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I got into a discussion the other day about how to travel. We agreed on most things like, don't drive more than 200 miles a day, keep your speed below 60 if you're pulling a trailer, and find a place to stay for the night by early afternoon. I think those things are pretty normal for most full timers. But when we started talking about what kind of roads to drive on we both had a different opinion.
Their opinion was that you stay on the back roads. Two-lane blacktop's, small towns, real America, and avoid the interstates like the plague. After all you can't see "real America" if you're always driving down the interstate at 60 miles an hour. I agreed that there's a lot to be said for scenic back roads, but I felt they were overlooking some pretty serious downsides. My opinion is that I use the back roads and the interstates leaning mostly towards the interstates. And here's why.
On the Interstates out West there's not much traffic. When you get away from the towns there are long stretches of interstate and not many cars, and I enjoy that because I can put the truck on cruise control, put my brain on autopilot, relax and think about other things and the miles just seem to roll under my tires without much input from me.
If you have a breakdown or a flat tire there's plenty of room on most interstates to pull off the road and get out of everybody's way. Whereas on many two-lane blacktop's I've been on there's often only a very small shoulder or no shoulder at all, but very seldom enough room to pull a trailer completely off the road so you could change a flat tire safely.
If you do have a breakdown and need to be towed that little two-lane road that you're on is probably connected to very small little towns that may not have the facilities to fix your problem or even a tow truck big enough to pull you in.
And when you get to that little town that the two-lane road goes to, your RV fuel tank is sitting on empty and there's only one gas station in town and it doesn't look like your RV will even fit in it. Or it closes every Tuesday so the owner can go fishing, and guess what, ...today is Tuesday.... This actually happened to me. Or the station doesn't sell diesel fuel. That's usually not a problem in the West, but I have had that problem in the South.
Another more serious problem is, the condition of the roads. You can be relatively sure that the interstate is gonna be in decent shape, but the back roads.... Not so much. Back roads can range from great to dangerous, and it's hard to tell which one of those its going to be until you're on it and by then it may be too late to change your mind. A good example is Highway 285 coming south out of Carlsbad New Mexico that I was on a few days ago. It seemed fine when I started but it kept getting worse and worse the farther I went until it got to the point I was getting worried about damaging the Arctic Fox. I made it safely but it was the first time that I had ever had a cabinet door open up while towing the Arctic Fox, and I can only hope that it didn't bend an axle or damage a tire internally.
The last reason and actually the most important reason is safety. I don't think anyone can argue the point that a two-lane blacktop is safer than an interstate highway. After all the interstates were designed to get people places not only faster but safer. As opposed to being unable to sit back and relax like I can on the interstate the two-lane blacktop is more of a white knuckle experience for me. Having cars coming at me at 60 miles an hour and only missing me by 6 or 7 feet is something that requires my constant attention. Oh, and did I mention the speed limit on Texas two-lane roads is 70 miles an hour, that's right, and Texas interstates are 80 mph. So on Texas back roads I get the thrill of pulling an 8 1/2 foot wide trailer at 60 miles an hour with semi trucks coming at me at 70 miles an hour..... What could possibly go wrong with that ? And I won't even mention how much fun it is when people are trying to pass me, I think that speaks for itself.
So I think I will give up a few scenic roads for the safety of the interstate. I still use back roads when I need to but I think people that drive large RVs, and pull trailers on the back roads all the time haven't thoroughly looked at all the things that can go wrong, and how the locals feel about getting stuck behind an RV while trying to get to work.