Two Things That Could Affect Your Travel This Summer

Interstate Traffic
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Our Most Recent Trip-Unfortunately We Took Interstates

We just completed a 2,000 mile trip that covered 10 states. This was a short trip to do some visiting and to also crash a 50 year high school reunion up in Michigan (more about that later). As a result, we had a lot of driving to do in a pretty short amount of time. We had friends to stay with, so we didn't take our small travel trailer this time.

Crazy Gas Prices, not just on the Interstates

Gas Prices are Crazy Right Now

Obviously, you already know that gas prices are at an all-time high. On a 2,000 mile trip like this, it's a bit shocking every time you have to fill up the tank. In less than two weeks time (May 2022), we found prices from $3.899 to $4.799 per gallon. Fortunately, since we didn't have the trailer on this trip and were able to drive our Accord . It gets about 30 miles per gallon, which is a lot better than the 15 miles per gallon our Tacoma gets when pulling the trailer. But that wasn't our biggest frustration with this road trip.
Construction on the Interstates

Another Reason to Avoid the Interstates

If you've been following me for long, you know how I feel about avoiding the Interstates. (If not, you can learn all about our preferred way of traveling in this article I wrote a while back: Enjoy Your Drive and Avoid the Highways.) Well, now I have another reason to hate traveling by Interstate.

A lot of our trip was like the photo at the top of this page. However, we hit a ton of places that were more like the picture above. Every one of the 10 states we traveled through had construction projects on the Interstates. We ran into a lot of places where there was only a single lane open. As you can imagine, this meant a lot of traffic backups.

Map of our route on old highways

So, For Our Next Trip...

I'm not really sure the Interstates saved us that much time on this trip. I do know that taking old highways like we usually do would have certainly been a lot more enjoyable and less stressful.

When we head down to Florida later this summer, the Interstates will be off my list (at least for the most part). I'm going back to my usual approach of taking old highways and backroads. I'm sure it will take a little more time, but without the construction backups on the Interstate, it may not be that much.

My Recommendation

If you think this is worth considering, be sure to have some good printed maps when planning out your trip, and then take them with you. GPS is great to get an overall plan and to help along the way, but when avoiding the highways, you can often find adjustments in your route that don't add much time but are a lot more interesting and better (like 5 minutes longer to take an old 4-lane highway instead of a 2-lane one). This is particularly common within cities, where GPS will save you one minute and take you through an old neighborhood instead of on a main road. I have a great atlas that I ordered from Amazon that I really like. If you need one, you can check it out here.

Also be sure to check out the article I mentioned above for some more thoughts and tips. (Enjoy Your Drive and Avoid the Highways.) It will help you understand why this appeals so much to me.

Most importantly though, just be sure to allow time and plan for road construction if you are traveling this year. As always, send me a note if you have any questions or think I can be of help.
- Denny

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Denny Johnson

Denny Johnson

After having spent most of our adult life in Orlando, my wife Fay and I moved to Knoxville, TN in 2020. We are loving the change of seasons and being near the mountains. Plus, this part of the country is loaded with great places to camp.
 
We camped years ago with a pop-up camper, but got serious about it when we purchased our Casita in 2014. There was a lot to learn as we started traveling with it, and a lot of conflicting opinions on line. That's when I decided that creating a website would be a good retirement project. I started tinyTowable.com to share things we've learned along the way that have worked well for us in hopes that the information would be of help to others.
 
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6 thoughts on “Two Things That Could Affect Your Travel This Summer

  1. We did 1500 miles over 10 days, getting home the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend – Virginia to NY, 10 nights camping at 3 parks, then back to VA. Used just over 100 gallons of gas averaging a little over 15 mpg. Gas was probably $3 a gallon when we planned the trip and I’d ballpark I averaged about $4.70/gallon on the trip, so the delta was $170. If a $170 increase in costs over a 10 day trip ruins the trip, you couldn’t afford the trip in the first place.

    I suspect all the construction is a result of the Federal infrastructure bill from last year. I too plan my route with a Rand McNally and use Google to help with routing around traffic when needed, or navigating cities and towns when sightseeing. Although I usually have to add a couple of fake intermediate stops on the trip to force Google to use the route I want, as Google always wants to send you via Interstate highways.

    1. I agree with all you’ve said Chris. We were just taken by surprise with all the construction and I was hoping my article my help a few others to plan for it in advance.

      In case you are unaware of it, Google does have an option when creating a map to “Avoid Highways”. When checked, it will not use Interstates. I find that it still needs some tweaking though to get the route I want. I usually use it just for initial suggestions, than let Google use the Interstates and I make the adjustments as you suggested. As much as I hate it, on longer trips, I usually end up with the need to incorporate some Interstate.

  2. Denny I’m 78 so can talk on some of this. Back in my much younger days watched a couple of interstates that were being built and very little traffic on them. Mid 50’s in Chicago. Fast forward there are now more cars on the road especially in the big cities that make it a traffic jam continually.last couple of years have seen many more people camping because they were told to stay home to work and they then figured out that if they could connect to the internet in a campground they had the perfect world. We now have crowded interstates and a demand for many more campgrounds. Price of gas is a big thing for the family that has children but in the big scheme of things try to stay local if possible as the kids will still love it. Trying to go 600 miles for a long trip is strictly an adult thing. Just want to touch on the construction stuff going on as I’m originally from the midwest. When winter colds and snow hit all maintenance on the roads stop which leaves the late Spring, Summer and early fall for most of it to be done so don’t ever see that changing. Love your articles Denny!

    1. Thanks for your great comments Bob. I’m only a few years younger than you, and totally agree with everything you said!

      Really glad you enjoy the articles. We’ve not done much camping since we moved a few years ago (more time working on our new home), but hope to get back to it more this year and put more focus on some new articles once again.
      – Denny

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