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  1. #1


    Hey everyone!

    Finally going to take the plunge, load our two kids up (18 and 9) and do a much needed ROADTRIP to Los Angeles - Taking I-10

    We are leaving Austin in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, March 31 and hopefully slither into a hotel somewhere in Arizona. There are three drivers - myself, my husband, and our 18-year-old son.

    We DO plan to stop a bit and stretch, and look around. Our anticipation is to reach Los Angeles the following evening. This is my birth town and I'm anxious to show my Texas family the beach I adored as a child. After staying the night near the Santa Monica Pier, (and after Monday rush hour) we plan to turn and head for Las Vegas. Spend about 2-3 days and then head for the Grand Canyon (after crossing over Hoover Dam)...

    ON OUR RETURN TRIP HOME, we'll be taking I-40 staying the night somewhere in New Mexico, and from then on out, head home. If time allows, we'd like to look around Roswell New Mexico.

    I grew up doing roadtrips (back and forth) from California to St. Louis, not to mention, I've traveled Greyhound busses from Los Angeles to Baltimore Maryland! Great memories. My kids have only done roadtrips from Austin to Mexico (South Padre Island, Texas), St Louis, and Shreveport Louisiana.

    We are homeschoolers and my son graduates this year. He's on the verge of making a serious career move, so this is our last chance to make a family roadtrip together!

    I'm really hoping we aren't moving too fast (Doing California/Vegas from Texas in six days...) But my husband can only take a week off for vacation and he needs some down time once we arrive home, so he can face the corporate computer world that Monday.

    For fun, we plan to make personalized music CD's for everyone in the family, including my 9-year-old daughter. This means, I'm subjected to my teenage son (and HUSBAND's) heavy metal music, and they will have to endure my Moody Blues! ;-) But this will be fun! We like to pack lots of goodies and fun stuff for the trip to keep everyone occupied. (I don't believe in watching movies, or wearing headphones, as this defeats the "family" trip purpose!)

    Our main aim is to spend quality time together, enjoying the sights and sounds. We aren't making any reservations, so we CAN leave and arrive spontaneously. But we MUST be home by that following FRIDAY (6.5 day trip)

    Anyways, I've always wanted to pan for gold with the kids!! Any areas that are near I-10 or along our route that we can stop and experience this?

    Thanks for any pointers or suggestions!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Stretching

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Its good to see you are planning a trip where yuo can spend some quality time with your family, and aren't relying on electonics to isolate everyone from each other.

    Now for the But...

    You really really are trying to stretch a whole lot into not much time. And Yes, if you do attempt a trip of this pace, your husband, and the rest of your family will clearly need a vacation after you finish this whirwind trip.

    Getting from Austin to LA in 2 days can be done, but its going to require 2 consecutive 12+ hour days in a car - and thats just factoring basic food and fuel stops - if you stop to sightsee or even have a sit down meal you'll be adding even more hours to your travel day. Generally we don't recommend pushing more than 500-600 miles in a single day - which is even more important when you traveling with kids. You can push out a 700 mile day here or there, but trying to cover that distance on consecutive days often starts to lead to some serious fatigue, even with multiple drivers.

    You also aren't giving yourself any time to visit LA! When you do pull into the city, I can almost assure you that it will be quite late in the day and you will almost certainly want to do nothing but rest. Quite frankly, you'll probably want a full day to relax after logging those miles, but right now it looks like you are going to turn right back around Monday morning and head for Vegas.

    Things don't really get better from there, Even if you turn right back around, and if you only spend 2 days in Vegas - which you will desperately need to rest up by this point - you are already on day 5 of your trip. That only leaves you a day and a half to make the 1300 mile trip back home. That's bordering on impossible even driving direct - and it certainly doesn't leave any time for stops at the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam.

    Sorry to be a downer, because I'm sure you can find a way to have a great family roadtrip. But right now you've got a trip where the math just doesn't add up.

    If you really want to head out to your hometown in CA and you've only got a week off, I would strongly urge you to at least work out a full 8 days - which still gives one full day to recover once you get home. I would also urge you to eliminate Vegas and I-40 for this trip, you just don't have the time. You would however have more time to spend exploring some places along I-10. (Read AZ Buck's Old West ideas along I-10 in this thread)

  3. #3

    Default Grasping at straws?

    Yep, sounds like we need a sanity check, huh?

    My family is used to driving to Lubbock Texas, which is the equivalent of half the trip going to Los Angeles, but slapping on an extra 200 miles. We can swing it, but yes, I DO agree, we are PUSHING it.

    Taking Vegas off our list is a NO GO, and we DO need to see the Grand Canyon. I can add an extra day to our Itinerary. Maybe an extra 1.5 days.

    I'm even thinking we should leave Friday evening and getting a headstart, and arrive home the following Saturday? Also, if we drop back down to I-10 FROM the Grand Canyon, will this be a time saver? Or should we stick to I-40 going home?

    Thanks for your help!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Bending Time and Space

    Austin to Lubbock is under 400 miles. Austin to LA is close to 1400. So your Austin to Lubbock experiences aren't even 1/3 of the trip you'll be undertaking. There is also a pretty major difference between 400 mile drives and 700 mile drives in a day. Because of the fatigue factor, Driving the second 300 miles takes more than twice the energy of driving the first 400. Again, I'm not saying its impossible, but I will say that I would not recommend it.

    You've still got a math issue if you force yourself to squeeze LA, LV, and GC into this very limited time frame. Remember, you're also going to need 5-6 hour each to get from LA to LV and LV to GC, thats going to leave very little time for exploration or the relaxation you will need after pushing yourself so hard to cover so many miles so quickly. At most you will have less than 1 day to spend at each of those three places. Its your trip, so you will have to decide what you and your family can tolerate, but I've been known to push the limits on my family roadtrips, and even I wouldn't attempt to squeeze this much into such a small space.

  5. #5

    Default FIGHT or FLIGHT?

    I did some number crunches and checked with Expedia.

    Our amended trip will consist of ROUNDTRIP flights to Vegas, stay for 2 days on the strip, rent a car for 3 days to see the Grand Canyon, Dam, and Los Angeles, and catch flight back home in Vegas (all in 6 days)...

    Is this a better reality check? I think the kids are getting more excited at THIS prospect, as they've never flown. (They will even get a layover in Denver)

    Whaddya say? And THANK YOU for your input! ;-)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Much better

    I think you will have a much better time with this trip. You'll have time to enjoy some of the things Vegas, Grand Canyon, and Los Angeles have to offer, without being so exhausted that you can't appreciate any of it.

    Enjoy your trip!

  7. #7

    Default Stress ebbing away...

    I'll post an update upon our return. Thanks again for the reality check!

  8. #8

    Default Route 66 from Vegas to California

    Upon flying into Vegas for 2 days, my family plans to rent a car to cross over the Hoover Dam and to see the Grand Canyon. Afterwards, I'm thinking we'd take Route 66 near Flagstaff and drive to the coast in California.

    Any cool points of interest (on Route 66) along the way? Famous places to eat? We plan to take 3 full days for this roadtrip. On day 6 of our vacation, we'll catch our flight back to Texas.

    Thanks! =)

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