Question for Rural Drivers

One day dad used sheer momentum to get off of I-5 at the exit for Vader/Ryderwood, two small towns well to the west of the in terstate, But there was a mini mart and diner so even without a cell phone he was where he could call home and leave the van for a few hours while he figured out what to do. Only had 10mi of towing coverage at the time.

I live out in the sticks and things are not that bad. Cell coverage is pretty much everywhere although now and then a dead spot or weak signal but it’s not common.

Main thing out in western OK, KS, and so on is traveling late at night and needing to make a fuel stop. Sometimes gas pumps can be spread out a bit much but that has improved a bit as a number of farmers co-ops have 24 hour pumps that take cards.
Been in a few almost out of gas situations while on a motorcycle and was really sweating those out late at night.

Personally, I usually always travel the back roads as I like to see rural America instead of the same old countless miles of interstates and McDonalds signs.


If I had a dollar for every McDonalds sign and interstate mile marker. I have seen I would never have to worry about money problems for the rest of my life.

+I would prefer to stay almost anywhere but as Vegas. I stayed there for a couple of days because it was the closest place to the Grand Canyon to return the rental car tor free that I had picked up in San Francisco. The soul and money sucking nature of the place turned me off.

By confining yourself to the cities you are missing a lot of great places and people.

About 20 years ago My wife, dog and I were on a cross country trip to explore the northern Midwest and West. , concentrating on State and national parks or just really great scenery.

'We had all but the front searts out of out 8 year old minivan and has suitcases full of clothes for staying in motels and camping gear , air mattresses, sleeping bags, propane stove,kerosene lantern,coolers , canned goods axe,hatchet and saw and a 5 gallon jug of water.
We were in Eastern Montana on the 4th of July and going to take the Highway to the Sun in Glacier National Park. WE arrived at the entrance and there was a sign that the road was closed by a blizzard at the top.

All the motels were full as was the native American run motel and campground. I pulled in there, and went to the desk. They told me they had no room eveb for a camping space. I said, yes, I saw the signs, but I figure that if anyone knows of a place we can spend the night, it is you. He asked how fussy we were. I said, I want a clean bed and bathroom.

He said I know someone that rents motel rooms in the fall and winter to hunters. I will call him and see if he will open up a room. We drove north to the intersection of Big Chief highway and found the small convenience store/gas station and motel.
I went in and met the old couple who owned the place and asked if I could see the room. He handed me the key and I checked it out. The door was delaminatind because of the firce wind and weather in Eastern Montana, the furniture was 1950s blonde modern, the rug was threadbareand the bathroom was from the same era. The bed was great and the sheets snowy white and everything was clean. To our Southwest was a beautiful lake with the mountain range of Glacier Park behind it.

When I went back in the store, he asked me what I thought. I said, Well some of the HBO channels are a little fuzzy has seen better days but I will take it. and the Jacuzzi has seen better day but I will take it. He laughed and said, I open up at 5 am and come down and have some coffee any time after that. He said it amazes me the people who won’t rent a room without a tv because the want to see the scenery they were videotaping because they were to busy to see it .

The room was 25 dollars. No charge for the coffee or conversation.


Cell coverage in many mid-west states isn’t hindered by mountains. Many times the cell companies had to build towers much closer together then they wanted to due to mountains blocking their coverage.

We do a lot of camping during the summer. It amazes me the number of people that have to bring their TV’s and satellite dishes with them. About 20 years ago I started seeing them on the Big Wini’s, now I see people drive up in a small SUV and they spend 10 minutes setting up their tent and then 20 minutes setting up the TV and satellite dish. We bring Cell phones and that’s it.

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Thank you all for your responses. It’s made me feel grateful for having grown up as a “city kid”. I’ve also learned that you are comfortable with that which is familiar to you. I’ve never taken a long (>200 miles )trip by car and don’t intend to do so before I croak. I’ve seen every place I want to see, and, since I’m not a social person, I don’t generally do well meeting new people.

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Those Golden Arches don’t represent french fries to me… they represent a bathroom stop, the OTHER yellow arch… :laughing:

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Fast food joints and convenience stores exist for me as nothing more than venues for restrooms. Okay… I will confess to buying a cold drink (or maybe two) at a convenience store in an entire year, but overall, those places are just semi-convenient places to relieve myself.

None of the convenience stores around here have public bathrooms anymore. Most of our highway driving is driving back to NY to visit relatives which means traveling on I-90 which has multiple rest stops.

Heading back to Wisconsin from Glacier Park decades ago, we went through a small town around 9PM, after sundown. I had a moment of wondering if we ought to stop here and now for gas, but didn’t speak up. Hours later, having passed no open gas stations, now at Empty, we pulled into a saloon. It was closed, but looking through the door glass we saw a few young men in there. Being from the midwest, I figured they were cowboys. They were watching an X-rated video. But I digress.

They told us there was a 24-hour station about 20 miles further on. We didn’t think we’d make it that far, and given the character of the country we’d been passing through, with no town or even crossroads ahead on our map, doubted that there would be such a station. One of the guys, Ed, helped us try to siphon from his Pinto but our improvised rig didn’t work. He followed us as we drove on, so we’d have help if we ran out. Sure enough, there was a big 24 hour mega station, located near a bentonite mine. We filled up, more gas than that old Volvo wagon had ever taken. Ed refused to take money from us. IIRC we bought him a quart of oil.

Points taken: the cowboys were honest when they told us about the next gas station. One fellow, Ed, went out of his way to help a couple strangers. He told us, “My daddy told me, stranger come to town and need help, you help 'im.”

What a country.


Here’s an example of my father’s advice to me. Once, when i was a teenager in the early 60’s, he accompanied me to a high end audio store in Manhattan. I was looking at the new solid state receivers. He whispers in my ear “don’t stay in one place too long, they’ll think you’re casing the joint and call the cops”. That is the world I grew up in. Country folk and City folk live in two different worlds.

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Not necessarily.
When I was a pre-teen, I vividly recall being somewhere outside Valdosta, GA, at night, with my parents, and we pulled into the parking lot of a closed store to check the road map. Two of their local yokel cops ordered us out of the car at gunpoint because we were “acting suspiciously”.

Those “country folk” were none too hospitable, in my opinion. You may wish to differ.

Oh, I thoroughly agree.

I will say there’s ‘city folk’ and there’s ‘New York City folk’. Very different than, say, Cincinnati, where I grew up.


Many people will tell you that there are areas that simply don’t have cell service, but that is not always true. Their cell provider does not service the area but there is a chance that someone does. If you have to call 911, any cell provider in the area MUST accept the call, even from a phone that has NO registered service.

If you don’t need emergency services, then the call just isn’t that important. It can wait.

Similarly, when people state that “French people are rude”, I correct them by pointing out that if they are basing their opinion on Parisians, then–based on my own experience-- their observation doesn’t apply to the bulk of the populace in other areas of France.

Urban life frequently foments abrupt or even rude behaviors, and I believe that is likely to be true in every nation.


This is true!

I am just the opposite my wife says about me there is no strangers in my world just friends that I haven’t met yet.


I have seen people checking in motels carrying a TV always made me wonder why those kind of people even leave home.