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Old 06-23-2018, 09:16 AM   #1
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Travelling on US highway system

All,

Tagging on the thread about east coast travel in a big rig...what are your thoughts about travelling on the US Highway system rather than the Interstates? If I recall correctly, if it's a US Highway, it has to have certain clearances and road width. Am I correct? I'd love to travel our great country and actually see Americana off of the interstate but don't want to put my CS in a bad situation.
Thoughts? Ideas?

Thank!

Gregg
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:35 AM   #2
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I've found they're in a lot better condition, with less traffic......but harder to find rest areas.......need to watch the fuel gauge .....
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:41 AM   #3
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you will find the us highway system is a combination of construction, uncontrolled potholes and worn pavement , with some smooth pavement in between.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:46 AM   #4
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The U.S. highway system does have minimum requirements for U.S. highway designation, but there are still many 'exceptions' to the rule. Before deciding on a route, I'd do some research about it online. Some US highways have been 'absorbed' by interstates, so they join or disappear for miles, suddenly splitting off again when routes diverge. US 6, 30, 40, 50, 66, and many more do this often along their historic routes. Also, some sections of US highways have become so congested they would be more dangerous than taking the nearby interstates. US 30 near Philadelphia, US 6 and 30 near Chicago, etc. are roads I used to use but now avoid. In rural areas, many US highways have 'bypass' or truck routes around towns and cities.

Just read and research before driving, some of these routes are better marked than others and might be difficult to follow on the fly.
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:05 AM   #5
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Aside from the coasts I like to travel the highway system when I can.

We often visit family in St. Louis, and returning to Minnesooota we travel north along the Mississippi. Hwy 61 and so on. I have found these rural routes in the Midwest are more laid back and scenic.

The only thing is, fuel up whenever you can and expect to pull into small towns to eat. Not a lot of campgrounds, but the ones you find are usually pretty darn good.

Course we usually end up on an Interstate to traverse large cities anyway.

We recentely left Texas and spent a few nights in Baton Rouge, and then drove the River Road north. Very scenic.
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:11 AM   #6
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Follow the truck route signs when running the numbered highways. We have pulled into malls, box stores and boat ramps to find places to eat lunch or take a break for a couple of hours. Just avoid the last one on weekends of if there are signs of people waiting to put in their boats. ;-)
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:45 AM   #7
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The US highways are generally suitable from a standpoint of width and bridge height but often slow near big cities where there can sometimes be multiple traffic lights per mile, bumper to bumper traffic, and heavy congestion.

Out in the countryside I find the US highways to be refreshingly pleasant except for the fact that the speed limit is often reduced to 25 or 35 mph for every small town that you pass through. Also, places to pull off the road can be few and far between and hard to spot in time to use them.

So, a combination of US highways in the boonies and Interstate highways near big cities is what I enjoy most. Note that the northeast corridor from DC to Boston resembles one giant city, and I avoid the cities altogether in that region and use a combination of highways and mostly Interstates to bypass them by a wide margin.
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:00 AM   #8
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Gregg, last Summer we were on the road for 7 weeks with only a very few days on Interstates.

I typically plot the route then flyover by using Google Earth or any of a number of mapping tools readily available.

If I see tunnels and bridges, I investigate further. If I see “spaghetti” I zoom in and evaluate. When I examine mountains, I try to determine gradients using a variety of sources.

Trucker Path is very helpful in that it will plot truck friendly routes, in addition to identifying fuel options.

If there aren’t many alternative routes, I’ll dig deeper and research the specific road on the state transportation website. One example is CO550. Last year there were numerous closures and research was fruitful. We also drove it in the F-150 beforehand and determined the work being performed would greatly damage the MH. They were chip sealing and my pickup was covered in oil and my windshield was destroyed by loose gravel.

When driving these lesser traveled roads, I’m always 5–10 MPH slower than posted limits. I also use a trick learned from motorcycling where I watch the power poles alongside the road (if present) for any changes in direction. The key is to drive defensively.

In spite of the effort and occasional problem, getting off the Interstate is FAR more interesting.

-Matt
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:03 AM   #9
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We have put over a 100,000 miles on our Discovery using mostly US Highways.
Really enjoy seeing America. Small towns, farms, and, yes, cities are all part of the mosaic that is the USA. Don't travel more than 150-200 miles a day when we travel. Sit down for a day or two to enjoy the local area. the road are usually in good to better condition.
Best thing is the people we see and meet.
Only use interstates when we really have to travel in a hurry.
Enjoy the travel, it is so rewarding.
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:04 AM   #10
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We just traveled across the country from Florida to Arizona, then Arizona into Montana using mostly US Highways. We are 70' long with our Entegra and tow and had no problems at all, the roads have been very good. We enjoyed the slow down sections near towns and never had any trouble finding fuel or a place to pull over. In areas were we had to jump on the interstates , the roads have been excellent. I think once you get away from most major cities the Interstates are pretty good. PS Using US Highways added about 6 hours travel time over the interstates over 3,000 miles. But who is in a rush.....
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:19 AM   #11
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The 7 yrs we FTd we RARELY used any Interstates..


We traveled secondary/back roads as much as possible.
One of the reasons we went FT.......to travel and SEE America.


We encountered some low bridges/overpasses/trestles BUT they were clearly marked PRIOR and alternate routes were available.
Otherwise we just turned around. WOW---imagine that


Fueling....cheaper pricing away from Interstates
I have found CGs tougher to get in/out of then many Ma/Pa service stations


Truckers DO leave the Interstates to deliver goods......SO can you.
We DID and loved it!
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:54 AM   #12
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Gregg, lots of good advise here. We have been traveling off Interstates for over 15 years and will do it every chance we get. We have never had a problem with fuel stops. Many of the rural area station have truck islands on the side or at the rear of the station. If it's a large station, good change they have a truck island. Farm trucks need fuel too, many of the stations are easier to get in and out of than Interstate gas stations. Fuel is normally 20 to 30 cents a gallon less than on the Interstates and many do not have the $100 limit on credit cards.
We find the 4 lanes in much better condition than the beat to death Interstates. The scenic highways, the ones with the green dots, are not to be missed in most cases. A little slower, but what we bought RV's for, to see the sights.


If a highway shows small town every 5 miles for a long way, those get avoided. As someone posted, many of those areas have a truck route around them. It is amazing how many beautiful 4 lanes parallel Interstates with no traffic. Highway 19 though GA instead of I-75 is one of those.
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:25 PM   #13
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Out west, in Arizona and Nevada is where one needs to know how far you can travel on a tankful...
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Old 06-23-2018, 03:10 PM   #14
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The newer Good Sam RV Atlas is even bigger than the trucker atlas and has STAA truck approved routes highlighted to help route selection.
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