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Solo road trip?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Would you drive 9 hours by yourself through the middle of nowhere in possible winter weather conditions to visit a friend?

 

I have never driven more than four hours by myself.  Well, once I drove 16 hours alone but that was following behind someone in a different car so I wasn't really alone.  I'd like to take a trip but I keep worrying that it's too far to go without having someone with me.  My car is in good repair.  Is it foolish/unsafe to go that far alone?

post #2 of 12
The nine hours part is not an issue for me. The wintry conditions (I'm assuming ice and snow??) and middle of nowhere would worry me though.
post #3 of 12

I have driven further than 9 hours by myself.  I did stop to eat and the like.  

 

I would not do a nine hour road trip in winter through the middle of nowhere.  I have done a lot of winter driving in my life (every winter…sigh) and it sucks.  Icy or snowy road, low visibility, the possibility of sliding…just no.  I am at the point where I think twice about driving in winter - there is no way I would do a solo 9 hour drive through a remote area.  

post #4 of 12
Well HOW remote are we talking? Im from NY state - so i probably dont have a handle on REMOTE remote can really be! I have routinely driven 8 - 10 hours across NY state - typically with one or two small children in the car with me. i stuck to the main highways so snow and ice removal were fine - i stopped at state thruway stops - well lit, well maintained, open 24 hours etc....
i think if the car is in good repair, - is it so remote the cell phone wouldnt work? i would do it - i dont think its CRAZy risky.
let us know if you go!
post #5 of 12

If you prepare yourself, you can do it!

I would have a weapon of some kind, just in case. Then, pack  food, water, and blankets in case you get stuck somewhere and need to wait for help. Another idea would be to continually call and check in with your husband or friend, and tell them where you are and when you plan to call next. If you don't call when planned, that would be the signal to send for help.

post #6 of 12

I used to travel solo 8+ hours to see a boyfriend at his ranch in a remote area of Montana (no lights visible anywhere, at night; and grizzlies around the ranch house on a regular basis!).  I did this 2-3 times a month, for over a year, back in the 1980's.  

 

Montana winters are not to be ignored and I always packed and planned accordingly.  Warm clothes and a down sleeping bag, some food (energy bars, bad enough that I would need to be desperate to eat them!), water and energy drinks, a shovel, matches, even kindling and pieces of seasoned firewood.  My Dad gave me several flares, just for emergencies, and I carried a couple of lanterns and flashlights (always had fresh batteries and spares, as well).

 

I did not carry a cell phone (not easily available at the time), but I did carry both a .38 and a .45!  Not to put too fine a point on it, I am a crack shot (practiced weekly at a federal law enforcement firing range).  I applied for and was issued a concealed weapons permit from my state.  Law enforcement friends told me that, though my permit had no bearing in another state, the fact that I had one would always carry in my favor should any trouble occur.  I kept one of the guns on the passenger seat, under my purse.  The other, I kept under the driver's seat.

 

I really enjoyed those trips (I missed the trips after I dumped the boyfriend!).   It was very freeing and fun!  I had music to listen to and could stop when I wanted.   I got to know the folks that worked at certain truck stops and mom-&-pop drive-ins.  I knew the route and never deviated from it.

 

That last part is VERY important!!  Once you commit to a trip (especially in winter), stick to the planned route and always let someone know your route and plans.  Leave a copy of your car description and license plate number (my folks had a photo of my car and of me:  full body and close-up).

 

Of course, the obvious goes:  NEVER pick-up ANY hitchhikers!

 

These days, with GPS & cell phones, I wouldn't hesitate to drive alone again.

 

On one of my return trips from Montana, I had to wait for several hours when one of the passes closed due to an avalanche.  I had 15 smoked hams in my car (yup, 15 hams) which I'd bought at a little hole-in-the-wall ham store (they were famous for their hams, which were quite delicious!).  I figured I'd make it until spring, as long as I had a container in which to melt snow to drink!  Happily, I was on my way, again, in 6 hours.  That did make for a looooooooooooong days drive (though the car smelled heavenly)! 

 

So, simply plan ahead and have fun on your trip!

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post
 

I used to travel solo 8+ hours to see a boyfriend at his ranch in a remote area of Montana (no lights visible anywhere, at night; and grizzlies around the ranch house on a regular basis!).  I did this 2-3 times a month, for over a year, back in the 1980's.  

 

Montana winters are not to be ignored and I always packed and planned accordingly.  Warm clothes and a down sleeping bag, some food (energy bars, bad enough that I would need to be desperate to eat them!), water and energy drinks, a shovel, matches, even kindling and pieces of seasoned firewood.  My Dad gave me several flares, just for emergencies, and I carried a couple of lanterns and flashlights (always had fresh batteries and spares, as well).

 

I did not carry a cell phone (not easily available at the time), but I did carry both a .38 and a .45!  Not to put too fine a point on it, I am a crack shot (practiced weekly at a federal law enforcement firing range).  I applied for and was issued a concealed weapons permit from my state.  Law enforcement friends told me that, though my permit had no bearing in another state, the fact that I had one would always carry in my favor should any trouble occur.  I kept one of the guns on the passenger seat, under my purse.  The other, I kept under the driver's seat.

 

I really enjoyed those trips (I missed the trips after I dumped the boyfriend!).   It was very freeing and fun!  I had music to listen to and could stop when I wanted.   I got to know the folks that worked at certain truck stops and mom-&-pop drive-ins.  I knew the route and never deviated from it.

 

That last part is VERY important!!  Once you commit to a trip (especially in winter), stick to the planned route and always let someone know your route and plans.  Leave a copy of your car description and license plate number (my folks had a photo of my car and of me:  full body and close-up).

 

Of course, the obvious goes:  NEVER pick-up ANY hitchhikers!

 

These days, with GPS & cell phones, I wouldn't hesitate to drive alone again.

 

On one of my return trips from Montana, I had to wait for several hours when one of the passes closed due to an avalanche.  I had 15 smoked hams in my car (yup, 15 hams) which I'd bought at a little hole-in-the-wall ham store (they were famous for their hams, which were quite delicious!).  I figured I'd make it until spring, as long as I had a container in which to melt snow to drink!  Happily, I was on my way, again, in 6 hours.  That did make for a looooooooooooong days drive (though the car smelled heavenly)! 

 

So, simply plan ahead and have fun on your trip!

Wow...that must have been some boyfriend! ;-) 

 

I appreciate everyone's responses.

 

When I was younger and more adventurous I may have been excited to take a trip like this (I did many long haul road trips, but never alone).   I guess I have to face the fact that now that I'm older I like things a little more...comfortable?...I don't know if that's the right word.

 

A friend suggested that maybe I wait until spring when the weather is more reliable, there are more hours of daylight, and more travelers on the road. This would be my first time making the drive so it might be easier if I do it during a season with more reliable weather.  As much as I want to see my friend NOW I have realized that I'm too nervous to do this drive alone in the winter.  If it were an emergency situation I would no doubt be out the door in an hour, but seeing that the trip is just for fun I think it would be best to wait for a time I wasn't so ding-dong nervous.

post #8 of 12

I wouldn't stress too much about it if it was on reasonably well-traveled roads. My bet would be the majority of any long-haul trip east of the Mississippi is on either the interstate or a limited-access state or US highway that is maintained like an interstate. I don't know about the western part of the country. Of the road trips I've done with my husband or friends, they all fit this description, and I would be comfortable doing any of them by myself, although my shoulders would get sore.

 

But if you are going to be nervous the whole time, might as well wait until spring for your sanity levels. 

 

My in-laws live in a small town that is an hour from a large metro area... not sure if it qualifies as "middle of nowhere", but you take the interstate all the way to the large city and then a limited-access US highway takes you to their town. 

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post
 

 

 

But if you are going to be nervous the whole time, might as well wait until spring for your sanity levels. 

 

 

I think this is the bottom line. It wouldn't be fun if it were so stressful.

 

I love solo road trips. When YoungSon was 2 weeks old, he and I went on a 2 week cross-county trip. I pulled over in wheat fields, forests, and mountain tops to nurse him, and he was in a sling every minute we were out of the van (rest stops, food, gas stations, etc). We slept in the van, and yes, I was armed. But I really felt no fear, and met some great people along the way. One of the peak experiences of my life!

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by momasana View Post
 

Wow...that must have been some boyfriend! ;-) 

 

I appreciate everyone's responses.

 

When I was younger and more adventurous I may have been excited to take a trip like this (I did many long haul road trips, but never alone).   I guess I have to face the fact that now that I'm older I like things a little more...comfortable?...I don't know if that's the right word.

 

A friend suggested that maybe I wait until spring when the weather is more reliable, there are more hours of daylight, and more travelers on the road. This would be my first time making the drive so it might be easier if I do it during a season with more reliable weather.  As much as I want to see my friend NOW I have realized that I'm too nervous to do this drive alone in the winter.  If it were an emergency situation I would no doubt be out the door in an hour, but seeing that the trip is just for fun I think it would be best to wait for a time I wasn't so ding-dong nervous.

 

Yeah, well to be honest, after a few trips, I was really going because I fell in love with the state, not the boyfriend!  I knew he would, eventually, dump me (he never did anything for more than 2 years!), but I so loved every Montana minute of the trips. I had to keep visiting!

 

I sure missed those trips and the wonderful things I saw & did:  grizzlies in the front yard, a cougar staring down at me from a tree, herds of elk so vast they covered a valley floor, golden eagles so close I could see their eyes looking at me, crawling on my tummy to get close to bighorn sheep, mountain goat kids jumping on the rocks in the spring, huge rattlesnakes sunning themselves on back country trails, waking up to see my car, literally, hidden by drifting snow; and so much more.  Oh, and helping with calving at his Dad's ranch.

 

I even spent three hours, on my own, sitting on a hillside, in the middle of the wilderness.  The boyfriend had to drive back to where we'd been checking on cattle earlier because he'd left his rifle leaning against a tree (I'd put mine in the truck!).  It was a gorgeous day and I didn't fancy a roundtrip, off-road drive which had given me motion sickness (I mean, literally, OFF road, we were driving across his family's ranch and took down fencing to do so!).  So, I told him I'd wait, figuring he'd only be gone for a half hour.  Off he drove and when he was out of range, I realized I'd not taken my rifle out of the truck!  This is prime grizzly country (we'd seen a sow and two cubs an hour earlier!) and it was a stupid mistake for me to make.  I sat near a stand of trees, looking out over an area with towering mountains and no signs of anyone having ever been there, except for the already-fading tracks of boyfriend's truck!  I saw one bear (I didn't have my binoculars) on a distant hillside, but the wind was in my favor so it didn't see me (or, if it did, it wasn't interested!).  So, I watched antelope grazing, golden eagles soaring on the thermals and a rattlesnake.  When he returned, 3 hours later, he was angry at me for not having me rifle!!  He'd been delayed when he found a cow and calf in distress (calf had fallen in a gully) and had to take care of things.  I still wouldn't have missed those 3 hours, feeling like I was the only person on the planet, for anything.  It is a very special memory.

 

Sorry about the digression!

 

What geographic area would your drive encompass??  Give us an idea and we can probably give you some real perspective on your concerns!

post #11 of 12

I make road trips like that regularly. Up until a few years ago my parents lived about 8 hours away. My older brother lives 6 hours away, and my younger brother is a 12 hour drive away. I probably drive to each of their places at least once a year. In the upcoming 2 months we have two trips to my older brother's place planned and one to my younger brother's place. The trips were really nothing to me.

As long as you are traveling main highways, and there are no major storms predicted I'd have not problems going. I always want to make sure I have an emergency kit (mine is usually an old coffee can, a candle, and some toilet paper, as well as some warm blankets), and enough money in my budget for a couple of days in a hotel if bad weather or car trouble does arrive and I end up stranded in a hotel along the way. I try to avoid letting my gas tank go below a 1/2 a tank. I stop when I need to use restrooms, eat, or stretch your legs. I personally, like to make at least one fun stop on the way there or the way back. Even 1/2 an hour stretching your legs at some tourist trap breaks up the trip nicely and prevents me from feeling like I did nothing all day but drive. No matter what time of year, it's best to travel with a cell phone.


Edited by JollyGG - 10/27/13 at 8:38am
post #12 of 12

A 9 hour trip alone seems like no big deal to me.  I've done plenty of solo road trips like that.  Of course, it depends on what you mean by "the middle of nowhere" and how bad the winter conditions might get, but if you'd be on a highway anywhere in the continental US it should be safe enough.  The length of the trip has nothing to do with how safe you are.  There's no reason a 9 hour trip is more dangerous than a 2 hour trip.  It just depends on what the road conditions are like and how isolated you are.  The only real dangers are getting into an accident (if you run into snowy or icy conditions your car can't handle - like if you don't have snow tires or chains and you have to go over a pass where there's snow on the road) or freezing to death if you end up stuck somewhere for too long.  And the freezing to death scenario is pretty darn unlikely.  If you're on a highway (even a 2-lane highway), you're not going to have to wait for hours before someone else comes along.  You probably aren't even going to have to wait half an hour.  And if you have a cell phone, you're even safer (though you may hit areas with no coverage if you're really out in the middle of nowhere.)

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