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  1. #1

    Default L.A. to Graceland/Teaching long distance driving

    This forum is a great font of information and I’m really enjoying looking around.

    My 18 year old niece and a friend are taking a pre-college road trip from L.A to Graceland for 10 days in late July. I’m going along as the car and the credit card. The trip out is the girls’ dream, so they are doing the trip planning for that part. Their route is L.A., Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Little Rock (2 nights at friends’), Memphis, Nashville (2 nights) and St. Louis (also with friends). From St. Louis, they’ll fly home and I’ll drive back (my trip home will be another thread eventually).

    How does the itinerary look? Any interesting small towns for us to stay in overnight instead of these bigger cities? We plan to find motels along the way, but I’m leaning towards having reservations in advance for Memphis and Nashville. Advice on that would be appreciated.

    Our plan is to try to get on the road early most days – with me taking the morning drive so they can catch some more teenaged shut eye if they want. They’ll do as much of the rest of the driving as possible, although one of the girls will be learning to freeway drive as we go. I saw the teenage road trip thread here, and I’d appreciate any other tips on teaching freeway/long-distance driving or suggestions on stretches of road that will be less crowded for her to start on. My plan is to start her for short distances (half an hour-ish) and see how it goes. I think this is the part of the trip I’m most worried about!

    Can’t wait to hear your ideas . . .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Very easy

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got a very easy pace that shouldn't be a problem at all. Other than your first day to Flagstaff, you shouldn't really have to even be on the road for more than about 5 hours on any given day. There are a lot of attractions that you could do a short detour away, for example, you could visit the Grand Canyon and even Monument Valley if you wanted to. You'd probably have to rework things a bit, but you certainly could cover more ground on if you aren't tied to staying in those specific cities.

    As far as teaching highway driving, I suppose this trip will be a lot easier than trying to learn on the Freeways of LA! Really though, Freeway driving is a lot easier than in town driving, so teaching shouldn't be too difficult. Since I-40 is a major cross country route, you're never really going to be alone on the road, but there are lots of stretches where you shouldn't have any worries about having lots of traffic around you. As soon as you are east of Barstow, you could hand over the keys and get started with the trek across the desert.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks!

    "You've got a very easy pace"

    That was the girls' goal, so we can stop and see all the giant balls of string and other weird stuff along the way. I actually would move a bit faster, but it's their choice and we can change things up once we're on the road. We want to drive a bit of old Route 66 and are still trying to figure out which bit would be best. My thought was to skip the Grand Canyon this trip - it's not going anywhere and we can go to less visited national parks instead.

    "As far as teaching highway driving, I suppose this trip will be a lot easier than trying to learn on the Freeways of LA!"

    Yup, pretty much!!! She can handle street driving in LA which is pretty daunting itself, but she's been avoiding the freeways here. Barstow's a good idea - I think they'll be awake by then.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Re: Route 66 - here's my suggestion, and it would probably involve 2 days to get to Flagstaff comfortably, with you doing the hardcore mountain driving.

    Stay on the 10 out to Palm Springs. Take 62 to 29 Palms, then Amboy Rd to Amboy. You can pick up old 66 there for a stretch, it will merge you back into 40 west of Needles. Cross the river and get off at Topock, and take the old road up into Oatman. From there, follow old 66 over Sitgreaves Pass to Kingman. This would be a good place to spend the night. From there, take old 66 to Seligman and get back on 40. Now, stopping in Flagstaff would be a very short day, you could make Gallup or ABQ that day, or do some sightseeing - maybe Monument Valley, spending the night in Kayenta or Blanding UT. You could also spend the night at Goulding's right in Monument Valley or in Mexican Hat.

  5. #5

    Default

    I'm going to pass this idea to the girls, although I have to admit that I'm really anxious to get to the part of the world I haven't seen before, which is east of Albuquerque. I know what California desert looks like!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you are in a hurry, you can just take 15 to 40 all the way to Kingman, and then take the long stretch of old 66 from there to Seligman. Oatman is a neat place though, I would recommend a visit if you've never been there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default Drive Safe with Uncle Bob

    Quote Originally Posted by ll18
    I saw the teenage road trip thread here, and I’d appreciate any other tips on teaching freeway/long-distance driving or suggestions …
    Have a look through Bob Schaller’s ”70 rules of defensive driving”. You’ll find tons of good advice.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for the ideas.

    I've been looking at the AAA site and it looks like there are alot of sections of I40 that have road construction "likely" or "possible". That doesn't give me much help. I found a website that linked to state road conditions websites, but promptly lost it.

    How much do you all worry about road construction warnings? If there's only one main road through an area, is there really anything you can do about it but suffer through the delays?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    This is just one reason why I recommend you add 20% to the driving time a mapping program gives you. The way our infrastructure is aging and falling apart makes construction inevitable everywhere.

    Google can help you find state DOT websites.

  10. #10

    Default

    "This is just one reason why I recommend you add 20% to the driving time a mapping program gives you."
    Being from L.A., it never occurred to me to actually trust mapping program drive times. Do the mapping programs determine drive time based upon speed limit on the road? 100 miles on a 65 mph road is really different than on a 40 mph road - is that taken into account?
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 07-02-2009 at 03:03 AM. Reason: fixed quote format

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