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Old 02-14-2020, 10:46 AM   #1
Scarecrow
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Default A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

Relocating my Unity from Arizona to Maryland by way of Alabama and Florida and South Carolina...

Just reached the far East side of Mississippi, and here are a few things I've learned on this trip.

1) Even after getting the tires rebalanced, and a front end alignment and a tie rod replaced, I am amazed how hard it is to find a truly level and flat road surface. When you do, it is very noticeable! The Unity tracks true and there is zero shimmy in the steering wheel.

But the vast majority of road surfaces add some unpleasant feedback, such as a steering wheel tremor. So, I can no longer curse the Technicians for not doing their jobs - I think it really comes down to a perfect road surface first.

I have encountered these areas on all the major Interstates that I've driven. So if you know of any where you normally drive, make note of them to use, again, to test your vehicle after servicing, or replacing tires.

2) The surprising States for me have been Arizona and Mississippi, so far - both are very clean! Texas was "not so much". Debris along the roadside is common in the areas in Texas that I traversed. New Mexico was covered mostly with snow squalls, so I couldn't tell.

Texas also has some strange-to-me road features. Such as "frontage" access roads that force you to veer across oncoming lanes to get back on the Interstate. Or weird departure lanes where you have to trust people coming from your blind passenger side to yield as you exit the Interstate. That was unnerving!

3) I love roadways that have their routes emblazoned on the road surface. This helps to confirm which lane you should be in. I do not recall ever seeing this on the East Coast.

4) I hate those areas where Route Signs are tens of miles apart. If not for my GPS, there were times I would question if I took a wrong turn or lane change, but might have to wait, seemingly forever, to confirm what route I was on by the next sign.

5) I will NEVER eat at an Iron Skillet Restaurant EVER AGAIN! The worst meal I've had in my life (next to being forced to eat liver by my parents when I was a child!).

6) No matter how hard I try to find the lowest-priced diesel, as soon as I fill the tank - 10 miles later there are stations that are as much as 50 cents per gallon cheaper!! I must be cursed in that regard.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

I love hearing about your experiences! I second having the road information painted on the road itself, its great for validating we were heading the right direction!
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

I'm really happy that somebody here mentioned free camping at Cracker Barrel. It has changed my entire perspective of long-distance traveling. There were three RVs here near Meridian, MS last night. Not a lot of noise until my alarm clock went off about 3am... you know... the guy emptying the trash tubs into the dumpster! :-)

Train in the distance reminded me of home.

Large group of Mormons just arrived for breakfast. Gotta go!! They are all teenagers. May be Quakers or Amish.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

Jeez... I had the same experience, but have always loved liver & onions -- but only pork liver, not beef. (Now pickled tripe, that's a different story!)

Ditto on the Cracker Barrels -- we often park there while on the road and get breakfast in the AM. Great sausage gravy & biscuits! (Plus 3 eggs, ham, etc...)
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

Chicken gizzards!
Who the hell ever thought "Those look appetizing. Yummy!"

Yummy, my ass...
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

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... I am amazed how hard it is to find a truly level and flat road surface. ...
I am shocked, shocked I say, that a man of your years, wisdom and experience is just now amazed at the lousy condition of this country's roads. That is not to say that they are all bad. Large stretches of I-75 are in great shape, and so are most of the roads in Florida. However, we live in Michigan, where we haven't seen good roads in our lifetime. Want to jar you fillings out? Drive I-69 from Lansing to Port Huron. The stretch around Flint requires reducing speed to under 45 mph.

Here is what we have learned:

1) Asphalt is generally smoother than concrete, even new concrete. Why road contractors can't match square to square is beyond me.

2) Applying rule #1, we usually try to avoid interstates, relying instead on state and secondary national highways. They are almost always asphalt, and in pretty good shape. Yes, it's slower, but you get to see a lot of really neat small towns, and there is usually a lot less traffic. And, there is almost always a local restaurant with a lot of vehicles around it that puts out amazing food!
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

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I'm really happy that somebody here mentioned free camping at Cracker Barrel. It has changed my entire perspective of long-distance traveling.
We have never overnighted at a Cracker Barrel. Early in our Unity experience, we tried, but every one we saw had a pretty small parking lot that was always jammed. So, our go-to free campgrounds became:

1) Camping World: Now, you need to ask (like Walmart), but we have only been turned down once. Something about a city ordinance, and electric fence, etc. The CW in Byron, GA even lets you plug into a 30 amp outlet. Easy in and easy out. They just ask that you be gone by the time they open in morning.

2) Cabella's / Bass Pro Shops: Many Cabella's have designated RV sections of their parking areas, some with water and sewer pump outs.

3) Walmart: This is definitely tightening up, as more and more Walmarts are banning overnight parking. Best chances are around smaller towns, and definitely not in vacation or resort areas. We have stayed at a Walmart in Lexington, KY at least a dozen times. Always a good night's sleep. Just stay away from the semi's, some of which run all night long.

It's courteous to buy something in thanks for your stay. Who doesn't need something from Camping World (toilet paper), Cabella's (steak rub) or Walmart.

If you pre-plan your stops, Google Earth is a great way to get the lay of the land and scope out where in a lot you might want to park. With a slide, left side to a field of corn, in a location away from a highway, is always a good bet.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

Good ideas, all!!

I believe Camping World owns Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops. I will check them out next.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

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Good ideas, all!!

I believe Camping World owns Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops. I will check them out next.
Nope.. CW bought Gander Mountain and Overton's. Bass Pro bought Cabelas.
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Old 02-15-2020, 02:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: A Few Things I've Learned on This Trip

Why support some chain restaurant or market? If you are going to spend money.......
Support the local small business man who invested His money in a campground!
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