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  1. #1
    Jan_WI Guest

    Default Travel with Scout Troop

    My granddaughter's scout troop is planning a 1250 mile road trip to Wyoming this summer. They will be renting vans with one driver in each van (I'll be one of them). So far so good, huh? The fly in the ointment is that they plan on driving this distance in 2 days with only one stop in Sioux Falls, SD to sleep. That's 500 miles the first day, and 750 the second! I personally think this is nuts AND UNSAFE. The leaders seem to think it's doable. While that may be true if you put diapers on the girls and drug them so they can't move, I don't think it would be much fun. Does anyone have any suggestions that I can forward on to the troop leaders to get them to add an extra day going and one coming home? Thanks.

  2. Default Other Scout experiences...

    I support a local Boy Scout Troop. We'll travel 150 miles or more for a weekend campout -- bringing up to 20 boys, gear (tents, stoves, water, food, personal gear), and etc.

    500-600 miles in a day is possible -- and maybe for 2 days, but its going to be a real push.. 750 and then pulling into camp? Rather not.....

    First of all, if you're hauling any gear or whatnot, you'll be traveling at the speed of the slowest vehicle. You're going to be convoying, not driving solo. When we pull a gear trailer, our max speed if that of the vehicle pulling the gear trailer which is BY LAW limited to 55 mph in California.

    Secondly, you need to plan for rest & stretch stops -- of the whole convoy. That takes time. If someone is straggling, everyone waits for them to catch up, and then gives them the appropriate break time. So stops are 2x, 3x or every 4-5x as long as you'd expect. (And if someone is straggling, our policy is to have them lead when we leave...)

    Thirdly, meal stops will take much longer with more kids. It takes longer to process 30 kids through a fast food place, than it does for 5. And it takes longer for them to finish, and clean up, and use the (limited number of ) bathrooms and hit the road. Again, figure meal stops for at least 2-3x as long as you'd do with a family, and probably more.

    Same with gas stops and everything else. Car trouble? Everyone stops -- no one gets left behind. Someone is car sick? Everyone stops.

    As a rule of thumb, the RoadTripAmerica board recommends that people figure they'll average something less than around 57 mph in the Western US. In convoy, figure its more like 45 mph. To cover 750 miles at that speed, that's 16 hours...

    Put together a quick schedule for what a day looks like.. up at 6 am, breakfast at 7 (how long to get XXX girls ready???) , depart at 8, half hour break at 9:30, hour long lunch break 11:30- 12:30, then another half hour break at 2, another half hour break at 4... and figure an hour unloading and getting ready before dinner, whenever that is.. And yes, I'd list going at least 5-10 miles under the speed limit when you're going on the road.

    Just to put that together.. there's 3 hours driving morning, 3 hours afternoon, and may be another 90 minutes in the evening to start dinner at 7. That's a max 7.5 hours driving per day. Figure 60-65 mph in convey as tops, and that's 450 - 490 miles a day. (And over the period of being on the road from 8-6, you're averaging 45-50 mph including stop times).
    Last edited by W. Larrison; 03-16-2007 at 01:42 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Illegal for professional drivers....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan_WI View Post
    My granddaughter's scout troop is planning a 1250 mile road trip to Wyoming this summer. They will be renting vans with one driver in each van
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Yeah, that is a lot of miles. If the drivers of these vans were professional drivers and they attempted to do such a thing, they could well lose their licenses, because this would be too many hours to spend driving in a day!
    I personally think this is nuts AND UNSAFE.
    You will get no arguments from anyone here. It could be done, but it doesn't present a very smart role model for young people. If you get stuck with this plan -- please read these tips on completing speed runs and insist that everyone get out of the vehicles every couple of hours and play frisbee -- go for a fast jog --eat plenty of healthy snacks and DRINK EXTRA water!

    Where is the starting location? Perhaps we can offer some suggestions for some very cool interim stopping locations. And Larrison, as usual, has some great practical observations!

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Joining the Choir

    I'll also join in saying this idea isn't very well thought out, and there's one very clear way to tell:

    No one who has experience doing a long distance drive like this over two days would plan to cover 50% more ground on day 2 than they do on day 1! Everyone, including the kids, will be far more rested and have more patience on day one than on day two. This current plan will have everyone, including the drivers, screaming "are we there yet?" when you've still got hundreds of miles to go.

    If you are really pressing for time, you need to get as far as you can on that first day. That would mean at least driving to Mitchell or Chamberlain, SD. I also agree with Larrison that it isn't realistic to expect to get much farther than 500 miles a day under your conditions. If you had multiple drivers and if you weren't driving large unfamiliar vehicles and if you weren't driving in a caravan and if those vans weren't filled with kids, then pulling off a couple of 600-700 mile days would be possible. But clearly, you've got way too many ifs there.

    Just out of curiosity, where are you planning to sleep during your night(s) on the road, what are the ages of the kids, and how many people/vans are we talking about?

    I'd think a much wiser plan would be to shoot for Sioux Falls the first night, and then aim for Rapid City for day 2. That would leave you time to make a quick stop at Mount Rushmore and still have time to get to your final destination in plenty of time to set up camp on day 3.

    Don't forget here, if you are agreeing to drive you've got every right to stay within your limits. If the scout leaders won't listen to your concerns, I would strongly consider telling them that you aren't comfortable with the plan and they'll need to find another driver.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-16-2007 at 04:29 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Jan_WI Guest

    Default

    Thanks for all your input! At least now I know I'm on the right track and not all wet. You've all confirmed what I've been thinking all along. Unfortunately, both leaders and a father I talked to are convinced that this schedule is just fine.

    Here's more info on the Wyoming itinerary that I just got from the leader. We'll drive the first day to Sioux Falls, SD (500 miles) and stay at a motel there. The next morning (Fri) we leave early and arrive at Cody, WY that evening (approx 730 miles). We'll be spending the night at some Girl Scout place. Saturday morning we'll be heading to Yellowstone for a day-long bus tour. (Cody is about approx 130 miles from Yellowstone.) Sunday morning we head out for a 5 hour rafting trip after which we go to a horse ranch for 6 days. (Are you all tired yet?) Check-in time at the ranch is 5 PM. The troop is renting 3 vans for 11 girls and 4 adults. The only items we'll be packing are clothing and sleeping bags for our stay at the ranch, probably a cooler with some food too. I was told that we'll only stop if we need gas and then the kids can have potty breaks and grab something quick to eat in the van. I had a chance to talk to the father of a girl who is going and he also thought this itinerary is more than doable. (But then again, he's not going!)

    If these plans don't change (and I doubt they will), I am tempted to ask for our portion of the travel budget and tell them we'll meet them in Cody. That way we could leave a day (or so) earlier and take our good natured time, have some fun on the way, and travel under safer conditions. By the way, I have the complete backing of my son and daughter-in-law on this matter.

    Mark, I especially found your comment about professional drivers enlightening! Thanks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,059

    Default And now a word from a contrarian...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan_WI View Post
    If these plans don't change (and I doubt they will), I am tempted to ask for our portion of the travel budget and tell them we'll meet them in Cody. That way we could leave a day (or so) earlier and take our good natured time, have some fun on the way, and travel under safer conditions.
    I think that is a great idea. I should tell you that I was part of a Boy Scout troop (ancient history) that also undertook marathon drives so we could reach the Sierra Nevadas and climb the peaks -- the kids did fine. We mostly slept, but I have often wondered how any of the adults survived that period!

    Fatigue driving is no laughing matter. A couple of years ago, a USFS driver went to sleep while transporting a crew of firefighters in a van in Colorado. Everyone died -- I used to be a inter-regional firefighter myself and during one long darn shift (27 hours) I nearly drove right off a cliff, transporting gear for a spike camp. I thought I was "fine" until the front wheels of the truck I was driving slipped off the road.

    Here is an article about fatigue that you might wish to pass on as well.

    Mark

  7. Default Hmmm...

    I'm concerned about one driver per van, and pushing for 500, then 700+ miles in a vehicle.

    Now -- I've driven solo about the same distance in 2 days (LA/OC to Vancouver, BC). So its possible -- althought 700+ miles in a day is beyond my comfort zone as a solo driver. But you're going to have 4 kids, including 3 of someone else's kids in the back. It's not just your neck and car if you get tired, its someone else's kids. There's no one to spell off the driver -- or keep an eye on them for fatigue, and etc.

    We're moderately conservative about driving safety for the boys in the Troop. That is, if you want to speed run and drive solo on a trip like this, we want 2 adults in the vehicle. (Also meets the "Two Deep Leadership" requirement from our Youth Protection guidelines). The second adult handles navigation, talks to the driver to keep them alert, and deals with any "crises" in the vehicle. Else you convoy....

    I'd echo that getting your allocation of the transport funds, and taking a more leisurely trip would probably be safer.. and a lot more fun for the girls, if they can afford the extra night somewhere. They'll do more sightseeing (actually get out of the car!) and remember it more...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default And I concerned about the non-driver functions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    I'm concerned about one driver per van, and pushing for 500, then 700+ miles in a vehicle.
    There is another issue here -- I don't know the ages of the girls, but middle school age kids are...squirrelly. That is what they are supposed to be and a solo driver will also be playing the role of referee, coach, confidant and peace keeper. There won't be any restful time -- whether driving or not. It is hard for me to believe that the other girl's parents would sanction this trip.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Jan_WI Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    There is another issue here -- I don't know the ages of the girls, but middle school age kids are...squirrelly. That is what they are supposed to be and a solo driver will also be playing the role of referee, coach, confidant and peace keeper. There won't be any restful time -- whether driving or not. It is hard for me to believe that the other girl's parents would sanction this trip.

    Mark
    It's hard for me to believe that the other parents would sanction such a trip too! I know my son and daughter-in-law don't! The girls will all be in the 10-11 year old range.

    I've pretty much decided to drive in my own vehicle and leave a day earlier with just my granddaughter, meeting the rest of the group in Cody on Friday night. What sealed the deal is the written itinerary I received today while selling cookies outside our local Walmart. I hope you all don't mind but I have to share because it's such a hoot!

    Thursday 12:30 PM leave from the Milwaukee WI area.
    Arrive Sioux Falls, SD 10:00 PM
    Friday Get back on road 7:00 AM.
    Arrive Cody in time for dinner
    Saturday 7:00 AM bus tour of Yellowstone (Supposedly getting the bus in Cody)
    Sunday 5-hour whitewater rafting trip
    Arrive horse ranch by 5 PM check-in on Sunday

    The way back is even better!

    Saturday 8:00 AM leave for Cody
    Visit Buffalo Bill Museum then leave for home
    Saturday 10:00 PM stop for night in Kadoka, SD (160 miles WEST of Sioux Falls)
    Sunday 7:00 AM get back on road
    Sunday 2:30 PM arrive home in Milwaukee (660 miles in 7.5 hours, 88 mph all the way home? -- ahh haa haa haa!)

    Oh, by the way, after holding fundraisers for 2 years hoping to raise $6,000 for travel expenses, the troop has so far only raised $2,000 (not including this and next weekend cookie sales). Whatever they don't have by the time we leave in 15 weeks will be split by the 15, err maybe only 13, people caravanning. Surprise, surprise!

    OK, I'm done ranting now.

    Thanks for letting me vent to a bunch of rational experienced travelers. I'd hit the road with you guys anytime.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default I bet they miss 100% of those target times

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan_WI View Post
    Thursday 12:30 PM leave from the Milwaukee WI area.
    Arrive Sioux Falls, SD 10:00 PM
    Friday Get back on road 7:00 AM.
    Arrive Cody in time for dinner
    Saturday 7:00 AM bus tour of Yellowstone (Supposedly getting the bus in Cody)
    Sunday 5-hour whitewater rafting trip
    Arrive horse ranch by 5 PM check-in on Sunday
    Egads -- that doesn't sound like much fun to me. In order to make those times, somebody is going to get a speeding ticket!!!

    Mark

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