Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Big Trip

Update below: major shift in plans!

I've decided to take a Big Road Trip by myself this summer -- next week to be specific -- and would like to solicit some reader advice.

First leg of the journey: Austin, TX to La Grande, OR.

Second leg: La Grande, OR to Seattle, WA.

Final leg: Seattle, WA to Vancouver, Canada.

This is the route Google Maps suggested for the first part of the journey. (I have done this exact route in reverse with my husband.) Here's an alternate route -- it's a little longer, but maybe it has advantages?

Here's the info I need:

  1. Is there a better route than the one Google Maps has suggested? I've done the Seattle to Vancouver route a million times, so I'm more concerned with the initial part of the journey.

  2. What are the safe limits to hours of driving per day? I can easily handle 8+ hours of continuous driving (minor breaks for fueling and meals). Is 10 hours feasible? 12? What are the best hours to be on the interstates?

  3. What should I do if my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere? Fortunately, it looks like my cell coverage includes the majority of the route. I think I have roadside assistance through my insurance. But general advice about what steps to take and what to watch out for would be helpful.

  4. I'm thinking strongly of taking my .45 on this trip, since I'll be a gal alone on the open road. I'll be checking for state laws, but please feel free to offer your $0.02. Any advice for someone packing heat for the first time on a road trip? I'm driving a Mazda Miata, so my concealment options are rather limited.

  5. General advice? Anything I haven't covered here?
Update: My advisor has talked me into attending a symposium at UC-Santa Cruz at the last minute -- how can I turn down three days at the beach all expenses paid? -- so I am taking this route west and will probably stay on 101 going most of the way north with a stop on the Oregon coast somewhere. Then I'll take this route on the return trip. I can carry my .45 through TX, NM, and AZ, but I gotta pack it up at the USSR CA state line. (Kevin, if you're reading this, I wish I could stop and say hello, but I will be blasting through all the way to L.A. from El Paso, which is gonna take me 12 hours as it is. You're probably buried in work anyway.)


Blogger carnaby said...

Take the second route. You can open carry the whole way. The only problem is Utah, in which the chamber of your .45 must be empty (full mag OK) unless you have a permit. Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are all a no-go on open carry.

Further, Oregon, Washington and Utah are a no on car carry. Oregon is actually OK if you keep the gun in plain view and stick to NE Oregon only. DO NOT GO THROUGH PORTLAND LIKE THIS!

New Mexico you can carry any way you like IN YOUR CAR. Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado, you can carry in your car in plain view, i.e. on the dashboard or in the passenger seat, or in an open carry holster.

Your best route would be TX, NM, CO, WY, ID, WA if you can manage it.

In Washington, just take the magazine out and put the pistol in it's box.

7/26/2007 3:40 PM  
Blogger Gringo_Malo said...

The Texas DPS has a reciprocity list here. Be careful, some of the agreements are unilateral, meaning that Texas recognizes permits from some states that don't recognize ours. TSRA has a reciprocity map in PDF here.

All of the states you'd pass through to get to Oregon and Washington have reciprocity with Texas. I've checked both the map and the list. Oregon and Washington do not recognize Texas CHLs, which is what I'd expect from the left coast.

I haven't ever driven up to the Pacific Northwest, so I can't advise you about routes. If you're a AAA member, you can request a TripTik from them and compare it with Google and Mapquest directions. Mapquest also allows to set some criteria for route selection. At least you can choose between shortest time and shortest distance.

7/26/2007 3:42 PM  
Blogger carnaby said...

Washington reciprocity is not bad, actually. Oregon has reciprocity with nobody. Stickwick hasn't gotten off her lazy duff and gotten a permit yet anyway, so it's moot.

She needs to get a UT permit, then she'll get Washington too.

7/26/2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger carnaby said...

Also, Stickwick, regarding your plans, gimmie a call so we can reschedule. Our plans are different than we thought.

7/26/2007 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking a guns into Canada needs Canadian paperwork and a permit $50 and US customs paperwork I believe. You need to do it before you try to enter Canada. Dont think they will allow handguns unless you can show you are going to a competition type event
See the info on these links

7/26/2007 4:48 PM  
Blogger carnaby said...

Stickwick is leaving her guns with her brother in Seattle, that would be me :)

Stupid Canada.

7/26/2007 4:49 PM  
Blogger Gringo_Malo said...


Ain't no such thing as a UT permit. Texas law prohibits firearms on school campuses with or without a concealed handgun license. It's a third degree felony. It's my impression that the Travis County DA is a liberal Democrat, so I wouldn't want to be caught with a gun at UT.

7/27/2007 6:07 AM  
Blogger carnaby said...

Oh, heh, I didn't mean "Univeristy of Texas" permit, I meant "Utah" :)

7/27/2007 7:49 AM  
Blogger Mr. Completely said...

On the segment between Seattle and Vancouver, why not take the car ferry to Whidbey Island, stop by Castle Completely on the S. end of Whidbey for lunch/dinner/whatever (on KeeWee and I!) then drive the length of Whidbey and across the Deception pass bridge (Google Deception Pass bridge) , for some pic's, from there drive Chuckanut Drive (See to Bellingham, then an easy freeway drive in I-5 from Bellingham to Vancouver. Whidbey and Chuckanut drive are some of the most spectacular scenery in W. Washington.

As to hours on the road, just go by how you feel. Weather, visibility, traffic, and navigation, will all vary your fatigue rate on different sections of the drive. Eight to ten hours should be fairly do-able. Twelve or even more isn't that hard.

Have a good trip!!

..... Mr. C.

7/29/2007 6:33 PM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

What a lovely offer, Mr. C. I remember that Chuckanut Drive was very pretty the one time I drove it. My father may be with me for that portion of the trip, but if he is not able to come then I may just take you up on your offer!

7/30/2007 7:58 AM  

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