We just got back from a short road trip (well, short by Canadian standards - for all you Kiwis reading it was mammoth). We headed down to Portland, Oregon for a few days and aside from a traffic snarl on the way down (involving a crane and a few lanes of traffic) it was pretty smooth sailing. Even the border lineups were short, which is always a bonus.
Every time I go to the US I am reminded of a few things that are quite different than up here in the great white north. Rest areas in the US are awesome. There was one that we stopped at on the way home where a bunch of little old ladies had made a whole pile of baked goods to give to travellers passing through. And there was always free coffee and a semi clean place to pee (very very important). My experience here in Canada has been that you are lucky to find a porta-pottie in a "rest area" here.
Another thing is that there are cat's eyes on the roads - awesome at night and when it is raining. I have no idea why you don't see them that much here in Vancouver where it rains for a good portion of the year. And the freeway system is great too - well marked and easy to navigate.
And the people - OMG I keep forgetting what great service we always get when we are in the US. Every time we went out waitstaff went above and beyond. I guess it is partially for tips, but hell - the difference is amazing. And people just seem to be more friendly in general. I had more people hold doors open for me in a few days than I have all year at home. I have become pretty skilled at navigating through non-automatic doors with stroller and a couple of kids in tow.
On the down side - we hit alot of buffets while we were travelling and the selection of fruit was abysmal. Usually when we do travel we like to try to get a kitchenette and eat in as much as we can, but since this was a short trip it wasn't overly feasable to pay all the extra cost for a bigger hotel room. I totally understood why there was no fruit when I went to a grocery store and bought apples, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, grapes and applesauce and the bill came to $42! I didn't buy that much (the oragnes were in a large bag, I'd say there were 10 in there), and was gobsmacked when the cashier told me how much the total was. We had just had dinner for all five of us for $25!
The cost of stuff is almost the same as it is here in Canada as far as clothes go, but I did drool over a new camera that was significantly cheaper in Portland - I didn't fork over the dough though...maybe next time.
So aside from the "are we there yets" (the first one was 15 minutes into a 4 hour drive) and the "I want to go home" on the way there and the "I don't want to go home" on the way back we had a great time.