Gas stations are smaller and might be a bit harder to navigate. As someone else mentioned, no shoulders to pull over if needed. Sometimes these roads aren't maintained as well as the interstates.
I grew up in Daytona Beach, FL  My grandmother and many cousins, aunts and uncles lived in Tampa. We used to visit them on occasion. There was no Interstae 4 at that time as it was not completed until 1965. We drove the back roads fron Daytona to Tampa through the orange groves. I remember the muffler falling off my Dad's Buick. He pulled over and a man came out of the house across the street and helped him temporarily fix the muffler with bailing wire. Anyway, I digress, if you can map out your trip, or at least a portion of it utilizing these "Blue Highways" I think you would be well rewarded.
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Utclmjmpr

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2017, 07:19:06 PM »
I like the interstate system where the traffic is going in the same direction.>>>Dan
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johnhicks

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Re: Traveling on Interstates vs. Local Hwys when driving between destinations
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2017, 08:02:34 PM »
  If I had to travel only Interstates I'd just stay home. I avoid them if feasible.

 

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