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  1. Default Roadtrip from Chicago to Vegas in May -- Need some advice!

    Hey guys, just stumbled upon this site and it seems like a great resource! Just wanted to see if I could pick some more information that I couldn't find...

    I am planning to take the Nebraska/Colorado/Utah route, as I would rather get there a little faster. I have read that you guys recommend 3 days. I am not really interested in stopping for much sightseeing. I would like to do the trip in 2 days (to Denver, and then to Vegas) .. It will be just me and one other person.

    One of my main questions is can you recommend a good and cheap ($500-$80) hotel with a continental breakfast to stop for at either of the checkpoints. For a two day trip, around the Denver area I am guessing? For a three day trip, somewhere around the Denver/Nebraska border I am guessing?

    I would rather have an idea of some hotels in advance so that I can Priceline them possibly and get them for half price....No B&B's please


    Also if you have any other advice for this route or advice for Vegas, I would really appreciate it! Thanks again! The advice is much appreciated!

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

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You are right that we won't recommend making this trip in 2 days. Its 1800 miles, which means to do it in 2 days you'd have to be on the road for 18+ hours a day for consecutive days. Simply put, that's just not safe to do with 2 drivers. Chicago to Denver is 1000 miles, and if you did luck out by making it there without hurting yourself or others, you would be in no shape at all to complete another 800 mile drive the next day.

    Over 3 days, stopping point that will have plenty of motels to pick from would include Grand Island Nebraska and Grand Junction Colorado. Both of those with put you on the road for 600-650 miles a day, which is going to be around 12-13 hours on the road each day - and actually even a little above our typical recommendation but something you should be able to achieve in a speed run. That sets you up for a 9-10 hour drive into Vegas your last day.

    There really are far too many motels in those two cities for the relatively small population of this forum to have much in the way of personal advice about where to stay, but there are plenty of booking sites that will have motel reviews and options to pick from. You can even start by clicking the air/car/hotel tab in the green menu bar at the top of this page. And of course, if you're putting those cities into Priceline or Hotwire, you should be able to get a good price, but you won't know what specific hotel you'll get until after you've made your reservation.

  3. Default

    do those numbers assume going 60-65mph?

    Are there any notable stops along that Ne/Co/Ut route that are interesting but don't take much time?

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

    Default

    Those numbers assume you driving at or slightly above the speed limit, allowing for fuel, food, and bathroom stops and traffic/construction delays.

    Both Grand Island and Grand Junction have Super 8's. I've stayed in the one in Grand Junction and it was decent. Standard continental breakfast, no waffle machine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Actually, those numbers assume traveling about 70-75 mph, making just quick stops for fuel, food, restrooms, etc. Experience shows you'll average about 57 mph under those conditions. Just for comparison, to average 60 miles per hour on the road, you need to have a cruising speed of 80-85 mph.

    If you start adding in detours, sitting down for a meal, or doing other things obviously, those times will go up, but that's a good ballpark estimate for travel times.

  6. Default

    Thanks guys, there is no doubt this is going to be an invaluable resource in planning the trip (if I can follow through with it!)..

    A couple more questions, any answers appreciated

    1.) Is Grand Island really the best spot to stop if you split it up into 3 days? Have you guys ever gone further and found another town with good, cheap lodging?

    2.) For those of you who have done it, how is the route from Chicago to Vegas. Is it a pretty boring drive? Does the drive through Colorado put a hit on gas?

    3.) Have any of you pulled it off in 2 days, and how was that experience?

    I just keep getting told to fly, but every way I look at it, it seems that driving does come out cheaper in the end. That and I am just not a fan of flying.

    Sorry for the mass amounts of questions, but I really do appreciate it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Answers are Already There

    1) Yes, for your purposes Grand Island would make your best first night stop. It is right around 600 miles and there is nothing as large or with as many lodging choices for quite a ways. You must realize, as you've been told multiple times, that the way to approach this drive is in a workmanlike and responsible manner. That means if you intend to take the absolute minimum of three days, that you stop each night at the 600 mile mark. Trying to push this is just flat out unsafe. Even with two whole drivers.

    2) 'Boring' is a matter of attitude. If you expect a drive to be boring, or make it the responsibility of the road to entertain you, then yes, the drive will be boring. I once stopped at the Welcome Center in Kansas just west of Kansas City and asked the attendant what the most frequent question was. His response: "How far is it to Denver?" I'm sure that every one of those people had a boring drive. There was nothing in there perception between Kansas City and Denver. On the other hand, my wife and I had a fascinating trip full of historic cow towns, cavalry forts, airplane museums, and wonderful Americana. Unfortunately, the time constraints you're putting on your trip mean that you've pretty much precluded such activities. But that's you, not the road.

    3) I think that all the major contributors here have done a 1000 mile drive at one point or another in their career. None of them recommends it. None of them was in any shape to continue the next day, let alone lay down another 800 miles. You've asked for our advice and have repeatedly been told that this drive requires 3 days to be done safely. Rephrasing the question will not change the answer.

    Cheapness is not the only consideration for a vacation of any kind, but if monetary considerations are what's causing you to choose driving, there are other 'costs' to be considered, including time, wear and tear on your car, and your physical and mental well being.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-23-2010 at 03:29 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    The longest drive I've ever made in one day since I was in my 20's was 805 miles. It was from Dallas to Lordsburg NM, it took me 14 hours, the only stops I made were 2 gas/potty stops and a quick burger/potty at a Mickey D's, and I was driving 85 miles per hour most of the way. I felt like total p00p the next morning. I draw the line at 600 miles now.

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