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  1. Default 8 hrs/day - how to figure this out?

    I'm planning a road trip from D.C. to L.A. in late May (tentatively using the I-40). I've read that eight hours is a doable amount of driving (I'm in kind of a rush, but still want to see things along the way).

    I'm sitting here perplexed with a U.S. atlas in front of me and have no idea how to plot out eight-hour increments, i.e. what city I'll be in every eight hours.

    Does anyone have an online resource that will do this for me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Google Maps can do it for you, but add 20% to its predicted drive times. The software assumes you will be driving the speed limit, but does not account for traffic and construction delays, fuel and food stops, sightseeing, or even bathroom stops.

    Without doing any sightseeing, this is a 5 day drive, being on the road about 10 hours a day. Your overnights would be Knoxville, Little Rock, Amarillo, and Holbrook/Winslow. How many days can you actually allow? This will determine how much sightseeing you can do, there's a lot to see along and off that route.

    Another way to calculate this, assuming Interstate highways, is 55 mph average. That roughly equals 550 miles per 10 hour day. This assumes very minimal stops - 15 minutes every 3 hours and less than an hour for lunch. In late May you should have about 14 hours of usable daylight per day. This would allow you to get on the road about 8am and be off the road around dinnertime. This is how I do long solo runs. When I get off the road I check into a hotel then go get dinner, then go back to the room, relax, and get a good night's sleep. I get up around 6 am or so, have a cup of coffee, get ready for the day, and hit up the hotel's free breakfast. In my younger days I'd drive well into the night, but now that gets very tiring.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the math! That'll help me plan. I'm planning on roughly 10 days so I can do some sightseeing (lots of national parks) along the way. Have already picked up some great tips from the forum.

  4. Default Input on my D.C. to L.A. intinerary, please!

    I'm moving to L.A. at the end of the month and I'm taking a roadtrip from my house in D.C. to get there. I'd love some feedback/input -- I've been spending a couple hours on AAA's website making an itinerary and want to know if I should spend more or less time at my stops. I haven't been to any of these cities before, so I don't really know what to expect.

    Also, although I love to travel (always in an airplane, though -- never a car before), my itinerary currently stands at 13 days. That seems a little much for me. Any way to whittle it down without spending more than 8 hours a day in the car?

    You can see from my trip that I really love parks, but in the city I'd also like to experience a night or two of nightlife (I'm in my late '20s).

    The hours in parentheses indicate drive times.

    Thanks in advance!

    Day 1:
    Washington, D.C. to Asheville, NC (7 hrs).
    Overnight in Asheville.

    Day 2:
    Tour Asheville.
    Overnight in Asheville.

    Day 3:
    Asheville to Great Smoky Mountain Nat’l Park (2 hrs). Hike, etc.
    Great Smoky Mtns. to Nashville, TN (3 ½ hrs).
    Overnight in Nashville.

    Day 4:
    Tour Nashville.
    Overnight in Nashville.

    Day 5:
    Nashville to Little Rock, AK (5 hrs).
    Overnight in Little Rock.

    Day 6:
    Tour Little Rock.
    Overnight in Little Rock.

    Day 7:
    Little Rock to Petit Jean State Park (1 ½ hrs). Hiking, etc.
    Petit Jean to Oklahoma City (5 hrs).
    Overnight in Oklahoma City.

    Day 8:
    Oklahoma City to Santa Fe, NM (8 hrs).
    Overnight in Santa Fe.

    Day 9:
    Tour Santa Fe. Santa Fe to Albuquerque (1 hr).
    Tour Albuquerque and Petroglyph National Monument.
    Overnight in Albuquerque.

    Day 10:
    Albuquerque to El Morro Nat’l Monument (2 hrs)
    El Morro to Petrified Forest Nat’l Park (2 ½ hrs). Hiking, etc.
    Petrified Forest to Flagstaff, AZ (2 hrs).
    Overnight in Flagstaff.

    Day 11:
    Day trip to Sedona. (1 hr)
    Overnight in Flagstaff.

    Day 12:
    Flagstaff to GRAND CANYON at sunrise! (1 ½ hrs)
    Grand Canyon to Lake Havasu City, AZ (3 ½ hrs)
    Overnight in Lake Havasu City.

    Day 13
    Lake Havasu to Joshua Tree Nat’l Park (2 ½ hrs) – Hiking, etc.
    Joshua Tree to L.A. (2 ½ hrs)
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-08-2010 at 01:45 PM. Reason: Merged - Please do not create multiple threads about the same trip

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Nope

    A couple of immediate problems with your current itinerary. First, your drive times are even more optimistic then suggested by computer mapping routines, and those are too optimistic by about 20%. It's like you've totally ignored the advice you've already received. Secondly, any itinerary that covers 13 days and claims to be timed down to the hour is like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. What you have to decide is what pace you want to keep up on this trip, Decide (if you want to) where you want to spend any given night. Leave yourself enough time realistically, to make the day's drive. And only then plan to spend what time you have, but will still let you stay on pace, at any stop.


  6. Default

    Well, I've never done a road trip before. After I posted that first question about the drive times, I found the TripTik application on AAA's site, so that's where those times are coming from. Didn't realize they were "optimistic" -- I didn't come up with them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default 8 hours and 450 miles.


    Allowing time for short breaks to eat, stretch the legs and fill with gas etc we reckon that on main routes you can average around 57 mph when spending the day behind the wheel. Based on that assumption you can travel about 450 miles in an 8 hour period. Use that for planning and then add any sight seeing and city detours time to it as you hit the smaller roads or City congestion.

    Good luck with the planning.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I found the TripTik application on AAA's site, so that's where those times are coming from. Didn't realize they were "optimistic"
    *ALL* online mapping programs are optimistic, not just Google maps. I apologize if I didn't state that in my first post. I use Microsoft Streets & Trips for my research, which is installable software, not online. It's also optimistic. For example, DC to Asheville is 472 miles and S&T says 7 hours 53 minutes. This is saying that you will average 60 mph which is not realistic when you are driving through states where the highest speed limit is 65 or 70 mph. If AAA says 7 hours, that's even more optimistic - that's almost 70 mph right there! DC to Asheville is a real world 9 hour drive. In order to make it in 7 hours, you would have to cruise around 85 mph.

  9. Default

    Gotcha, thanks!

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