Newbies - Geographic Anomolies
Areas: Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas
Steamboats on the Mississippi River, cotton fields, farm and ranch country, and oil fields mark the south central region of the country. You will find black magic and New Orleans Jazz, the Alamo and the spicy "Tex-Mex" culture.
Mississippi is a fairly easy state to drive in with few weigh stations and decent roads. The fuel is less expensive here, as it is in Louisiana. But the Cajun state is pretty tough on trucks. If you're underweight, you can zip right on past their weigh stations (they weigh you while you're driving). If you're on the line, you'll be directed in, and you better be right on--your weight and your wheel placement. They write tickets in a heartbeat.
Louisiana has some bumpy roads, especially I-10. Their soil moves around and, in a few years, a new road becomes a roller coaster.
When driving through Texas you may feel like you'll never get out of it, but whatever you do, don't speed. There are high fines and the police are watching, especially at night and in small towns. Go the exact speed limit. At dusk, the speed limit switches from 65 mph to 60 mph. This is when many tickets are written. It is up to the officer's discretion when late afternoon becomes dusk. Stay with the flow of traffic during the daytime. However, avoid passing.
If you do get pulled over, be prepared to shell out the bucks. If you pay twice the amount of the fine and you don't receive another ticket in that same county for 30 days you'll get no points on your license. This can help you avoid losing your driving privileges, but it can also cost you a pretty penny.
There are not a lot of places to park along I-10. Keep this in mind as you plan your trip. Refer to a truck stop guide and know you might have to pull off early to find a spot.
Buy your fuel in Texas before you go any further west and top off in New Mexico. The price increases in Arizona and California.
Let us know about what its like to drive in other parts of North America by emailing us at layover.com