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Old 4th March 2014, 12:45   #31
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Default Re: Driving expedition in the United States

Great pics mate. I am yet to read the write up.

Completely mesmerized by the beauty of the country side. Cleanliness to the best. The climate too is a plus point. I stay at UAE. The roads are crowded, climate is burning hot and I miss enjoying the lonely country roads.

Anyways thanks for sharing the pics mate.

Cheers.

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
My consistent issues was one: figuring out the right exit in time on the interstate - because you're doing like 60-70 mph and its quite easy to be in the wrong lane, and miss it since you can't cut lanes at the last moment unlike India! (atleast I didnt want to). The paranoia of seeing stop signs everywhere and stopping properly was a minor headache, as was the "free right" concept - I was quite scared of doing it initially unless there was another fellow ahead of me doing it
+1 to this. I can hardly figure out a place using my phone GPS.
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Old 4th March 2014, 17:00   #32
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Default Re: Driving expedition in the United States

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Originally Posted by torque!! View Post
[b]
Ideally your Indian DL should work just fine. But given that you have an L1 and will be there for a month, I would advise you to get a US DL. It should not be a hassle for you since you will be able to get an SSN on L1 papers. And once you have that alongside a valid L1, getting a US DL should be straight forward.

The 6 month validity of IDP/ DL is a bit of a grey area and can be interpreted differently by different people. Is it 6 months cumulative, or 6 months per trip or 6 months with a gap of x years in between is gray - so ride your luck till for the first 6 months and be sure to get a US DL in that period.

Yep, it will. Also helps to rent your car using a good Credit Card. Most good US credit cards have.......uctible or in a very bad scenario, the amount that your Rental Company's insurance doesn't cover.

Is that a real scenario? Oh yes------------ involve a few Jaguars and Mercedes and some property damage thrown in for good measure, you will run out of your primary insurance cap.

You can. But let me explain...
In an ideal world, a thir--------------ot declared that her husband may drive the car, then the insurance company may consider that you tried to hide important information from them and may rescind (cancel/withdraw) your policy (after filing a claim) under the pretext of concea----------- acquaintance, so be cautious.

Make sure you indicate that you will drive your wife's car on her insurance. Given you do not have a wel=-------------om an insurance policy anytime. So, you may consider adding yourself in for a few months and some some money. Your mileage will vary with your insurance company though - some may offer a significant saving, others may not.


Again, my Tom Tom gave a very good experience with those type of weird exits too. It would visually show me how many lanes are exiting. It was an expensive GPS but I considered it money very well spent...
Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
@Shankar - sounds good on the IDP for first trip. But AA & AAA are not compatible. No reciprocal arrangement between the two. I had tried this very thing when I went to US .. but the Americans were smarter
Condor. The AA chaps whom I met just last week assured me that AASI and AAA were affiliated and that I could get various discounts etc as required. Indeed it says AAA on the back of the AA card too...

Torque:
Thanks a lot for your inputs.
Is it necessary to get an SSN for myself at all? Considering I live, work and earn in India and NOT in the US? Other than the DL part do I need an SSN otherwise at all?

I understand the confusion on the IDP and the 6 months part. I will watch out.

I have only my India credit cards and do NOT have an US one. I don't think I can get an US one unless I am earning here and I don't want an add on card on my wife's earnings. In such a case, then what do I do?
And what is meant by "mileage" as per your statement?

The tip about specifically adding me in as "Husband" on my wife's insurance is a good idea. I will do that most certainly.

Ref your other input on TomTom - yes thats a nice idea. I am going to buy one instead of renting it.
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Old 4th March 2014, 17:58   #33
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Default Re: Driving expedition in the United States

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Torque:
Thanks a lot for your inputs.
Is it necessary to get an SSN for myself at all? Considering I live, work and earn in India and NOT in the US? Other than the DL part do I need an SSN otherwise at all?
Well, generally speaking, if you do not earn in the US, you do not need an SSN. You probably won't be able to get one either.
But you do need a SSN to apply for a DL in most states. If you are not eligible for a SSN, the SSN office will give you a letter indicating that you are not eligible for SSN. You will need to produce that letter at the DMV office for getting a DL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
I have only my India credit cards and do NOT have an US one. I don't think I can get an US one unless I am earning here and I don't want an add on card on my wife's earnings. In such a case, then what do I do?
And what is meant by "mileage" as per your statement?
YMMV or Your Mileage May Vary is just a phrase which means that your situation could be different and would affect your final outcome. As far as credit card goes, I strongly recommend getting an add-on card or paying with your wife's card for the benefits it offers. Also, most rental companies will not rent you a car without a Credit Card.
They place a temporary block on the credit card as a 'deposit'. And no, they don't accept any other form of deposit (read cash or debit card).
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Old 7th March 2014, 13:09   #34
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Default Re: Driving expedition in the United States

Well deserved 5 stars.

1. As always the roads are a pleasure and does not tire you at all. You keep yearning for more.

2. Have dome some extensive driving in CA/IN/Vegas and these bring back those memories.

3. Yes driving in the cities, on has to be careful and must adapt to the rules and regulations. Unlike India

Just love those pictures

Last edited by sumathindra : 7th March 2014 at 13:10. Reason: edits
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Old 11th March 2014, 07:55   #35
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Default Re: Driving expedition in the United States

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Originally Posted by BUXX View Post
just one question: is the US really this pristine? Its a wonder why would anyone wanna live in the big cities instead of the suburbs !
The USA, by and large, is a very lovely place indeed. Even near big cities the suburbs are very well laid out with lots of greenery and most people like to live there.

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Originally Posted by figo_mba View Post
Dada, Please can you throw some light on how you could get a license or was it required etc.

Dont get offended but I did not like deer hunting part. Felt bad that we are taking some poor animal's right to live when we cannot give life ourselves.
  1. I carried my Indian D/L which happens to be in English and contains my photograph too. According to my personal interpretation of the rules, my Indian D/L alone is good enough for me to drive in America as a tourist. The International Driving Permit is merely a translation of one's native D/L and is redundant for Indian D/L holders, IMHO. Some knowledgeable BHPians have already given their detailed comments on this issue on this thread. Anyway, I used my friend's car (I did not need to hire one) and since I stuck to the traffic rules religiously, nobody asked for my D/L!
  2. The USA is full of forests where deer breed merrily. In the absence of natural predators (and poachers) the deer population sometimes reaches unmanageable levels and this leads to serious road accidents, destruction of crops / gardens by deer, etc. Therefore state governments periodically allow deer culling which is governed by very strict rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lexusES350 View Post
Just one small correction, Tioga Pass (HWY 120) cuts across Yosemite National Park and not Yellowstone as you mentioned in the travelogue.
Thanks for correcting my typo. It was indeed Yosemite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
It would be interesting if you can chart out a route map covering all the palces you covered during your road trip which could be a guide for many other BHPians in US and ones visiting to take up the same.

Route for my drive from Denver, Colorado to Sargent, Nebraska (via North Platte, Nebraska) and back.
Driving expedition in the United States-denver-sargent.jpg



Route for my drive from Denver, Colorado to Phoenix, Arizona.
Driving expedition in the United States-denver-phoenix.jpg



Route for my drive from Irvine, California to Denver, Colorado (the stretch between Irvine and Phoenix is duplicated in the above map too).
Driving expedition in the United States-irvine-denver.jpg



Route for my drive from Chicago, Illinois to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Name:  Chicago to Harrisburg.JPG
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Old 11th March 2014, 20:31   #36
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Default Re: Driving expedition in the United States

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Originally Posted by debuda View Post
Let me list some of the major differences :
  1. In civilized countries, you have to follow each and every traffic rule religiously.
  2. Left hand drive takes some time getting used to for those habituated to right hand drive. Things can get pretty confusing initially during turns, U-turns, getting in / out of service lanes, traffic roundabouts, exits, etc. Furthermore, crucial car controls like turn indicators, headlight / wiper control and gear lever are the other way round and one has to keep reminding oneself mentally so as not to goof up.
  3. Getting used to numerous traffic signs, traffic signals, road names, exit numbers, signs painted on the roads and other signages takes time.
  4. Getting into the correct lane at the right time is crucial.
  5. Changing lanes quickly and safely in dense and fast moving city traffic needs experience.
  6. And last but not the least, sticking to one’s lane and keeping the car always centered in the lane (including during turns) is a concept so alien to us Indians that it took me 4-5 days to learn, if not master.
Debuda, an awesome travelogue like always and equally great pictures, but I would like to ask one thing, did you forget to add one thing or you followed the same while in US which I guess not. I remember reading this in your travelogue to Nathula, that you have a habit of religiously honking at every blind turn, whereas honking in most of the US cities means insulting someone else, and you very rarely see people honking unless you go to East coast around the 'City'.

So, please share this experience when you were driving around the hills, did you felt something is missing when you didn't honk, I felt when I drove to Yosemite from Sunnyvale, when I went last time.
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Old 12th March 2014, 02:05   #37
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Default Re: Driving expedition in the United States

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Originally Posted by debuda View Post
  1. I carried my Indian D/L which happens to be in English and contains my photograph too. According to my personal interpretation of the rules, my Indian D/L alone is good enough for me to drive in America as a tourist. The International Driving Permit is merely a translation of one's native D/L and is redundant for Indian D/L holders, IMHO. Some knowledgeable BHPians have already given their detailed comments on this issue on this thread. Anyway, I used my friend's car (I did not need to hire one) and since I stuck to the traffic rules religiously, nobody asked for my D/L!
I have a question regarding the insurance coverage. Was your name added to your friend's auto insurance?

I live in San Jose & my brother will be visiting me for few weeks and he plans to drive here. I don't want him to go for rental and hence wanted to know how the insurance part has to be taken care.

Thanks very much.
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Old 12th March 2014, 12:47   #38
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Default Re: Driving expedition in the United States

Dear Debuda,
All I can say after going through your experience in the US of A is that I am envious man. Great pics,captured the essence of the drive beautifully.If planning the road route which you took, sans the east coast trip,how much should one plan to spend ? any ballpark figure?
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Old 12th March 2014, 14:33   #39
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Originally Posted by gurha View Post
Debuda, an awesome travelogue like always and equally great pictures, but I would like to ask one thing, did you forget to add one thing or you followed the same while in US which I guess not. I remember reading this in your travelogue to Nathula, that you have a habit of religiously honking at every blind turn, whereas honking in most of the US cities means insulting someone else, and you very rarely see people honking unless you go to East coast around the 'City'.

So, please share this experience when you were driving around the hills, did you felt something is missing when you didn't honk, I felt when I drove to Yosemite from Sunnyvale, when I went last time.
I don't remember ever using the horn during my entire driving expedition in the USA. Even in the hill roads with sharp curves and blind turns (one rarely comes across blind hairpin bends in the US even in very steep mountain roads) I never felt the need to use the horn because everyone follows the rules and sticks to the correct lane.

Having said that, I must admit that on a couple of occasions, when I was driving on very desolate stretches with no vehicle visible for miles on either side, I did honk a couple of times to see that the horn really worked and to feel a bit 'at home'!



Quote:
Originally Posted by josejoseph View Post
I have a question regarding the insurance coverage. Was your name added to your friend's auto insurance?
My friend confirmed that his insurance policy covered drivers other than himself and his immediate family.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramanjit View Post
If planning the road route which you took, sans the east coast trip,how much should one plan to spend ? any ballpark figure?
It should not be very difficult to arrive at a rough cost. First, you should decide how many miles you would drive every day and how many days the entire trip would take. If you are staying in budget hotels or motels and not splurging too much on food and drink, a daily budget of $100 for board and lodging should suffice. The fuel cost can be easily calculated based on the average fuel consumption of the car you plan to drive. Add the car rental and insurance. Multiply the total with 1.25 to cater for incidentals and emergencies and you should have your rough estimate.

In the mid-west and west there are hardly any toll roads. If you plan to visit some national parks, etc., you will have to cater for entry fees and parking charges.
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