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  1. Default X Country trip NY to LA. please help!

    Hi all. I was really glad to discover this site, and have been reading/researching it for about a week.

    A friend and I are driving from the east coast to Los Angeles, and we have to make it in 5 days. We will be taking a flight back to the east coast after that. We are pretty psyched about the trip even though we don't have a lot of time for it.

    After reading some of the posts, I learned that 5 days is going to be really tight for such a trip. I don't think we'll have time to check out anything at all, which is okay. This is our first time doing this, and we're a little bit intimidated by all the unknowns ahead, so any suggestion would be very helpful to us.

    Here's our plan:
    I will drive from NY to Pittsburgh to pick up my friend. It's a 5.5 - 6 hour drive, and it shouldn't be a big deal since I've done it over 20 times.
    From Pittsburgh, we will be following
    I-70 to St Louis, then
    I-44 to Oklahoma City, then
    I-40 to 93 and stop by Vegas, then
    I-15 to LA area.


    (Copyright Google.Maps.com)
    so we will be passing through Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texax, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, CA.
    Google map estimated 37hours and about 2500 miles.

    Time and safety are our main concerns. We're trying to do 8 to 10 hours a day. That way we will be able to make it in about 4 days from Pittsburgh.

    Does this sound like a okay plan?

    I also have some more specific questions,
    1, Is it necessary to book our motels/hotels ahead of time?
    2, which cities are good stopping point to stay over night?
    3, Are there any good/safe rest areas along the way where we can sleep in the car (we're 2 dudes)?
    4, Are there areas that have less gas stations? What are the gas prices for all these states?
    5, how is the road condition for all the interstates?

    There probably are a lot of other things I should be asking, so any tips or things we should be aware of are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance guys!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-09-2007 at 08:56 PM. Reason: added copyright notice

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default The answers lie within

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Google map estimated 37hours and about 2500 miles.

    Time and safety are our main concerns. We're trying to do 8 to 10 hours a day. That way we will be able to make it in about 4 days from Pittsburgh.
    One of the most often things you'll read on this forum is that online map time estimates are usually very innaccurate. Typically you can't average a speed of more than about 57 mph over a long distance, because of required stops for food, fuel, etc.

    Using those guidelines, Driving 8-10 hours a day means you would cover about 500 miles per day, which is what we generally recommend. However, it means you would need a 5th day. Covering this ground in 4 days wouldn't be impossible but you will be on the road closer to 12 hours a day.

    1, Is it necessary to book our motels/hotels ahead of time?
    This Article discusses the pros and cons of prebooking
    3, Are there any good/safe rest areas along the way where we can sleep in the car (we're 2 dudes)?
    Sleeping in Rest Areas is generally not safe or recommended. If you are going to sleep in the car, stopping at a truck stop or other well lit well traffic area is a much better idea. Just get permission before stopping at any private business.
    4, Are there areas that have less gas stations? What are the gas prices for all these states?
    Our Fuel Cost Calculator includes a link to a website that will give you gas prices across the USA.

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

    Default 600 miles/day average

    While this is a tad more than the 500 miles maximum we generally recommend, we've all done our share of speed runs here so I don't think this is too much for a couple of young, energetic guys. You might check out how to make a speed run safe and enjoyable here.

    I really don't think you need to worry about pre-booking hotels. Here's what I recommend: take a good guidebook with hotel listings, or pick up a few free guidebooks at hotel chains that you prefer. Each day when you get a feel for how long you'll be on the road that day and where you want to stop, look up hotels in that general area and call ahead to reserve a spot for that night. This gives you flexibility but also saves you from having to drive around looking for a place to stay. On a speed run, you don't want to waste time like that. Just monitor your progress so you don't fall far behind the 600 miles/day average you need to cover.

    We typically recommend that you plan 53mph average east of the Mississippi and 57mph average west of it. This includes time for quick stops for fuel/food/bio breaks, but no time to linger. Based on that, I estimate this 2900 mile trip will take you about 50 hours or so.

    Oh, and I recommend that you don't spend the night at your friend's in Pittsburgh. You want to burn those miles that first day so you don't get far behind your daily goal. I think you should pick him up and then shoot for Dayton, OH, or Indianapolis for the night.

    If you stop for the night in a metro area, go to the far side (western) for lodging. This way you should avoid any kind of heavy commuter traffic in the morning.

    Of course, if there are any specific places like Las Vegas where you know you want to stay, you could make reservations ahead of time. Las Vegas is definitely a place I wouldn't want to do a stop and check to see if they have a room open routine. Not because hotels rooms are all that hard to find there. There's so many that I believe your chances of finding a room in most hotel/casinos there are pretty good. But these places are huge! The distance from parking areas to lobby seem like they could be almost a mile. You don't want to run in-and-out of several places doing this. It's just a time-waster.

    I agree with Michael. If you're gonna sleep in the car, do it at truck stops. Not rest areas.

    These are interstates. The roads are always kept in good condition. I wouldn't be concerned about that. Also, because these are well-traveled main interstates, you shouldn't have any problem with obtaining fuel or other services every few miles. You're not in the outback. The few times where you might be traveling where services are limited for awhile, you will normally see a sign stating "No services for XX miles". However, I doubt there is anyplace on these interstates where this will happen. My rule-of-thumb is to stop and fill my tank when I'm at 1/4 just in case. If you do that, you'll be fine.

  4. Default

    Thanks a lot for the good pointers... a lot of them didn't even occur to me but make perfect sense.

    We're definitely not going to stay over night in Pittsburgh. We'll try to get to Indianapolis the first night.
    Tulsa the 2nd night,
    Albuquerque the 3rd night,
    Vegas the 4th night,
    drive to LA the on the 5th day.

    Hopefully this plan will actually work.

    Thanks again everyone!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Glad to help!

    This looks pretty good. You have some real long days in there but your longer days are at the beginning when you're likely to be pretty hyped-up with shorter driving days at the end when you're tired. I think this should work out pretty good. Let us know if we can help you further and please consider coming back after your trip to let us know how things went. Enjoy!

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    This looks pretty good. You have some real long days in there but your longer days are at the beginning when you're likely to be pretty hyped-up with shorter driving days at the end when you're tired. I think this should work out pretty good. Let us know if we can help you further and please consider coming back after your trip to let us know how things went. Enjoy!
    Yes, I will definitely share my experience after the trip!

  7. Default

    I was reading the book recommendation link, and think I want to get the "Roadtripping USA". Has anyone read the book before? would it be a good book to get for my trip?
    Is there a route like mine or a similar one in that book?

    Thank you all.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Road Trip USA

    Quote Originally Posted by c2kdb View Post
    ...and think I want to get the "Roadtripping USA". Has anyone read the book before?
    Did you read my review? Thousands of people have read Jamie's book. Your planned route roughly follows his Oregon Trail and Route 66 chapters.

    Mark

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    Did you read my review? Thousands of people have read Jamie's book. Your planned route roughly follows his Oregon Trail and Route 66 chapters.

    Mark
    No, I flipped through this book yesterday at a book store, the new version (2006) doesn't have the coast to coast route (ie. route 66) anymore. It only has 4 or 5 verticle routes. Maybe I overlooked it.
    I was talking about this book.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-10-2007 at 10:37 AM. Reason: preferred URL format

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

    Default You missed half of the routes

    Quote Originally Posted by c2kdb View Post
    No, I flipped through this book yesterday at a book store, the new version (2006) doesn't have the coast to coast route (ie. route 66) anymore.
    You must have been "flipping" pretty quick. I have the newest edition in my hands... There are 11 routes and Route 66 is "route 11".

    I know what you did -- you only looked at the inside front cover (routes 1-6 are there) and routes 7-11 are on the back cover. But all 11 routes are listed in the Table of Contents.
    I was talking about this book.
    The LG series of books are good guide books -- actually I would recommend any of these books for your use But I still think that Jamie's RoadTrip USA and this one by Insight Guides might be the best match with your planned route.

    Mark

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