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  1. #1

    Default Roadtrip East and down south

    Hi,

    I'm planning an impromptu roadtrip, orginally I was just planning to drive from Minneapolis Minnesota to Charlotte, North Carolina take about two days to get there then head down to Fort Lauderdale, but now I might have a more ambitious goal and wanted to see what your thoughts were. The trip would take place at the end of this week so maybe the 17th or the 18th of December...and I don't plan on stopping anywhere along the way except to sleep.


    I was thinking of leaving on Friday 17th from Minneapolis, Minnesota and my goal is to try and pull into New York City sometime on Sunday...maybe the afternoon. Google/maps said its about 22 hours to get there. I was thinking of stopping somewhere maybe Cleveland. I understand doing so may take me 20 miles or so north of my route. But I would like to stop in a fairly large size city....Also I have a goal of seeing all 48 contiguous states before I'm 30 and haven't been to Michigan, so I was thinking of maybe doing a little pitstop in Michigan, getting a picture of the "Welcome to Michigan" sign and maybe eating there before leaving.

    I would stay in New York until early Wednesday December 23rd and head down to Charlotte, North Carolina. Google maps said that's about a 10 hour drive and I would like to get there that day. I have a relative that lives there and would stay there for maybe a day or so. I also have not been to West Virginia and wonder how far out of the way would it be to drive through West Virginia.

    Then sometime on the 24th, head down to Fort Lauderdale. My goal is to be with the family for Christmas. I would stay there for a few days also. Maybe leave around the 28th or 29th, it just depends on what happens while I'm in New York. Oh yea, I'm finishing grad school and probably won't be heading back to Minnesota.

    Any ideas? Is this confusing at all. I have done roadtrips before and have driven a similiar route...only I was going from charlotte to NYC, to Minneapolis.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,806

    Default

    You really need to remember that Google (or any other computer program) use travel time estimates that simply aren't based in real world conditions, where you see traffic slowdowns, have to stop for gas, etc.

    Minneapolis to Cleveland is signficantly more miles than we recommend in a day. It certainly doesn't allow time for a detour into Michigan. I would not recommend you try to go any farther than Toledo in one day (and frankly even that's a bit much), as you really will be pushing yourself into a state of exhaustion - especially if you get stuck in the near constant traffic of Chicago.

    Similarly, NYC to Charlotte is another 650 miles, again pushing the limits of what is safe for a single day of driving. West Virginia is only 20 miles off the path, but when you are already pushing the limits of safe travel, plus will have to factor New York Traffic (at the start of a major travel Holiday no less) you're really going to have to be aware that you're looking at very long days on the road, and fatigue is a serious issue.

    And then again, You're looking at more than 700 miles from Charlotte to Ft. Lauderdale - which again is really beyond what we can call safe. Throw in your long drive the day before, and you will become a danger on the highway - when highways are packed full of families traveling for Christmas.

    In a nutshell, your current plans are already pushing to - and in several cases beyond the limits of safe travel. You're assuming a best case all the way around, which just isn't likely especially when you add in the winter conditions and extra holiday traffic. I really would urge you to plan more time for your drives, and remember you don't live in a computer world, you live in the real world where things aren't "perfect."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Holiday travel on the East Coast

    Hello Matt,

    Aside from the distances per day being overly ambitious, you're talking about doing some of it during the absolute worst time of year for heavy traffic along the NYC-NC-FL routes. In all honesty, you might burn the 10 hours Google says it takes to get to Charlotte from NYC before you even get past Philly or Baltimore/DC. The fun isn't over once you clear DC, either, as Durham, NC to Charlotte is one long urban/industrial corridor well known for holiday traffic congestion. And don't even get me started on I-95 from Savannah all the way down through Florida. Throw some snow or ice, or even rain into the mix, and it wouldn't surprise me to see you're looking at double the Google-suggested travel times.

    While I like WV, it's close to the last place I'd want to "drop by" in December, particularly at the end of this week, when the same storm which pummeled the Minneapolis area yesterday is now piling up snow all across WV, and the single-digit temperatures to follow through Thurs-Fri promise a hangover of lousy mountain travel on 2-lane roads unless your WV destination just happens to be on one of the few Interstate corridors in WV. Plus, I think their one snowplow is in the shop and won't be ready until next week at the soonest.

    If your goal is to be in Ft Lauderdale for Christmas, with a stopover in Charlotte, I'd beat a path via the most direct route to Charlotte thence to FL, and I'd still bump the software's travel time by a good 25-35%. If it turns out you make it more quickly, the "penalty" is more time in South Florida, and that seems like a good outcome. As to overall travel time, on the basis of "beginning of the travel day to end of travel day", a daily average of 55-58 mph is actually moving fairly quickly, and averaging 65-68 mph requires wide-open highways, no congestion, and driving 10-12 mph OVER the posted speed limit whenever you're not stopped for fuel, food, or bathroom requirements.

    Best of luck on your holiday RoadTrip!

    Foy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,273

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    But I would like to stop in a fairly large size city
    Can I ask why, please? It will generally be more expensive and/or your odds of winding up in an unsafe area are a lot greater - and there are a lot more opportunities for traffic delays. I usually make it a point of staying in hotels at Interstate exits AWAY from the large cities when I'm trying to make time.

  5. #5

    Default Cheaper?

    on my last trip I started using Priceline.com and noticed if you stayed in areas near big cities you could save a lot on hotels using the "name your price," also I liked Cleveland...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    I know what you mean about priceline sometimes making it cheaper to stay in larger cities - but saving a couple of dollars isn't worth risking your or someone else life. Cleveland is 750+ miles from Minneapolis, and for a solo driver on a multiple day trip that's simply setting yourself up for a crash.

    I know you think you are young and invincible, and that we are being too conservative with our recommendations - but what you want to do is far beyond what a professional driver would be allowed to do, and that type of thinking is exactly what gets a whole lot of people seriously injured or killed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,273

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    What I do is stop at the first rest area entering a new state and pick up hotel coupon books. Using these can get you excellent walk-in prices on rooms. Last time I went across I-80, using a coupon I got a room at the Super 8 on the east side of Toledo right off the I-280 exit for 39 bucks.

  8. #8

    Default Time to leave?

    what would be a good time to leave. I want to get to NYC either late Saturday night, or early sunday morning. I live about an hour northwest of Minneapolis. I was thinking of leaving Friday morning around 8am...and maybe quitting driving about 8pm or so on Friday night so around Toledo...then getting up early and driving on Saturday til I reach NYC...But I'm flexible I guess.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,273

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    You need to leave early enough to get through MSP before morning rush and around Chicago before afternoon rush. I'd be looking at about a 5am departure.

    I'd recommend you get around Chicago using the following:

    Take I-90 through Rockford, then at Schaumburg take I-290 to I-355 to I-80. These are all toll roads, do not use the I-Pass lanes unless you have an I-Pass or EZ-Pass. I-80 through IN and OH are also toll roads.

  10. #10

    Default

    Hey,

    So I didn't take the trip last month but I am planning on taking a similiar trip. In a nutshell, I flew out to NYC and stayed for two weeks now coming back with car loaded with stuff...Just wondering if the same rules apply as to the advice.

    I'm flexible on when I leave Minneapolis, but thinking of leaving on Sunday Jan 23rd or Monday Jan 24th. Any ideas on what would be the best way to to go about this trip, ideally if I left on Sunday I'm figuring with a night in a motel I should get to NYC on Monday night or so. I've taken quite a few roadtrips but havent taken one this long in about 7 years.

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