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  1. #1

    Default Road Trip Advice/Guidance

    My girlfriend and I are two college students looking for a unique, challenging, and rewarding experience for the end of this summer. We have decided to hit the road and go coast to coast and see some friends on the way. We have been reading this forum and doing research for a couple months now and want to see if the members of this forum have any advice/guidance for the trip (cool places to see, possibly unforseen obstacles, cost, etc.) The trip will span 2 weeks, here's the plan;

    Day 1: Leave from Fitchburg, MA early in the morning and take I-90 to Flying J in South Beloit, IL.
    Day 2: Next morning take I-80 to friend's house in Boulder, CO.
    Day 3: Spent in Boulder
    Day 4: Drive to and spend the night with friends in Castle Rock, CO.
    Day 5: Leave in morning and take I-40 to Flying J in Winslow, AZ
    Day 6: Go see the Grand Canyon in the morning and then hop back on I-40. Stay with friend at UCLA.
    Day 7: Take I-405 and I-5 to San Diego area. Beach. Stay in hotel in La Jolla. (already booked)
    Day 8: More Beach and then take I-8 to and stay at Flying J in Eloy, AZ.
    Day 9: Leave early and take I-10 and then I-20 to Flying J in Dallas.
    Day 10: Hop back on I-20 all the way to Flying J in Carnesville, GA
    Day 11: Take I-85 and then I-95 to stay with friends in MD.
    Day 12: Drive back home to MA

    P.S. I do realize that this is quite ambitious. I do not expect it to all go according to plan, so I left a couple days of wiggle room at the end. Unfortunately, the plan includes a lot of nights sleeping in my Corolla. But, being college students, we don't have much money to work with, and not taking the trip is not an option. We are saving money faster than we thought, and it is my understanding that some Flying J's have lodging, so maybe if we save enough we could get a room a couple of those nights instead of sleeping in the car. We have a approximately $2000 saved to this point.

    This road trip is planned to be trying on our resolve, our relationship, and our sanity; but also a lot of fun. Thanks in advance for your help, guys!

    Love,
    Luke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Not Even Remotely Possible

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your first two days are impossible. That's not an opinion, that's a fact. You plan to drive over 2000 miles in two days with nothing more than a catnap in a truck stop. The fact is that to cover a thousand miles a day requires not stopping AT ALL except for fuel, food (drive through windows only) and bathroom breaks. Long before you reach Boulder you will be a danger to yourselves and everyone else on the road.

    Your 700+ mile day from Castle Rock to Winslow is another killer, and the 600+ mile day that includes the Grand Canyon, and another pair of back-to-back 1000 mile days to Dallas and Carnesville followed by a 600 mile day to Maryland.

    This trip simply will not work as planned. At best you will be dead tired throughout the entire time, at worst you will simply be dead.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default not just impossible, illogical too

    I completely agree with Buck that your plan is just not safe or smart on a number of levels. Trying to drive from Mass to Colorado in 2 days just isn't going to work in the best of circumstances, and having 2 people try to sleep in a compact car is going to make you want to kill each other before you even make it across the plains.

    But on top of all of that, looking at your routing, I really don't think you've put much thought into this plan. I mean, you're going to drive to South Beloit on I-90, which will force you to drive through the heart of Chicago and its traffic, and puts you almost 100 miles north of I-80. So not only are you hoping to do near suicidal amounts of miles, you're going to have to do some serious back tracking on top of everything! I'll say, the Flying J in South Beloit is a perfectly fine place to stop for gas (I've been there many times myself), but its certainly not worth traveling a hundred miles out of your way for!

    Seriously, you need to go back to the drawing board. You are a long way from having a reasonable trip plan, and what you've come up with so far is not a good starting point.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Minneapolis Metro
    Posts
    14

    Default

    I would have to agree with the two responses above. You have the shell of the idea of a great road trip but it needs some major refinement.

    I would look at your route very closely and try to find Campgrounds or cheep hotels to stay in, and do away with out of the way drives to hit up Flying J's. You either need to Add a few day onto you trip or cut back on the scope, I do some crazy road trips, but the length, back to back day, and short time span will make this trip horrible for you.

    Is there a reason that you want to make it all the way to LA....cause there are lots of other road trips that you could take in the same time period that would still allow you to get out west and see things but not have to go all the way to LA.

    hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Tony J Case, Super Genius Guest

    Default

    So I'll bite - what's so important about the Flying J in South Beloit, anyway? It seems to be just a truck stop - or is there something extra cool about it?

    I ask because of my trip in 5 days that will be going right past there. If it's worth a looksee, then I'll work it in.

  6. #6

    Default

    Thank you for the advice, and you're all very right, it's way too much driving in too short a time span.

    We're adding three days to the beginning of the trip and chopping it into much smaller days and the end of the trip will have two extra days, that way we can figure out a more proper route home and keep our days short.

    As far as the Flying Js go, and being out of the way, we were looking at them as points of reference really, easy places to stay as we needed, but if we can gather cheap suggestions outside of those that would better suit our goals then that would be fantastic, we just aren't sure what to look at specifically.
    Would renting cheap motels sometimes instead be a better solution?
    The suggestion of camping instead also would work, how do we find proper camping sites along the way?
    Obviously there are more of those and our path could be more direct but is that going to run up the cost of the road trip quickly?

    Also, in response to CitanXV, we planned the road trip intending to go all the way to the West coast, that's just the goal we've set.

    Thank you again for quickly telling us our plans were much to unrealistic.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default truck stops and more

    Remember that Flying J is not the only truck stop out there. Its one of the bigger chains, but there are several large chains (Pilot, TA, Loves are some of the other major ones), and you'll generally find a truck stop every handful of miles on the interstates. You certainly don't need to preplan which ones you stay at.

    An in answer to the previous question, there is nothing particularly special with the Flying J in South Beloit, IL, but there's nothing wrong with it either. The one thing I will note is that gas prices in South Beloit and Beloit WI tend to be a few cents cheaper than the surrounding area, plus its a good spot to fill up before heading into Chicago where gas prices are always much higher.

    Now back to the trip in question, campgrounds are not hard to find. If you grab you map, state parks with camping are usually marked right on there, which is one of the easiest ways to find cheap camping options. Getting out in a tent and stretching out and having a place to walk around is going to be much better than trying to sleep in your car, but cheap motels can be an option too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    For cheap motels, stop at your local Motel 6 and pick up a directory to keep in the car. They are as good as any in the "budget" price range.

  9. #9
    Tony J Case, Super Genius Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    An in answer to the previous question, there is nothing particularly special with the Flying J in South Beloit, IL, but there's nothing wrong with it either. The one thing I will note is that gas prices in South Beloit and Beloit WI tend to be a few cents cheaper than the surrounding area, plus its a good spot to fill up before heading into Chicago where gas prices are always much higher.
    okay, so nothing special aside from slightly cheaper gas. Got it. Here I was thinking it might be a Truck Stop Museum or something cool like that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Gas on the Wisconsin side should be somewhat cheaper (but is not always the case) due to the relative tax rates. Illinois is one of just a few states that charges sales tax on gasoline. It's the same EPA blend gas and it comes out of the same refineries and terminals.

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