What Its Like to Drive from Texas to Wisconsin

As you know, I go to Wisconsin often. I probably go many times more often than the average person would go if they were living 1300 miles away, especially if they drove back and forth. I’ve already outlined how much the weather changes on a cross country drive. Hell, it changes a lot on a drive across Texas. Now it’s time to talk about what it’s like to drive from Texas to Wisconsin.

Plain and simple, the drive is long, tiring, and in many cases, very boring. I have driven it straight through many times and you will see the sun set and rise on the same drive. The clip below is basically 1300 miles in 3 seconds. As you can see it’s dark when I start and dark when I finish.

On my last trip, I decided to record both ways with my Garmin VIRB. One thing I found was it being black, it absorbed a lot of heat and would shut off for a little bit. I would have to flip the switch to have it start recording. Obviously, you will not be able to see this on the x64 video, but someday if I post the 1x video you will.

This is the drive from Austin to Marshfield:

And the drive back from Marshfield to Austin:

When driving up, any driving in Texas sucks. There’s always traffic jams through pretty much every city. That’s why I minimize my commute in Austin. One thing I find is Waco traffic is usually jammed up or going 95mph. I call it the, “Waco 500,” every time I pass through it and it is not jammed up. Beyond that, Fort Worth is always jammed up. No matter what time I drive through Fort Worth, there’s always a traffic jam.

Driving through Oklahoma isn’t too bad. The gas stations are kind of sketchy and disgusting, but the driving itself isn’t bad. Oklahoma City can jam up, but for the most part, it’s not horrible. Driving north of Oklahoma City is usually smooth sailing. Kansas is usually smooth unless it rains. When I get to this area, I’m always nervous some tornado is going to hit. Kansas is also expensive as hell ($13.25) to drive it, but the 75mph speed limit and the easy off and on travel plazas make traveling not too bad.

I hate driving through Kansas City. It’s like lanes are constantly ending and there’s only 1 lane going to a specific road. You’ll go from having 4 lanes and then all of a sudden they all venture off into different roads. When it gets congested, it’s a nightmare trying to get into the correct lane. Once you get out of Kansas City, the driving gets much easier. By this time, you’ve already been on the road for about 9 hours and this is the halfway point. Depending on what time you started driving, you’re definitely starting to get a little tired.

The drive through the rest of Missouri is kind of short. It’s only like 100 miles and then you hit Iowa. Usually this is where I start looking to pull over to sleep at a rest stop if I started out after work. If I started in the morning, I’ll be able to keep going, but by the time I’m hitting Minnesota, I’m also getting tired. One nice thing about Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin is there’s rest stops every 40-60 miles so it makes it a bit easier to pull over when you’re tired.

By the time I hit I90, I’m yearning just to be off the road. I know I’m close but I still have a ways to go. I ironically need gas around Austin, Minnesota, so I usually stop at the Kwik Trip there. That’s when I know I’m getting close to home. When I do hit the Wisconsin border, I know I have about an hour and a half to go. I am definitely happy when I do make it to my parent’s house.

On the way back down, it’s pretty much the same thing, but you start feeling tired in Southern Kansas. I notice on the way up I am more tired and most of the time stop to sleep at a rest stop. On the way down, I can drive it straight through. I think half of it comes from the traffic patterns, and the fact that it takes so much more energy to drive in Texas due to the way people drive, that you tire quicker initially.

It is definitely a long 18-20 hour drive and I know I am happy to be off the road when it’s done.

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