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  1. Default Seattle to Chicago... in one straight go Nov. 30

    Hi there,

    I'm driving from Seattle to Chicago with a friend of mine starting November 30. We have limited time and want to have as much time in Chicago as possible (I'm moving there, just need to bring my car, he needs to be back in Seattle Sunday December 5 and he'll be flying). So we'll be driving straight through, only stopping for food, gas and to stretch. Should take about 36 hours including stops.

    I've done the road trip before but it was in the summer and it was over the span of three days, two nights. My plan is just I-90 the whole way through but I'm a little concerned about snowy conditions. I'm driving a '93 Camry that has new tires (not snow or studded) and just got a trip inspection. I'll have to get some chains in the next few days.

    Any advice? I'm concerned about two areas really: Snoqualmie Pass in Washington and Lookout Pass in Idaho/Montana. If the conditions are bad the day of, should I take another route?

    Our goal is not sight seeing this time but getting across to Chicago as quick as possible. Also, we operate different schedules; I don't go to bed until 5am typically so I will have no problem driving through the night, while he drives during the day.

    Advice? Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Please don't !!!

    Welcome to the RTA forums !

    Sorry to sound harsh, but you are as likely to end up in a morgue as you are Chicago, with your current plan ! It is a 3 day trip minimum, period !

    Please take a look at these statistics. Each one of those deaths are caused by people who think they are somehow different to everyone else on the road, the fact is they are not. Drivng at this time of year with the risk of storms and ice, plus shorter daylight hours only add to that risk.

  3. Default

    I appreciate your concern and I'm sure many others will say the same as you but the fact of the matter is I am doing it. My friend will drive most of the first day while I sleep. I will begin driving around 8pm while he sleeps in the car. He is able to sleep in the car, unlike some people, as am I. I am awake normally until 5am so I will drive until it begins to get light out at which point he will have gotten at least 6-8 hours of sleep and he can take over. Because our sleep patterns are completely different, it will work out just fine. If either of us are sleepy at any point in time we will certainly be pulling off at a rest stop and catch a good 3-4 hours of sleep. Telling me not to do it isn't going to deter me. The dangers of driving at night is not because it's dark, it's because people get sleepy. I don't get typically get sleepy at night because that's not my sleep schedule. It's 3:44am right now in fact and I'm not even ready for bed.

    I'm simply asking for advice on the actual drive, winter conditions and route. Can anyone recommend some kind of emergency candle that will heat up the car for naps at rest stops?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default We can't and won't help you kill others.

    I'm sorry, but when you say that you are going to do something that shows a complete disregard for the safety of everyone else on the road, we are not going to "give keys to a drunk" (and don't fool yourself, what you are doing is every bit as dangerous and deadly as drunk driving) by offering you advice on how to do that more easily.

    There is no way to do what you propose safely, and worrying about any of the things you are asking about is like asking if it's grass or pavement you'll be falling onto after jumping off a skyscraper.

  5. Default Thanks for closing my thread and eliminating discussion

    Moderators closed my thread about driving from Seattle to Chicago without stopping for the night because you think it's morally wrong. It's not illegal first of all. Second of all, you eliminated discussion while I had more questions on the subject. Instead of educating me, you make it so that nothing can be discussed. Nazis would also do something like that.

    Look, I asked for advice about the routes and unfortunately gave you a detail that you didn't need, but that obviously upset you. Now, I can see how serious you folks are on the matter which I will take into consideration as I'm doing more research on the subject, but closing my thread was unnecessary. There were things I wanted to address and questions I wanted to ask. What, is it against the rules to discuss driving through the night? Is it against the rules to discuss strategies for being safe while doing so? We're all adults and if I got sleepy, I'd pull over and rest for several hours. I CAN'T afford a hotel, let alone two, on the way. Get it? I can't do it. So instead of telling me to screw off, why don't we discuss it?

    What if a third driver were added to my roster? Each driver taking shifts of 4 hours while the other two rest. That leaves 8 hours of not driving for every 4 you drive. I fail to see how that is dangerous. I can't help but think you people are all 60+ years old, and while the young can be overly reckless, the old can be overly cautious, stressed and anxious and overly complicate things. My father did this same drive straight through the night, made it in 35 hours, with a friend of his and my father is almost 60.

    "We're not going to help you kill yourself," is a terrible response as is telling me I'm being reckless when I have a sound plan for executing this and I will use my best judgment when the time comes and the plan will probably be altered midway for safety concerns. Is this forum helpful or is it a reprimanding, judgmental forum with a moral superiority complex?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default If you're not going to listen, then what's to discuss?

    You made it very clear - you are going to do this trip regardless of what we have to say. That doesn't sound like much of a discussion point to me.

    No it is not illegal (although it would be if you were a professional driver), and there is nothing we can do to stop you.

    However, your plan is also so far beyond the scope of reasonableness, that it isn't a starting point for a conversation anyway. Its very much like asking for "safe" ways to drive drunk - because there is more research than you can believe showing that what you are planning to do is every bit as dangerous as driving drunk.

    BTW, Driving through the night isn't the problem, if your normal sleep schedule involves being up overnight that is less of a concern although driving at night is still more dangerous, its the fact that you aren't planning to stop to get real rest and somehow think that your brain, in a state of exhaustion, is going to be able to rationally tell you when its time to stop. You also seem to be justifying your plan anyway you can - be it not having the money, someone else has done it before, etc - which do not in any way justify your plan. Its a game of russian roulette, and much like it might take a drunk driver 100 times before they get into a crash, it doesn't mean the first 99 trips they took while drunk were safe.

    You made it very clear that nothing we can say will change your mind, so if you won't listen to what we have to say about the important stuff - and what is more important the safety of the thousands of people you will be sharing the road with - why on earth would we waste our time helping you on the pithy details?

    I'll reopen the thread for now, if you want to try to be more reasonable, but we're not going to spend a lot of time having a discussion with someone who has made it clear they have no intention of listening to reason.

  7. Default

    Thank you for reopening it.

    I mostly got angry at you telling me you're "not going to help me kill people" as if that's my goal, that's inevitable and I want help doing it.

    So you're telling me it's beyond the scope of reasonableness to have three drivers share a straight 32 hour drive?

    I'm not really trying to "justify" what I'm doing because I don't feel it needs to be justified. I cannot afford a hotel. That leaves three options: stopping at rest stops for sleep, or relying on switching off with friends driving and sleep in the car, or a combination of both. These are my only options. So knowing that, what would you suggest? If you want the roads to be as safe as possible, wouldn't addressing that be more helpful then saying nothing at all?

    Another point I'd like to make is because my body is not accustomed to sleeping at night, I have insomnia, and stopping at a hotel would lead to me a night of lying in the bed, not sleeping while my friend sleeps.

    So what's the solution I ask? See it's not as simple as you would assume. And I'm really not trying to be a jerk so I'm sorry that it's probably coming across like that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    1. Don't even try it without 3 drivers.

    2. If you have 3 drivers, read this article regarding "speed runs".

    Note that the recommended 3 person rotation requires 2 people awake at all times!

    I find the excuse that you can't afford a hotel a pretty lame excuse by the way. 2 people can spend 2 nights for $100. You are going to burn at least twice that in gas alone.

  9. #9

    Default Since you asked..........

    Hello spikedurden,

    It seems rude to request advice then bite the hand which fed you, but perhaps that's just a Southern notion from here in North Carolina.

    In any event, you're correct that Snoqualmie Pass is the first hurdle, followed by Lookout Pass. East of there are something over 50 miles of elevations at or above 5,000' with Butte, MT towards the middle and Homestake Pass immediately east, and Homestake is the highest point of the trip at 6,700'.

    East of Homestake is a +5,400' summit just before Belgrade, and just east of Bozeman is Bozeman Pass at about 5,800'. After Bozeman Pass, you're finished with elevations above 4,000' and will gradually drop down to the 3,000' range by Billings.

    You need to study up on the WA, ID, MT, and WY "chain laws", too. Review them at their DOT websites.

    Those are the topographic facts and I'm not inclined to debate them. Now you get the editorial:

    Your "plan" is blatantly foolish. The second, third, fourth drivers, or ever how many there are, get essentially zero GOOD rest when they're not driving. Been there, done that, and will never do it again. Within 24 hours of departure, each and every one of you is operating on highly compromised reaction time and overall sharpness. To do so during winter, largely at night (short days), with game animals on the move during hunting season, and with snow flying, is moronic and you won't get any other opinion here, period. You seem to believe this is a must-do deal simply because you want to do it and can't afford the time or money a motel would cost, and you're mistaken. You might as well ask if it's OK to walk to Chicago wearing shorts and flip-flops because you don't have any other way to get there. The answer will be the same--don't do it. If you do, I just hope you don't take any innocent fellow travelers down with you.

    Foy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default simple answers

    Quote Originally Posted by spikedurden View Post
    T
    I mostly got angry at you telling me you're "not going to help me kill people" as if that's my goal, that's inevitable and I want help doing it.
    Sorry, but a drunk driver doesn't hit the road with the goal of killing people, either. That's just a highly likely outcome when you engage in behavior that is clearly reckless. When you say from the very beginning that no one will change your mind, it makes a very clear statement: you don't care if anyone gets hurt in the process.

    So you're telling me it's beyond the scope of reasonableness to have three drivers share a straight 32 hour drive?
    Yes. Even with 3 drivers, you won't be getting enough real rest to drive for 2000 miles. Its better than your original plan of doing it with two people, but your still taking a tremendous risk with other peoples lives. With that maybe cutting the trip down into one overnight stop, if you are completely rigorous with napping in shifts, but that's the only way I'd even think about it, and even there, I would not recommend it.

    I'm not really trying to "justify" what I'm doing because I don't feel it needs to be justified. I cannot afford a hotel. That leaves three options: stopping at rest stops for sleep, or relying on switching off with friends driving and sleep in the car, or a combination of both. These are my only options.
    Sorry, but those are not your only options. Again, that is a tremendous justification. What would you say if a drunk told you that they "had" to drive home because they couldn't afford a cab and thus driving was his "only option."

    If you're willing to seriously endanger your own and other people's lives over $100, then maybe you should be thinking if you can afford to take this trip at all? Somehow you're going to afford gas and plane tickets... because you've decided those items are "required."
    If you want the roads to be as safe as possible, wouldn't addressing that be more helpful then saying nothing at all?
    Let me ask you this, if someone asked you for a safe way to drive drunk through your neighborhood (and said there was nothing you can do to change their mind), what advice would you give them?

    So what's the solution I ask? See it's not as simple as you would assume.
    The solution is remarkably simple: Stop and get some sleep. Somehow when you've done this trip before, you've found a way to make the drive and stop twice for sleep. If you chose to put safety first, you'll find a way to do it again.

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