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Cross Country Road Trip

If I am driving east to west coast in early October, what should I do to get the car ready (?95 Mercury Marquis with 100,000 miles) and what should I take with me for any car emergency?

If you are driving EAST to the WEST COAST, I recommned one of those US marine corps anphi-wagons. Assume you are starting from Catalina Island and not Hawaii.

If you are driving across the US your car will be comfortable. I have done it 9 times and one of the best companions is one of those plug-in coolers to keep drinks and sandwiches cool.

Just some AAA road maps and a cell phone. If the car checks out OK, you can’t really carry much emergency equipment. One of those emergency tire inflator cannisters could come in handy. Also a jug of wiper fluid.

I carry granola bars as well to munch on, but you will want to stop regularly for coffee and a pit stop.

Since you are driving into the sun all morning, a good pair of sunglasses is a must.

Have a great trip.

Will you take a northern route or a southern route? If you take the northern route, you might pack blankets in case you get stuck in the snow. I was snowed on in mid-September near Denver, and I wasn’t in the mountains yet. I’d include a space blanket an maybe a couple of more traditional blankets. The space blanket will double as a rain coat if you need it.

As far as getting the car ready, the question is how regularly is it maintained? A well maintained car should be ready to go no problem. You are talking about 2,500 miles, or 1/2 of one oil change interval.

A week or two before the trip, have the tires checked for tread depth. If any are getting near the wear indicators or show uneven wear get it checked out. If the car is out of alignment it could wear out tires quickly. If it has been 4,000 miles since your last oil change, have it changed before the trip. At that time they can check all the other fluids and do a safety check to be sure all your headlights, taillights, and turn signals are working.

Things that spoil trips are drive belts breaking, radiator and heater hoses breaking, and batteries going dead. Have someone check these basics before you go and all should go well.

Have a safe trip.

Ask MapQuest or Google Maps for a map and directions. Print them out. Check the fluids and the tire pressures. Make sure that the spare has air in it. Throw a blanket in the car (gets nippy at night even in October) and carry a jacket or heavy sweater. Pay up your AAA membership if you have one, and figure out how you will keep your cell phone charged en route. If you don’t have a cell phone invest in the cheapest Trakfone you can find. If you plan to go more than a few hundred yards from the interstate in the West, put a couple of gallon jugs of water from the grocery store on the back floor or in the trunk.

Cell phone and cash. Make sure all the maintenance items listed in the owner’s manual have been brought up to date. A map would also be nice, even if you have a GPS system.

yah, cell phone with car charger. cash is good, plastic is better (good for late night fuel stops and motels). Also a travel coffee mug (if you are into that sort of thing, lol), a lot of places will cut you a deal on the java, it adds up! oh, and don’t forget the road atlas.

Not much of a sense of humor on this thread I guess.


Essentials: a AAA card, a cell phone, and a charge card.
Nonessentials but nice to have: a well maintained vehicle, a good spare tire, a good road atlas, a plastic storage container with a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels, beef jerky, a small cooler, and extra time for rest stops.

A camera is a nice touch too, not only for the memories but in case something should happen.

And a good pair of shades. You have GOT to have a cool pair of shades.