Driving cross country with guitars/gear. Safe place for motel nearish Cleveland on the 70?

Rezin

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2,207
Are you driving a car only, or towing a trailer? If you have a trailer, there are heavy-duty padlocks with built-in *very* loud alarms if anyone tries to mess with them. Here's one:


Whenever I travel by car (SUV), I take at least one guitar and an amp. I put it in the back where there's a cover that makes it look like the back is empty (and tinted windows help with that.) That's for during the daylight hours, when I stop to eat.

But: I wouldn't stop in any city for the night. I'd find a good brand motel, even if it costs a few extra bucks, outside a city where anyone hanging around the parking lot would be noticed. And park in front, under a light. I'd stay far away from any university; students often need money, and guitars are probably the easiest high-value sale short of a MacBook.

Enjoy the trip.
 

ripgtr

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8,767
Just idle curiosity here (and best wishes on your safe arrival upstate) but are you leaving Austin because you’ve had enough of it, or headed back home because that’s where you’d rather be, or...?
Schools. We live in a (used to be) smallish town, I like to say it is 40 miles and 50 years from Austin, lol. We have a son, 14 yr old. "High functioning" ASD. He is mainstreamed in school with some support. Support in 7th grade was bad. Really bad. Involved 2 lawyers, including a criminal attorney. We pulled him out of that school, got him in another school that has better support. He's actually in a good situation right now. Next year, he goes to high school and loses all that support again. NY has much better ASD support. I have family there that works in the SPED side of education, and when they heard what happened here, every one of them said "get out". Texas likes to pride themselves on not taxing, no state taxes, etc. They also don't have very good schools from my experience.

Been here 20 years, when we got here is was like "Austin ain't what it used to be" but it was still cool. A large part of that is gone. Traffic is bad, but we came from CA before this and yea, is sucked there too. I visited where we are going (I still have a lot of family there) and traffic sucked there too. I work from home, so I don't care.

I'll miss the music and my music friends. I have a band I really like, play out once or twice a month, going to lose that. But I have an offer from a guy I played with 40 years. I already know half his originals from back then, lol, and all his covers, so almost a walk on gig. I'll miss not freezing all winter, but I won't miss the 110 degrees in the summer. It will be nice to get good Italian food again.

There are things about around here I don't like. I really miss CA, but it is too crowded and expensive. Could have gone to KS where my wife is from, but their schools aren't what they used to be, from what I hear from her family there. It's kind of weird, it's not really "going home", I left in my early 20s, I'm 62 now and have gone back for visits every few years, but had no desire to move back. But with a kid like this and no family here, and having to move to SOME other place to get what we need, it made sense. Pain in the butt. I hate moving.
 

ripgtr

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8,767
Are you driving a car only, or towing a trailer?
Driving. Did the car behind the trailer when we moved here from CA. We actually went to E. KS for a few months first, so really San Jose to Emporia. 3 days in a 20 ft Budget truck (it was cab over wheels and my wife really struggled driving it so I did most of the driving). Her, me and 2 cat carriers in the cab, hauling the car behind us. When we got to the KS border at around midnight of the 3rd day, my wife started to cry. I thought she was crying because she was happy, we were almost there, she was going to be seeing her mom. She says, no, "I just know how much further we have to go". Ugh, never again. The Elko to Chyanne part was some of the most dreadful driving I've ever done and I've done some "fun" ones.

Anyway, she is going to fly the cats up. I have to drive both cars up - I don't want to sell them - and get my guitars up - I don't want to put them in a truck. So, the first trip up is my car and guitars, and some other stuff. I can leave the stuff in the trunk. I'll load all the guitars in the back seat, there is only a half dozen, and take them in to the hotel.

The one I found, I mentioned above, not in town, it is a small "pit stop" along the highway. Looks like low crime rate. The Express places, I've stayed in some, clean, nothing fancy. I'll grab a bell cart and haul the guitars up to the room.
 

jhale

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My 14 year old autistic too. He goes to a special school in the valley, I'm in LA. Good luck with new situation
 

Vintage_

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The Elko to Chyanne part was some of the most dreadful driving I've ever done and I've done some "fun" ones.
Nothing like jeez let me check maps and see if there's at least a Starbucky's somewhere nearby so I can grab a coffee. Umm ya there's 1 120mi behind you and 1 125mi ahead. Awesome lol. To be fair though I've had some good times in WY.
 
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When I did a midwest+eastern states+part of canada trip last summer I always had my guitar in the hotel room in its case. I never had a problem with this. I never would leave gear unnatended in a car unless I knew the area well. I was also woodshedding for a gig and it was nice to have my guitar right in the hotel room with me.
 

Mwoodbro

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Another consideration, if you don't already have it, is gear insurance. It doesn't cost too much.
There are several thread with recommendations.
 

AL30

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3,000
There is a cluster of hotels just off the exit in Richmond, Indiana. That's the last (I think) exit before you get into Ohio. It's only a few hours to Columbus from there. I've stayed at the Best Western there a few times with a 12 passenger window van (no seats) loaded with items. The front of the hotel is well lit. I'm not sure any place is safe from vandals anymore but it may be a better option than Columbus. And good luck with those roads. Yikes!
 

Baxtercat

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12,638
Any holiday inn express in the burbs usually safe. That's where we stay almost always on tour with gear in uhaul trailer
Safe? nay.
I have many traveling years.
We even had the whole loaded trailer swiped one time [chained and locked to a huge parking light stanchion in front of the Holiday Inn for a few hours].
 

ripgtr

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8,767
Another consideration, if you don't already have it, is gear insurance. It doesn't cost too much.
There are several thread with recommendations.
Yea, I've actually gone to the website and read up on the one that gets recommended a lot. I need to do that. I have a long chain I can pad lock around them, just in case I need to go grab food, but I'll probably just crash and eat on the road. The Holiday Inn has breakfast, grab it and go back to the room.
I've decided on taking the guitars in, might have the amp in the trunk. It would suck to get it stolen but it wouldn't be the end of the world. Some of the guitars are valuable ... so yea, unload.
 

ripgtr

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8,767
Safe? nay.
I have many traveling years.
We even had the whole loaded trailer swiped one time [chained and locked to a huge parking light stanchion in front of the Holiday Inn for a few hours].
That sucks. Traveled with a band trailer for about a year, with PA and all that, no way we were going to unload it. But always took the guitars in.
 

ripgtr

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8,767
There is a cluster of hotels just off the exit in Richmond, Indiana. That's the last (I think) exit before you get into Ohio. It's only a few hours to Columbus from there. I've stayed at the Best Western there a few times with a 12 passenger window van (no seats) loaded with items. The front of the hotel is well lit. I'm not sure any place is safe from vandals anymore but it may be a better option than Columbus. And good luck with those roads. Yikes!
Yea, I think I found a place north of Columbus a ways, so far enough from town. I think I want to get through there at night, instead of fighting traffic in the morning. I'm going to stop at MIL in KS, maybe take a rest day, then it is only 2 days. The first one will be the long one. Get the worst of it over, then the second day is only 8-9 hours. Depending on what traffic I hit going through Cleveland and Buffalo. Western NY should be a breeze on the Thruway, I am hoping.
 

ripgtr

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8,767
When I did a midwest+eastern states+part of canada trip last summer I always had my guitar in the hotel room in its case. I never had a problem with this. I never would leave gear unnatended in a car unless I knew the area well. I was also woodshedding for a gig and it was nice to have my guitar right in the hotel room with me.
Yea, I always had my guitars in my rooms when I gigged, but except for maybe going out to the occasional lunch, it was rare all of us were gone at the same time, except to the gig, and then they went with us. Never had an issue, never worried about it. But I didn't tour with the valuable stuff either, lol
 

ripgtr

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8,767
Nothing like jeez let me check maps and see if there's at least a Starbucky's somewhere nearby so I can grab a coffee. Umm ya there's 1 120mi behind you and 1 125mi ahead. Awesome lol. To be fair though I've had some good times in WY.
I've gigged in Elko, would drive up from San Jose, but we car pooled. Long, boring drive. So I knew what to expect there. Then, you leave there and there is nothing. Like literally, nothing. Salt flats. We had an AM/FM radio in the truck, no CD player of course. This is '98 so no cell phone or what not. My wife was in charge of finding something to listen to. Once, out in the middle of nowhere she got this song with a kazoo on it. Now, I am familiar with some old blues stuff with kazoo, but it wasn't that. Weird. Then we lost that station. About an hour later she found another station - playing a song with a kazoo on it. Now, this was only day 2, so we weren't hallucinating yet, that was the end of the 3rd day, lol.

I moved from upstate NY to Salam OR back in '93, 4 days on a Greyhound. Nebraska freeway in late winter was pretty tough to look at. Boise to Reno was a pretty boring drive. Did a gig in Prescott AZ, we came back some 2 lane hiway across New Mexico, sign would say "whatever town 10 miles" and it would some gas station that closed down in 1970, lol. All crappy drives. Utah killed them all, hands down.
 

Banditt

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1,169
Just be aware that many times, it is an inside job. The kid behind the desk, or the one cleaning the pool see's a guy carrying a guitar case and amp up to his room. Meth heads work full time between hits sitting in parking lots watching. No one needs to know. And if your traveling cross Country, you might consider traveling at night, stopping just to sleep during the day for a few hours......

Also, cops will tell you a large, large majority of theft of this kind happens within a few miles of an Interstate(also where all the hotels are, and big box stores) Quick get away, blend in. By the time you realize it, your gear is in the next State....
 

Rockledge

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5,557
Yea, see above. I wouldn't have stayed in the city itself, I was just using that as the halfway point, an hour either way give or take. I think I found a place, from the Holiday Inn suggestion above. Small town, maybe an hour up I71, I checked it for bedbugs, this page, at least, reports nothing -
http://www.bedbugreports.com/details/14753

Dayton might work too, it looks far enough away, but I think I want to get through town at night, instead of dealing with it in the day time.
The first thing you might consider doing when you go into Ohio is pull into the first rest area you see. The rest areas along 70 are very nice.
In them there are kiosks that have magazines in them that have nothing but hotel and motel coupons in them, you can get rooms at good rates out of that book sometimes.

If you plan to get north of Columbus before stopping I think Delaware and northward is ok.
Delaware is a nice little town, But I am not sure what the crime rate is there. It is much nicer than Columbus, and certainly it couldn't be nearly as bad. North of there you start getting close to where the Amish areas are.
Also, if you want a good place to eat off the freeway, there is a Chinese Buffet on the north side of Delaware. If you get off at 36/37 and head west (left( there is a shopping center on the left/ south side of the road, it is a 4 lane highway there. I think it is probably about 5 miles from the freeway. It is worth driving to get too, I drive WAY out of my way to go there when I am passing through.
It is a rather large shopping place with a Dollar Tree, if you GPS the Dollar Tree the restaurant is in the same part of the mall, around the corner from it.
They've got some of the best Sushi I've ever had. I go there for their roast duck, which they also normally have. It is a nice restaurant with a nice atmosphere, not a corner egg roll shop.

ou might even find a place to stay on 36, it is a well traveled route.
They just built a new outlet mall right at 71 and 36, so no doubt there is lodging along 36.

Also, cover you music stuff with a blanket and take some junk with you if there is room. Put the junk on top of the blanket. There are also a lot of people traveling to flea markets and junk stores all over Ohio. I think Indiana is real big on flea markets too.
The first weekend of June is a yard sale that runs the entire length of Rte 40 between Maryland
and Missouri. It is one huge route of nothing but flea markets. I make a vacation out of traveling it, that is one of the ways I know about the places in Ohio. If you are traveling around that time you will see carloads and truckloads of stuff going past you on 70. Thousands of people take part in it.
Hence the idea of making your ride look cluttered with useless junk.

I just looked up that restaurants address:
Tian Fu Buffet
|
(740) 363-3200


850 Sunbury Rd, Delaware, OH 43015

 
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Rockledge

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Never ever ever travel with a trailer and stay in a motel with gear in the trailer/car outside in the parking lot.... too many horror stories.
Indeed. This is especially true in Columbus, a trailer with a lock on it is police report waiting to happen there.
All the musicians I know who use trailers there to haul gear take a second truck along to back up to the back of the trailer to seal the back doors, or they know which venues have a wall they can back against.
 

Rockledge

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5,557
Something else to consider is that if you run into a lot of orange barrels on 70 in Ohio or
70 is blocked with a flipped over semi ( for some reason a common occurrence on 70 in Ohio) 40 is very close to 70 and other than going through small towns it is a nice route to follow until just west of Columbus.
The same is true of the eastern part of Indiana, 40 runs nearly parallel to 70, sometimes as close as a couple miles. In Richmond Indiana they cross and switch sides, but stay close.

When you get to Columbus take the outerbelt (270) North to 71. You don't want to travel 70 through Columbus, the freeways there are one huge afterthought and a nightmare to navigate.
270 will flip you around to 71 and bypass all the freeway mayhem and fiasco in Columbus.
 

ripgtr

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Delaware is a nice little town, But I am not sure what the crime rate is there.
Yea, someone had mentioned the Holiday Inn and there is one right there at Sunbury, right there off the 71, I've checked it out on google maps. It looks like Delaware is just a few miles over. I am going to need to eat, and eating on the road, fast food, doesn't thrill me. If I get in early enough, I will certainly check it out.

Did some research on Sunbury, crime rate is really low. So, I have that is where I am going to stay.

I used to drive a civic hatchback, was doing one nighters all over the bay area, and would just pull up in front of the house, park and take the guitars in. Covered my gear with an old green army blanket. I think all the stuff besides the guitars is going to be in the trunk of this car, so I am probably good. I need to keep the front passenger seat open for CD, food and drinks.
 




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