Road Trip From Saint Paul MN Area To Asheville NC And Back


I am just wondering what people here do to make their road trips more enjoyable. My family, there are four of us, and I recently drove from the Saint Paul MN area to the Asheville NC area to drop my son off at college. I used to really enjoy road trips, BUT this is one of the longer ones I have done in several years.

So, for my fellow POI members, what do you like and what do you dis-like about long road trips? For example, when we got into Illinois, we suddenly had toll roads to deal with. I suppose it is just another way to finance the roadway, but I became more frustrated when my wife said she thought we may have missed a tollbooth. I figured that it was no big deal. I would simply call later and settle up with them. However, that call was an exercise in frustration and futility. It took over 10 minutes for a live person to answer. Again, I get that. Busy is busy and they have the staff they have. What was frustrating is they said that there would be no way to determine in advance if, or how many, tolls I may have missed. The representative kept telling me that I could get online and send what I thought was the correct amount and list the location that I thought it was! I explained to her that I might not have computer access during their 7 day grace period. WE went round and round a few times, but finally she acknowledged that if I only missed one or two tolls, that nothing would happen if there were no other missed tolls in a two year period! Can anybody from Illinois verify this?

The toll road issue aside, my wife and I would switch off driving to give the other a break. For those that have a partner(s) driving, how often do you switch drivers? My wife is more inclined than I am to drive as long as possible without stopping. I, on the other hand, am actually sort of glad when one of the kids wants to stop at a rest area. Even if mother nature isn't calling, it feels good to get out and stretch my legs. How often do others here stop? If I recall correctly, I have read that some people get out of the vehicle a few minutes every hour or so.

To pass time as a passenger, I would listen to streaming audio from my smartphone and look at some things on my 7 inch tablet. Do other here surf the web while riding as a passenger? Do you use a laptop computer or a larger tablet?

A few year back, I had amateur radio gear in my vehicle and that would help me stay alert. It was fun to talk to others in the area on the ham radio. They could often give tips on places to stop and other places to avoid.

I have written in some other posts about navigation. I will likely continue to use my Garmin Nuvi 3597, supplemented by Google maps on my smartphone. I may also test Waze, TomTom, Navigon, etc.

Illinois tolls

Jum, My daughter just went through a similar experience with the Illinois toll booths on a trip to Chicago. Because of poor signage and visibility issues from traffic and high profile vehicles next to her, she accidentally went through the EZPASS only lanes on 2 occasions (she doesn't have EXPASS). So like you, she tried to make it right by calling and using the online payment form. But not being familiar with the area, she had no idea which toll booths she missed, and was unable to get any help. She eventually just made a couple of guesses and paid, hoping that will keep her from getting a fine. But what a PITA. If she goes again, I am going to get her an EZPASS.

Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 51LMT-S, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

Tolls and what to do

To start out with I drive solo and do so for 2.500 miles in the fall to Mexico returning in the spring, and do things along the way to keep me alert. Stupid stuff like seeing how many out of state cars I see as well as other diversions. Gotta keep alert!
As for toll roads, I absolutely hate them and avoid them at all costs so my Garmin is set to avoid them. Having said that once I drive in Mexico, I use as many as are on my route and gladly pay the tolls. Of course I have to change the setting on the Garmin in Mexico so I don't get the constant nags. There is NO way to avoid paying the tolls for various reasons in Mexico !!!

Nuvi 2797LMT, DriveSmart 50 LMT-HD, Using Windows 10. DashCam A108C with GPS.

Long trips...

A couple of things I do that for me makes a trip somewhat more interesting. Set the zoom so that at highway speeds (60+) the screen is zoomed out so that it displays 5 or more miles around my current location so that I know something about the area I am in, miss paper maps for that. Use 3D mode so that I get a general view of the terrain, only works well if your unit supports the DEM file (3597).
Also Sirius XM for background music, etc. Don't have to find a new station every 100 miles or so.
And I do have an EZPass transponder.

Avoid the tolls

From St. Paul to Asheville you could have avoided all but one toll by avoiding Chicago. It's about 50 miles farther, but time wise, especially if you hit Chi Town during the rush, about the same. Through Wisconsin south on I39 past Rockford, the one toll you will pay, to Normal, Ill. Then East on I74 to Cincinnati. Then South on I75 to Knoxville. Then I40 to Asheville.

Now that I'm a bit older, and wiser, I don't make a trip like that in one shot. Pick one or two overnight stopping spots with something interesting to visit, recommended restaurant, etc. One of the great reasons to visit POI factory. I've recently found a YouTube channel who's closing phrase is "Travel slow and stop often". Not bad advice.

My wife doesn't like driving interstate, so I do all the driving. We listen to books on CD to help pass the road time.

Road Trip

I take several days now when I do a trip. I just take my time. Since my wife and I are retired, no sense in hurrying to get where we are going.

3790LMT; 2595LMT; 3590LMT, 60LMTHD

Road Trips

When my wife and I travel, we take the Garmin, Ipod, Kindle, Laptop computer and Samsung tablet for entertainment.
My Ipod has 3700+ songs or symphonies on it for areas that are devoid of good music radio stations.
My Garmin has Historical Markers TourGuide for most of the states I will visit so I do not have to stop and read them. I did it myself but have not finished California and then will do Texas.
I also have a file from the website "Road Food", Diners Drive Inns Dives with other restaurants that we have eaten at and liked. I just entered from the TV show on PBS" A Few Good Pie Places" with some of my own places we like.
I have from this website uploaded rest areas and truck stops for necessary stops. I did delete the Kybo rest areas.
I also have "Train Wrecks USA" TourGuide which I also created. If I come within 2 miles of where a wreck occurred, It will tell me about it.
I have many others and am trying to dream up others for it breaks up the dull spots.
I am using a 16gig card which also has the maps on it.