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Thread: feeling rushed?

  1. Default feeling rushed?

    Hey all,

    Worried that I'm cramming too much into too short of a timeframe. My girlfriend and I have been planning a trip for the past 4 or 5 months and it's looking like this so far. We're trying to keep it under a month long.

    July 27th leave connecticut for sandusky ohio, cedar point
    July 28th go to cedar point all day
    July 29th leave for chicago, we really only want to get a hotdog at hot dougs, so we're planning on grabbing that and then finding a decent campground enroute to Rocky Mtn National park.
    Any suggestions for campgrounds between chicago and Rocky Mtn? and a suggestion for campsite at Rocky Mtn?

    Leave Rocky Mtn August 2nd for Las Vegas, staying with a friend there for a few days, one day we're taking a day trip to either Bryce Canyon or Zion (suggestions on which to see if you had to only pick one?)
    Leave Vegas Aug 7th for San Francisco, stay in san fran with a friend for 2-3 days
    August 10th or 11th leave san fran for Big Sur, stay for 2 days.
    August 12th or 13th drive to Carlsbad Caverns, stopping at a campground along the way (suggestions?) stay until the 17th.
    August 18th leave for Austin, TX, stay for 2 days
    leave the 21st for New Orleans, stay for 2 days
    Leave New Orleans the 24th for Charleston SC, stay with family for a few days
    head back up to Connecticut, possibly stopping in Annapolis MD to see more fam.

    I feel like we're not allowing ourselves enough rest in between long drives.. we have a few 13+hour drives during this trip, and if we have to stop to rest along the way, that will add at least a few days to our total trip time..

    any suggestions would be helpful and sorry for the disorganized approach.

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

    Default good instincts

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think your instincts are certainly correct, as you really are trying to push too hard in several instances.

    Cleveland to RMNP via Chicago is 1400 miles, which really is a 2.5 day drive. To do it with just one stop would mean back to back days of more than 13 hours, plus you'd need time to set up camp on top of that, plus your time to drive into the city to get a hot dog. Halfway would be near Des Moines, but that would be a tough 2 days.

    RMNP to Las Vegas is an 800 mile drive. While google may say that's a 13 hour drive, real world it would be a pretty brutal 14-15 hours. Although here's a case where your answer is already built into your trip. Instead of backtracking hundreds of miles for a daytrip to Bryce or Zion, simply spend a night there and explore before going to Vegas. (If you were going to do one as a Daytrip, Zion is the only one that is close enough, bryce would require nearly 10 total hours of driving)

    You can drive from Vegas to SF in a day, certainly, but you'd have to skip out on Death Valley and Yosemite.

    Going back to Carlsbad, you could do it in two long days, but I suppose it could be noted that one of your route options would take you within an hour of the Grand Canyon. You'd need more than a 2 days to include GC into that drive, but then again, I don't really think you need multiple days at Carlsbad.

    New Orleans to Charleston is another one of those 800 mile days that is really not recommended. As a rule of thumb, 600 miles is a pretty full day on the road, which will take you 10-12 hours. Trying to push more than that, especially on back to back days, will make it hard to enjoy yourselves.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default I Think You Have More Time Than You Do

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Actually, I think you're in fairly good shape as I read your itinerary. I don't see anywhere that you're planning to drive outlandishly long (more than 600 miles) days and most of your driving days fit comfortably into the recommended 500-550 mile/day range. That's important. A "13 hour day" of driving can be counterproductive, especially if you're basing that timing on some computer based mapping routine which assumes that you can drive continuously for every second of those 13 hours with no need to stop for gas, food, bathroom breaks, traffic, sight seeing, muscle stretches, etc., etc., etc. You simply need to pace yourself so that you not only enjoy the stops, but enjoy the drives as well, and arrive refreshed and having seen something rather than harried and worn out. There is never enough time in any RoadTrip to do everything we would like. You just have to live within the limits that you have, make the best of them, and enjoy the results.


  4. Default


    I really appreciate the advice all around. Even though you guys seem to disagree on this somewhat, I still pulled out some helpful tidbits.

    I'm thinking so long as we know that we're going to have to rough it a ton it's still fairly do-able. We might have to cut out some stuff along the way, or turn back early, but it'll all be worth it.

    Is Carlsbad not that great in comparison to some of the other things we could be seeing..Should I spare a day or two at Carlsbad, if it means getting to see Yosemite or Death Valley?

    Also, a budget question..We're going to have around $4000 for the trip, taking a 2009 Nissan Sentra that gets ~28 mpg, primarily camping and grocery shopping for food. Is that a fair estimate? Based on rounding up the cost of gas and amount of miles, rounding down the mpgs, and using the RTA fuel cost calculator we should set aside $1500 for gas. Other major expenses you can think of that this budget may not allow for?

    Thanks again for all the help!

  5. Default

    I was wondering why you were spending so much time at Carlsbad Caverns? I would think two days should be enough time to do a couple of tours each day and don't forget to go at dusk to see the bats flying.

    Las Vegas doesn't make for a good day trip to Bryce and for Zion you are looking at 6 hours in the vehicle. I'd do what Midwest Michael suggested and stop at Bryce and/or Zion before reaching Las Vegas. If you decide on the Grand Canyon, add it before Las Vegas too.

    I figure you will be driving approx 8,000 miles so your $1,500 for gas should be enough. You're camping and staying with family and friends, so your $4,000 should be enough.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Camping, even in the NP's, isn't free. Hopefully you budgeted some $ for each night. You might also want to have a reserve in your budget for those times when it isn't feasible to eat in the campground, or maybe even a motel room here and there. One year, we stayed 3 extra nights in a motel that we didn't expect because the campgrounds were all muddy. That necessitated a few extra restaurant meals, though we did do a fast food place and were able to scrape together breakfast without going out.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Not one size fits all

    Quote Originally Posted by mango View Post
    Even though you guys seem to disagree on this somewhat...
    That is one of the best parts about RTA, the variety of different ways a roadtrip is approached. As you have already found, you take those bits which suit your style of travelling, and design a trip which will end up being uniquely yours. Anytime something is completely illogical or unsafe, you will find that most here speak with one voice.

    Enjoy the planning.


  8. Default Lodging advice


    I just wanted to give you a couple suggestions for places to stay that are relatively cheap. My sister and I did a road trip a few years ago and stayed in hostels or camped. We stayed one night at India House hostel in New Orleans. It was pretty inexpensive, a ten minute bus ride to the french quarter, had helpful employees, free coffee and a pool. Mckinney falls state park in Austin is also a nice cheap option with a really neat pond/lake for swimming. My favorite, however, was bottomless lake state park in Roswell, NM. Hope that helps. Happy Travels!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Thank you for jumping in there and sharing your experiences. One problem with recommending places we stayed at some time ago, is that places change hands and management changes. So whereas it may have been a great place 'a few years ago', is no guarantee that it will be today. (In fact, I recall that particular place being less than desirable, a decade ago.)

    There are sites where recent reviews of accommodation (and other) services can be read. This is one of them. However, you need to keep in mind that people are much more likely to complain about a negative experience than write about a good experience.


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