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  1. Default Moving from Detroit to Santa Clara, CA

    My husband and I are moving from Detroit to Santa Clara, CA-2400 miles, during the 18th July weekend. We were planning on starting Friday around noon and stay overnight in Ames, Iowa (my husband and I went to school there, so we just wanna spend a couple of hrs there on saturday morning).

    We need to finish this trip latest by Monday evening. We are driving such a long distance for the first time and we will also be carrying some stuff in the car. We need tips on planning out this trip, things that we should be careful about, routes we could take to make it easier and avoid mountains (if possible), take straight roads. Also places we could stop by on the way (we can only afford abt couple of hrs a day since we have a short time to finish trip). Tips regarding driving intervals for the two of us - to make the trip least stressful for this given time would be helpful.

  2. #2

    Default On the edge

    Hello khyati,
    Congratulations on your move to the Bay area of California.

    I typed in "on the edge" above since your trip has timing limitations which require average daily travel in excess of what is normally recommended in these forums. I'm seeing Detroit-Ames as just over 600 miles, and Ames-Santa Clara as around 1,860 to cover in 3 days. That's all somewhat in excess of the 500-550/day often recommended around here.

    Your time limitations really preclude routing choices--you've got to go the most direct route, which is I-80 all the way. For better or worse, the parts of I-80 I've driven are essentially non-mountainous. Flat as a pancake from Iowa across Nebraska, picking up rolling hills by western Neb across most of eastern Wyoming, high plains and butte country in central-western WY, a piece of the Wasatch Range right at Salt Lake City, and you cross some Great Basin ranges in Nevada. They're collectively nothing to be concerned about and the way I-80 is designed, mountains won't slow you down. You will see your first serious mountains at Reno, where you'll go through the Sierra Nevada, but that's unavoidable given your timeframe.

    I'm a habitual early riser, so what works for me might not suit you and your husband. If it were me, my travel day would start around 5 am with a quick shower, cup of coffee, and hit the highway, having filled the tank the night before when I stopped. I like to get an hour or two under my belt then stop for a sit-down breakfast. Change drivers there. The second driver runs around 2 hours to a rest area stop where there's another driver change. The original driver then takes over for an hour or so until a lunch + fuel stop. I'll then swap out drivers at a rest area stop about every 1.5-2.0 hours in the afternoon, so no one driver ever has more than a couple of hours behind the wheel. In essence, I start early, stay moving, economize on stops by planning rest area nature breaks at roughly the midpoint of my fuel burn, and then combine a lunch break with a driver change and nature break and fuel stop, all in one.

    I don't know how fast you like to drive, but be aware traffic FLIES on I-80, at least in NE, WY, and UT it does. Perhaps the recent fuel price surge has slowed it down a bit, but if not, most everybody will be running 80-85mph if their vehicle will do it. Running a bit slower, like the 70-75mph speed limit, will still allow you to average nearly 60 mph in a day's travel, including nature, food, and fuel stops, provided you economize those stops. Running 80-85 will push your average day's speed to around 65-68mph. With that range of speeds, you can see you've got to average between 10 and 12 hours a day from start to finish in order to make your 625 average miles per day. That's tough sledding.

    There are a number of articles and tips herein concerning eating healthy meals from your own cooler. I would most certainly have a cooler along and you'll find you can ice it once a day at your overnight motel stop.

    I can't think of much in the way of places to stop and spend a couple of hours, other than: Outdoorsmen like Sidney, NE, home of Cabela's catalog's home store. There's the kitschy Little America Truck Stop near Evanston, WY. Park City and Salt Lake City, UT are nice. I've read that Wells and Elko, NV are rollicking, fun, "old west" towns. I'd plan my "downtime" at the end of the day, but that's as much personal preference as anything else. I like to keep going until I stop for the day, then enjoy downtime and not have to re-start the truck until the next day, at about 0530.

    Oh, and I'd do some online research on highway construction circumstances in the states you'll traverse. Perhaps not much you can do about it, but being aware of backups ahead can assist in your stop economization.

    Best of luck as you proceed,


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