Weather Bulletins
Depending on the stretch of highway and time of year, weather delays also can be an issue. For instance, on the I-40 East in New Mexico, near the Texas border, a flashing sign warned that the Interstate was subject to closures. These can sometimes be due to traffic accidents, but are primarily because of icy conditions or blowing snow--you don't want to be stuck on a highway during a snowstorm.

Mountain-Climbing In Arkansas
Having a two-term president and vice- president seemed to have paid off for Arkansas and Tennessee, because those states had some of the smoothest, best-maintained stretches of Interstate on the entire trip. Visiting the Museum of Automobiles on Petit Jean Mountain in Morrilton, Arkansas, however, proved a challenge. According to the mileage from I-40, the departure seemed an easy-in, easy-out diversion. But the numbers are an indication of its level of difficulty.

In just 2.79 miles, AR-154/AR-247 rises over 600 feet and throws in 12 turns, including a switchback to make things interesting. From 300 feet, AR-154/AR-247 climbs to 400 and then 600--in 0.27 mile. Then, during the U-turn-like switchback, the road leaps to 750 feet in just over half a mile.

The F-250's 362-horsepower, 30-valve powerplant felt good as it ascended Petit Jean Mountain and worked equally well coming down the narrow two-lane road. The F-250's integrated trailer-brake system and tow/haul mode combined for a smooth, controlled descent. And, in case you were wondering, the Museum of Automobiles was worth the trip.

Overall, the shorter-wheelbase F-250 Super Duty crew cab and short bed, along with the 20-foot tag-along trailer, had a more confident posture than expected, especially considering that this setup didn't include a weight-distribution system, anti-roll bar, or any other control-enhancement apparatuses. However, the heavy-duty suspension and short wheelbase were tough over rough and uneven roads, and the smooth 6.8-liter V-10 pulled strong at an average of 65 mph and 2100 rpm for most of the trip.