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  1. Default Traveling from Minneapolis to Charlotte to D.C. to NYC to Niagara Falls

    I am planning on driving from Minneapolis, MN to Charlotte North Carolina then to D.C to NYC to Niagara Falls and maybe Cedar Point on the way back.
    My buddy and I drove from Minneapolis to Yellowstone in one day without stopping (going through south Dakota). It wasn't too bad, we took turns sleeping. We then drove from Yellowstone back to Mpls (through North Dakota) straight through, again it was doable.

    However I will be driving to Charlotte alone. I was thinking of stopping at a motel in Indianapolis, which is 10hrs, and then driving the additional nine hours the next day. I have a relative in Charlotte and stay two or three days there. From there I am planning on going to D.C. and spending the day there...then waking up early in the morning and driving to NYC.

    Of my friends will be driving back from NYC with me, and we plan to stop in Niagara Falls.

    I have a few questions I guess. Is there any other places along the route that I should stop at. Also we might be on a little time crunch..leaving May 27 and planning on being back by June 3. So about 8 days and 3500 miles. Is that too much?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciate it. The trip is in a week if I don't wimp out.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Wimp Out

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums!

    Unfortunately you don't have 8 days to drive the nearly 3500 miles that you would need to in order to complete your trip. You'll be spending three in Charlotte, one in Washington and one in New York/Niagara Falls, leaving you 3 days to try to drive 3500 miles. It doesn't take a lot of math to work out that that just isn't going to work. To drive 3500 miles you would need a minimum of 7 days of driving (actually I'd recommend 8) which leaves exactly no time to do anything other than to drive to all the places you've listed. This does not sound like a fun trip.


  3. Default I wanna go

    The days I stay in Charlotte are flexible. I would leave Mpls on the May 27, and need to get to NYC by June 3rd. And maybe get back to Mpls on the 9 or 10 days total for the trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default the facts

    If you don't mind driving nearly every day, except for spending a single day each in Charlotte, DC, and NYC, then yes, you could do it.

    But that's about all you have time to do, and safely cover the miles you are talking about.

  5. Default A slight change of plans

    So I found a friend to drive with me. I might head down to Madison WI on Tuesday night..then leave for Charlotte Wed morning from Madison. We were thinking of camping in Daniel Boone National Forest. Travel/spend a night in Charlotte

    Friday...visit UNC and Duke, travel and camp close to D.C

    Saturday---spend the day in near D.C.

    Sunday---look at D.C. some more, head up to Philly

    Sunday evenin--head over to Atlantic City/motel

    Monday---tour atlantic city/motel

    Tuesday--head to NYC in the morning--tour/ stay with friend

    Wed--tour NYC

    Thurs--leave early for Niagara Falls/ motel

    Friday--Cedar Point or tour lake Eric/Cleveland--drive back to Madison

    Friday night stay in Madison over night

    Sat. morning--head back to Mpls

    Does this sound more reasonable? Let me know your thoughts

  6. Default Roadtrip Conclusion

    The roadtrip went pretty much as planned. I left Mpls at 3am, picked up my friend in Madison and we drove to Southern Indiana with stops at University of Illinois and in Indianapolis.

    Thursday we drove from just outside Louisville to Charlotte, N.C. We stopped at the UK, and U of Tennessee and were able to sneak onto their football fields. Perhaps the best part of the trip that day was driving through the Great Smokey Mountains. The entrance to the Smokey Mountains is really touristy and has Dollywood. It was without a doubt one of the nicest placest I have seen. We stopped at Cumberland Falls, the slight detour was definitely worth it. There weren't very many people there which is surprising since it is a really nice waterfalls.

    We spent the night in Charlotte and headed to the UNC and Duke University. Our timing was a bit off and we didn't pull up into our campsite in Virginia until almost midnight.

    Saturday we drove up to D.C., traffic was congested as we were on 95. We stopped at the Pentagon before spending the entire day on the Washington Mall. D.C. is definitely everything we thought it was going to be. I would recommend stopping at the Korean War Memorial, it is by far the better of the two war memorials. Be careful going into the museums, one can easily spend several hours touring them.

    We stayed too long in D.C. and the campsite we had planned on staying was locked down, so we spent the night in our car at a rest stop just north of Baltimore. From there we headed to University of Delaware and Philly. Philly is really nice and parts of the city are older and has a lot of shops which I really enjoyed. Having spent the day in Philly we headed to Atlantic City.

    By the time we arrived in Atlantic City we were on day 5 of the road trip and all the driving was taking its toll on us. We arrived in Atlantic City late Sunday and it really was not busy. A prostitute tried to pick us up which was really weird. Otherwise, Atlantic City is cool.

    Then we headed to New York City on Tuesday morning. New Jersey to NYC is all tolls and cost us about $20. We stayed with a friend there and saw all the sights. NYC is amazing.

    We left Thursday morning, went through Scranton PA, Syracuse before stopping in Niagara Falls. I would recommend trying to get a passport or passport card. Because the view from Niagara Falls on the America side isn't the best. We were able to go to the Canadian side.

    We drove all night and stopped just outside of Sandusky OH, and spend the day at Cedar Point.

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

    Default youthful energy

    Thanks for reporting back! It does take a certain degree of youth to enjoy that kind of whistle stop tour, but they still can be a blast. I'm just now getting to the point where I'm starting to go back to all those places I zipped through in a day (or less) and realising how much I missed the first time, but that doesn't mean I would go back and change those on the road every day trips from a few years back.

  8. Default whistle stops

    I know the moderators are very cautious in their approach to how many miles and how much driving should be done in one day. But at times I think the rule is a little too broad and too general. I'm 25 and have taken several roadtrips while in college. This one was the longest, 11 total days.

    But last Thanksgiving, three of my friends and I us drove from mpls to fort myers and back within a span of a week (We left on a monday night and arrived back the following sunday night), with only stops for food breaks. I drove 5 hours each way and we all got plenty of sleep along the way. The point I am trying to make is that there should be a little more differentiation in the advice given to those who seek it.

    I agree, an older person may want to drive less. But a group in their 20s are going to have far more energy and are more likely to do a roadtrip simply for the thrill and not necessary to "take in the full sights" of the trip.

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

    Default Personal limits

    With due respect, certainly there is something to be said about having a bit more energy when you are younger, there is also something to be said about a lot of that energy can be used to convince yourself that doing something is far less risky than it actually is.

    I've been an active member of this forum since I was in my early 20s (I'm only 30 now) so its not like you are getting advice only from one age group. I can certainly tell you that I have done a few trips where I've done things that I wouldn't recommend now, driving all day, setting up camp, and "seeing" a city by driving through, maybe walking around for a few minutes, and then continuing on. However, I knew at the time that those trips were as much about spending time with friends as they were seeing anything, which is very much I said that if you don't mind driving all day that your trip was possible. But I also recognized that trying to drive 800 miles a day, day in and day out, wasn't a good idea. I probably underestimated the dangers, but certainly it didn't take long to figure out the "fun" factor was seriously hurt by trying to push too hard. Many people who haven't been on a roadtrip don't know this and don't know what reasonable limits are and often try to do more than what is reasonable or even physically possible.

    The other fact is when your are younger, you are more likely to take risks and not appreciate how dangerous something can be. Driving tired is a one of the biggest dangers you can face on a roadtrip, but its also one of the most underappreciated dangers out there too. The simple fact is, no matter what your age, the human body can only do so much, and ignoring that can and often does lead to tragic results. That's the very reason why professional drivers have strict limits on how much they can drive in a day. Certainly no one here can stop anyone from driving too much in a day, just like no one here can stop anyone from driving after drinking too much, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop warning of the dangers when people are talking about engaging in risky behavior.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It's Not Just Us

    As it happens, in one of those odd juxtapositions that make life so intriguing, I had just finished reading a particularly apropos chapter in a book immediately before seeing your response. To quote:

    "During late adolescence and into the mid-twenties, the front third of the brain, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) or executive brain, continues to develop. Even though we think of eighteen-year-olds as adults, their brains are far from finished. Myelin continues to be deposited in the PFC until age twenty-five or twenty-six, making the executive part of the brain work at a higher and more efficient level. Were you more mature at twenty-five than at eighteen? I sure was. Ironically, the car insurance industry knew about maturity and brain development long before society did. Typically, automobile insurance rates change when a driver reaches age twenty-five, because at that age drivers are more thoughtful and get into significantly fewer accidents. Their judgement centers work better." Making a Good Brain Great, D. G. Amen, M.D.

    Yes, when I was young and 'full of energy', I did stupidly long drives. Then I worked for 15 years on the aptly named graveyard shift in an Emergency Room at a small community hospital along a major Interstate, and saw firsthand the frequent result of such foolishness. Yes, the law of averages is just that, and many if not most such 'adventures' will turn out alright despite the risks taken. Does any of that mean that we should recommend such behavior? Not in the least. You got away with it this time. Don't think that means, as my brother-in-law likes to put it, that you're 'Seven feet tall and bullet-proof'.


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