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  1. Default NJ To San Fran and back - Nov 17-25

    Hi everyone!
    We are just starting to look into a cross country vacation but I think my expectations may be a bit off with how long it will take to get to CA.

    Our plan was to take the week of Thanksgiving and drive from NJ to San Fran, spend a couple of days in the city and then drive back. I am not really sure which route to take and how many miles per day to allow. I've driven nonstop to Florida alone and it was okay but that's not the way I want to do this trip.

    Other posts have said to allow about 500 miles per day but that means it will take 5 days to get out there, is that really the best way to do it? If so, we're going to have to take more time!

    This will probably be the only time we do this so we want to make sure we do it right. How much time do you think we should allow ourselves? What should we see? We've already been to Vegas and Chicago.

    Thanks!

    Lisa

  2. #2

    Default

    While I can't offer you a ton of advice, having never done a trip like that yet, I do have one planned for next year. From NJ to Cali and back.

    We are planning on doing 5-6 hour driving cycles, basically when we stop for gas we switch off driving. We really only have two long stretches we are driving with a lot of stops on the other stretches. I have done a couple good 700-800 mile drives alone and with someone else (but with me doing all the driving) and have never had any real problems. I just always like to start before the sun rises.

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

    Default Five Days one way (minumum)

    Quote Originally Posted by ROVERGIRL View Post
    We are just starting to look into a cross country vacation but I think my expectations may be a bit off with how long it will take to get to CA.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Five days (one-way) is about the minimum time to make this drive safely. I have done it a couple of times in three -- but I had a co-driver and we only stopped for automotive fuel.

    The most direct, (and fastest) route is I-80 and that distance would be about 2900 miles which would mean that you would have to drive a minimum of 580 miles each of those five days (with no detours for sightseeing) and this will require a minimum of 10 hours travel every day (with normal stops for fuel, food and slowdowns due to construction delays)
    Our plan was to take the week of Thanksgiving and drive from NJ to San Fran, spend a couple of days in the city and then drive back.
    Because of the distance and weather delays your trip is simply not feasible. Perhaps you should consider flying or choosing a closer destination?
    This will probably be the only time we do this so we want to make sure we do it right. How much time do you think we should allow ourselves? What should we see? We've already been to Vegas and Chicago
    If you are really going to see some of the natural and human-made wonders of this country you will need to carve out at least three weeks.

    Mark

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jesseschulman View Post
    While I can't offer you a ton of advice, having never done a trip like that yet, I do have one planned for next year. From NJ to Cali and back.

    We are planning on doing 5-6 hour driving cycles, basically when we stop for gas we switch off driving. We really only have two long stretches we are driving with a lot of stops on the other stretches. I have done a couple good 700-800 mile drives alone and with someone else (but with me doing all the driving) and have never had any real problems. I just always like to start before the sun rises.
    wow, just read your other post in the planning and we were thinking about bringing along our dog too...

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Five days (one-way) is about the minimum time to make this drive safely. I have done it a couple of times in three -- but I had a co-driver and we only stopped for automotive fuel.

    The most direct, (and fastest) route is I-80 and that distance would be about 2900 miles which would mean that you would have to drive a minimum of 580 miles each of those five days (with no detours for sightseeing) and this will require a minimum of 10 hours travel every day (with normal stops for fuel, food and slowdowns due to construction delays)
    Because of the distance and weather delays your trip is simply not feasible. Perhaps you should consider flying or choosing a closer destination?If you are really going to see some of the natural and human-made wonders of this country you will need to carve out at least three weeks.

    Mark

    Thank you for all the info. I think yo are right. I would hate to make this trip rushed and stressed because we wouldnt have enough time. Guess we'll have to rework our days and try to get to the 3 week time frame.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default You read right!

    Welcome to the RTA forum, and thanks for doing a little research on your own before posting!

    You are correct that we don't recommend much more than 500 miles a day for long distance travel. That pace still requires 9 hours a day on the road, which makes for a full day while still giving a little bit of time to stop and smell the roses along the way.

    You can push up to 600 miles without too much difficulty, but that leaves little to no time to stop for anything along the way. Plus, when you get beyond that on a multi-day roadtrip, you really start to push your physical limitations. Similarly, if you are doing a one day sprint, you can get up into the 700+ mile range, but its very difficult and not much fun to try and attempt those distances over a marathon type trip. It also become self defeating, because by the time you get to your destination, you are so exhausted that you need a few days just to recover.

    Simply put, there is no way to drive cross-country and back in a week and have any time to enjoy yourself. If you want to go there and back, have a good time, and spend a few days in SF, I'd be looking at a minimum of 12 days, with 2 full weeks or more being even better.

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