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  1. Default 5,000 miles roundtrip in 2 weeks?

    Hello all; read many posts, but this is my first.

    My idea is for my wife and I to take a roadtrip in late August / early September, from Chicago to San Diego and back. Tenative stops in Rocky Mt. NP, Arches NP, Four Corners Monument, Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas on the way there (plus hotel for overnight where needed along the route). The route back to Chicago would be through Tucson, Albuquerque, OKC, with stops in any good NP's or nature sights along the way too.

    Is this 4600+ mile trip (google map estimate) possible in two weeks? I know it would be short stays at the various locations, but was hoping to see alot because it would be awhile before going west again. Looking for some advice on the time frame, and of course any nature stops recommended on the way back. Hiking would be very limited due to time constraints, so would need to be fairly accessible by car. Thanks all in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default limiting

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Yes, you could do what you are talking about, with the time you have. However, that is basically the bare minimum amount of time to drive to California and back from Chicago and have any time left over to see things.

    Just to break it down in its most simple terms. 500 miles is a pretty full day on the road (8-10 hours of on the road time), that means basically you've got 10 days worth of driving to do this trip. With 2 weeks, that means you've only got 4 days of "fun" to work with. Presumably you'll spend at least 1 or 2 of those days in California, so that only leaves a couple extra days to explore along the way.

    You've already listed several attractions you want to visit, and even if you aren't doing any hiking, I'd say you need at least a half day to take even a quick tour of the National Parks you are talking about already. Any less than that, and I don't even know you could say that you've "seen" them.

    So, that's what you are up against. It's not impossible, but you are going to have to plan carefully and really think about how you want to use your time.

  3. Default

    Thanks so much for the quick post, Michael!

    I agree as to the half-day visits and 1-3 days in Cali. I was planning a heavy push from Chicago to Denver straight through, and then make up with slightly longer time at the NP's and to slow down the remaining travel. Any thoughts on the return trip through AZ/NM/OK?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default bad idea

    Trying to drive from Chicago to Denver straight-through is both extremely dangerous and counter-productive.

    That's 1000 miles, which is far far too much to do safely in one sitting, even with multiple drivers. Real world travel time, that's a minimum of 18-20 hours. By the end of your trip, it is quite likely you would be as dangerous as a drunk driver, because your body simply can't maintain the level of alertness needed to safely operate a car for that amount of time.

    But the problems go well beyond the safety concerns. If you absolutely had to be in Denver in one day, there could be a discussion about ways to make the trip safely. The problem is, your trip doesn't end in Denver. Doing that kind of drive is extremely exhausting, and has long terms effects.

    Simply put, after doing 1000 miles of driving, you'd be in no condition at all to enjoy any aspect of a roadtrip for several days. In fact, you'd really have no business even trying to drive for the next day or two. You really do need a few day to recover from pushing yourself that hard. Think of it as the difference between a sprint and a marathon. If you ran as hard as you could and as fast as you could for the first mile of a 10k race, you might get to that point first, but there's no way you'd ever make it even near the finish line. But if you go at a solid steady pace for the entire distance, you can get to the end with few problems. It's basically the same here, if you try to sprint to Denver, you'll be a mess long before your race is complete. It is much better to stick to the solid rule of thumb, that 600 miles is about the max you should try to do on even long haul days of a roadtrip. That's at least 10-12 hours in a car, which is plenty, and for comparison sake, that's also about the limit allowed by law for professional drivers.

  5. Default

    Thanks again Michael. I'll take your information into consideration and will evaluate my trip again; and again :)

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