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  1. #1

    Default Cheaper than flying

    Hi there!

    A bit of context, I am from Montreal, QC, Canada, and I work for the Cirque du Soleil. I just learned there was a 95% chance I'll be working in Vegas from January to September 2008. I have 2 cats, and a brand new car, and I want to have them in Vegas, so I decided I would drive there instead of flying it. I have never drove that far in my entire life -not surprisingly. The entire distance totals 2600 miles totalling about 39hours of drive. I might find a colleague to come with me, but for now, let's pretend I'll be on my own.

    I have a couple problems though. First, theoritically speaking, the Cirque would be paying me a flight there, so I guess I could have them pay for gas and hotel if I can come with a solid plan on how to do it for less money than a flight (which is about $550.) I also have to take as little time as I could to get there; I'm going there to work, not to travel and couldn't justify taking a week off when I could be there in 4 hours...

    So I came up with something of an itinary from Montreal to Chicago, then Chicago to Denver, and then Denver to Vegas. It's 12 to 14 hours of drive a day, it sounds do-able, even with the cats. They have never been sick in the car and usually sleep through whatever -much shorter- drive I took with them. Problem is, I have no idea how to figure out how much that would come to. Or wether this truly is reasonable. I found some hotels where pets are tolerated, but they weren't cheap... I definitely need something cheaper than $500 or they'll have me fly wether I want it or not, and I really want to avoid it.

    Secondly, I have questions regarding weather. It is currently 14F in Montreal and there are about 25inches of snow out there. In Vegas it's 56F and slightly rainy. I know it snows in Chicago but I'm not sure how it is in the streets of Denver. I have no idea what to do tire-wise. I currently have winter tires, but I hardly could keep them in Vegas. I definitely do not want to bring my 4-seasons tires in the trunk, it will be full already! I'm used to driving in snow (hey, I live in Quebec I have to) but I don't want to risk being stuck or running into any kind of avoidable problems. Anyone has any idea?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,887

    Default Not Possible

    Bienvenue sur les forums de RoadTrip Amérique.

    I'm sorry, but it will not be possible to drive the 2600 miles from Montréal to Las Vegas in the three days you are envisioning. That would require you to cover nearly 900 miles each of the three days. Jamais!. Such a drive would require a minimum of 4 days, and even then would be a brutal 650 miles a day, which would be difficult even with a relief driver. With no help and two cats to boot, you really do need to assume that this drive will take 5 days. Then as you point out, weather delays range from possible to almost guaranteed. If you really want to make this move by driving, then you are going to have to be able to devote that much time to the effort. Nor will you be able to justify driving on the basis of cost. You're looking at around $400 for gas, $70 or so a night for a motel, and $30 or so a day for meals, so around $900 for the entire trip.

    Now forget what you can sell to your employer. What is such a trip worth to you? Is it worth using up your vacation time (surely you have some in hand!) and your dollars? Personally, if this is a semi-permanent move, I'd think that having my car and pets with me in my new home would be worth the extra $400 and 4 or 5 days. But whatever you decide, please do not try to do this drive in three days.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,477

    Default Except for the cats -- it is cheaper to fly!

    Quote Originally Posted by miniannie View Post
    A bit of context, I am from Montreal, QC, Canada, and I work for the Cirque du Soleil.
    Welcome to Las Vegas and to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    The entire distance totals 2600 miles totalling about 39hours of drive. I might find a colleague to come with me, but for now, let's pretend I'll be on my own
    Now I know that certain QC's are crazy (we have a QC Moderator who drives seriously ridiculous miles in one day) but the only way you can drive from Montreal to Las Vegas in three days is if you are willing and able to be on the road for 15 hours per day. (To cover those distances in 12 hours will require that you drive at least 90 mph for long stretches -- not the best idea in winter driving conditions). As a solo traveler, in winter, that is just asking for problems. Personally, I think you will spend more money on the road than on airfare -- but the cats won't enjoy flying. So....

    Here are some basic tips on how to budget for road trips
    Here are some solo traveler tips
    Here are some ideas about road trip snacks
    Here are some suggestions for traveling with your cats

    I would get them to pay you an allowance of $550 and use it to your best advantage -- I think it will cost you about $750 to make the move, if you are darn thrifty and never hit a weather-caused delay enroute. And, as AZBuck mentions above, the far more realistic budget will be closer to $900.00....
    In Vegas it's 56F and slightly rainy. I know it snows in Chicago but I'm not sure how it is in the streets of Denver.
    We are expecting snow flurries here in Las Vegas this weekend.
    I currently have winter tires, but I hardly could keep them in Vegas. I definitely do not want to bring my 4-seasons tires in the trunk, it will be full already!
    I would put the four season tires on the car and leave the winter tires behind and carry chains. Even with your experience -- here are some winter driving tips. (The photo of the snow plow on that page, was taken about 45 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip!)

    Mark

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the replies. I must admit that I took some "provincial" (600 miles) drive frequently a few years back (Montreal ->Sept-Iles for the Gen in question) and they were fine. I could easily have gone a couple extra hours after supper, so the 3 days still seem possible to me. However, I guess it would be more reasonable and safe to assume it will take 4 days. The decisive factor will be the cats, I presume. I guess us crazy Quebecers are used to drive around a lot, somehow :P I did not intend on reserving a hotel in advance anyway, I was thinking on Motel 6, it seems decent enough to me and they accept pets.

    I had a question on that though, do you suggest I completely empty my car at night in the hotel/motel room or would it be fine to leave some stuff in the car? I'll have clothes and stuff, but also a computer tower, cooler, etc. How safe is it to leave stuff in the car?
    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Now forget what you can sell to your employer. What is such a trip worth to you? Is it worth using up your vacation time (surely you have some in hand!) and your dollars?
    AZBuck
    My problem is that my employer will want to have me there, like, yesterday. I'll probably know 48hours ahead that all the artists are leaving, ie, that the production team is leaving as well. It's not a matter of taking vacations for a semi-permanent move, it's all work and no play to them. No matter how creative the company is at large, it's still hard to make them think outside the box at times... I definitely want to have my car and cats, but I have to make them understand why they should give me money for it, even the flight's cost... I don't mind paying a few extra hundreds dollars, but I can't afford the entire cost of the trip myself.

    Now, tell me, would it be that much better/easier to do it with a second driver? I know it would split the gas' cost in two, and the hours of drive, but beside the obvious ones, what are the side advantages of not being alone?
    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    We are expecting snow flurries here in Las Vegas this weekend. I would put the four season tires on the car and leave the winter tires behind and carry chains.
    I'm really surprised to hear there is snow in Vegas. Actually, I was surprised when I learned it rains a few months back, so, well, thanks. From what I learned on the web, it's much different than the storms we get here, so I guess I'll live through them. Many thanks for you ardive on tires, I really didn't know what to do...
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-08-2007 at 05:57 PM. Reason: reduce white space for format

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,864

    Default A Huge Difference

    There is a very very big difference between driving 600 miles in a single shot and driving 900 miles day after day.

    A 600 mile drive in one day really isn't that challenging, because you are starting out well rested and you can get as much rest as you need the next day.

    Those extra 4-5 hours you'd need to be on the road "after dinner" might not seem like much if you've never tryed it, but anyone who has experienced that sort of marathon drive knows that doing it, and then knowing they are going to have to be on the road again for another 16 hours the next day, and the day after is brutal to the point that its simply not safe for a single driver. There is a reason that professional drivers are not allowed to drive anywhere near those distances in a day.

    There is also the matter of the cats. Its been my experience that they generally don't like to eat, drink, or use the litter box until the end of the day when they can "get comfortable" in a motel room. For the safety and well being of your cats, I don't think you'd want to be on the road for much more than 8-10 hours a day.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    There is a very very big difference between driving 600 miles in a single shot and driving 900 miles day after day.
    I must admit I hadn't really seen it that way. Very very good point. Thank you so much, I probably wouldn't have thought it that way...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default I'll try to answer questions not yet answered

    The only disadvantage of driving with someone else is if you don't enjoy your company. I have enjoyed long trips with others in the car with me and long solo trips equally well. It depends on my mood and the company. So, really, if you want company and can find a compatible travel companion, go for it. If you want to enjoy the peace and solitude a solo trip brings, go for that. Either way works.

    I leave stuff in my car at motels all the time. However, I make sure that anything of value is hidden from view. A potential thief might be tempted by a computer. If that computer is hidden under a pile of clothes, there is less temptation and you are far less likely to have a break-in.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,477

    Default It is still a rare & wondrous event

    Quote Originally Posted by miniannie View Post
    I'm really surprised to hear there is snow in Vegas.
    We get a little snow on the ground most years around Christmas -- rarely on the Strip -- and, usually it is gone within hours. Last year, we had a six foot ice waterfall on our backyard pool for about 10 days. In the link below, is a photo of a typical snow dusting here in Las Vegas.

    I hit one of the worst white-outs I have ever been in, (and I have seen some serious winter storms during winter travels all over the North American continent over the years...) a couple of years ago near Primm one February morning -- so extreme snow events can happen -- although they are still rare.
    Actually, I was surprised when I learned it rains a few months back
    Summertime rain storms nearly ALWAYS cause flash floods here -- here is a good overview about what that like!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-08-2007 at 05:59 PM. Reason: clarification

  9. #9

    Default Craigslist Again!

    Craigslist is a great place to find rideshares (in addition to the "share the gas" forum here on RTA.) The advantage to using CL is that each city has their own page, so you know that all the posts in their rideshare will involve your city either as a start or and end.

    Anyone who reads my post is going to think I work for these guys, but seriously, Craigslist has never let me down!

    Good luck in your travels...Working for Cirque...I'm so jealous!

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