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  1. Default road trip to Chicago from Washington, DC

    Hi,

    I will be driving to chicago on friday and plan on comming back sunday. I have two other drivers to share the driving time with me. I've never made a trip this long before. I plan on leaving early friday morining. According to the map, its appox a 10 hour drive.
    Is it crazy to drive 700 miles in one day?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A world record pace!

    Quote Originally Posted by labtec
    I will be driving to chicago on friday and plan on comming back sunday.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Are you sure you need to drive this distance that fast? By the shortest possible route it is 697 miles and I will buy you a tank of gas if you can cover this distance in less than 11 hours. Realistically, it will take you a little over 13 hours to drive this distance. In order to cover that distance in 10 hours you would have to average 70 mph (with no stops for fuel, rest, and no slow-downs for traffic). IN the real world in order to obtain an average speed of 70 mph over a 10 hour period, you will need to be driving very close to 107 mph for most of the time to create time for the necessary fuel and food stops. Here are some tips for speed runs -- you are going to need them!
    Is it crazy to drive 700 miles in one day?
    It can be. I have done it several times in recent years. But I am a pro... (and I don't have any brain activity above my ears anymore....) Seriously, like Midwest Michael says, -- you gotta think about this....

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default 10 Hours? Not Likely

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Since I can't quite figure out the point of your trip, I'm sorry to have to say, yeah, you are a little crazy here. You're going to be making an incredably long day of driving, have one day in Chicago (which you'll probably need to recover from your drive) before you're going to turn around to drive home.

    Some tips, There is no way you will make it to Chicago in 10 hours. You'd have to average 70 mph, and that's simply not feasable over a long distance like this. By the time you factor in traffic, as well as quick basic stops for fuel, bathrooms, driver switches, etc; 13 hours is about the shortest amount of time you could expect for this trip.

    From my own experience, I went from just east of Baltimore to Chicago on a roadtrip a couple years ago. Leaving mid-morning, it was getting dark by the time we stopped for the night in Eastern Ohio and our only stops were for gas and fast food.

    I would seriously consider why you are making this trip, and decide if it is really the kind experience you want for your weekend.

  4. Default

    Hi,

    thanks for your response. I'm going up there for a wedding and I guess the drive would leave me to exhausted to have any fun.

    I think I'll hold off on the road trip and look to good old Southwest.

    -thanks for the SpeedRun website link

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default For a wedding -- flying is smarter

    Quote Originally Posted by labtec
    thanks for your response. I'm going up there for a wedding and I guess the drive would leave me to exhausted to have any fun.
    I am afraid so. You would need to sleep much of your time in Chicago to be able to make it back safely. Have fun at the wedding!

    One caveat -- with three drivers if you drive non-stop and drive no more than 2-3 hours per driver and enforce the "must-sleep" rule for every second drive leg, you all could make it and still be in reasonably good shape. The way this system works, is that one person is asleep at all times. It tends to work best if the person who has been doing the driving takes the navigator shift (right-front seat) after driving and then moves to the rear to sleep. Even if you are not tired. Close your eyes and pretend to sleep for 2-3 hours. Some people move directly to the sleep cycle after driving -- but this rarely works -- since the driver needs to work at getting sleepy and that is easier to do when navigating than actually being on "sleep duty".

    If you really kept this up, you could probably make it in 12 hours with 4-6 shifts. But if, even one of you doesn't stick to the schedule and stays awake to enjoy the ride -- it will be a brutally long and probably unsafe trip home.

    Mark

  6. #6

    Default

    wow they have a forum for everything!! and what a coincidence I happen to stumble upon this particular thread, as I was this very day planning a trip from washington to chicago for a weekend.
    perhaps i'm being over confident with my stamina, but before i read this thread, i thought i could drive the 14 hours no problem. perhaps i should reconsider...
    would cleveland be a good overnight place on the way to and fro' chicago? any better rest locations?

    here's what my original plan was:
    8/18 - Drive to Chicago
    8/21 - Drive back.

    my new plan (as per your advice):
    8/17 - Drive to Cleveland
    8/18 - to Chicago
    8/21 - to Cleveland
    8/22 - back home.

    What do you guys think? I'd appreciate any help on this!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Much better plan!

    This is very do-able. The Baltimore-Cleveland leg is only 375 miles which should take you about 7 hours to do with minimal stops. Cleveland-Chicago is 347 miles and should take you about 6-6.5 hours to do with minimal stops. Both of these days of driving should be just fine and allow you a bit of time to stop and explore something that interests you.

    Just a thought, I don't know if I would get hung up on stopping in Cleveland unless you're planning a stop there to see or do something in particular. On the way to Chicago, you might want to get just west of Cleveland a bit so that you don't end up in some kind of thick morning traffic. Then, on the way home, I'd do the reverse and get just a tad east of Cleveland to avoid the morning commuters.

    I would think that hotels would be easy to find in any of these suburbs without needing a reservation. But, if I'm wrong on that, I hope somebody will jump in. I'm not familiar with driving in these more congested areas in the east.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Play it by ear

    I think your plan is entirely reasonable, and a prefectly good option. However, there are a couple of things I personally would do differently.

    First, I wouldn't go through Cleveland, at least not both ways. I don't like tolls, and I-80 through Ohio and Indiana is a toll route. For that reason alone, I'd take I-70 through Central Ohio, and Cut up I-65 at Indy. Columbus would be close to a halfway point on this route.

    Of course, I don't really like backtracking either, so its entirely possible that I would route through Cleveland one direction and go through Columbus the other way.

    I'd also agree with Judy that I wouldn't make reservations for this trip. I'd drive until you feel you need to stop. You have to trust yourself on this, but its entirely possible you'll be able to comfortably drive much farther than halfway in one day. Its not even impossible to do then entire drive in one day, but most people don't find sitting behind the wheel for 13-14 hours fun, and most people need at least a day or two to recover from that kind of marathon drive.

    6 days for this trip is much more reasonable than 4, so I think you've got plenty of room to be flexible.

  9. #9

    Default

    wow you guys have given me so much to think about. i appreciate your continued help on this.
    More questions:

    1. There's traffic in Ohio??
    2. Is the 70/65 route as fast as the 80 route?
    3. Is it more or less scenic?
    4. I'm planning on speeding down these roads, how is the state trooper situation along these routes?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Get ready to open your wallet!

    Quote Originally Posted by MDESQ
    1. There's traffic in Ohio??
    You are joking here, right???
    2. Is the 70/65 route as fast as the 80 route?
    The 70/65 route is a little longer, but I like the route a little more -- it really comes down to how much you like paying tolls, as Midwestern Michael mentioned.
    3. Is it more or less scenic?
    That is kind of a toss-up
    4. I'm planning on speeding down these roads, how is the state trooper situation along these routes?
    We don't recommend that unless you like to support the local and city governments along the way with your "donations".

    Mark

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