All posts by danamite

Driving Speeds of California

Traffic Lanes & Driving Speeds

hwysaab

california freeways

# 1 lane # 2 lane # 3 lane # 4 lane
the passing lane cruising lane truck lane merging lane
speeders: 80 mph avg speed: 70 mph avg speeds: 65 mph avg speed: 55 mph

The chart above is NOT considered legal speeds, but they are kinda realistically what to expect on the FREEWAY. Interstates and busy freeways in California get cranking and CHP is usually out in force, earning revenue for the state, as well as ensuring the safety of the roads.

Senior drivers, tourists & outta state visitors be warned – the closer you get to a big urban area, the higher speeds and the more aggressive the drivers will be. More commerce, means more trucks and delivery drivers. Southern California is notorius for bad traffic jams, and the Bay Area ain’t much better – just more spread out w/ bridges. Large 18 wheeler rigs and SUVs kill with impact, so slow down a little folks.

gasoline

So much for Sammy’s “Can’t Drive 55”

Californians can’t drive anywhere near 55. Now that the laws have increased the statewide speed to 65 or 70 mph, there is no stopping ’em. Unfortunately the average speeds are increasing all over the west, as people zoom from place to place, city to city, in a never ending transient society. This leaves way more dirt roads and rural backcountry highways left to us Escapers.

TIP: Exit the rat race & take your time, for your sanity sake & safety… slow down.

On average 3500 people die on California roadways each year.
Texas has even more driving deaths, but a lot lower population. 80 mph, go figure.

Fatality Facts State by state

califrepublic

freewaybackup

where is that high speed rail?

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California State Route (SR) =
CA Highway (Hwy)

The freeway speeds above do not apply to narrower state routes and rural county highways. Most of these are one lane blacktop in each direction and are labeled 55 mph. Maybe slower for curves, tunnels and bridges. Be alert when driving and know that cell phone service is not always abundant on the back roads. At any time you can experience: wildlife crossing, rock slides across the road, downed tree (or branches) in the roadway, stalled vehicles w/ stranded motorists, heavy rains, snow blizzard, hail, sleet, ice, or any other hazards that accompany typical backcountry travel.

snow

No Guard Rails

La Porte Snow

California Highways
California: Outside

Camp Kitchen Care

Care & Cleaning of Camping Gear

actionpackers

Care for your Mess Box –
Camp Kitchen Equipment & Cooking Gear:

Camping should be stress free & fun. Something to look forward to. Good preparation in advance can make the start of your trip a breeze. Store all your camp gear in one common area – stacked, cleaned and ready to roll for the next adventure.

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  • No matter how tired you are after a long trip, do not stick that kitchen storage box away in the garage or basement. You may discover bugs, soiled dishes & the mold from hell months or years later when you go to use it again.
  • After every camp trip, bring the mess box into your kitchen at home and take time cleaning it and restocking.
  • Over the next few days clean every dish, pot, pan, skillet. Replace those usable goods: paper plates, towels, plastic forks, etc. A printed list of essentials may help you stay organized, so as not to forget anything.
  • Besides spices, canned goods, do not store ANY FOOD items in this box, as it will only attrack rodents and bugs while in storage.
  • This mess box is an excellent place to store a portable water filter and camping fuel canisters. These two important items can be used in an emergency or during a power shut off.
  • Repack the entire mess box as if it is ‘ready to go’ again & then put it away. It will be a nice treat to easily access your goods the next time you wanna bolt out the door for a spontaneous camping trip.
  • Repair or replace any broken items. Stock fuel canisters and batteries; Change out burnt lightbulbs.
  • A mess box also doubles as a survival box, so if you store it in an easy-to-access place in your home or garage, you will be able to get to it during or after an emergency situation.

stove_coleman

Dirty, baked on charred mess all over the stove top. HINT: never use oven cleaner on your camp stove top. It will burnish it, dull the finish & it won’t be looking shiny anymore. Baked on goo is only gonna come off with elbow grease & a good scrubber sponge.  (Or maybe SimpleGreen cleaner). Even the steel wool soap pads leave weird marks on aluminum metal surfaces. BE CAUTIOUS w/ cleaners on your camp stove.

storageshelves

Make a place for it! Put all your outdoor gear in the same spot in your home; the garage or closet may be the best place, but the kitchen or entry hall could also be a decent site. This way you know where everything is, right? The headache of preparing for a camp trip will be minimal once you get organized. Store all camping related items on your camping shelf.

indianflat

ALWAYS LEAVE A CAMPSITE CLEANER THAN YOU FOUND IT

Each year more of our public lands are being CLOSED off to “us” because of OUR neglect. Litter, graffiti, ammo trash and off-roading abuse can be good excuses for the rangers to close our precious forests and deserts. Be a good steward of the land and teach others the proper ways to enjoy nature, without destroying what little we have left.

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biodegradable soapsCamp Soaps!
don’t pollute the streams, use biodegradable soaps

Large refillable 5, 7 or 10 gallon water containers are available with a faucet type fitting. Look for brands that are BPA free, so you can be assured you’re not drinking chemicals that leach from plastic into your precious water.

Store the water container up high, with the lid off & a rag in the opening to prevent mold, a funky smell or bugs crawling inside.

airout

cloth bag
SOLO TRAVELERS TIP: Cloth bags are handy for camp dishes.

food

Comparing Camping Cookware

Cast Iron – griddles, skillets and dutch ovens have stood the test of time and hold up longer than any other option. Cast iron cooking is DanaMite’s favorite, especially for cooking right on the campfire. It’s the only “over the fire” cookware that can handle hot coals and direct flames. Foil liner or parchment makes clean  up quick.

With all that being said, cast iron is not for backpacking, due to the excess weight. Numerous backpacking cookware setups exists and new inventions are always coming to market. Search for light weight cooking stoves and cookware.

Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimers and dementia, so it’s best not to cook with cheap aluminum pots and pans. Some high tech, non-stick, backpacker brands of cookware may be made of anodized aluminum and will be of higher quality. As long as the the anodized surface isn’t scratched or chipped, it is safe to use.

Non-stick cookware. Clean up is already a pain when camping. Why not make your camp life easy? Teflon. Well, first off. Teflon is now known to be harmful to humans and bad for the environment. Secondly, toxic fumes can be emitted from teflon pans, at high temperatures.

And if all else fails and you’re really in a pinch, you can use the small sauce pan from home. Just don’t tell anyone.

bare bones basics

see also –

wash tent in tub

how to wash your tent (coming soon)

how to clean camping gear (coming soon)

cleanout

camp

Helpful Routes

Southern California Short Cuts

Must head North out of LA? Skirting the backside of Los Angeles is always a possibility on a FRIDAY night. Taking 15N, 10W, 210W will put you in the opposite direction of most of the bad traffic flow.

Merge back up with I-5 North of San Fernando Valley. If you must get West to the coast, the Simi Valley 118, or the 126 through Fillmore, is the best option.

camp in routeRvs camping in route

Plenty of jump off spots for overnight camping on the Grapevine, inside Angeles National Forest & Los Padres National Forest.

food

#1 – Avoid Los Angeles area, if possible. This will add 1-4 extra hours on to your road trip depending on the ‘hellish & hectic’ reasons this area normally experiences. If you must venture through, try doing so at night after dark. Gas up and eat a meal before you reach this area, to avoid needing to stop in L.A.

gasoline

Watch out for frequent Cal-Trans freeway closures starting
in the midnight hours.

Inland Crawl: The Interstate 91 & Interstate 10 Eastbound are both bad situations during winter months due to Palm Springs weekenders & if snow is decent, the Big Bear ski crowds.

Angeles Forest Hikes Los Padres National Forest Maps San Berdardino mountains

desert roads

california

Lets face it, Vegas traffic back to Cali sucks.

The Interstate 15 is the main corridor that gets backed up on Friday nights Northbound at the I-10 & the I- 215 junction.

 

 

Southbound on Sundays is awful from Barstow to San Bernardino. An alternate route is historic Route 66 & avoid the bumper to bumper in the high desert Mojave region.

OLD ROUTE 66, anyone?

 

 

Driving from Southern California

Headed to the Eastern Sierra or Death Valley – Make sure to take Interstate 15 straight up to US Highway 395N. The turn off is just south of Victorville. On the Road – gas up & quick food stop on US 395 available in Adelanto & in a region known as ‘Four Corners’ @ Highway 58 junction.

Be warned: It can get a little congested on Friday nights. An alternate is Interstate 15N to Interstate 215N to avoid most of the traffic from the west.

Typical afternoon rush hour problem spots in San Diego.

A small detour, if traffic is bad on Hwy. 78 in North County San Diego & you are headed Interstate 15 North. Twin Oaks Valley Road leads right up to Deer Springs Road & the Avocado Highway known as 15.

Population in SoCal has increased in the past 30 years and surely the traffic problems are worse than my memories. When you get sick of it, head to North, to any part of rural California. Where traffic lights are few and space is plenty.

State Atlas Maps

Regional Maps

camptruck

dangerous

NOTE: I am keeping the old screen shot maps from MapQuest on this page to prove my age and experience on such topics. And I thank you for using my independent California site. DanaMite

Areas to Avoid

Areas to Avoid if at all possible

traffic hell L.A.
Los Angeles is Traffic Hell, at any time of day

Charts below are from DanaMite’s  experience of living and driving in Southern California from 1990-2009.  Some of these areas may have become better or worse, depending on local circumstances and populations.

Traffic Jam Freeways:

San Diego

SD (4-6 pm)
Northbound 805/5 merge
Northbound 15/163 merge
Northbound 15 to Hwy.78
Eastbound 8 thru Mission Valley

Los Angeles

LA / Orange County (4-8 pm)
Northbound 405 LAX to San Fernando Valley.
Southbound 5 – Orange Co.
Eastbound 91
Eastbound 10

fleeing from SoCal –

  • Leave from work before 3 pm , if not
  • Don’t rush, take your time, leave after 6 pm
    (make sure you let the innkeeper know that you’ll be arriving late, and they’ll get quite upset after midnight)
  • Save yourself cash & stay only one night – Saturday Night (altho some places, esp B&Bs usually require a 2 night minimum stay)
returning to SoCal –

Sundays 3 pm – 9 pm – almost all major arteries coming into a city can get backed up.
Grapevine/ Tejon Pass from Bakersfield, I-5
US Hwy 101 South, from Santa Barbara can get bad
I-15 Westbound coming from Las Vegas
I-10 Westbound coming from Palm Springs
Hwy. 91 Westbound coming from the East

hwy highway

 

I80traffic

your escape route outta town
preplan for freeway gridlock – before you get stuck in it.

Region – San Diego
freeway days times problem areas 
5 N weekdays 4-7pm 805 merge to Encinitas
15 N weekdays 3-6pm Mira Mar to Escondido
8 E weekdays 4-6pm Mission Valley
to LaMesa
5 weekends 11am-4pm summer months
– beach traffic
5 near Del Mar all week 11am-7pm Horse Races
JUNE – SEPT
Region – Los Angeles
freeway days times problem areas 
5 N weekdays 4-7pm Orange County to LA
5 S weekdays 4-7pm LA to Orange County
405 N all the time 1-9 pm LAX airport to San Fernando Valley
405 S weekdays 4-7pm LAX airport to Long Beach / Orange County
405 weekends 10am+ summer months – beach traffic
10 E weekdays 3-7pm jct of Interstate 605 to Interstate 15
91 E weekdays 4-7pm winter months: Big Bear ski traffic can be heavy until 11pm

freewaybackup

metro / metropolis

Term used to differentiate a single city from a grouping of cities. Large urban centers draw in the good and bad – crowds, businesses, services, criminals and the homeless. The city centers will have hospitals, grocery, fast food, restaurants and big box chain stores.

califrepublic

Illegal raves and outdoor parties, with unruly young people can also be found in rural or forested areas. If you come across an abundance of cars and vehicles, parked along the roadside in a remote area, you will find a large event nearby – if you follow the blasting electronic music. Drive many miles away (to another spot) if you are seeking a quiet camping experience.

star

After Dark: World Gone Crazy

Civil Unrest in Cities:

2020 UPDATE – In this time of uncertainty, we feel it necessary to let you know about real-life threats and cautions you should consider while traveling. Lockdowns, curfews and criminals are now bigger concerns, along with the growing police state. Recently released inmates: Criminals will more likely prey on people and property at night, when less people are out and less light will protect their identity.

FREAKS COME OUT AT NIGHT. Protestors that plan their marches during the day are safer, and are way different than the restless ones who choose hit the streets after dark. The thugs, hoodlums, and kids (who seek the thrill of danger) are more likely to be out and about at night. Looting, arson and violence escalates after the sun goes down.

  • DO NOT travel or drive at night inside a large city or metropolis.
  • DO NOT visit an unfamiliar city or metropolis, at night.
  • DO NOT dine out in a city or metropolis, at night. If you need to shop, do so in daylight hours.
  • DO NOT park on the street overnight; find a parking lot, or a private driveway – to leave your vehicle while you sleep.
  • GIVE your timeframe and itinerary to someone you trust, and stay in contact throughout your travels.
  • NEVER leave anything inside your car, as these unknown items are just a reason for the possibility of a break-in. Always lock your  vehicle and set the alarm.
  • REFUELING/RECHARGING your vehicle in a city is often necessary while traveling; Choose a freeway exit outside of the city center and use a well lit gas station or recharging station. Lock your vehicle if you need to go inside.
  • BE CAUTIOUS of strangers that approach you out in public with questions or small talk. Thieves often use this strategy to catch you off-guard. Couples walking around with a gas can, asking for spare change, can also be a set-up to take advantage of you. Tweekers and drug addicts will use a wide variety of tactics, so be aware of their behaviors when you see them.

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