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Coast to coast road trip through America

Is it possible to do it using only small back roads , avoiding major highways?

by Anonymousreply 82July 25, 2021 5:38 PM

Not easily. But it can be done. You need good maps, no gps will route you that way.

by Anonymousreply 1July 21, 2021 7:26 PM

Yes but it would take a long time and probably be less interesting than you'd think.

by Anonymousreply 2July 21, 2021 7:27 PM

You also will have to drive through some sketchy/dangerous neighborhoods.

by Anonymousreply 3July 21, 2021 8:12 PM

If you're going through the west/southwest, prepare for long stretches of desert and plan accordingly.

by Anonymousreply 4July 21, 2021 8:39 PM

Read this book (although it's probably outdated by now.)

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by Anonymousreply 5July 21, 2021 8:57 PM


by Anonymousreply 6July 21, 2021 8:59 PM

Old highways when you want to see something. The modern freeways in between.

by Anonymousreply 7July 21, 2021 9:02 PM

*banjo music*

by Anonymousreply 8July 21, 2021 9:11 PM

You're gonna get killed by a hillbilly or a drifter, OP.

by Anonymousreply 9July 21, 2021 9:12 PM

Find one of the threads of creepy towns, OP

by Anonymousreply 10July 21, 2021 9:23 PM

Don't some people do the Route 66 route? I think it starts in Chicago.

Hotels, etc. on that route would be used to travelers making that trip.

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by Anonymousreply 11July 21, 2021 9:28 PM

Get a roomETTE!

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by Anonymousreply 12July 21, 2021 9:40 PM

YES, OP! Ignore all of these ridiculous people.

It's very easy, there are very good federal secondary roads and state secondary roads everywhere in the country, and you will get a much better sense of what America is really like (for better or worse).

by Anonymousreply 13July 21, 2021 9:43 PM

Just avoid Nebraska, so you don't get ambushed by the Children of the Corn.

by Anonymousreply 14July 21, 2021 10:43 PM

I live right on Route 66, so stop and say "Howdy!"

by Anonymousreply 15July 21, 2021 11:52 PM

US 2, aka The Great Northern, is a two lane highway across the extreme northern US, with a portion in Canada.

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by Anonymousreply 16July 22, 2021 12:02 AM

I second Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. You have to use I-40 for part of the way, but it’s well marked and super interesting.

by Anonymousreply 17July 22, 2021 12:16 AM

Yes, definitely take the state highways if you have time. You’ll see much more than from the freeway.

by Anonymousreply 18July 22, 2021 12:19 AM

I've wanted to do this at different points in the past, but at this point, I'd rather travel to specific areas, and explore them more thoroughly.

I've been to New England many times, but STILL haven't been to Vermont, and large swaths of New Hampshire & inland Maine. I'd LOVE to take those in during October (my favorite month). I also want to do late October & Halloween in coastal Oregon.

by Anonymousreply 19July 22, 2021 12:33 AM

[quote] Is it possible to do it using only small back roads , avoiding major highways?

Only if you travel along the northern border once you get west of Chicago, there are no back roads that go over the Mississippi River, the Missouri River or the Colorado River.

by Anonymousreply 20July 22, 2021 2:25 AM

Sure, but are you sure you want to? There are huge stretches of the US that offer little or nothing of interest, I mean I've drive across the Midwest and the Great Plains, and I would definitely recommend just taking the freeways and getting those regions over with so you can linger in places you find more interesting.

And do your research, too. There are small towns in the US where you don't want to be a stranger, or be in a new car.

by Anonymousreply 21July 22, 2021 3:32 AM

Here, OP. This should give you all the info you need. I'm surprised you are not already familiar with this.

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by Anonymousreply 22July 22, 2021 3:51 AM

Bring your own music. Radio stations disappear. At some points, only thing available will be talk radio (not the good kind) and country music.

by Anonymousreply 23July 22, 2021 3:55 AM

Haven't you ever seen the movie "Children of the Corn"? Of course it's possible!

by Anonymousreply 24July 22, 2021 5:01 AM

Who listens to radio anymore, R23?

by Anonymousreply 25July 22, 2021 5:03 AM

I do, R25.

by Anonymousreply 26July 22, 2021 5:04 AM

Same here, R25. I have a SiriusXM radio subscription, and I love it.

by Anonymousreply 27July 22, 2021 5:24 AM

Hell, I'm an eldergay and I don't listen to the radio anymore!

by Anonymousreply 28July 22, 2021 1:28 PM

Route 66 isn't very interesting and has been superseded by interstate highways. It's a tourist trap and mostly marketed to foreign tourists, which is usually what happens to played out attractions (like Niagara Falls and the stereotypical Hollywood stuff).

US 30, the Lincoln Highway, was the original coast to coast highway, still has most of its original routing and has its own trade group

Buy a Rand McNally Road Atlas--the big one, not the tabloid size. It's updated annually and the notation of scenic routes is generally reliable.

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by Anonymousreply 29July 22, 2021 2:02 PM

Aliens gonna get you and probe you.

by Anonymousreply 30July 22, 2021 2:23 PM

Taking official US Routes is the way to go to see the country. Just as US routes parallel a lot of railroads, the interstate system also parallels a lot of US routes. If need be to make time or to skip boring desolate sections of the country, an interstate highway is usually close by. But, the interstate system can be very boring, and you'll see the same restaurants, etc. if you'll need to make a stop if you're hungry. With the US routes, you will be in the heart of the country and you'll see the good and the bad.

by Anonymousreply 31July 22, 2021 2:25 PM

US Route 6, from Ptown MA to Bishop CA. Fascinating trip, especially across backwoods Pennsylvania.

by Anonymousreply 32July 22, 2021 2:42 PM

r31 Some states have decommissioned most of their US routes. California only has a few left-- 101, 395, 50 (and a small part of US6.) Most of the others have been rebadged as state highways or have been superseded by interstates. No more US 40, 80, 99, 66, etc.

by Anonymousreply 33July 22, 2021 2:52 PM

Can I have your stuff, OP?

by Anonymousreply 34July 22, 2021 2:56 PM

Being carjacked at a red light is a distinct possibility on Rt 1 in New Haven and Bridgeport, CT.

The US Interstate system destroyed many places when the new highways were constructed.

by Anonymousreply 35July 22, 2021 3:08 PM

Carjackings are low probability events even in high crime areas. R35 has spent too much time living in some nowhere place, listeing to bad news radio.

by Anonymousreply 36July 22, 2021 3:10 PM

There's probably all kinds of killers and weirdos in middle of nowhere America. If you're serious, OP, stick to main highways and cities and avoid desolate roads and small town/rural areas. You could get robbed and killed and no one would even know you're missing. Even if you don't get murdered, imagine having a car accident on some deserted highway, there'd be no one around to help and proper medial attention could be hours away even if someone found your car upside down in a ditch.

by Anonymousreply 37July 22, 2021 4:07 PM

R37: Just pile it on. OP, you are unlikely to face problems in any of your travels.

by Anonymousreply 38July 22, 2021 4:11 PM

I'd avoid desert roads at night.

by Anonymousreply 39July 22, 2021 4:19 PM

The biggest question is why would you want to do this?

by Anonymousreply 40July 22, 2021 4:23 PM

Everyone gets probed by aliens but me. I don't know why. I try to look fashionable. I try to keep up with styles. It's just not fair.

by Anonymousreply 41July 22, 2021 4:39 PM

Try driving coast to coast on US Route 6. (Grand Army Of The Republic Highway)

This one is often overlooked.

It runs from the tip of Cape Cod in Massachussets, (Provincetown), to Bishop California, which is north of Death Valley and East of Fresno.

I haven't done it, but would like to.

Otherwise, do a shortened version of Route 66, driving it only in the premium states of New Mexico, Arizona, and California. I have driven parts of that one and sport the Route 66 sticker on my rear window.

by Anonymousreply 42July 22, 2021 4:44 PM

If you pass through Nevada, check out Great Basin National Park for the most pristine night sky in the country.

by Anonymousreply 43July 22, 2021 4:50 PM

Ignore the naysayers, OP. Do it.

I've driven across and around the US many times, often taking smaller highways and country roads, and it's a fantastic experience. You get to see unique landscapes (even the plains of Nebraska have a distinct beauty) and meet interesting people. And I'd much rather drive than fly these days.

by Anonymousreply 44July 22, 2021 4:52 PM

[Quote]I'd avoid desert roads at night.

Or wooded roads at dusk and at night in some states during deer season. They come out of nowhere and can totally demolish a car.

by Anonymousreply 45July 22, 2021 11:47 PM

They did it in "Rain Main."

by Anonymousreply 46July 22, 2021 11:49 PM

I've done it twice, once to the north and the second time to the south. A times it was necessary to use a US highway when roads made a double-up, but we usually found a route in a few miles that we could take to parallel it until a longer alternative presented itself.

It's wonderful, although the decline of the American rural scene is striking. So many fine towns with fine buildings losing population.

Food and housing were issues sometimes, because in the less-traveled areas that we sometimes aimed ourselves at choices were not quaint. Fish scales in the sink in Nebraska, lumpy beds in Wisconsin, bedbugs and meth stench in Texas (We didn't stay.), and a manager who tried to get into my room for a "visit" in the Florida Panhandle were part of the fun. We'd sometimes trace routes through large towns or cities and stay there, seeing the non-Interstate ways in and out. Often these were the old entries to the cities - some old motels or their buildings left, old restaurants, larger houses and formerly upscale neighborhoods, now rundown. Or the signs of the old are gone and streets are widened and it's all strip malls, fast food and retail.

Loved both trips. We took our time, stopped at all old tourist spots we could find, spent a couple of days in many places we found interesting or met someone. We found kindness and generosity. In three places the people running the motel insisted on cooking for us. One family was Indian, one was a down-home Swedish Lutheran woman and another was a gay guy in Vermont who gave us a fine French dinner. (He didn't stay at the motel.)

A lot of the rural people in towns and on the streets during the day are people with nothing to do or plenty to do and no intention to do it. We had trouble only a few times - nothing serious. My travel companion is a tall ex-Marine who

We flew back both times, shipping travel gear back. Most motels have microwaves and cooking for ourselves and using our own coffeemaker helped. We tried to have one meal in the areas at least. When we stayed in older hotels it was a thrill when they had kept a restaurant and older furnishings. Those were rare. Most cities have a gay or gayish spot or area. Men on the trip from Seattle to Bar Harbor were more fun than those St. Augustine to L.A.

Next we plan a run through the midsection, but are waiting until the pandemic lessens and the power of the GOP assholes in so many of the states lessens, we hope.

by Anonymousreply 47July 23, 2021 2:10 AM

If you use Google Maps, there's an option to "avoid highways" when you map out a trip.

by Anonymousreply 48July 23, 2021 5:50 AM

OP, this is my dream cum true! I have always wanted to roadtrip through various rural American areas, mostly the south or the midwest. Now I prefer the south, starting in Savannah and Charleston, going to Atlanta, maybe to a Alabama beach and then until I hit the Mississippi, then go down to New Orleans on a boat. It would be So interesting! We can go together like a Southern Version of Thelma and Louise! Getting topped by rowdy southern boys who arguably have the best American accent there is while reading Carson McCullers!

by Anonymousreply 49July 23, 2021 7:32 AM

R28 - “ Hell, I'm an eldergay and I don't listen to the radio anymore!”

And your point, you old fart? What, do you have all of the 1940s and 50s greatest hits loaded in your iPod or flash drive?

by Anonymousreply 50July 23, 2021 7:38 AM

[quote]Yes but it would take a long time and probably be less interesting than you'd think.

R2 is as marvellously understated as he is correct..

[quote]Route 66 isn't very interesting and has been superseded by interstate highways. It's a tourist trap and mostly marketed to foreign tourists, which is usually what happens to played out attractions (like Niagara Falls and the stereotypical Hollywood stuff).

R29 likewise offers wise advice.

Route 66 stirs the imagination of some of my friends and people I meet and I have to once again be a poor representative of my birth country and be the one who advises against this journey in search of True Americana. Strangely there's some considerable lure to the hiring of motorcyles, the breathing the old stale air of the American Dream, of gasoline stations with rattlesnake petting zoos, of grizzled old-timers looking like bit players in an old Western film, of big bold turquoise jewelry, of Cadillac Ranches, and of 6.5 hour detours to that Prada shop that is't really a Prada shop in Marfa, Texas only it isn't really in Marfa, Texas.

Educated, well traveled people of different stripes mention Route 66 as if it were some magical journey.

I'm not sure who has been doing the marketing and for how long —I've never seen any of it— but the message has had surprising reach for such a bad idea.

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by Anonymousreply 51July 23, 2021 9:04 AM

R48 yes but highways can be ancient like route 66 and using that function you will be driving at 25 miles an hour the whole way.

by Anonymousreply 52July 23, 2021 10:52 AM

[quote] And your point, you old fart? What, do you have all of the 1940s and 50s greatest hits loaded in your iPod or flash drive?

No, I have the greatest hits of the 70s, 80s, and 90s from Spotify, which is particularly good for the 80s, since Sirius XM's 80s on 8 sucks cow dung with their limited playlist.

by Anonymousreply 53July 23, 2021 1:16 PM

There was a time when I would have wanted to take such a drive, now I don't think I'd want to deal with people I would encounter. I mourn the state of our country.

by Anonymousreply 54July 23, 2021 2:08 PM

Sure! Go for it!

by Anonymousreply 55July 23, 2021 3:24 PM

Twice, back in the 80s, my family drove from Ohio up to the badlands, over to Yellowstone, up to Seattle, down the west coast to the Grand Canyon, then back home through Texas and the south. We saw some beautiful stuff. I was a teenager at the time so I spent a lot of time trapped in a mini-van with my parents and siblings, which could be hell. I would love to do it again as an adult in a big camper or something.

by Anonymousreply 56July 23, 2021 3:31 PM

The Lincoln Highway, one of the first interstate highways built, starts in NYC and ends in San Francisco. At some point, there's a detour...but will get back on the highway. In my area, the leg of the highway is Route 27. Who knew...a small local road, which I've driven many times, was part of an interstate highway going cross country.

by Anonymousreply 57July 23, 2021 4:15 PM

Google maps is no substitute for having paper maps and the ability to get a big picture view of places.

Route 66 is a complete waste of time. There once was an anthology TV series called "Route 66" which followed the adventures of two guys crossing the country (you can find some episodes on YouTube). Almost none of the episodes were ever close to the actual Route 66. That should be your clue that Route 66, the road is a waste of time.

by Anonymousreply 58July 23, 2021 4:31 PM

R32 and R42, my house is a few blocks from Route 6 in Northeast PA. Stop by!

by Anonymousreply 59July 23, 2021 4:47 PM

LA to Chicago

by Anonymousreply 60July 23, 2021 5:11 PM

I love road trips. Never done USA west coast to east coast, but have enjoyed:

1. San Francisco, CA, to Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Passing through Oregon and Washington.)

2. Washington state to New Mexico (stopping in Las Vegas, etc.).

3. Partial, modified Route 66, Albuquerque NM to Los Angeles CA.

by Anonymousreply 61July 23, 2021 7:39 PM

I love road trips, too. On a much smaller scale, growing up....my dad would have impromptu road trips, locally....always taking the road not taken. It was fun and discovered interesting towns and rural areas.

by Anonymousreply 62July 23, 2021 10:36 PM

I agree with R58. Route 66 is very boring and forgettable. There are much better scenic routes out there.

by Anonymousreply 63July 23, 2021 11:00 PM

Us101 from San Diego to !vancouver BC is an excellent drive, and doesn’t take you through any sketch areas. A good choice for those nervous about rural areas and it’s beautiful most the way.

by Anonymousreply 64July 24, 2021 4:11 PM

I found it much nicer to take the back roads in places like Pennsylvania. When I would go from Chicago to Washington DC (and back), it was so nice on the back roads. But once you hit Youngstown OH you want to be on the Interstate because the scenery is so flat, boring and monotonous.

Look up "Loneliest Road in the USA" (see link)

[quote] Life magazine in July 1986. The name was intended as a pejorative, but Nevada officials seized it as a marketing slogan.

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by Anonymousreply 65July 24, 2021 4:22 PM

[quote]Us101 from San Diego to !vancouver BC is an excellent drive, and doesn’t take you through any sketch areas. A good choice for those nervous about rural areas and it’s beautiful most the way.

US101 ends in Los Angeles now. And the northern end is south of Seattle.

by Anonymousreply 66July 24, 2021 5:22 PM

LA to San Diego is boring.

by Anonymousreply 67July 25, 2021 1:13 AM

Get your kicks On Route 66

by Anonymousreply 68July 25, 2021 1:21 AM

I would take a cross county trip via a planned out tour with a group of people. Traveling alone, I would feel the most comfortable and safe that way. There are tours you can take. It's an option.

by Anonymousreply 69July 25, 2021 1:29 AM

US 66 does not go coast-to-coast and you cannot go from one end of it to the other without getting on an interstate so it does not work for OP's requirements.

by Anonymousreply 70July 25, 2021 1:36 AM

Europeans are obsessed with Route 66 for some reason. Probably the same reason why so many of them visit Death Valley in the summer, instead of in fall or spring when it isn’t 120°F.

I’ve driven cross-country three times - mostly on interstates, but parts of each (the best parts) were on two-laners, mostly in the West. I’d like to do it again, this time on my motorcycle, but my California license plate would make me a target in some areas. Especially in small towns, particularly in the South, where the police harass travelers and stop them for no reason so they can seize any cash or other valuables they might have.


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by Anonymousreply 71July 25, 2021 1:47 AM

I'd like to drive cross-country, coast-to-coast--in Canada.

by Anonymousreply 72July 25, 2021 4:31 AM

I get too anxious on long car rides these days, but if I wasn’t driving and could take some drugs, I might be up for another.

R67, that drive was one the worst I’ve experienced. Labor Day weekend, 2018. It took us five hours to get to San Diego. There was some big baseball game in SD, plus people evacuating from LA fires, plus holiday traffic. It was a nightmare. Bumper to bumper the whole way.

by Anonymousreply 73July 25, 2021 5:23 AM

Of course it's possible, OP -- but how much time and money do you want to spend?

by Anonymousreply 74July 25, 2021 6:30 AM

[quote] I've been to New England many times, but STILL haven't been to Vermont

You’ve been to paradise R19, but have you ever been to you?

by Anonymousreply 75July 25, 2021 6:37 AM


by Anonymousreply 76July 25, 2021 7:07 AM

It's interesting to hear the off-putting stories about driving the back roads of the US.

I've driven all over Europe on back roads and byways and have never felt really unsafe or have been bored by the scenery.

by Anonymousreply 77July 25, 2021 8:21 AM

Those of you fearing rural America and small towns don't realize how safe they are compared to the cities. Get some AAA and hit the road!

by Anonymousreply 78July 25, 2021 8:39 AM

R77, most of these stories are complete fantasy based on their irrational hatred of people who vote differently from them.

by Anonymousreply 79July 25, 2021 3:26 PM

R79: Fear of random crime in U.S. film and TV has two plots:

A poor innocent bumpkin visits the big city and is the subject of viciously cruel pointless crime. Moral: The city is s dangerous place. Bumpkin stay home.

An innocent lived her or her city home in search of adventure on the back roads, in a small town, or inherits a Spanish moss draped mansion, a little run down, on a desolate piece of bayou land and horrible grotesques beset upon the newcomer with cruel tortures. Moral: Anything rural or small town is way more dangerous than anything back home in the city. Slicker stay home.

by Anonymousreply 80July 25, 2021 3:40 PM

On 26th June 1972, a few members of The Rolling Stones drove from Houston to New Orleans, where Truman Capote was hosting a little dinner for them at Arnaud's. "Anything to get away from that airplane and those 39 people, man," was Mick Jagger's point when asked why he wanted to drive to Noo Orleans instead of taking the thirty minute short hop by air on the chartered Lockheed Electra II the band had hired to transport them between the 30+ cities the two month tour circuit covered.

During the drive, Mick became slightly pensive about driving on what was essentially a two lane blacktop for hours on end. "This has got to be the most uninteresting drive in the world" And remember, Mick and his little entourage were higher than God to get them through this little jaunt.

by Anonymousreply 81July 25, 2021 4:56 PM

R81: The road trip is an American gene I didn't inherit.

Sometimes I enjoy driving between small cities and historic sites I want to explore, usually where depending on the schedules of train or bus would be difficult and limiting. There are routes that are quite beautiful and/or interesting,

In any case, I need a specific aim and the drive is the most reasonable way to achieve it. The driving itself is a necessary evil. There's no romance of the road. No mystique. No love affair with tires on asphalt.

Travel shows in Europe often feature Route 66 and driving adventures as pure Americana, but I can see why Mick Jagger might have thought: this is boring as fuck and I'll not soon make this mistake again.

by Anonymousreply 82July 25, 2021 5:38 PM
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