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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Sanford, North Carolina, United States
    Posts
    3

    Default Work Related Road Trip Question

    Hi everybody, I am new to the forum and I just thought I would take a quick moment to introduce myself, but I'll do that in a moment if you don't mind.

    I live in North Carolina, 45 minutes south of Raleigh. I received a phone call last night, it was a job offer to work a nuclear plant outage in Tonopah, AZ at the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant. I am scheduled to be there bright and early Monday the 21st. I was planning on leaving Thursday night around 8:00 and I was wondering if you believe that to be enough time to get to Goodyear, AZ (where my motel will be at) by sometime Sunday.

    I will be driving a 2007 Mazda Tribute, an SUV/Jeep type vehicle I think it gets around 24 miles to the gallon. I already know that gas will be around $350 for the one way trip and trying to get some more money, but my main concern right now is the time.

    Do you believe it to be possible?

    Thanks in Advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Pushing the limits.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you could leave Thurs am things would be a whole lot better and leaving Thursday night after [presumably] a day at work isn't an ideal way to start your trip, you don't want to be exhausted Fri Morning with 3 hard day's of driving ahead. Your drive is 'borderline' unsafe as a solo driver as fatigue can set in and if there is anyway of finding the extra time I would urge you to do so, even leaving 2 or 3 hours earlier would make a huge difference in getting some proper rest Thurs night. As it is you would be looking at getting as close to Knoxville TN as possible and then your stops would be around Fort Smith AR and Santa Rosa NM.

    You might arrive early for work Monday morning but I can assure you, you won't feel "bright". First impressions are important, so once again I would do what it takes to leave Thurs am.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Sanford, North Carolina, United States
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Well right now i am unemployed so work isn't really a factor...That is why I am going to AZ to work. I work nuclear plant outages, so what that means is, I go to work for 2-4 months, and then im out of work for 2-3 months. Right now money is tight, but if it would be better leaving Thursday morning than that can be arranged with no problem. I don't really have money for a motel room on the way so I figured I'd just be crashing at rest areas and truck stops or something. The ride back home after the job is done will be much...MUCH smoother, haha. It's just this is more of a sucking it up and dealing with poor conditions because money is needed.

    The way I was thinking about it was leaving from Sanford NC and making it to Memphis TN. Then from Memphis TN make it to Amarillo TX and then from Amarillo TX driving the rest of the way to Goodyear AZ. I am pretty used to driving at least 10 hours at a time and sleeping for 2 to 3 hours and being good, I have done this work for over 5 years and traveled mainly along the east coast. BUT I also know this is the first time I will be making a cross country drive and I do understand that it will be tough doing as a solo driver, so that is why I am here, to get pointers for all of you...But then again, it has to be done solo unfortunately.

    If I end up leaving ThursDAY, when would do you think I would be arriving to Goodyear AZ? I know it tells me 33 hours or something like that, but with you factoring in a good enough rest and such.
    Last edited by Terry Gregory; 03-11-2011 at 03:06 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Runnin' I-40 from NC

    Howdy neighbor,
    Foy in Raleigh here. I've got some fairly recent experience on this run, having co-driven for my son in October 2007 when we ferried his pickup to his California Navy base after he returned from deployment.

    The good news is I-40 is about the most wide-open stretch of transcontinental highway in the US in terms of relative absence of large urban areas and related congestion. The bad news is it's still a challenge to safely do +2,200 miles solo in 3 days.

    I'd certainly target leaving early Thursday morning. Time your travel such that you'll avoid Nashville and Memphis at rush hour, and having done that, you'll likely see zero urban congestion. Well, Oklahoma City is a bit of an urban area, but the slow-downs there are short in duration and distance.

    Mapquest shows me 2,212 miles from Sanford, NC to Goodyear, AZ, via I-40 and I-17, and shows 33.3 hours travel time for a 66.43 mph average. Taking interstate travel on a "beginning to end of day" basis, which surely you must, it is exceptionally difficult to average 66-67 mph between fuel, food, and nature stops. When my son and I did it, we had a 350 mile fuel range and did our best to combine fuel, food, and nature stops. We started before dawn and ended in the early evening. Our average speed on a "beginning to end of day" basis was 67 mph. That required us to run 80-83mph in the 75 mph zones and 79-82 or so in the 70 mph zones. We had no weather or construction delays, and encountered no real traffic delays.

    You'll find the travel plaza outfit named "Loves" well-spaced across nearly the whole route (essentially from Baxter, TN for the rest of the way). Their coffee is good and reasonably-priced, their restrooms clean, food OK, and fuel plazas well laid out. We did pretty much our whole trip from Loves to Loves and it worked out OK.

    Safe travels and good luck.

    Foy

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

    Default a bit more than over the edge

    Leaving Thursday night really is not an option, and your plan to only stop twice really is very very dangerous. Leaving mid-day Thursday really is the latest you could leave to have a safe trip.


    33 hours is not a realistic or relevant estimate - you'd have to average 70 mph which is not possible over long travel days without spending most of your day at a cruising speed at or near triple-digits. Realistically, its going to take 40 hours, and that is a trip that needs to be measured in days, not hours.

    Your current plans of only stopping in Memphis and Amarillo would mean you are driving about 14 hours each day, which is just too much for a solo driver. Professional Drivers are limited by safety laws to about 11 hours on the road, which means they cover about 600 miles a day - significantly less than the 750 miles a day you hope to achieve. The 10 hours of driving, a couple hour nap, and then go again will work fine on a short trip, but it is not practical or safe for a cross country trip. That couple hour nap will certainly work to let you drive for a few more hours before you can stop for real rest, but it won't allow you to get back up and drive 10 more hours, especially when you'd have to repeat that cycle 3 more times!

    At the extreme maxiumum end of how far you should attempt to drive in a day, I'd be looking at Jackson TN, West of Oklahoma City (Weatherford), and Gallup NM, leaving you a relatively short final day, to arrive in Arizona and recover before you start on Monday. You could certainly adjust if you don't leave until Thursday afternoon, and make your half day at the beginning, but you'll be feeling it when you're trying to focus on a new job on Monday. Considering you are jobless, I can't see the big reason why you'd have to push yourself to the very last minute for your departure.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you plan on sleeping in the car, don't do it in rest areas. This is not legal in most places. Do it in truck stops with permission and give them some business - a meal, a tank of gas, etc. Park where they tell you to. You can take a shower for about 10 bucks.

    Concur with the other advice given - this is a 3.5 day drive at minimum to stay safe and I'd plan on the last day being the half day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Sanford, North Carolina, United States
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thanks for everyones advice on this matter. This is the main reason I chose to post because this is my first cross country trip alone and wanted some insight on how to handle it and what to keep in mind. I think I will be leaving on Wednesday just to give another day unless you guys think it will be perfectly fine to leave Thursday morning. I just want to get there sunday with enough time to rest and relax. If I do end up making my stops at Jackson TN, West of Oklahoma City (Weatherford), and Gallup NM, what kind of rest would you guys recommend? Looking back at my previous post, it does seem a bit unrealistic to rest for just a couple of hours. As far as a new job, it isn't new to me...Plus I already know 90% of the people I will be working for so they know that I do a good in my field, so I'm not really worried about coming to work a little under the weather because it is known to happen quite a bit on the first day of a long travel when your a road warrior like me (they call people that jump plant to plant road warriors, I don't think I a a road warriors when it comes to trips like these, lol)

    But anyway, like I said and I plan to say again...Thank you guys for the help....keep it coming PLEASE!

    PS...looking back I didn't realize i just left a big block of words, sorry I didn't break it up

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    You do need to be getting "full night" sleeps. If you can do that in your car, its fine to do it at a truck stop, but you might find that finding a cheap room, at least for one or two of the nights would be well worth it.

    I've got a Tribute that I've slept in a few times. I fold the back seat down flat, and remove the bottom part of the back seat (after folding it forward) to give a little more room. It's still fairly tight (I'm 6'0''), and there is a ridge where the seat folds, so you'll want some extra padding, but it can work in a pinch.

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

    Default

    You do need to be getting "full night" sleeps.
    That really is the key to avoiding exhaustion, and I try not to drive after dark unless I have to. It's most efficient getting on the road at the crack of dawn and driving till dinnertime or so.

    If you want to sleep in a real bed, Motel 6 has a large presence all along I-40, and in the more rural areas rooms can be had for as little as $40.

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