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Author Topic: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?  (Read 11636 times)

Buffaboy

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2019, 10:11:47 PM »

By highway... probably as far as Cleveland because I wouldn't know what to do when I-90 meets I-480 I-271. Heading east I could make it down to the NY metro area and would be lost one I-87 ends.

I could figure out where I am locally pretty easily, although I am ashamed to admit there were times I needed to use a GPS.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2019, 06:39:20 PM by Buffaboy »
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Evan_Th

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #51 on: January 31, 2019, 01:48:47 AM »

From my current home outside Seattle, I could get north to Vancouver or south to somewhere around Salem, OR without problems.  I think I could get west to Aberdeen too, and east to the other side of the mountains.

From where I grew up around Durham, NC, I could get just north of Washington DC; northwest at least to Wytheville, VA and maybe to Charleston, WV; west to Asheville; east to the ocean; or south at least to Charlotte and probably farther.
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pdx-wanderer

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #52 on: January 31, 2019, 02:25:53 AM »

Going north I could make it up to Vancouver BC and west I could pretty easily get to Seaside or Astoria.

I think I could go to San Diego via I-84 and I-15; if I tried to use I-5 I'd get lost at the East LA Interchange. Salt Lake City is the farthest east I could confidently go. I-84's continuation at the southern end of the I-15 concurrency is a fairly nondescript exit and I would not be able to confidently do anything at the I-80/I-15/SR 201/Downtown section other than just stay on I-15.
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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #53 on: January 31, 2019, 09:36:15 AM »

I could muddle my way down I-95 at least to New York if not to Miami. I like to think that I could get to the pacific but I'm not sure.
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michravera

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #54 on: January 31, 2019, 10:16:17 AM »

Imagine that absolutely all guide signs, route shields, mile markers, street name blades, etc. disappeared. And for the sake of this discussion, let’s also assume that you can’t get directions from private signs and billboards. Without using maps, GPS, or any other navigational aids, what’s the farthest you could drive and still know precisely where you were?

The reflexive roadgeek response might be “anywhere in the country”, but as the question occurred to me last evening and I thought more about it, I came to the conclusion that it would be much more difficult than I assumed.

If I stay on I-x80, US-50, US-101, I-x05, CASR-41/46, CASR-58, or I-15 (and don't wander too far off while refueling), I am comfortable that I could make it to LA, Reno, Tahoe, San Rafael, and Las Vegas. I would get mildly clueless once more than a couple of kilometers off of each of those routes except in Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, San Jose and Fremont. Without guide signs, on CASR-99, for instance, I quickly lose track of whether I am in Atwater, Delhi, Delano, Turlock, or Madera. I-5 has its distinctive look all of the way down. I suspect that someone could post pictures along I-5 and I could pinpoint the location within a couple of km (or at least to the third of a county).
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tradephoric

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #55 on: January 31, 2019, 11:51:47 AM »

I could keep driving until my fuel tank ran dry. 
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Buck87

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #56 on: January 31, 2019, 12:01:02 PM »

I know I could get to my sister's house in Covington, GA fairly easily as I've done it many times and know the split directions for I-75 down to Atlanta and the exit for getting onto I-20 east, and then her local exit. That's the farthest I could get while always having a decent idea where I was and where to stop along the way for food/gas. Though since I'd already be on I-20 east I could also manage make it across the rest of it up to the I-95 split in SC before not knowing what to do.
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sparker

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2019, 12:19:31 PM »

Under most circumstances I'd be OK as long as I've driven the route before.  But for a first-time foray into uncharted territory, the chances are I'd be screwed!  From my home in San Jose, I could probably get around in CA pretty well, as well as the western parts of OR and WA all the way up to Seattle; but if a through route made several alignment changes (e.g. I-80 in SLC and I-10 in PHX), I'd be like a rat in a maze; it'd likely take me a few false moves to find the way out of town.  Overall, I'd probably only be comfortable staying on the West Coast.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #58 on: January 31, 2019, 12:58:24 PM »

Definitely could get from Fresno eastward to Key West.  I’ve driven those corridors in between so much that I feel confident that I can do it by memory Interstate or not. 

hbelkins

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2019, 01:28:08 PM »

I could definitely get to NYC via I-64, I-79, I-68, US 220/I-99 and I-80.
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kphoger

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #60 on: January 31, 2019, 02:15:11 PM »

I was about to post that most of my trips would be fairly easy without signs, but then....  I realized each long-distance route I tend to take involves at least one not-obvious exit.  These are often system interchanges between Interstates or whatever, but the single-lane exit is on a curve or a bridge and doesn't leave me with the ability to see in advance that it leads to another major highway.

However, having said all of that, I'm fairly confident I could drive from Wichita to Torreón, Mexico—via I-35 to Denton, I-35W through Fort Worth, I-35 to San Antonio, I-410 around San Antonio, I-35 to just north of Laredo, TX-255 to the border, Fed-2 to the outer Nuevo Laredo bypass, Fed-85(D) to Monterrey, Fed-40 around Monterrey, Fed-40D to west of Saltillo, Fed-40 to Torreón.  I haven't even actually driven the final 80 miles of that, but it's pretty much a straight shot from as far as I have, and it would be no problem to go the rest of the way without signs.

Two places might throw me off along this route:

(1) The 35E/35W split north of Fort Worth.  If I missed my exit for 35W, I would realize it mere seconds later and could easily turn around at the next exit.

(2) The 35/410 split north of San Antonio has been reconfigured since I last drove through there, so I might miss that one as well.  Again, if I missed it, I would know immediately afterwards and could easily turn around.  I think that would be easier than trying to remember how to navigate downtown San Antonio.
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Roadsguy

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #61 on: February 01, 2019, 02:59:13 PM »

With how much I've browsed around the upper east coast, I could get pretty far. Probably down to Miami on I-95 as well, though my knowledge of FL, GA, and SC isn't great. I have no idea how far west I could get. I could certainly make it to the west coast, but I'd probably miss some TOTSOs and end up in a different place than intended.
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kphoger

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #62 on: February 01, 2019, 03:04:48 PM »

I realized I could get through KC by taking I-35 to I-635 to I-29 back to I-35 without signs.  I could therefore make it as far as Minneapolis without signs.
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Rothman

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #63 on: February 01, 2019, 11:20:05 PM »

My concern would be messing up a TOTSO somewhere.
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corco

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #64 on: February 02, 2019, 12:53:56 PM »

I'm pretty confident I could make it to any non-suburban city over 100,000 in the polygon bounded by Portland, Sacramento, Reno, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Calgary, and Vancouver from Boise- mainly because there aren't many TOTSOs and I more or less know where I'd need to exit to get to anywhere within that circle. I wouldn't be able to get from many of those places to many of those other places if I didn't start in Boise, though (unless I drove back to Boise).
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 12:56:47 PM by corco »
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1995hoo

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #65 on: February 02, 2019, 02:37:10 PM »

My concern would be messing up a TOTSO somewhere.

I’d view the question as not so much whether you’d necessarily be able to use the most direct route so much as whether you know you would be able to get to a particular destination via whatever route. Missing a TOTSO might not matter if you could go a different way—sort of like if you miss the exit for a bypass but you find your way through a town via the business route. Might take longer, but you still get where you’re going.
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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #66 on: February 02, 2019, 04:00:17 PM »

I could probably make it to Miami without any guidance information. It's a straight forward route from Hampton Roads. Take I-64 to Bowers Hill, then take US 58 to Emporia (it's pretty obvious when you get into Emporia), then take I-95 south for about 900 miles. I don't believe there's any weird left exits for other freeways along the route that could end up sending me 300 miles west of I-95. All freeway junctions are all to the right from what I see.
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formulanone

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #67 on: February 03, 2019, 11:41:19 AM »

^ Fair enough. I-95 is a straight shot with no weird turns, after the junction with I-10 was revamped about 15 years ago. It used to be a hard left turn under a bridge to stay on southbound I-95 in Jacksonville...you'd look for all the tire marks, crumpled guardrail, and listen for engine braking to spot it.

Golden Glades Interchange would be simple enough if you're staying on the through route. It would take a good bit of memorizing without signage.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 11:44:17 AM by formulanone »
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Flint1979

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #68 on: February 03, 2019, 12:13:24 PM »

I'm pretty sure I could drive to Chicago without signs. I've made that trip so many times in my life that I think I could do it blindfolded and know exactly where I am. Driving around Saginaw, MI wouldn't be much of a problem, I don't know why I ever use a GPS in this city but I do and sometimes it amazes me on the directions it gives me due to thinking another way might be quicker.
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skluth

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #69 on: February 03, 2019, 01:49:53 PM »

I only recently moved to Palm Springs, so the furthest I could make it would be either Bakerfield or Las Vegas. From my old home in St Louis, I could easily get to Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, KC, Memphis, Nashville, Indy, Norfolk, the Outer Banks, and DC without maps or signs along with finding some locations within each city. It would be harder after dark, but I believe I could do all these even at nighttime.

I was assuming a map with no route numbers shown..

I think most of us could travel most of the US using a map without any labels. I'm sure I could label an unlabeled US Interstate map with all the 2DIs and most of the 3DIs, just like I could an unlabeled map with states and capitals. (Nothing special again. I'm sure at least half of the contributors here can.)

I would be pretty hopeless once I got to the I-70 splits in St Louis & Kansas City though.

The I-70 split in KC is easy; just stay on the main highway through downtown (I-670). I-70 rejoins the main route on the other side of downtown. OTOH, I-70 through STL is a total cluster. It's shorter and faster using I-270 through the north suburbs, but the highway switch isn't obvious without signage.
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Duke87

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #70 on: February 03, 2019, 02:05:39 PM »

If maps are prohibited, I’d at least need an unmarked map with a mileage scale, and I’d also need to keep watching the odometer like a hawk.

This actually brings up another point. Let's say the vehicle you own has a built-in nav system (the vehicle I own does). Now, if you ask it for directions and turn when it says to that's flat out cheating, but what if I don't ask it for directions and just use it as a live map showing my location in realtime? That significantly increases the number of places I could get without signs since it allows me to identify intersections and interchanges I am not visually familiar with. Indeed, having the nav system has proved useful many times for this exact purpose when trying to clinch routes that are poorly signed.
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djsekani

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #71 on: February 04, 2019, 02:56:24 PM »

From my house I could go...

West to Downtown Los Angeles (I have no confidence in my ability to navigate the East L.A. Interchange without signage)
North to at least Las Vegas
South to North County San Diego (again, not familiar enough with the freeways here)
East to at least Blythe, possibly Phoenix
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1995hoo

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #72 on: February 05, 2019, 04:44:24 PM »

If maps are prohibited, I’d at least need an unmarked map with a mileage scale, and I’d also need to keep watching the odometer like a hawk.

This actually brings up another point. Let's say the vehicle you own has a built-in nav system (the vehicle I own does). Now, if you ask it for directions and turn when it says to that's flat out cheating, but what if I don't ask it for directions and just use it as a live map showing my location in realtime? That significantly increases the number of places I could get without signs since it allows me to identify intersections and interchanges I am not visually familiar with. Indeed, having the nav system has proved useful many times for this exact purpose when trying to clinch routes that are poorly signed.

The OP assumed you were not to use that sort of assistance:

Imagine that absolutely all guide signs, route shields, mile markers, street name blades, etc. disappeared. And for the sake of this discussion, let’s also assume that you can’t get directions from private signs and billboards. Without using maps, GPS, or any other navigational aids, what’s the farthest you could drive and still know precisely where you were?

The reflexive roadgeek response might be “anywhere in the country”, but as the question occurred to me last evening and I thought more about it, I came to the conclusion that it would be much more difficult than I assumed.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

bing101

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #73 on: February 06, 2019, 11:50:32 PM »

I can drive around San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Davis and Los Angeles without a directions.
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US 41

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Re: How far could you drive with absolutely no signs?
« Reply #74 on: February 07, 2019, 11:09:08 AM »

I'm confident I could end up anywhere.  :-D Might not ever find home again though.
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USA (36)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
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