Staying Alert: Chew gum to stay alert while driving or if you think you are getting drowsy. Even during a beautiful mid-day sun you can become sleepy even though you had a good nights rest. Chewing gum is a long time over the road truckers secret that provides instant relief and immediately increase alertness without the negative effects of coffee, caffeine or energy drinks. Once you do decide to stop for the evening you will be greeted with an immediate sound nights sleep.
Rest Stops: Make frequent rest stops along the way to stretch and relax on your trip. Just a few minutes every couple hours can make your journey much more enjoyable and comfortable. Pre-plan out the rest areas along the highway for easy off and on access. This will save a considerable amount of extra time otherwise lost when using exists to access gas stations.
Fuel Stops: Even if you know where your needle points when empty, once in the American west it is a good idea to refuel before you reach 1/4 tank since there are not many stations out on the open plains, and sometimes there can be 30 to 60 miles between fuel stations. While refueling walk around the vehicle, kick the tires, look under the car for leaks, check the dipstick and just give it a good once over while the fuel is filling. Use one of the smart phone APPs to record fuel usage to later review how your car did using the APP's report statistics. When refueling walk around the car and "thump" the tires to ensure they are not low, check the engine oil level and if dining for lunch, check the coolant level once you are sure the pressure has subsided and cooled down a bit.
Wet Weather Driving: If you are driving your car, avoid driving Interstates and 4 lane highways in the rain. The inherent deep grooves in the pavement from semi trucks can collect water and tend to hydroplane light cars with wide tires at higher speeds. If at all possible park and wait it out, or take a parallel road off the highway which allows you to drive slower and safer until the rain subsides.
Hot Weather Driving: Newer cars with soft tops and roll down rear windows can provide shade in the hot sun with ample airflow for added comfort even in temperatures past 100+ degrees. Older cars with the vinyl single rear window tops may find excessive buffeting past 65 mph with the top up and may not be as practical as the newer three window rear fabric tops in this situation. The hot dry weather of the great plains will tend to suck the moisture out of you even though you may not even appear to be sweating, so keep hydrated at much as possible.
Hotel Stops: After a long day of driving a good nights rest is in order. Typically one in the Great American west you do not have to worry much about showing up at a hotel and not finding a vacancy. Strip motels are usually the best choice as you can park your car outside the door for easy unload and repack the next morning. That alone could save you an hour total, which gives you another hour of driving or rest time. Best westerns are usually decently priced and nicely furnished. Use a smart phone APP that will locate hotels as you drive on the road and select the one that falls in your last few miles of anticipated driving range for the day.
Packing: When packing for your road trip to and from the event, pack a separate overnight bag with only the essentials and a few nights change of clothes. This allows much faster and easier unload and loading during overnight stays out on the road. Also be sure to pack your soft top and especially the tonneau cover on top of the rest of the luggage, so you can easily access it if a sudden rain storm appears. Having a large umbrella in the car can keep you dry while installing the top as well as allow you to just quickly pull over and wait out the storm under the dry umbrella.
Comfort: Find a comfortable pair of ear plugs that reduce wind noise but still allows you to hear clearly. Most ear plugs are designed to block out maximum sound, but you do not want these. Get several shades of sunglasses, darker ones for brighter days and lighter ones for early morning and late evening. Be sure to pack sun block lotion, as the dry high altitude magnifies the browning effect exponentially. Be sure to take along a small foldable cooler where you can store cold drinks, some ice in a ziplock baggie, and your favorite comfort foods such as sandwiches, candies and snacks. Remember, you are on vacation! So indulge yourself and leave Jenny Craig and the salt and sugar demons at home, for just a week. The happier you are behind the wheel, the more memorable the entire trip will be.
Arriving to the Superfest Grounds: If you are arriving in from the west on I-70 you will have the most mountainous terrain to compete with which is spectacular if you are driving your car, and challenging and slow going if you are trailering, but the road should be clear and unobstructed. If you are arriving in from the East (Denver), just a mile from Idaho Springs this is the least challenging terrain to pull a trailer up through but there is a tunnel reconstruction project going on I-70 where there may be some delays due to blasting and construction in the area. If you were going to select a best time to pass through here, weekends or after dark would probably be your best bet. If you are coming from the east and towing a trailer and wish to avoid the somewhat steeper climb up from Denver into the mountains on I-70 there is another way. The scenic and curvy Clear Creek Canyon can handle even a semi trailer but the lesser incline and slower traffic will be easier on tow vehicles without taxing their engine, transmission and cooling system. US Hwy 6 runs parallel to I-70 on the map where you can access US Hwy 6 at Exit 265 on I-70 on the west side of Denver going towards Golden. This exit takes you on Hwy 58 for 5.4 miles to US Hwy 6 which continues straight ahead, and travels another 14.3 miles up into the mountains and before re-entering onto I-70 just east of Idaho springs and the twin tunnels.
Departing for your Trip home: If you are heading west, leaving the Superfest grounds on a Saturday morning early will give you an almost clear open road home. Those heading east will have to deal with the tunnel construction bypass however very early Saturday morning departures before 7:00 am should provide the least resistance. That gets you down into onto the flat lands before 8:00 am where Denver traffic should be light and comfortable allowing you to get out on the plains without much hassle, especially with a trailer. It is not advisable to enter Denver traffic on a Friday unless necessary, especially after 2:00 pm.
Saving time on the road: You can travel one of two ways. One is to embrace and enjoy the journey by taking your time, seeing the sights and partaking in the points of interest along the way. Or, you can maximize time and distance while at the same time not rushing or hurrying. First of all, getting ample rest in the several days leading up to your departure is invaluable! Because the reality is you'll never get a good nights sleep the night before embarking on a trip of a lifetime.
Keep in mind for every hour spent off the road, you would need to drive 5 mph faster for the entire length of 1,000 miles to make up for that. And for every 5 mph slower you drive, it will take an another extra hour to arrive at your destination.
* Example 1: If you live in or have to travel through a heavily populated urban area and wish to avoid traffic, departing early evening and driving late into the night gets you out of town and on the road with a good head start on your trip. Getting up early the next day and taking advantage of your excitement for the journey will get you a long way to your destination without the inevitable fatigue sneaking into the picture. And before you know it, you will be there.
* Example 2: Pack and prepare the night before and rise and shine very early, such as 1:30am, and pull out at 3:00am. By this time the drunks are all home or in the ditch, and the blue collar workers are still making their coffees. You will have a good 2-3 hours of only you, the road, and the moon on your shoulder.
By the time the sun rises you will already have a couple hundred miles behind you. Eating lunch on-the-go saves time. A lot of it. You can easily spend an hour in a restaurant from entering to leaving which is the same as having to drive 5 mph faster for 1,000 miles to make up that hour. By staying fresh and alert, usually only until 7pm will you get sleepy, and stop at 8pm to find a place to rest for the night. After all the first day is the biggest day and you want to get as many miles under your belt as possible while using your excitement to fuel you. Taking into account a few fuel stops and an on-the-go lunch, you have just covered about 15 hours of driving. At an average of 63 mph on the road, that covers about 945 miles. All in one full, but relatively easy day. And none of it rushing at all. Once you are in the open west and speed limits reach 75 mph, you just gained about 2 hours to your destination on a 1,000 mile leg of the trip.
Now Day two is where you can take a breath... you may not want to get up as early. You may want to enjoy a nice sit down relaxing breakfast. However, since you have covered so many more miles on day one, you are afforded these luxuries and have earned them... yet you will still arrive at your destination earlier than by just stretching each day out longer.
Of course some can not, or just simply do not want to cover that many miles. And that's OK! However if you are game, by planning and using every available second to it's fullest (faster refueling, eating on the go) you can make up HOURS of travel without rushing, if time is an issue. Best of all this is all done without speeding or even "pushing it" regarding speed. Just maximizing your time when you are not on the road. It works, however a little differently for everyone.
* Fuel Stops: Other than food stops using up a lot of your road time, fuel stops can accumulate significant downtime which is essentially wasted at a gas station rather than someplace enjoyable, like your destination. With a few tips you can maximize refueling efficiency without rushing.
1. Stop at the pump. If you have a tow rig, let the engine idle for a few minutes while the passenger gets out and begins the refueling process.
2. If you are tracking your progress, take this time to begin entering the fuel data into your log book.
3. Driver gets out and washes the windows, checks the oil and radiator, and thump-checks the tires while performing a brief vehicle walk around.
4. Driver takes over the pump while the passenger walks in for a restroom break and picks up food and drink.
5. Driver finishes refueling and walks into the station and takes a restroom break and pays bill.
6. Passenger returns and finishes up the fuel log entry and empties out any trash that may have accumulated in the cockpit.
7. Driver returns and you are now ready to depart.
This repeated procedure can save 30-50% of the normal time it takes to refuel. Time that can be better spent relaxing at your destination. Keep in mind none of this is rushed, and instead is nice and calm, but in repetitive order so nothing is missed. You can save an hour and a half of driving time on a 1,000 mile trip just by improving your refueling downtime. While many may not care much about downtime, also consider this also lets you drive slower and make more miles and save fuel in the process. By doing so, in total you can save several hours and hundreds of dollars in a 2,000 mile round trip and still get there at the same time.