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  1. Default Coast-to-coast and back: 6,805mi trip! (First road trip!)

    Hey everyone, how's it going? I'm taking my first serious road trip all the way across the US this summer and I could use all the help I can get, haha. I'm trying to recruit friends, but I'm doing this with or without them.

    Here's the route I'll be taking: http://tinyurl.com/Maxs-XCroute1

    Any tips? I'm trying to come up with a list of bare essentials to bring and to suggest that my friends pack as well (think fast & light style.)

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    A list of essentials is easily found on this forum in the Planning Pages.

    How much time do you have for this trip? It is five days from coast to coast, driving 10-12 hours per day.

    What are you doing for lodging?
    Do you have the transportation all squared away?
    What kind of budget are you looking at?

    Have you considered taking a shorter trip before this one (maybe a long weekend away) to get yourself acclimated to what it is like to take a road trip? I certainly don't want to discourage you from taking your trip, but there are a lot of things that can arise on the road that you may not have considered before. Perhaps the biggest issue being your state of mind after being in a lengthy bout of traffic.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mass Tim View Post
    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    How much time do you have for this trip? It is five days from coast to coast, driving 10-12 hours per day.

    What are you doing for lodging?
    Do you have the transportation all squared away?
    What kind of budget are you looking at?

    Have you considered taking a shorter trip before this one (maybe a long weekend away) to get yourself acclimated to what it is like to take a road trip? I certainly don't want to discourage you from taking your trip, but there are a lot of things that can arise on the road that you may not have considered before. Perhaps the biggest issue being your state of mind after being in a lengthy bout of traffic.

    Thanks Tim!
    We've set aside about two weeks for the full trip, that way we can really enjoy ourselves as we travel throughout the country.
    For lodging we've settled on a combination of camping out and hostels, motels where necessary. I'm an experienced camper and backpacker, so roughing it isn't an issue for me (my friends may fair slightly less well than I will, haha.)
    Transportation will be dependent on whose car is available; I have a '99 Honda CR-V that I wouldn't mind traveling in, but a friend of mine may have access to a Ford Explorer that would afford us much greater comfort. Either way, we should be good in that department.
    As for the budget, we'll be scrimping on non-essentials and will (hopefully) end up cooking much of our food. Camping stove by our side, rice and vegetables will be our mainstay (in theory to compensate for the chips and junk food eaten while driving.)

    Budget will be dependent on the individual, but personally I won't be leaving without at least $800. I'm personally accustomed to traveling while on a strict budget (read "with no money", haha,) being that I'm a college student. I recently went up to Boston by myself for three days and spent only $45, excluding bus fare. I've traveled solo to Northern California for a week and traveled from Santa Clara to Arcata and back while spending $600 total (airfare, lodging, food.) Also, I regularly (roughly every two weeks) drive three hours one-way to visit my girlfriend up in State College, PA.

    All of that traveling has been by myself, though. Do you have any tips for getting along in close quarters with others? I'm good friends with those who are coming, but of course we expect to want to kill each other at at least one point or another. We hope not, but we're not naive about the possibilities.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Max View Post
    We've set aside about two weeks for the full trip, that way we can really enjoy ourselves as we travel throughout the country.
    Let's think math . . . 6,805 miles divided by 14 days = 486 miles per day to drive. If you drive 60 miles per hour without stopping for food, bathroom, or gas (or my personal specialty, getting lost), you'd be driving just over eight hours per day. Yes, you could move a car across the US in that timeframe using that map, but you won't have time to do much of anything except drive and sleep.

    If I were you, I'd investigate more time or less trip.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
    Let's think math . . . 6,805 miles divided by 14 days = 486 miles per day to drive. If you drive 60 miles per hour without stopping for food, bathroom, or gas (or my personal specialty, getting lost), you'd be driving just over eight hours per day. Yes, you could move a car across the US in that timeframe using that map, but you won't have time to do much of anything except drive and sleep.

    If I were you, I'd investigate more time or less trip.
    Well since we're hoping to have about four or five of us, we'll be rotating sleeping and driving schedules. Also, since we'll be working the driving out this way, we're going to try to get most of our driving in at night and will try to drive as much as possible throughout. Regardless of that though, you make a good point. Since time is pretty rough, I may have to amend our itinerary.
    Last edited by Max; 03-04-2009 at 08:36 PM. Reason: Clarity

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default time

    I agree that I really think you'd be in your best interest to take more time or take a shorter trip. All you'll really be able to do here is to drive to the coast, turn around, and drive straight back. You just don't have time for the leasurly, take your time and enjoy yourself trip that it sounds like you are envisioning.

    I will also say that one of the best ways to avoid having problems traveling together is to have time out of the car. You are right that it is very common for even the best of friends to have disagreements when they are constantly together for the length of a roadtrip. When you're planning a trip like this, where you're going to have to rack up serious miles every single day, and won't have much of a break from being packed together in a car, and that can really get on anyones nerves after awhile.

    One final note, even if your point to point distances are 6800 miles, you should assume that you'll add signficantly more miles driving within towns, looking for campsites, etc. I'd bet you end up driving 9-10,000 miles when all is said and done.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,063

    Default counter-productive

    we're going to try to get most of our driving in at night and will try to drive as much as possible throughout.
    Honestly, this is one of the best ways to have a miserable trip. Shift driving on a trip where you are trying to have fun just doesn't work. People don't get enough sleep, you don't get quality sleep in a moving car, and at least some member of the group have to spend the trip in a jetlag like state, from trying to do things during the day after being up all night driving.

    If you absolutely have to cover a long distance in a short amount of time, there are ways to make shift driving work. But work is exactly what it is. If you're trying to have a fun trip, then its just really not a smart idea.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Max View Post
    Well since we're hoping to have about four or five of us, we'll be rotating sleeping and driving schedules. Also, since we'll be working the driving out this way, we're going to try to get most of our driving in at night and will try to drive as much as possible throughout. Regardless of that though, you make a good point. Since time is pretty rough, I may have to amend our itinerary.
    Let's think through this sleep rotation / driving schedule concept: The person in the front passenger seat can recline his seat a bit -- not too much 'cause someone's behind him -- but, as the owner of a Ford Explorer, I can tell you that it doens't really recline to a comfortable position. Anyway, if there's a person sitting behind him, he couldn't recline it far anyway. The people in the backseat will be sleeping sitting up. They're not going to have good, uninterrupted sleep if they're jostled around in the car. No one really has leg room, not comfortable sleeping space leg room. You can't lay the seats flat because you'll have luggage.

    By rotating drivers and having someone drive at night, you're going to arrive at your destination with at least one person who's tired and is ready to go to sleep. That's going to lead to arguments.

    I do think the concept of driving all night / rotating drivers has LIMITED uses. Particularly, it might be a good way to start your trip. I assume you want to start with a long, fast drive to put miles between yourself and home because (obviously) you've already seen the things near your own home and you want to see things farther away. BUT after that long, fast drive, you need at least a day for everyone to recover from the drive, have some down time, and prepare to stop and smell the proverbial roses. You can't expect to sustain such a schedule for two weeks. Youth, adrenaline, willingness, and a positive attitude can see you through for a few days, but not for two weeks.

    There's a saying among teachers: The brain can only take in what the butt can endure. Adjust it a little, and the same thing's true of road trips. A person can only be pleasant and enjoy the trip as long as his physical needs are reasonably met.

  9. Default

    First of all, I really want to thank you and everyone for the thoughtful responses. I (and my friends) really appreciate it!

    So I've taken what you've all said to my friends who will be coming, and this is what we have at this point:
    1.) We're going to be cutting out a few hundred miles from the trip right off the bat.
    2.) We've decided (acting against better knowledge) to continue on with the idea of shift driving and early morning/evening driving.
    2a.)To (hopefully) stem the irritability from long stretches we'll be doing marathon jaunts across the more mundane sections of road, followed by full-day or particularly long rests at particular attractions. We've got a CB radio, books, DVDs, and our wits to keep us entertained throughout, and we're an easily entertained bunch for the most part.
    Ex.) Start off with a 12 hour jaunt to Chicago from Philly. Spend a night and a day or so there. Then a 7 hour jaunt to Omaha, spend a night there and maybe some time but I don't think we'd hang around a whole day. Then another 7 hour to Denver where I think we'd actually spend a day, maybe. 7 hours to SLC, hang out and rest up for a 10.5 hour to San Francisco. At that point I'd imagine we'd be in California in one place or another for like 3 days, give or take depending. Blast through Texas, stopping here and there for bits because it's big. Stay over in Austin or Houston for a night. Then on to New Orleans. Another typical 7ish hour drive to Atlanta, maybe stop in Montgomery, AL, hang out in Atlanta for a day maybe because I've heard great things. Then after that its basically 12 hours of driving and whatever we feel like doing in the Carolinas and Virginia.


    How's that sound? Note that this isn't intended to be a leisurely trip, it's intended to be more of an adventurous mad-dash through the US a la Kerouac.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-05-2009 at 10:22 AM. Reason: Removed quote of entire previous post

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default Honestly

    Honestly, it sounds like a trip where you are setting yourself up for a disaster by hoping to recreate a fictional trip and pushing yourself beyond your limits.

    I'll also say that by assuming you'll have these long "mundane" stretches and listing all of the things that you'll have to distract yourselves from the road, you're going to miss out on many of the exact things that make a roadtrip great.

    Having said that, some people just have to put their hand in a fire before they learn that you can get burned. We wish you the best, and hopefully, you don't take too many risks with your safety and the safety of others with whom you will be sharing the road.

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