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  1. Default Seattle to Austin - quickest route?

    I will be driving from Seattle to Austin in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, it's for work and my priority is a short trip rather than one that is leisurely and scenic. Otherwise, I would certainly visit at least Moab and Bryce.

    Google Maps suggests a route through Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver and Wichita. This seems kind of round-about compared to Yahoo maps which goes down to Albuquerque and then onto Austin. Is there any reason to go via Colorado and Kansas?

    I'm trying to figure out a fast route that doesn't have too many long, empty stretches. I realize that almost the entire drive will be a long empty stretch. Nevertheless, I would still like to minimize segments where my car might break down, for example, in the middle of some desolate secret UFO landing base :)

    Can this trip be done in 2 days? Perhaps one stop in Salt Lake and another in Santa Fe?

    Thanks for any advice or experiences.

    MMS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,066

    Default Options

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I actually found that Google, Mapquest, and Rand Mcnally each recommended a different route.

    I suspect they would all be fairly similar in terms of travel time, but if you want to do this as speed run, I would take the option Google recommend, through Salt Lake City, Denver, and Wichita, because it is an all interstate route, and you'll be able to consistantly maintain higher speeds.

    It actually would also be the best option if you are concerned about breaking down, because its all major cross country routes that get plenty of traffic.

    Yahoo's recommendation appears to mirror Mapquests, running down through Eastern Utah, and into Albq.

    Rand McNally's is sort of a hybrid, going through Denver, but then taking I-25 down to New Mexico, cutting down to I-40 (around LasVegas, NM - bypassing Santa Fe), going over to Amarillo, and then takes a diagonal route to Austin via Lubbock.

    The difference between the longest (via Kansas) and shortest (via Alb) routes is less than 100 miles, so its not a significant difference when compared to the overall distance.

    The total distance is 2300-2400 miles. I would not recommend making this trip in less than 4 days, even that would require you to be on the road 10+ hours a day. If you want to spend some time at Bryce or Moab I think you'll need at least 5 days to make this trip.

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

    Default 3 days, maybe.

    But, if you try to do it in 3 days, you might not have any energy to do the job you're going there to do. I would need at least a day to recuperate from that. I've driven Roswell, NM, to Olympic Peninsula in 2 days. I was a wreck for two days afterwards though. No oomph at all.

    If there is anyway you can stretch out the time for a a bit of sight-seeing, please do it. You'll arrive more refreshed and ready to work and it would be a shame to drive past all that beautiful scenery and not stop to explore.

    (BTW, when I did it, it was my 3rd trip on that same route so I had already stopped at a lot, though not all, of the things I wanted to see. I just didn't have time that particular trip either. But, when I go back, there's more places to stop. This area is NOT boring.)

  4. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take your advice on the 2 day sprint and allow 3-4 days.

    Judy, you did NM to WA in 2 days with a stop-over? That's pretty good. I have driven from San Francisco to Seattle in 14 hours straight which is about half the distance of your trip. It's definitely exhausting, especially in a sporty car. Same drive in a 7 series BMW was noticeably less tiring.

    I'm really temped to drive down Utah instead of going East via CO and KS. It's not an interstate but the state routes in Utah seem fairly wide on Google Maps.

    Are the freeways in those areas concrete or asphalt?

    BTW Great forum. Conversation seems civilized and flame-free.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Gratias

    Quote Originally Posted by MagisterMundiSum

    BTW Great forum. Conversation seems civilized and flame-free.
    Jugis nixus est.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default We're all a bit crazy sometimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by MagisterMundiSum View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take your advice on the 2 day sprint and allow 3-4 days.

    Judy, you did NM to WA in 2 days with a stop-over? That's pretty good.
    Actually, it was pretty bad. I mean, a speed run can be fun and I needed to do things that fast in order to go where I was going and get home in time. But, man, work the next few days about killed me!

    I'm really temped to drive down Utah instead of going East via CO and KS. It's not an interstate but the state routes in Utah seem fairly wide on Google Maps.
    There are no boring places on the road but I think Utah's scenery is breath-taking. Of those two choices, I'd lean toward Utah, too. Especially if you haven't driven through it before. If you go Seattle-Boise-SLC-Green River, UT, via Hwy 6-Moab & Monticello, UT, via Hwy 191, then veer into SW Colorado through Cortez, CO, and then south to Gallup, NM, you will be on the same drive I went when I made my 2 day run. I would suggest then going east on I-40 to Albuquerque, then south on I-25 to El Paso. From there, I-10 will take you into Austin, TX. This is about 2300 miles. If you break this up into 4 days, you'll have a fantastic trip!

    I really like to drive new roads instead of going back over roads I've already traveled. Because of that, I suggest you consider the route through KS and CO on the way home. (Or vice-versa). Why not see something different each way?


    Are the freeways in those areas concrete or asphalt?
    Gosh, as long as the road is fairly smooth and without potholes, I don't really pay attention. I'm pretty sure it's concrete though. I would think parts of this country are just too hot for asphalt to stay hard. Wouldn't it get kinda sticky? But I'm really not sure.


    BTW Great forum. Conversation seems civilized and flame-free.
    Thanks! We aim to be good neighbors.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Do Utah, or maybe not

    Hi, Judy's route looks good to me. We've driven much of that, and there is some very nice scenery along the way.

    You should consider doing the same trip going back to Seattle, with minor changes if you feel so inclined. I find that the same road often looks a lot different from the other direction, especially in mountainous terrain at a different time of day. Surfaces that were in shadow one time will be lit the next time giving the trip a very different feel.

    That means putting your overnights in different places, which can be challenging when towns are a long ways apart, but it is worth the effort.

    On the other hand driving through the plains states can be a real joy. You feel like you are just flying through the wide open spaces. I've seen some sublime sunrises, dark and dramatic afternoon clouds, and spectacular sunsets out there. (There is a great brewpub called the LB [which stands for "liquid bread"] Brewery and Cafe in downtown Hayes, Kansas, south of the Interstate on 11th street. They sell growlers of anything they make. We keep an empty one in the motorhome to fill up whenever we're crossing I-70 to see my parents in Kansas City or our son in Denver.)

    Your choice, but do try to keep your driving days to fewer than 10 hours. I've seen people drifting over the center line on I-70 that I knew were falling asleep. And if you stop at the LB, don't drink and drive!

    Craig

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