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  1. #1

    Default After X-Mas Road Trip! Miami to Seattle

    Hi all,

    So me and my brother decided to do a road trip this coming X-mas break, one-way, from Miami to Seattle. This is by FAR the longest road trip I've ever attempted, and definitely a bit worrisome, since I am not familiar at all with the winter driving conditions around the Rockies.

    I did some preliminary reading on the forums, and got some tips already (I-70 is better than I-80 on Denver to Salt Lake, get snow chains) but I'd still like as much advice as I can get!

    Here is a preliminary route we've chosen, but its definitely open to suggestions. The only two places that I'd really like to pass by are Austin, TX and Colorado Springs, CO. Though if the winter hits hard, I'm willing to skip the rockies and stay south along the gulf and then north up the coast, if necessary.,56.601563&z=4

    Some more details: We will be driving a 2003 Civic Coupe. Three drivers rotating. We have about a week for the trip (see the 5 tentative legs in the map).

    PLEASE help.. any advice or reassuring.. or Warnings! are welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The first thing I would ask - are any of the drivers on this trip familiar with winter driving? It isn't something you can pick up in a day or two, after all. With that in mind, I would definitely stick to the Interstates since they will be the most passable. Also, should an emergency situation arise, you will be more likely to find help on these heavily traveled roads.

    Seven days would be reasonable for a trip like this, especially with three drivers. That gives each person the opportunity to drive for about 3-4 hours each day, leaving room to get out and stretch and take a nice rest out of the car.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by Super_Chunk View Post
    I did some preliminary reading on the forums, and got some tips already (I-70 is better than I-80 on Denver to Salt Lake, get snow chains)
    I think you may have misread something here. While I-70 isn't necessarily more dangerous that I-80, if you're going to Salt Lake, I'd say I-80 is the better bet in Winter, if for no other reason than you don't have to take US-6, a two lane road, to cut through Utah. I-70 also crosses the rockies a couple thousand feet higher than I-80.

    I-70 is a beautiful route, and that certainly is the case in winter. If the weather is clear, that's not a problem at all, but if its questionable, then I'd head through Wyoming.

  4. #4

    Default Good Friends

    Super Chunk,

    Thats a really, really long way for three people to ride together in a 2 door Civic! I hope that you guys are really good friends. Even then, you may be a little tired of each other by the time you get to Seattle.

    With that said, it sounds like good sport. A week is doable but wont leave much extra time should you need any.

    Make sure your car is in good, battery etc. I always take along a road atlas, a gps and a cell phone for safety.
    Good luck, be sure to post how the trip worked out.

  5. #5


    Well.. Thanks a lot to everyone for all the advice!
    We are definitely planning to keep a close eye on the weather, and the road conditions. About I-80 vs. I-70, it did seem counter intuitive that I-70 would be safer, but I guess I must have misread something somewhere.

    We do have several cell phones, GPS, paper atlas, laptop and a car in good condition. Any suggestions as far as road equipment/supplies/gadgets?

    Right now, I think I'm concerned with the 3td leg of our trip, Austin to Colorado Springs. Google Maps shows: 890 mi – about 15 hours 15 mins. Is that realistic for one day (remember, 3 drivers)? Also, how is the drive coming INTO Colorado Springs (up I-25)? From looking at the terrain maps, it seems like the trouble should begin as we leave Colorado Springs towards Salt Lake... Any thoughts on that?

    Oh, and for Erikw89, thanks a lot for the concerns! That trip IS a lot for three people in a Civic, but its my brother and my sister in law. Both are very close to me, and I barely get to see them (living in opposite ends of the country), so part of the reason for this trip is to have a chance to spend some time together and enjoy each other's company.

    Again, thanks a lot to everyone for the help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default pushing it

    Traveling 900 miles really is far more than we'd recommend for a days drive, even with multiple driver. With 3 people alternating driving, you might be able to do it, but that would be very tiring, and you'd probably need to spend almost a full day in CO Springs recovering. Especially when you throw in the fact that you'll be packed into a pretty small car, I'd make plans to stop somewhere along the way.

    I-25 is pretty tame mountain wise. There's a some elevation change near the NM/CO border, but its pretty mild compared to the Contiental Divide. The Eisenhower Tunnel would be the biggest crossing on I-70, while you have a couple of smaller passes if you go via I-80

  7. #7

    Default Tentative Schedule

    I completely hear you, Michael. We'll be definitely looking out for exhaustion! Also, I think I figured out a way to get some rest before and after the long stretches of driving. So here is the latest tentative schedule, with mileage/times from Google Maps:

    Day 1: Drive out of Miami, to the end of the state (around Pensacola). A medium to long shot for the 1st day, since we're rested. (670 mi – about 10 hours 2 mins).
    Day 2: Pensacola to Houston. A more relaxed drive, with a leisurely (about 2+ hours) stop in New Orleans for lunch/stretching/relaxed tourism on the French Quarter. (541 mi – about 8 hours 23 mins).
    Day 3: Houston to Austin. EASY drive, only 3+ hours. Planning to spend some time visiting friends in Austin, get some needed rest for Day 4, and turn into bed early! (185 mi – about 3 hours 14 mins).
    Day 4: Austin to Colorado Springs. The BIG ONE. Hopefully we'll be rested for it, and we'll definitely keep rotating drivers to stay fresh, and keep an eye out for fatigue. (890 mi – about 15 hours 15 mins).
    Day 5: Enjoy Colorado Springs! Get some needed rest, visiting close friends, and recharging after that long drive. (no driving).
    Day 6: Colorado Springs to Salt Lake City/Ogden (depending on I-70/I-80). This is the one I'm most worried about. We'll be well rested, but I think it will be the most challenging one. We'll definitely keep an eye on the weather! (593/596 mi – about 9/8 hours 27/23 mins).
    Day 7: Salt Lake/Ogden to Renton, WA. The "home stretch". A bit longer that I'd like for being this late into the trip, but being so close, I don't think its worth splitting into two legs. Then again, its not out of the question depending on how tired we are (we have some extra time for this). (805 mi – about 11 hours 46 mins).

    Link to trip on Google Maps

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default limits

    I'll say this, everyone is a little bit different in what they can tolerate, but what you are defining as a leisurely drive, is still at the top end of what we recommend in a day. What you are calling medium to long, is quite a bit beyond what we recommend in a day.

    Adding to that, it appears that you are going purely off of Google estimates, which tend to seriously underestimate how much time you'll really need on the road. For example, your 1st day will certainly be more than 10 hours. 12 hours is a much more realistic guess.

    I did say that you might be able to physically drive 890 miles between the 3 of you, but I might not have indicated how strongly I would recommend that you not do it. While you're worrying a lot about the weather and the terrain, a drive across the rockies will be a walk in the park compared to a 900 mile day in a car. That sort of distance, plus having a good chunk be on non-interstates, means you'll probably be crammed together inside a Honda Civic for 17+ hours (You'll need to be on the road by 7am to get there by midnight). That's just a recipe to have a really bad time, and to really start getting on each others nerves, no matter how close of friends you are beforehand. Its also the kind of thing that can really start to snowball, and turn a fun trip into an argument in a can for the next several days.

    It also just seems foolish to drive that kind of miles when you don't need to. Instead of doing a super marathon, spend an afternoon in Austin catching up with friends, and then get back on the road for a few miles. Drive for a couple hours in the evening, and spend the night in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. That still puts you on the road for a very long 700 mile day to Colorado Springs, but it will break things up into at least a more manageable interval.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The time estimates from Google maps and any other mapping software are for continuous driving, no rest stops, no fuel stops, no food stops, no traffic lights, no weather or construction delays - get the picture?

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