Road trip '24: Toronto to LA and back

Hiya SighSeellers. I'm planning on a long road trip from toronto to LA by travelling the entire I-10 and back via the transcan. What I need your help with is advice on how I must prepare, what I need to avoid, and suggestions on what to do at my stops. I'll be departing for LA in mid jan

The travel time between each major city listed will take between 6½ to 9hrs, which I will spend the remaining part of the day to experience whatever the city has to offer. However, a majority of my time will be spent in washington, LA, vancouver, and calgary as I'll be there visiting friends/family

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  1. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    Picrel is the journey home. I'll be leaving LA the first week of feb

    I'll also be cutting through the states again to visit friends in michigan before I return. Aaand that's it

    tl;dr (and some other things):
    >I'm starting from toronto, travelling south to the I-10, west to LA, up the I-5/99 to vancouver, taking the transcan to winnipeg, heading south through MN/WI/IL to MI, and back home
    >asides from proper clothing, snow tires, and gps, what else should I pack/prepare
    >what should I be aware of and/or avoid
    >biggest of all, leave me a list of things to do for each city or landmarks to visit along the way
    >ALSO, since I would like to minimize spending on lodging every time, I need help finding safe overnight spots I can park my car to sleep
    >and any other tips to be frugal

    • 8 months ago
      Jackass

      Is the transcanada from the soo/thunder bay, then thunder bay/winterpeg that bad? For some reason google maps always reccomends taking the route through the american midwest before catching the transcanada at winnipeg

      Canadian local highways are always dogshit, but the transcanada is usually quite good considering the massive distances & terrains it crosses

      • 7 months ago
        Anonymous

        As someone involved with the Canadian convoys, yes. It is only 2 lanes there and it's the ONLY ROAD connecting the western half of Canada to the eastern half.

        • 7 months ago
          Jackass

          Yeah, but its paved the whole way, right? How are the grade & curve aspects?

          My mum drove out west back in the 80s & recounted getting stuck on a hill on a dirt road at least once

          How far north of muskoka do you have to drive before the insanity that is ontario driving finally calms down?

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      >and any other tips to be frugal
      drive back through the US instead of canada

    • 7 months ago
      Anonymous

      Do this part first. Why the frick wouldn't you? Get crossing the Canadian Rockies over before it gets too cold and dark.

  2. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    Worst time of the year to do this.

  3. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    What the other commenter said: it's going to be a frozen icy waste for most of your trip. Road conditions are going to suck and so much of the interesting stuff will be closed/out of season.
    As for the destinations, I wouldn't recommend wasting time in Myrtle Beach. It's not even the nicest beach in the area. And all of the beaches are going to be dead and miserable in January.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      And once you get south of the Mason Dixon line snow tires are probably going to be unhelpful and will wear out quickly once used in warm conditions.

  4. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    The previous two comments are right.

    >Skipping Detroit
    I know it's a shithole, but the John K. King Used and Rare Books store there is worth visiting. You'll find stuff there you won't find anywhere else.

  5. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    I don't see the point of this trip if you don't have multiple days to do excursions. This is a brutal drive, and allocating only an evening to "experience a city" is pointless, especially after spending 8+ hours driving.
    t. multiple cross-country drives

  6. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    this kind of trips are better when there's more daylight out unless you want it to take 6 weeks stopping whenever you can't see outside anymore

  7. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    [...]

    Unless you have a real good reason to hit Seattle and Vancouver I'd skip that part of the country entirely. Winters are very wet, cold and dark in that part of the world whereas the southwest enjoys such fine weather that thousands of your countrymen spend the winter there. You're skipping the one part of the country that enjoys the best weather in the winter. Las Vegas, Colorado River, Sedona, Grand Canyon, etc. highs will range from low 70s and sunny to maybe 40s and occasional light snowfall depending on location and the weather that week. I'd even suggest going south through Reno to Vegas then east through Arizona if you must visit northern California or Oregon.

  8. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    I-10 is a heavily travelled freeway, not particularly fun to drive. I drove the southern route on my first trip out West in January 2016, but avoided the freeway as much as I could.
    I recommend visiting St Augustine on the Atlantic coast, then heading west from there. Cedar Key can be your first stop on the Gulf Coast, then pick up US-98 across the Florida Panhandle to Mobile. From there, US-90 to Lafayette. Depending on weather, which is insanely variable in winter, you may want to camp on the Texas beach - it is free in many areas. Detour to New Braunfels to check out the Comal River, then from San Antonio, take the back roads through Bandera, Medina, and Leakey to see the best of the Texas Hill Country. Drop down to Uvalde and take US-90 west to its terminus at Van Horn. Visit Big Bend National Park if you can, it is absolutely worth the drive. Big Bend Ranch State Park is also worth it if you love hiking. The Texas desert can be 85 F under hot sun or 40 F with a bitter north wind in January.
    From Van Horn, head north, visit the Guadalupe Mountains, then take US-82 west from Artesia across the Sacramento Mountains. Then take US-70 across the White Sands to Las Cruces, where you rejoin I-10. In Deming, turn south to visit Colombus, the site of Pancho Villa's invasion. From here you can head west on NM-9 to the Arizona border. If you want to spend a night in Mexico, Agua Prieta is a great place to do so. Choose the Hotel Sonora, top notch accomodations for 600 pesos a night. If you are feeling adventurous when you recross, visit the Coronado National Memorial and take the gravel road all the way across the highlands to Kino Springs, then Nogales and I-19. From here you can head north to Tucson, then west on either I-10 or AZ-86 across the Tohono O'odham nation, a relaxing and scenic desert drive. Quartzsite in January is worth a visit, as tens of thousands of RVs descend on the town every winter to create the largest nomad camp in America.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      cont.
      From Quartzsite, head south on US-95 to Yuma and take I-8 west across the sand dunes. Here you can choose to take CA-98 to Calexico, enjoy the border town vibe, even cross over to check out the Mexicali nightlife. From Calexico or El Centro, take CA-111 north to Niland, then turn right on Beal Road to visit Slab City. Try to visit on a Saturday, so you can hang out at the Range. It is an easy shot north to Indio and I-10 from here. You could take a little detour to visit Joshua Tree NP. Alternately, the mountains of San Diego County are fascinating - Anza Borrego Desert State Park is definitely worth a visit. You could drop south from Niland to Brawley and take CA-78 west to Carlsbad, where you will reach the Pacific Ocean.

      Some really good advice in here. Definitely go through White Sands in NM.

      I'd personally go to Austin instead of San Antonio, a lot more personality and fun.

      As a heads up you will go through border checkpoints in the American Southwest (even far from the border), they'll just ask you where you're going etc.. They're looking for drugs/migrants, but don't get too flustered talking to them. On a road trip to visit family is a perfectly valid reason to be driving there.

  9. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    cont.
    From Quartzsite, head south on US-95 to Yuma and take I-8 west across the sand dunes. Here you can choose to take CA-98 to Calexico, enjoy the border town vibe, even cross over to check out the Mexicali nightlife. From Calexico or El Centro, take CA-111 north to Niland, then turn right on Beal Road to visit Slab City. Try to visit on a Saturday, so you can hang out at the Range. It is an easy shot north to Indio and I-10 from here. You could take a little detour to visit Joshua Tree NP. Alternately, the mountains of San Diego County are fascinating - Anza Borrego Desert State Park is definitely worth a visit. You could drop south from Niland to Brawley and take CA-78 west to Carlsbad, where you will reach the Pacific Ocean.

  10. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    The main thing to avoid is running out of gas in the Southwest/past San Antonio. Don't assume there will always be a gas station when you need one like on the east coast.

    It gets really sparse out there, you will need to know your emergency procedures.

    I don't know what you're driving, but maybe look up how to drive in the mountains if you have a big vehicles. Speaking of which, you're running parallel to the Appalachians, I'm assuming you know that, but there is a website that will tell you the average grade of the route you're on. You can micromanage it a bit to save gas by going the flatter way; perhaps at the expense of time.

    In the Deep South there are some towns you won't want to stop in. I did a very similar drive to this and somewhere in bumfrick bama we stopped and the bathrooms were locked doors across the parking lot covered in graffiti and smelled like who knows what. Point being, try to stick to the big interstate gas stations in that part of the country. Some of those small towns you don't belong in.

    I don't know anything about snow driving but I'm guessing you do. Just know that if there is snow on the ground it will be there at least until Virginia.

    Try to visit le epic Buccee's once you're near/in Texas. If you can stomach it, driving around New Orleans is interesting. It's simultaneously dirt poor and ghetto and beautiful old French. It's not the nicest place to walk around though. Philly can also be dangerous, I would plan to fill up well before and well after. There are some nice beaches in the Florida panhandle. If you can catch them on a sunny day it might be a nice walk. In Texas try to go to a BBQ place and order brisket. Go to any place with good reviews. D.C. is actually really cool, but I'm not sure how much a Canadian would care for it. Also be careful in it's surroundings towns.

  11. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    Reroute through Atlanta and skip northern Flordia.
    Just a shit load of traffic for no reason and worse food.

    • 7 months ago
      Anonymous

      Big disagree. Atlanta is a Black persony shithole but the gulf coast is beautiful and full of friendly people. Check out Port St. Joe and take a trip to Ft. Pickens and check that out and the beaches there, even if its not beach weather. Pensacola has some good seafood. Just avoid the klaney parts of northern Florida up by the Alabama border, the gulf part of Alabama is nice though except Mobile which is a shithole for the same reasons as Atlanta (big surprise). Also Ft. Morgan and then the ferry to Dauphin Island is a cool side trip that doesn't go too far out of your way.

  12. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    Saguaro National park

  13. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    You're going through the general area so, Hatch, NM is cool if you like chilies at all. It's actually world famous for it's chilies and it's just a neat little farm town. Not a bad idea to detour through it, it should only add an hour or so.
    I love Southern Arizona. Fun natural stuff is Kartchner Caverns and going to Gates Pass in Tucson for the sunset. Bisbee is a cool old mining town, and has a cool old hotel called the Copper Queen if old West stuff is interesting to you at all.
    Someone mentioned Agua Prieta Mexico. If you do go there, you'll likely pass through Bisbee on the way to Tucson and the I-10.
    If you have a food preference I can recommend you Tucson stuff. It's a city with a specific vibe, it is not showy, but I love it dearly.

  14. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    take a detour in nevasa

  15. 7 months ago
    Anonymous

    What to do in LA? I'll be heading there soonish.
    Any tips on cool things to do or things to avoid? Staying around Sunset / Santa Monica.

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