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  1. Default New York to Seattle w/ Dog: What to Drive and How to Go?

    I have to drive from New York City to Seattle in early or mid-January. I'm going to do the drive with just my dog, so needless to say I won't have a co-pilot. I have four questions for the RTA forum-members:

    1) I might rent a car or buy one (no car yet, haven't needed on in NYC, but will need one in Seattle). In either case, what kind of car/suv would do best for a long-distance winter road trip like this? If I buy something, it's got to be less than $40k.

    2) What's the best route given the possibility/probability of bad weather? I am not in a huge rush, but given that my dog's with me, I don't really want to be on the road for more than a week?

    3) For anyone who's done the trip solo in the winter, just how depressing/isolating/unpleasant was it? I'd like to be realistic about what this is going to be like.

    4) Has anyone done the trip with a dog? Anything I should think about in terms of pre-planning...obviously I need to find hotels/motels that will take her, but any other hints/tips are welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default What I would do!

    Quote Originally Posted by xc100 View Post
    I have to drive from New York City to Seattle in early or mid-January.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    I'm going to do the drive with just my dog, so needless to say I won't have a co-pilot
    . I have driven thousands of miles with just the companionship of my dog. There are advantages of dogs over people!
    1) I might rent a car or buy one (no car yet, haven't needed on in NYC, but will need one in Seattle).
    If it were me, I would rent one -- and then purchase one in Seattle that does not have salt damage.
    2) What's the best route given the possibility/probability of bad weather? I am not in a huge rush, but given that my dog's with me, I don't really want to be on the road for more than a week
    ?I-80 or I-70 depending upon the weather and it is going to take you a minimum of five days!
    3) For anyone who's done the trip solo in the winter, just how depressing/isolating/unpleasant was it? I'd like to be realistic about what this is going to be like.
    I like traveling in the winter months.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default ...or How to Drive

    1) By all means, wait until you're in Seattle to buy your new car. Not only, as Mark points out, will it be less likely to have salt corrosion, but you will also have a much broader choice of vehicles that are appropriate to the type of driving done in the area. Also, if you keep your rental for a couple of weeks after you arrive, you'll have an opportunity to observe what the locals drive and decide what will best fit your needs in your new home.

    2) The straightforward route is the best. This is just I-80/I-90/(I-94). At just under 2900 miles, you could drive this in 5-6 days which leaves you 1-2 days leeway to just sit out any bad weather such as is occurring right now in the midwest. Also, since this is all Interstate, and the Interstates are the first cleared and best maintained roads in general, it means that you can make the trip in a standard issue rental sedan without the need for a higher priced SUV/4WD/AWD.

    3) I, too, have had great experiences driving in winter. What will tend to get you depressed are two things, the monotony of such a long drive on the superslab, and the lack of sunlight. To fight this, you should break up each day's drive with some off-the-highway activity (more later), and make full use of the daylight hours available to you, hitting the road at sunrise each morning and not continuing too late past sunset in the evening.

    4) Since you're going to have to be flexible in terms of where you'll be stopping each night, you should do your homework now on the pet policies of the major national hotel and motel chains. As you find those that accepts pets as a rule, be sure to get a list of their locations so you'll have it handy when you get ready to stop for the night. Also, start looking for your night's lodging a shade early just in case your first choice turns out to have a no-pet policy.

    Finally, The great thing I found when I travelled with my dog, was that his presence and needs were a great excuse for me to enjoy the countryside I was driving through. Take the time two or three times each day to get off the Interstate and get to a nearby state or county park. Let your dog get some serious exercise - more than she could possibly get at the little rest areas on the Interstate. Get a good road atlas before you go and have a good idea before you start each leg of driving where some parks near to the highway are, or just watch for the brown and white road signs. As I said, not only will this be great for your dog, but it will be a wonderful mental refresher for you and let you get at least a little taste for the country that you are, perforce, going to be hurrying through.

    AZBuck

  4. #4

    Default Book recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by xc100 View Post
    I am not in a huge rush, but given that my dog's with me, I don't really want to be on the road for more than a week?
    Hi there xc100,

    As someone living on the other side of the Atlantic it's not often that I would presume to offer advice on this forum but I really must recommend you get hold of a copy of 'Travels with Charley: In Search of America' by John Steinbeck.

    This book records Steinbeck's 1962 coast-to-coast road trip in the company of his beloved French poodle Charley. Now, I'm not a dog man but the companionship and mutual support that is so evident in this book almost converted me.

    Without getting too heavy, I firmly believe that a successful trip is as much down to state of mind as it is vehicle or route. And this book (the last fairly depressing chapter or two aside) cannot fail to inspire someone who's about to travel a long distance in the company of his best friend!

    Peter

  5. Default Thanks...

    These are helpful replies, thank you (and keep 'em coming)

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