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  1. Default New Jersey to San Francisco

    My best friend from college, who lives in New Jersey, is moving out to San Francisco with me. We're going to road trip her car and stuff out here in mid-January and trying to figure out the best route and how long we'll need. I work at a restaurant and so far have managed to get 4 days off - is this reasonable, or should I be begging my boss for more time?

    My friend has a relatively new Honda Civic (2006 or 2007, I think). We were originally planning to take the more northern route (stopping in Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, then arriving in San Francisco on the 4th day), but now are considering going through the southern states (stops in maybe Atlanta, Dallas, Albuquerque, Vegas, then San Francisco) to better avoid harsh winter conditions. Is this actually the better plan? It looks like if we go the southern route we're going to need at least one more day. We're both good at driving for long periods of time and plan to switch off regularly, but we do plan to stop overnight, and it would be great if we could have some time in Vegas to enjoy the sights.

    So, my question is, which route is better in terms of avoiding harsh driving conditions? How much time off do I need to request from my boss? Neither of us have much experience with multi-day trips like this, especially not in the dead of winter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default More time.

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A. forums.

    So, my question is, which route is better in terms of avoiding harsh driving conditions?
    This cannot be answered at the moment. You will need to check weather conditions prior to leaving and select your best option. I-80 looks to be your quickest option or head towards Columbus and St Louise/Denver on I-70. Anywhere can see bad weather including the Southern routes.

    How much time off do I need to request from my boss? Neither of us have much experience with multi-day trips like this, especially not in the dead of winter.
    I would ask him for a week and enjoy the experience. To do it in 4 days would require covering approx 725 miles a day which would equate to 13-14 hours a day on the road. This doesn't take in time for getting packed up or settled in at the other end of your journey. I doubt you would be much use at work after that, Lol!

    With 6 days it will be more like 9 hour travel days and a bit of time to settle. This will also give you a bit of leeway should there be any weather disruption. If you cannot get the time I would reccommend a minimum of 5 days with your lack of experience.

    Have a safe journey.

  3. Default

    725 miles a day is quite high for this type of year, especially if you don't have much history of 'endurance driving'. You'd be driving through every daylight hour non-stop, mostly. Which I wouldn't recommend.

    Definitely take the shortest mileage route (I-80), and keep an eye on the weather (call 511, or check online if you take a laptop with you). Weather is problematic no matter which route you take.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Hi Jen,

    Considering that speed and fatigue are the main causes of road crashes, you will be a sitting duck if you aim to do it in 4 - or even 5 - days.

    Professional drivers take 5 days to drive coast to coast.

    Having driven coast to coast several times, I can only urge you, if you want to arrive alive and well, to take at least 7 days.

    Lifey who puts road safety as a priority

  5. Default

    Hmm, the boss really doesn't want to give me the extra two days - she's going to be away the whole month, and would normally take over for me at the front while I'm out. She said she'd talk to her husband about it, cause he'll be in charge while she's gone. I told her that I think I NEED those other two days... and she said she didn't know if she could promise me that. I countered with saying it's better to prepare now for the very real possibility that I won't be able to make it those days than to hear about it last minute, but she wouldn't budge that night. Fingers crossed she gives me that time... and if not, I'm looking into other jobs.

    Any other advice on this matter? I'm not too keen on trying to do the trip in 4 days, but with this job market, if I don't have something else lined up, I don't know if I'll have any other options.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Safety first.

    Hi Jen,

    You could find some "middle ground" and try and do it in 5 days but I still think to do it in 4 days in the winter and then turn up for work is too much, especially with the added pressure put on you to get there. Jobs are not easy to come by but putting your safety at risk is another thing.

    I am a bit confused as it seems you are already employed in San Fran, you have 4 days off and are starting out in New Jersey. How are you getting across country to get her? It will take best part of the day to fly out?
    If you are employed in New Jersey and moving out to San Fran I take it you won't be keeping the job you have.

    Have a safe trip !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default all things considered

    With respect for the current job market, If I was about to be going to work for a boss who wanted me to risk my life by driving an unsafe number of miles per day (not even considering winter weather in that mix), so that they could take a full month off, I think I'd have some pretty big alarm bells going off. I know I wouldn't want to work for a boss who thinks their time away is more important than my safety.

    Its also very safe to say that even if you were able to successfully cover the ground in 4 days, you would be in no shape to be working at a new job on day 5. Exhaustion wouldn't even begin to describe it.

    If she can't or won't give you any more time, then I would request that she help pay for professional movers to move your things while you fly to your new location.

    If she won't allow for any of those things, I would seriously be thinking about if I want to move across country to work for someone who has no regard for their employees well being. I know its easy for me to sit here and say that, but I have been in similar situations before, and I've learned my lessons -at times, the hard way. There are more important things in life than a job and money.

  8. Default

    Ok, a little clarification: I work at a very small restaurant. It is closed on Sundays, the day I am planning to fly out to New Jersey. I live, and will continue to live, in the San Francisco area. I am the only hostess at the restaurant. When I am away, the manager/owner usually takes over at the front. Now, she is going to Iran for the entire month of January. It's not like she can change her trip. She had it planned before I let her know I was going to be taking this road trip. So I do see her position. Also, as another clarification, I only work in the evenings, so if I do the 4 day option it's all day driving Sun through Thurs, sleep Thurs night and don't go to work until Friday evening. Seems like appropriate recovery time to me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default ok then

    Ok, I understand your work situation a little better and see where they are coming from.

    Since it appears you've only got 4 days to work with, what about meeting your friend somewhere in the middle, say Chicago if you want to do this as a sprint trip, or maybe St. Louis, Kansas City, or Omaha if you want to enjoy some of the trip and take a scenic route through Denver and Las Vegas.

    It appears the problem is in your hands, and its about what you want to do. You've already been told from several experienced travelers that trying to do this whole trip in 4 days is too much, and that if you try it, one day would not be enough recovery time. You also haven't given yourself any safety net should you be delayed due to weather or a mechanical problem. You've been given the information, but it will always be up to you to decide what you want to do with that information.

  10. Default

    Let me be the first to say that it can be done (I've done driving like that many, many times). But, it's tough. And any little setback hampers it. Weather, mechanical, physical health, mental health (hey, you need to unwind from driving).

    And the biggest is just burnout. Be it physical or mental. If you're not used to it, 725 is 10 hours at 72.5 mph (no stops). Factor in cities, congestion, dawn/dusk, etc. If you space it out you're driving more in the early AM or evening. Which, I would hope you'll let off the accelerator a bit. A) because you can fall asleep at the wheel much easier, and B) less visability = greater chance of an accident.

    Big thing is, and I stress this, don't FORCE yourself to do it if you get behind schedule or the conditions (internal and external) aren't right.

    Accept you'll be late and get there safely if that's the way it turns out.


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