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User Topic: Driving cross country
Member # 33338
Default  Posted: 6:40 PM, October 28th (Monday)

We are considering a cross-country driving trip next year. I have a business conference in Vegas that my company will pay for my travel/hotel/etc.

We're considering the idea of JM and ds(almost)15, possibly ds22, driving across country to meet me there after the conference, and then driving back home together, checking out the Grand Canyon, etc on our way back.

I've been trying to navigate travel sites but am having a hard time getting the info I need. Does anyone have experience with this? How long, realistically, should it take the 2 of them to drive that distance? From our home to Vegas is a little over 2100 miles. What's the minimum amount of time we should consider to make this an enjoyable trip and not a nightmare?

Any tips, pointers, suggestions would be welcome. I'd also welcome any "WTF are you thinking? Are you crazy???" responses, if y'all think we're crazy.

Thanks in advance!

Me, 47
Him, 40 (JMSSC)
married 17 years. In R. We are making it. The past does not define who we are today.

Posts: 2776 | Registered: Sep 2011 | From: South Carolina
Member # 24518
Default  Posted: 6:47 PM, October 28th (Monday)

it takes all damn day to drive from Houston to El Paso on I-10, if that's any help. My guess would be they could do the drive to Vegas in 3 days, with the 3rd day not being a full day of driving.

Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out...honestly
I wanna see you be brave

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Posts: 12164 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: DeepInTheHeartOf, TX
Member # 31528
Default  Posted: 6:49 PM, October 28th (Monday)

I hope you have a great time! How are your kids on long drives? Happy, mellow, whiny? My family would strap me to the roof of the car like in National Lampoon's Vacation.

Posts: 35809 | Registered: Mar 2011
Member # 32943
Default  Posted: 6:54 PM, October 28th (Monday)

We did a cross country on the I-10, and it was actually fun. I heard a lot of horror stories, but I think those are from people trying to drive straight through.

Six days should be a very pleasant drive. 2100 miles divided by 6 days is 350 miles/day. At 60 mph that would be a little less than 6 hours/day (and nobody drives 60 on the interstates!). Between two drivers that is 3 hours each.

We drove 8-11, stopped for lunch, then 12-3, checked into our hotel and saw whatever there was in the area or swam in the pool. The only mitigating factor would be hotel costs, I would think. Maybe they could camp alternate days?

Grand Canyon is worth it - but have the national parks reopened? Everything was shut earlier due to the government budget impasse.

[This message edited by Lyonesse at 6:55 PM, October 28th (Monday)]

Me: BS, 40's.

Posts: 1797 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: West Coast
Member # 33338
Default  Posted: 7:01 PM, October 28th (Monday)

Well, remember that JM and the boy(s) will be doing it twice. They'd be driving both ways. I'd fly out and then drive back with them. That's why I was wondering if we were crazy to consider it.

The guys are good travelers. We get along well when driving. But our longest trip has been from SC to St Pete and then back home in 5 days. About ten hours driving, iirc.

They could probably really bust it and go in 3 days, then we could take it easy on the way home, maybe.

Me, 47
Him, 40 (JMSSC)
married 17 years. In R. We are making it. The past does not define who we are today.

Posts: 2776 | Registered: Sep 2011 | From: South Carolina
Member # 15162
Default  Posted: 7:03 PM, October 28th (Monday)

We did it in 2001. We drove 7,200 miles in 18 days. What worked well for us was splitting it up. 2 days of driving, and then one of the big stops. The Grand Canyon was one of those big stops, and was incredible

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FWW - 43 (BrokenRoad)
2 kids 7&12

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Posts: 37370 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Michigan
Member # 24518
Default  Posted: 7:06 PM, October 28th (Monday)

If you go to the Grand Canyon, there's other stuff to see in the "general" area. If I were planning a trip like this, I would have them do the drive to Vegas to get you as quickly as they could do it safely, and then take your time meandering back home. If possible, I'd plan for about 2 weeks including their first drive.

Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out...honestly
I wanna see you be brave

Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect

Posts: 12164 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: DeepInTheHeartOf, TX
Member # 16591
Default  Posted: 7:07 PM, October 28th (Monday)

If you are a AAA member, they'll create a travel plan for you, with all the locations, way points, stops and touristy things you'd like to do!

Posts: 1326 | Registered: Oct 2007 | From: SoCal
Member # 20334
Default  Posted: 7:10 PM, October 28th (Monday)

I've done it a couple of times. It's tough for me to give you a time frame. I've never done a direct route. It's always been side trips to some out of the way tourist or historical location.

Since they will be doing it twice, can they take a more northern route on the way out? Then take a more southern route on the way back? That way they see different things.

Have fun!! I love road trips. I can't wait to drive to Alaska.

ETA: Check out Tripadvisor. It's helped me many times.

[This message edited by travels at 7:11 PM, October 28th (Monday)]

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Posts: 3777 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: PA
Member # 34262
Default  Posted: 9:36 PM, October 28th (Monday)

My best friend drives from West Texas to Ontario every year. It takes her 2 1/2 days and that's by herself. With multiple drivers on I-40 your family should be able to do it in three days. Consider renting a small RV. Those can be very cost effective since it also becomes your "hotel".

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Her: fWS 48 (same sex partner)
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Posts: 2239 | Registered: Dec 2011 | From: Great Southwest
Member # 33338
Default  Posted: 9:53 PM, October 28th (Monday)

We are hoping to maybe buy a small pop-up camper in January/February. We already have a truck to pull a camper, and that's kinda how we were leaning. I'm really getting more excited about the idea.

Me, 47
Him, 40 (JMSSC)
married 17 years. In R. We are making it. The past does not define who we are today.

Posts: 2776 | Registered: Sep 2011 | From: South Carolina
Member # 23717
Default  Posted: 10:18 PM, October 28th (Monday)

You aren't crazy. Crazy is doing a 20 trip one way with a 2 year old.

Or a 16 hour driving trip (one way) with two kids, the youngest being 3.

We allow 10 days for the 16 hour trip. That's a little tight for our tastes.

When we drove 20 hours one way, we did that trip in 2.5 weeks. That pacing is quite awesome.

We generally suck it up right away and have one or two days of 6-8 hours of driving. Then we drive no more than 3 hours a day the rest of the trip to enjoy the sites. We also find we are much happier when we can stay put for a few days in the same location..

Posts: 1296 | Registered: Apr 2009
Sad in AZ
Member # 24239
Default  Posted: 12:29 AM, October 29th (Tuesday)

DS and pregnant DIL did the trip from Las Cruces, NM to Atlanta, GA in 24 hours straight. The X made the trip from LI to Tucson in 2.5 days by himself-he was/is insane.

It just depends on the stamina of the drivers and the company that keeps them up and alert.

Plan for at least 2 days in Vegas (but you'll probably be sick of it by the time they arrive), at least a full day in the Canyon, and plan otherwise appropriately for any other sights/attractions you want to hit.

If you want any specifics about Vegas/the West, you can PM me.

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Posts: 20273 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: Upstate NY
Member # 25395
Default  Posted: 8:55 AM, October 29th (Tuesday)

We've driven across the States from the west coast to Michigan a couple of times, and that is 2300 miles. We've done it in two days when we needed to get home fast - but those days were really really long. Like ten or twelve hours of driving each day. I think six hours of driving is great, eight hours is manageable, anything else is really tiring and no longer any fun at all. So, planning three or four days of straight driving would be good.

I love those long road trips, though, and when you can take your time it's amazing and fun. We can't wait till our daughter is a bit older and we can take her across country; it's our favourite way to get home for a visit.

[This message edited by lost_in_toronto at 8:58 AM, October 29th (Tuesday)]

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Him: WS/37
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Posts: 1677 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: not toronto anymore
Member # 25560
Default  Posted: 9:29 PM, October 29th (Tuesday)

We did it out and back with a pop-up in three weeks. Had a great time. AAA camp guides were the BEST!

Damn autocorrect is responsible for the silly errors, sorry!

Posts: 3647 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
Member # 36072
Default  Posted: 10:09 PM, October 29th (Tuesday)

I did a cross country trip with my family when I was a teenager. It was by far my favorite vacation!

I can't speak to the time frame, but I will say plan and book EARLY!!! We did it on kind of a whim and by some miracle it worked. But the other people we talked to planned the whole trip a year in advance, and even then they couldn't always get the reservations they wanted because everything was already booked.

Check out everything you can. If you're planning on the Grand Canyon, you might also be able to see Zion national park. There is so much to see!

Me: BS
D-Day: 7/7/12

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Posts: 1168 | Registered: Jul 2012
Member # 10506
Default  Posted: 10:17 PM, October 29th (Tuesday)

You need to estimate that you can drive approximately 50 miles each hour you are on the road. This takes into account bathroom/gas stops and stops to eat. Some people drive faster and/or have less stops, some drive slower and/or have more stops, so mileage may vary. But 2100 miles is ~ 42 hours in the car. That is 4-5 days of hard driving or 5-6 days of less intense driving. Or 2-3 days to very intense no-stops-switch-drivers driving.

Keep that in mind when deciding this. Some people really enjoy car trips and think this would be fun. For me, any car trip more than 4 hours I want to poke my eyes out and then throw myself from the moving car. But then I HATE car trips.


[This message edited by Dreamboat at 10:19 PM, October 29th (Tuesday)]

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Posts: 17679 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: A better place :)
Member # 8408
Default  Posted: 12:32 PM, October 30th (Wednesday)

Without feeling totally beat up after the drive, four days for 2100 miles is realistic.

But if you've come that far, SoCal is only another 4-5 hours from Las Vegas, just in case you want to dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean...just sayin'

Posts: 2143 | Registered: Oct 2005 | From: SoCal
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 1:57 PM, October 30th (Wednesday)

On I80 From Chicago to NYC, we average 60 mph, including stopping every 2 hours to stretch and walk around a bit.

we just did a trip between Chicago and Yellowstone, and I think we averaged 70 easy. We did Chamberlain, SD to Evanston, IL, just over 700 miles, in one day (11 hours). I think that's sustainable for 3 days on Interstates in the West.

But do you want to go that fast. There's got to be a lot to see and visit along the way.

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Posts: 10341 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Member # 40229
Default  Posted: 2:41 PM, October 30th (Wednesday)

If absolutely nothing goes wrong, and minimal stops, gas and food combined, along with rest breaks, I did it in 3.5 days.
However, I've done this trip (NC to Tucson) a few times. I usually plan to take about 5 days in case something goes wrong. Only one time did nothing go wrong.
I've had my car break down, traffic accident, took wrong road setting me back almost an hour, got food poisoning. And so on and so on.
5 days is reasonable.
Six days if you want either lots of rest or a few small pit stops.

[This message edited by StillLivin at 2:44 PM, October 30th (Wednesday)]

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Posts: 2325 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: AZ
Member # 33338
Default  Posted: 5:45 PM, October 30th (Wednesday)

Thank you for all the suggestions and help.

The fast part of the trip will be for the guys driving from SC to Vegas. I will be flying out on Wednesday for a conference and will spend Thursday and Friday at the conference. They'll be meeting me either Friday and spending the night, or meeting me on Saturday, at which point we'll start heading back. Since they won't be paying for round trip airfare, I might be able to swing an extra hotel night from my company and leave on Sunday. I expect we'll mosey home in 5-6 days.

Now, we just have to hope we can both get that week from work. I'm not entirely sure my bosses will be on board with me being gone essentially 2 weeks, but I am VERY valuable and hope that will help my case.

It's a once in a lifetime trip for us, and I just hope we can make it happen.

Me, 47
Him, 40 (JMSSC)
married 17 years. In R. We are making it. The past does not define who we are today.

Posts: 2776 | Registered: Sep 2011 | From: South Carolina
Topic Posts: 21