Leaving thursday and need a suggestion about a Van.
Hi everyone. Our College hockey Team just won a bid into the National Championships in Lake Placid NY. About 15 of us are very excited to go and are trying to acquire a Small Bus from an Uncle... As this sounds fairly sketchy i am trying to find different options.
What do you all suggest?
15 Passenger Van Rental?
I am very new to road tripping with this many people so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
We leave Thursday at high noon, and get back sometime sunday evening.
Heading from the twin cities to Lake Placid will take about 21 hours, but with 15 college kids i'm betting more like 24.
A RV will not hold 15 people, and a 15 passenger van won't either when you consider luggage.
My best suggestion is to hire a bus and let them do the driving. By the time you pay for renting 2 vans and underage driver surcharges, the bus may be just as cheap and nobody is going to get beat to death driving around the clock.
Welcome to the RTA Forum! Congrats to your team as well, I'm assuming you're Gustavous students?
The biggest think you should know is that the kind of trip you are talking about involves way more driving than we'd ever recommend, and you're going to be making the trip in a very large vehicle that will not be able to safely travel as fast as a regular car. While I would strongly recommend trying to find a place to sleep for the night, at the very least, you're going to have to make sure that people are getting enough sleep to safely drive - which isn't going to be easy when you've got 15 people packed into a van. That's assuming you can find someone who will rent such a large vehicle to a group of college students.
Since you've already got 15 people who are interested in going, I actually think your best bet would be to try and see if your student government or athletic department would sponsor a fan bus. You'd probably need about 30-40 people to make it cost effective (plus, you'd probably be able to tap into some of the student activity fees I'm sure you pay on top of your tuition), so you're already well on your way to having enough people. That's going to be a lot safer and put you in a position to have a lot more fun (rather than being over-tired zombies when you arrive at the game).
Thank you for both of your inputs.
The student Government will not fund a fan Bus as the travel is out of the Midwest.
Very nice assumption, but I proudly attend the University of Wisconsin Stout :) The team that will hopefully be Defeating Gustavous.
The fans that are going include 2 CDL class drivers, and a professional tow truck driver, so i am not entirely worried about safety. The drive is 21 hours, so even with non "top tier" drivers we could easily do 5 driving shifts.
Do Passenger van's have Roof Racks? Because i own a Suv topper that i travel with that would work great for storage.
ahh, I had a 50/50 shot. Both schools are about the same distance from the cities, but I went with the Minnesota school as being more associated with Minneapolis.
I would absolutely not use a roof rack with a large van. These kinds of vans already have a pretty bad reputation as being fairly unstable vehicles. Adding more weight to the top will only make that worse.
Its good to know you have experienced drivers, but those with CDLs also know the limits that professional drivers have to follow. Even if you break this into shifts, its still going take some work to make sure everyone gets enough rest to safely complete their shift. I also would certainly expect your 24 hour estimate to be about the best case, and I don't see anyway that you finish this trip in 21 hours when you factor in required stops and the reduced speed that comes with traveling in a large van.
Point being, don't underestimate the safety concerns with a trip like this - that's exactly how people start running into serious problems. Even if you can't get help funding the trip, I would still try to get an estimate for how much the bus would cost and see if you can make that work.
I think your first instincts were right and you will be looking at 24 to 25 hours for the journey and just short stops can add a fair bit of time. With 15 people needing the rest rooms and refreshments all at one time and the need to stretch their legs it will take time to round them all back up.
I'm not sure about the racks I guess you would have to ask individual companies what they have to offer but with 15 people crammed in for that amount of time and having to do it all again the following day I would consider taking another vehicle if your budget can run to it, even a large car could offer some degree of comfort in which they can take turns to travel in as a break from the van.
Good luck with the games !
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-16-2009 at 10:51 AM.
Reason: Added info
Rental Car companies do not like 23 year old College kids.
So we are Driving America's Greatest invention. Suv's! Ok, that might be a stretch...
Leaving The Twincities at noon on Thursday would put us roughy in Lake Placid at 1Pm friday afternoon. 3 hours till Game time. It is cutting it farily close, but it is the best 12 college kids could do with our work schedules and fiscal responsibilities.
We are having a 3 car convoy with 1 car meting us in Chicago.
It should be one heck of a Road trip, and i will keep you updated. Any suggestions on where to stop?
You need to read our article on speed runs. You will need 3 drivers in each vehicle. Proper driver/navigator rotation is important. Don't even try to convoy or coordinate, each vehicle needs to make its stops when its occupants need them. The fastest route is all Interstate highways and toll roads until the very end, use the roadside rest areas for potty stops (limited food/drink in vending machines) and get your real food and gas at exits. The toll roads have service plazas with gas, real food, and potties. You don't have the luxury of enough time to make planned coordinated stops.
Don't try to meet *in* Chicago - you will lose a lot of time detouring off the through route with traffic. Set up a rest stop outside the city to meet - like the oasis on the I-80/294 toll road south of the city or the first service area on the Indiana Toll Road.