"Normal" Places We Go

Driving Across The Country

In late January (2011) I did a solo run from Oregon House, California to Toronto, Canada (mostly on Interstate 80). I drove with my camera on my lap and these are some of the pictures I took from my car as I made my way across the country – America and Canada as I saw them:

California

pulled over by California Highway Patrol

Highway 20 California

Nevada

Interstate 80 Nevada

Interstate 80 Nevada

Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats sign

Bonneville Salt Flats Utah

Wyoming

Interstate 80 Wyoming

Interstate 80 Wyoming

Nebraska

Interstate 80 Nebraska

Paxton Nebraska

Iowa

Iowa

crossing the Mississippi River in Iowa on Interstate 80

Illinois

Interstate 80 Illinois

Interstate 80 Illinois

Indiana

Interstate 80 Indiana

La Porte Indiana

Ohio

Perrysburg Ohio

Perrysburg Ohio

Michigan

Interstate 80 Michigan

Interstate 80 Michigan

Canada

Ontario Canada

Ontario Canada

Toronto, Ontario: My Final Destination

Toronto Ontario

Toronto Ontario

Toronto Ontario

Toronto Ontario

Toronto Ontario

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5 thoughts on “Driving Across The Country

  1. No, unfortunately, that Highway Patrol car was not posing and I did get a speeding ticket. However, I definitely didn’t make it to Toronto in a day. It took me three days.

    The record for driving across the country was set by Alexander Roy in his highly modified BMW M5 with a time of 32 hours and 7 minutes.

  2. We just got orders to move from Aberdeen, Maryland (Aberdeen Proving Grounds) to Anchorage, Alaska (Fort Richardson). With 2 adults we have 2 children and 2 dogs. Report date is 12 January. Have to stop in Victoria, BC for a brotherly visit for a couple of days. Any advice is absolutely appreciated. Thank you so much.

    • Hello Brandi –

      Well, I suggest you focus on enjoying the trip. Yes, it is a business trip, but try and extract some fun out of it along the way. The drive you are doing is just too long to make a marathon out of – especially with kids and dogs in the picture as well…

      Now, I am sure I will offend some with this comment, but states such as Illinois, Iowa and Indiana are boring and have just a little too much traffic to make the drive through them pleasurable. So, I would suggest just getting through these states as quickly as possible and then slowing down a bit when you get to the western states. The states west of the Mississippi seem to offer a lot more in terms of scenery and interesting places to stop – plus they have less traffic as well.

      So, I would suggest picking out some spots that seem like interesting stops to you before you depart. Also, be flexible about stopping along the way if you see something interesting. I discovered some fascinating places on impulse stops and it is always a good idea to give the kids and dogs (and you) a chance to burn off some energy and stretch their legs.

      I would also suggest not planning where you will stay on your trip too extensively. Some days you will cover more ground than expected and other days less and it is nice to have some flexibility. What I did when crossing the country by myself was to wait until I was getting close to stopping for the night and would see from the road signs what the next city of a moderate or large size was. When I was about an hour out from this town, I’d call my wife or mother and have them go online to hotels.com or booking.com or the equivalent and have them book a room for me in the town. The best deals can be found online and so using this method, I saved a lot of money and stopped exactly when I felt like stopping. When I crossed the country with my wife, we followed the same practice, but she just booked a hotel for us with her smartphone. I would highly recommend this method.

      A GPS unit will be your friend. Traveling on the interstates is easy, but it is nice to know how far away things are, what kind of progress you are making, etc. And you will find it useful for finding any of the interesting spots you picked out or finding the hotel you booked online.

      Books on CD will be your friend as well… Hopefully, you can find something that will appeal to both you and the kids. Who doesn’t like a good story? These will be a welcome lifeline for you at times.

      Plentiful snacks are a friend as well, but as a mother this is probably not news to you.

      Oh, and you’ll probably encounter some interesting weather given that you’ll be making the move in winter. However, don’t be too concerned about this or pay much heed to the gloom-and-doomers that seem to delight in exaggerating situations or dispensing negativity. I went through three blizzards in my little Honda Civic on my drive out to Toronto and never once had to use my chains and barely had to slow down. They take good care of the roads and work hard to keep them open. Once you get closer to Alaska, it may be a different ballgame, but at least in the mainland U.S. and the lower parts of Canada, you’ll be fine.

      I hope some of the above helps you, Brandi. Enjoy your trip because it is a good one…

      Best,

      Justin

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