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  1. Default Los Angeles to New York City - Round trip during Thanksgiving

    I got a job in NYC and planning to move from Los Angeles to NYC by Thanksgiving weekend along with my girlfriend. I am going to use my car (2008 Nissan Versa Sedan). I know its a small car, but I have to move my car anyways to NYC. We don't have a lot of stuff. Couple of big bags and some. As I have 2 days off for Thanksgiving (thursday and friday) and the weekend and I am taking a day off on the following monday, I am gonna have 5 days and 4 nights (from Nov 26th morning thru Nov 30 evening).
    I am planning to start on Nov 26th (thursday) morning from Los Angeles. Stop for the night stay at Flagstaff, AZ; Amarillo, TX; Springfield (or) St. Louis, MO; Columbus, OH. I don't want to take the Denver, CO; Chicago, IL route as its winter already. So, as much as possible I want to take the road South. Please advise me if I can make it comfortbly (i know its tiresome, but not too much) with this timelines. Also, please suggest me if I can take another route, any tips for a safer and better trip....I am hoping that there is no snow in this route I am taking. And, I m planning to drive only during the day time and sleep in the night. Thanks a lot for your suggestions, in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Barring unforeseen delays, you can just make that drive in 5 days, and you will be doing some after-dark driving. It's 2800 miles, and with stops for food, fuel, and nature you will be on the road at least 12 hours a day.

    Your stops are reasonable, but you will be getting into NYC pretty late if you have to come all the way in from Columbus. I think I'd try to push it a bit at the beginning - maybe look at Gallup, OKC, STL, and Youngstown.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Agreed.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Yes you should be fine. Make sure you take plenty of short breaks during the day, stretch your limbs and fuel the body as well as the car it shouldn't be too bad. 10 to 12 hours a day with these breaks should be about right and if you can get on the road early it always gives you a good head start.

    Good luck !

  4. Default

    Thanks a lot GLC and Southwest Dave. Yah, I even thought about stretching it farther than Columbus to make it little early to NYC. Other than that, i hope the stops are ok. Please advise me on the follwing.
    1) I am planning to reserve hotels instead of booking them on-the-road. Thats a good idea, right? This way, i will have a target location and reach there before night so that my trip is on track.
    2) I never drove this far ever. Although my girlfriend can swap the wheels with me, i hope we dont burn ourselves out and get sick or something :-) . Do you guys think if we can make it with no burn out, provided we take short breaks and stretch and hydrate often...?
    3)Please tell me if there are any mountain slopes on the way taking this route. Coz, since its a nissan versa, it wud struggle climbing hills.
    4) Should i keep a barrel/can of gas in stock (or) there will be enough filling stations at approriate distances along the way? My sentra atleast gives 30 miles/g.
    5) Any specific maintenance on the car while on the road? My car is 1 year old and drives really well with no issues so far. I am gonna change the oil before I start. But, other than should i do ant sort of maintenance? (I don't want it to breakdown for a known reason:-).
    5) Is there any shady place on the way that I should avoid stopping or something?

    Any other suggestion to have a safer trip please?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default know before you go

    Its perfectly fine to prebook your rooms, however I would make sure you are also aware of the cancellation policies in case something comes up. At this point of the year, its certainly possible that you could run into a weather event that would slow your progress and force you to make some changes on the fly. If the weather is looking really bad in the southern half of the country just before you leave, you may even want to consider switching to an I-80 or I-70 based route, if the weather is looking better farther north.

    This is a long drive, but you are breaking it up into manageable chunks, so that should help you avoid burnout.

    You should absolutely NOT bring "extra" gas. Its a serious safety hazard, and will likely make everything inside your car smell like gas. Even in the longest stretches, you'll never be more than about 50 miles from a gas station.

    With a one year old car, I would hope you wouldn't have any serious issues. Make sure you're up to date on all of your scheduled maintenance (which is more than oil changes - check your manual) and it never hurts to have a mechanic give your car a quick inspection. If you're having someone change your oil, that is often included. The nice thing about driving a new car is that if you do have a problem, at least it should be covered under warranty.

  6. Default

    Thanks a lot for your response, Midwest Michael. I was under the impression that taking I-80/70 may not be a good idea as it passes thru denver, chicago (and mostly northern US) etc., Isn't it the route thru I-40 beats I-80/70 anytime of the year? (or) I-40 may get into trouble too, in winter months? Coz, living in Southern California all the time, i never got stuck coz of bad weather just about anywhere i went (only the cajon pass in san bernardino forest was bad when we goto vegas sometimes in peak winter:-). please advise about the weather on I-40 in winter months (how likely it is to get bad, or there is a remote chance).
    Also, if u can, can u please advise me if there are too many mountains to cross on the way (or) it is mostly plains with some mountain passes?
    Thanks a lot again for your time and help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    1. If you reserve hotels, I'd recommend that you NOT stay in big cities - when I suggested OKC and STL, for example, I meant the general area. It can be a hassle getting in and out of city downtowns, so I prefer to stay in the suburbs or rural areas, preferably, somewhere where you don't have to deal with getting through a city in the morning rush hour, and right at the Interstate exit. This would mean on a west to east trip, staying east of the city. This will also generally be less expensive. Cancellation policies generally require you to call prior to 6pm.

    2. I'd recommend that you switch drivers every 3 hours or so.

    3. There's not a mountain on an Interstate highway that your car cannot handle. That should be the least of your worries. However, 70 gets over 10000 feet in Colorado, where 40 stays under 8000 feet in Arizona and New Mexico.

    4. Absolutely do NOT carry extra gas.

    5. Have your car inspected before you leave by a competent mechanic or the dealership.

    6. If you stay out of the large cities you will be fine. Either take bypasses or drive straight through, and don't wander far off the Interstate.

    You cannot predict the weather in advance - you have to examine the conditions at the time of your trip. Whichever route you take, the Interstates have absolute priority to keep open. 40 is not immune to wintry weather, I had to deal with an ice storm across Oklahoma last January, and Flagstaff can get quite a bit of snow.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a continent of mountains

    You simply can't avoid mountains while making a cross country trip. You have to cross the contiental divide somewhere. While there are places that are higher in elevation (like in Colorado) or lower in elevation (like I-10 in southern Arizona/New Mexico) you do have to go through some degree of mountains.

    It also is impossible to find a cross country route that is completely free of winter weather. Even along I-10 in New Mexico and Texas, they'll typically see some snow at some point of the year. Even worse, often times they'll miss the snow, but they'll see ice. West Texas and the southern plains can get some fierce winter ice storms.

    I-40 is up at elevation and crosses a handful of passes in Arizona and New Mexico. Here is a great visual look of the elevation and how snow affects the entire US.

    I'm not say you can't or shouldn't make this trip, but it is very much a myth that I-40 is always going to be a better route for weather. Often times, it is quite the opposite. Again, staying south can also often mean ice instead of snow, and I tend to have more faith in the plow crews of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado compared to say Oklahoma and Texas.

    You simply need to watch the forecasts and make your judgements based on the specific conditions during the time in which you'll be on the road.

  9. Default

    You Guys Rock. Thanks a lot for ur response. This gives a great deal of confidence in getting this trip through. One more question, I have a Garmin GPS (with 2008 maps). But, should I go withe GPS by taking I-40 and give the destination as my planned stops (example, i stop at flagstaff, amarillo etc.,). (or) I get maps from AAA and follow that. Bcoz, sometimes GPS takes different routes. And this one time, it led me to a deadend nearby a cemetry (i am not kidding!!). Please advise me on the maps i need. And, i hope the cell phone signal is good across the nation (i have Tmobile).

    And, how can I be updated frequently on the weather in the states I am travelling? Can i just turn the FM on? Watch weather channel when i stay in the night in the motel/Inn (or) check thru internet? Please tell me which one is better.

    On a side note, I wrote incorrectly on the heading of this thread that its a 'round trip'. But actually its one way, i am not driving back to LA :-) Sorry for the confusion.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a little of everything

    Personally, I'm a big fan of having a good map and knowing how to use it. However, that doesn't mean that a GPS is a bad thing at all. As long as you are the one deciding where you are going, and not just blindly following a computer's decisions, you should be just fine. (Its that blind following that will put you in a cemetary - or worse?!)

    Cell phone signals are ususally pretty good near the interstate, but they can go away quickly if you are away from them. I could be wrong, but I'd check with T-mobile, as I though they were pretty much urban based with pretty poor coverage in rural areas.

    There is no such thing as too much weather information. Certainly wx channel and the internet are convient ways, but you should be able to find local forecasts on the radio too (although AM may be a little easier)

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