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Old 05-20-2007, 07:57 PM   #1
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Quickest route : major Hwy or backroads ?

I'm planning on a trip from San Antonio, Texas to Yellowstone NP and have mapquested the route. 1/2 the time it has me on a major hwy the other 1/2 is on backroads. Any good rule of thumb here ? Is it faster & safer in the long run to just stay on the major hwy vs. the stop and go of little towns ect.

Any input it greatly appreciated


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Old 05-20-2007, 08:06 PM   #2
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If it were me, I would do the state highway thing. In the west you dont get hung up in little towns all that much. I think you see a lot more (interstates manage to look the same where ever they are) and you find better dinners. Yes, you will get stuck behind the occasional tractor, on the other hand you will be more likely to enjoy the drive and less likely to arive at your destination in a manic phase.


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Old 05-20-2007, 08:06 PM   #3
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It depends on what you're looking for.

From my experience of driving an RV from FL to OR and back every summer since 2000, I'll give you these observations.

If the journey is part of the fun (as it should be) then the smaller roads are quite nice. Just don't be in a hurry. You NEVER really see America from the super-slab Interstates.

Plus, you almost always go slower on the secondary roads so safety is probably higher there as well.

I try to take as many secondaries as I can when I travel from FL to Oregon every summer. The best part of the trip is from Albuquerque to Salt Lake City, as there is a fairly direct route that's mostly 2-lane roads......and the scenery is stupendous!!!

Interstates get you there fast, but that's about all they do.
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:10 PM   #4
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MapQuest tries to give you the shortest driving time based on distance and road speeds. Some people like to drive the interstates and others like the backroads. I would suggest you plan your own trip. Pick places along the way that you would like to visit and use that as a guide. I always plan to avoid major cities during the rush hour also.

Have a great trip, Yellowstone is a special place!


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Old 05-20-2007, 08:16 PM   #5
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Smile Hi

I hate interstate highways becouse they go in to big towns and the traffic is a bear especialy if you have not been there before. All you see on the interstate is people rushing to and fro. If you want to see the country take all the side roads you can. It is much slower but the view is better than back end of a 18 wheeler for miles and miles. I try to avoid all interstates.Salt
Lake is a bear exept on Sunday when everyone is in church or sleeping. The people are much more frendly on the side roads than interstae roads.
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:28 PM   #6
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If I'm really pressed for time or want to get up the road I take the interstate highways. Even then, I'm rarely found doing more than 60-65 mph when towing for safety's sake. But I by far prefer the state and county roads. Better scenery, unexpected delights found in the smaller towns, a real slice of Americana. That's what travel is all about, enjoy the ride. Plus, some backroads are suprisingly well-maintained, better than pieces of the interstate in my area.

If you are using a GPS or Nav system to plan shortest routes, be careful where it takes you. When following a supposed "shortest route" a couple of weeks ago, I ended up on an unpaved road called Hell Hole. It's called that for a very good reason. Hell Hole Road decended into deep pit in a dry creek bed. I'm just glad I wasn't towing.
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:47 PM   #7
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Your question was "quickest route...?" That, of course, would be the interstate. Most interesting and relaxing? That would be the back roads. The most important question to ask yourself is are you a destination person or a journey person? And, are you on a tight time schedule? Back roads take about twice as long to travel if you take advantage of what they have to offer.
I am definitely a journey person. I sometimes don't even get to where I was going, but instead end up somewhere else. Another advantage of the back roads is that the slower speeds equal better fuel economy and are easier on the tow vehicle. Just remember to pull over and let faster traffic by when necessary. That's only fair, and takes just a few seconds out of your day.
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:53 PM   #8
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I prefer the back roads because of the scenery and the places are real, not built to speed and quick stops. I hope on our upcoming adventure of full timing, we get to go by back roads more. I just don't want to hurry.

I guess it depends on how fast you need to get somewhere and if you don't mind some slower traffic.

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Old 05-20-2007, 09:08 PM   #9
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I will second the state highways and back roads. Getting there is part of the adventure. If you are jsut trying to get from one place to another then the Interstates are your best bet if they go where you want to go.
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Old 05-20-2007, 09:19 PM   #10
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I second all the above. If you are in a hurry, either fly or leave the trailer at home. If you want to travel and enjoy it with a margin of safety...take the back roads and enjoy rural America. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 05-20-2007, 09:34 PM   #11
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1st---Definitely use the backroads, especially through Colorado or you'll miss EVERYTHING that is Colorado. All you will see of Colorado will be the front range and most of that from a distance.

2nd---Towing a trailer, you shouldn't pull faster than 65 MPH anyway as that is all that ST rated (trailer) tires are rated no matter what the brand. You are not supposed to pull ST trailer tires but 65 MPH.

3rd---As others have posted, enjoy the trip rather than focus on the destination.

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Old 05-20-2007, 09:35 PM   #12
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Alamo to Yellowstone

i also concur that the "blue highways" are the way to go.....and the Interstate system isn't the shortest distance from A to B in this case, anyway. Consider 281 north and work your way over to Abliene, then go north to 287 and stay on that all the way into Wyoming. The only major metro area you'd have to contend with on 287 would be Denver. 287 is a major truck route, though, if that's a consideration.Might I suggest that you base the trailer outside the park (we found a really nice commercial RV park across the mountain from Jackson in Victor, ID and another state park in MT about 30 miles north of Yellowstone...a few miles east of US 89 next to a beautiful lake. no hookups there, though.) and daytrip the park in your truck.
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Old 05-20-2007, 09:52 PM   #13
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Looks like everyone is going the same direction on this thread so far. I'll take the minority view in that my time is limited and for me the focus is getting to my destination and enjoying my time once I'm off the road.

Secondary factors include the ability to cruise at a constant speed which in effect maximizes my fuel economy and finally being able to pull off at gas stops which can better handle a van and a 31' trailer.

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Old 05-20-2007, 10:05 PM   #14
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I'll admit, Jack does have a point about being able to pull off the road for fuel and find a place that can handle a full size crew cab, long bed attached to a 30+ foot trailer....just a thought.
Thanks Jack.

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