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  1. Default Los Angeles to Boston

    Hi everyone,

    I'm moving to Boston and I've decided to drive the distance in five days. I couldn't in good conscience pay to have my car transported across county and fly with my dog "Dolly" in tote, without considering the option of driving to Boston myself. With lodging, gas, and food, it probably will end up costing the same. But I'm hoping to gain something from the experience.

    Here's the plan (route 66 and beyond):

    Day 1: Start early, drive (460 miles) to the Grand Canyon, sightsee, sleep.

    Day 2: Start early, drive (700 miles) to Amarillo, Texas, sightsee at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park if we're up to it, sleep.

    Day 3: Start early, drive (700 miles) to Sullivan, Missouri, sightsee at the Meramac Caverns if we're up to it, sleep.

    Day 4: Drive (625 miles) to Cleveland, Ohio.

    Day 5: Drive (640 miles) to Boston, Massachusetts.

    As you can see, getting to my destination is more important than enjoying the sights along the way. I've never been to any of these places between California and Massachusetts. This will be my first trip to the Grand Canyon--that alone may be worth the drive (even if we'll only have half a day to see the place).

    I've driven 700 miles roundtrip before, but never like this. There will be two of us to drive and, of course, Dolly to keep us company.

    Any words of wisdom? Anything I just can't miss along the way. Any tips for the road (places where gas stations would be scarce)? I can still cancel my reservations and make plans to fly instead.

    Thanks,
    Dolly's mom.

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

    Default Try Again

    I'm sorry, but you are setting yourself up for disaster at this pace.

    600 and 700+ mile per day trips day after day are not sustainable, and they certainly won't leave time for side trips along route 66 or stops at other landmarks.

    500-600 miles, even with two drivers is really the most you should think about traveling. That already is a very full day 8-10 hours on the road. When you start pushing 700 miles, that means more than 12 hours on the road in a day, plus extra time since I'm sure you'll need to give your dog a chance to run from time to time. It might be possible for you to do a 700 mile trip as a one shot, one day sprint, but that doesn't mean you could keep up that pace over a multi-day marathon.

    If you must do this trip in 5 days, then you need to skip the Grand Canyon, you simply don't have time for the 3 hour detour off I-40, just to get to the park gates. If seeing the canyon, and making it safely to your destination are important to you, then you need to add at least one more day.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-27-2008 at 06:43 PM.

  3. Default Open to Suggestions

    I've streamlined the trip, so as to make only one major detour to the Grand Canyon--I thought it would be worth the effort. Plus it's on the first day and, so, if we leave LA (I'll be starting off near Riverside/San Bernardino) before 6:00 a.m., we would arrive a little after noon and have most of the day to take a short trail into the park (where dogs are allowed). I usually start driving before 6:00 a.m. (between 4:00 to 5:00 a.m.) on long trips and don't require a lot of sleep.

    But I understand that driving close to 700 miles a day for several days may not be sustainable. So I'd love suggestions on how to break up the trip to make it more reasonable. Adding another day (or two) would not be a problem, although I'd be eager to get to my destination earlier as opposed to later.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Breaking up a trip is pretty easy

    Especially when you're driving on interstates because you will rarely drive more than about an hour without coming across many hotel options to stop at. According to your mileages in your post, after Grand Canyon, you have roughly 2700 miles to go to get to your new home. This breaks up nicely at 540 miles per day times 5 days. So just plan to drive about 540 miles per day and then, when you get tired, stop for the night. Simple.

    Yes, you have a dog. That does make it a tad tricker. Make sure you and the dog get decent walks during the day and have a list of hotel chains with you that allow you to bring your dog with you. I would check out the resources listed here for hotels that allow dogs and their rules, fees, etc. I would imagine most of these have hotels in the San Bernardino area so you could swing by and get their hotel guidebooks listing all their locations. When you think you've only got a couple hours of driving energy left, start going through the guidebooks to see what hotels are coming up on your trip and then call ahead and see if they have a room. Make sure you let them know about Dolly as I'm under the impression that not all rooms in all hotels are available for dogs.

    Oh, and it will be rare that you will drive more than 15-20 minutes between gas stations. I just don't think the route you're driving is going to present very many challenges. However, it's always a good idea to have a good roadmap and to know what's up ahead. If you see some stretches with no towns listed and you are antsy about the possibility of getting gas, just make sure you fill up before you leave the last town on the map.

    I would also suggest planning to eat some of your meals picnic-style out of a cooler. This can be quicker than sitting in a restaurant and healthier than eating fastfood all the time. Plus, it gives Dolly time to get out of the car and play. You, too!

  5. Default Thanks!

    Thanks for the tips.

    I've already made reservations for motels for the first three nights--but, of course, I can still change them. I wanted to plan ahead because most places don't allow dogs.

    I've already purchased a good roadmap, but I'm not terribly good at reading maps--so I should probably pad the total miles with an extra 100 miles of just going around in circles (e.g., missing exits or intersections and driving a while before having a chance to turn around). My brother, who kindly agreed to come along, hopefully will keep us going in the right direction.

    Good to hear about the availability of places to fuel and rest along the road. I shouldn't have a problem then--I have a hybrid and I usually get about 50 miles per gallon on the freeway.

    I do have a couple of other questions:
    (1) I've driven through the grapevine in California dozens of times, but never with my 4 cylinder hybrid, so I'm a little worried about the terrain--will I be going over moutains or even just a rough patch of road?
    (2) From the suggestion about picnicking, I was wondering if there are rest areas--I usually take advantage of the ones along I-5 in California.

    Thanks!

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

    Default You will be fine

    I sense that you think you're really going to be roughing it. Not so. The rest of the country is just as civilized as SoCal. :)

    Re dogs and motels....that's why I suggest getting the free motel guides for the chains of motels that allow dogs and/or getting a list off their websites of their locations. And, of course, checking out the dog-travel links in that post I directed you to, first. It really shouldn't be a problem but it will take a tad more planning than if you were traveling without Dolly.

    Good to hear about the availability of places to fuel and rest along the road. I shouldn't have a problem then--I have a hybrid and I usually get about 50 miles per gallon on the freeway.
    It is rare in this day and age to find any road that is not fairly well-traveled with many amenities. Most are traveled by locals and tourists. Interstates, such as you will be on most of the time, are used by truckers to transport goods as well. So you will have plenty of options for this. don't worry. Anytime I've come across a stretch where services are going to be non-existent for awhile, there is usually a sign letting you know that. The longest stretch I've ever seen such a sign has been 47miles (or thereabouts). So nothing to worry about, imho.

    (1) I've driven through the grapevine in California dozens of times, but never with my 4 cylinder hybrid, so I'm a little worried about the terrain--will I be going over moutains or even just a rough patch of road?
    You will be going through some areas of higher elevation but nothing over any mountain passes. Interstates must meet certain guidelines, including grades, for interstate truckers so your car should be fine. I'm not experienced with hybrids but some 4-cylinders can lose a bit of power at higher elevations due to thinner air. This would just mean that you can't push the gas pedal and expense a fast, quick response. So traveling at highway speeds shouldn't be a problem but it may take you a tad longer to get to cruising speed from a stop. So just be aware of that and don't expense to be able to do a quick response and you should be fine.

    (2) From the suggestion about picnicking, I was wondering if there are rest areas--I usually take advantage of the ones along I-5 in California.
    The amount of rest areas and how nice they are, their amenities, etc. will vary. Some states seem to do a better job with this than others. But don't limit yourself to rest areas. There are plenty of national/state/county/city parks to watch for signs for along the way.

    As for map-reading....why don't you familiarize yourself better with map-reading before you leave. And you might benefit from printing out some driving instructions before you go as well. There are many programs out there, free and online, to do this. GoogleMaps, YahooMaps, Mapquest, and AAA are just a few good ones to choose from. My favorite for trip-planning is the AAA one as you can also look up what's along the route in the way of hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, parks, museums, etc. and add them to your trip and get directions to them as well. Very handy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Resting

    Rest stops can be a nice place to take a break from the road, but another option is to pull into a town and find a nice park. Buck built an extensive list that covers a broad range of places that are easily accessible for breaks all across the Interstate System.

  8. Default Thanks!

    Judy and Michael,

    Thanks for the links to information about pets and parks. The list of parks is great, I'll plan to stop at a few along the way.

    Rest stops in California are not the most sanitary, but they're convenient places to stop along the Interstate--especially for those of us with a dog. One summer during a trip from Boston to Canada, I remember stopping at a rest stop in Vermont that was absolutely beautiful, it had everything a weary traveler would need. So they do vary considerably, but I wasn't sure if all Interstates had rest stops. Good to know that they do.

    As for online map resources, I'm very familiar with mapquest. I've already mapped the entire trip (which is how I came up with my original agenda). When I finalize my plans, I'll print out maps for every leg of the trip, from how to get to each motel and how to get back on the Interstate. I'll check out the AAA site, sounds like it offers additional resources.

    Thanks,
    Chong

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Paper

    In addition to the mapquest printouts, I would really recommend getting yourself a good atlas. You can pick up one for $5 at a big-box store.

    There's nothing wrong with internet directions, but many times they don't give you great visuals and if you don't know specific street names, you can really get confused. There's nothing better than a real honest paper map to give you a good visual idea of where you are going.

  10. Default Covered

    One of the first things I did was order an atlas. I looked around and ended up ordering Rand McNally's 2008 Road Atlas (large scale). I know what you mean, I need to have paper maps even with mapquest. I usually have a map book under the passenger seat of my car for the area where I live. I'm tempted to buy city maps for places that I know I'll stop (I already ordered one for the New England area), just because the atlas, of course, doesn't list every street in the US (and I'm bound to make a few wrong turns and end up on some side street). But I figure, I can always ask for directions.

    I'm also tempted to buy the Road Trip USA book for the road (the website has been very helpful). Worth the money?

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