I feel like most of John's problems were environmental... Mountains, traffic, road construction, etc. He had few mechanical issues. When I drove my '67 Cadillac back from Colorado, I surveyed Google maps and the weather every day before heading out to ensure I was minimizing risk. TBH, that's something I do whenever I go anywhere in unfamiliar territory, but especially in an old car. It's less of an issue around town, where you know the roads and know the conditions.
I suppose the Falcon is better suited to open roads than a 96, but maybe not by much... A two-speed auto and an inline six gives me maybe 90hp and I'm running IIRC 3000rpm at 55. Redline is 4500rpm! It's not a good freeway cruiser, so we take B roads. (The Cadillac OTOH gobbles up freeways at 75mph and doesn't care)
Probably my biggest piece of advice is that if you're in doubt, leave yourself an out... Don't end up stuck in freeway traffic when there's a side street option, etc. If you become concerned about conditions, get a cup of coffee and wait things to clear up.