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  1. Default My solo cross country trip from Los Angeles, CA to Raleigh, NC.

    I took this coast to coast road trip in May/June 2010. I did get a lot of help from this site and thought I should share my experience as well. I am sorry that it took so long to post it here.

    Bottom Line
    Long road trips are fun as well tiring, and expensive both in terms of money and time. Do not do it unless you really want to do it. You have to find means/ways to overcome fatigue, keep yourself enrgized and keep it fun & interesting. Take sufficient amount of time and buffer time in consideration based on miles that you are going to drive.

    My reasons and motivation
    I had heard and read about it. I wanted to do it for a long time and was waiting for right time. I had lost one opportunity to make road trip when relocating to Cleveland, OH from San Jose, Calif in 2000. My interests in travel, and seeing various land scapes are primary factor that attracts me for road trips. This trip gave me opportunity to pass thru varius landsacpes such as Deserts, Semi Deserts, Plaines, Mountains, and finally peidmonts(NC area between blue ridge mountains and atlantic coast).

    Everyone who heard about this trip they attempted to discourage me for so many reasons. I appreciated their concerns and care. I would like to thank them for that.

    Source of information
    I spent a lot of time readin blogs on before making plans that really helped me. This website also helped me find right audio books.

    Audio Books
    I liked both of these books
    • The Girl Who Played with Fire (Stieg Larsson, Simon Vance)
    • Void Moon (Michael Connelly, L. J. Ganser)

    No No
    Please do not eat breakfast in those cheap motels.

    Many of motels close their front office if you are really late in night. So call them and let them know
    if are going to be checking in late.

    Will I do it again
    Yes. many times. I would like to go on road trip with my wife when we are a little closer to retirement. But not in vey near future.

    Suggested Service Plaza
    Love's Travel Stops and Country Plaza

    Suggested Motels
    All of them sucks and are not cheap. so I do not recommend any one of them. But they are your best friends for lodging on road trip most of the times.

    There are risks as well associated with this. You car can break down. You may fall sick as sitting in car for about 6-8 hours (even with frequent stops) and eating out. It is hard for person like to make any plans even near close to perfection so yes staying in places with not much idea about it carry some risk to you and yor property. This risk is even while you are on the raod.

    Each Day on this trip
    Day 1: Calabasas, CA to FlagStaff ~490 mi
    started at 7:30 Pm and reached 4 AM
    Stayed in knights Inn, Flagstaff, AZ
    Through: CA-AZ

    Day 2: Flagstaff, AZ to Shamrock, TX ~700 mi
    Started at 10 AM and reached at 10 PM
    Stayed in Econolodge
    Through: AZ, NM, TX

    Day 3: Shamrock, TX to Dickson, TN ~ 800 mi
    Started at 9 AM and reached at 11 PM
    Stayed in Days Inn
    Through: Oklahama, Arkansas, TN

    Day 4: Dickson TN, Raleigh, NC ~ 600 mi
    Days Inn
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-29-2011 at 02:26 PM. Reason: Added link to planning thread.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Pleased it worked out OK.

    Welcome back !

    Glad you made it safely as you had some pretty long day's on the road !

    Thanks for dropping by and updating us.

    Suggested Motels
    All of them sucks and are not cheap. so I do not recommend any one of them. But they are your best friends for lodging on road trip most of the times.
    Have you a general distaste to Motels or were you just plain unlucky ? I'm not a fan but I haven't actually stayed in one that 'sucked'. lol

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    I have to say, it is not surprising at all your report seems like you had a pretty miserable trip.

    Your driving distances of 700 and 800 miles a day are a sure fire what to destroy any chance of enjoying a trip, and frankly are well beyond the limits to have a safe trip. There are reasons that professional drivers are banned by law from doing what you did - because it simply is not safe to be on the road for that many miles per day. We're thankful you did not end up hurting yourself of others, because what you did was certainly a game of russian roulette, and was every bit as dangerous - if not more dangerous - than driving drunk.

    We appreciate you coming back and sharing your experience, certainly, and we hope others view it as the cautionary tale that it is. We also hope that you'll give roadtriping another chance - but you'll take a little more sane and safe approach to your travels next time!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I'm going to agree with Michael and Dave .. . those were some long distances you did all by yourself! Those are hard enough to do with TWO people, much less by yourself. The first one - Calabasas to Flagstaff - wasn't too bad. The next two days were brutal, and the final one was probably hard only because of the previous two days. My husband and I have a mileage limit of 450 when towing, and 600 when not, as long as there are two drivers. (One time we went 702 miles. We'd left at 1 am and arrived at 2 pm, though, so we had a long layover to rest up for the next day.)

    I will totally agree that Love's Travel Plazas are usually great for the car traveler. So are Flying J's. (We're anxious to see what their merger with Pilot has done for their customer service.)

    I'd love to know what you found distasteful about the motels you stayed at.

    Thanks for the trip report!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    South Central Orange County


    Thanks for the report.

    I tried the reverse course from Raleigh back in 2006 and didn't get past Oklahoma City on day 2 because my car broke down. Your day 3 sounds like a tough day.

    I left Raleigh around 5:00 AM, had breakfast at a Cracker Barrel somewhere in NC, drove through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, took photos of my car in front of the Dollywood sign, ate a late lunch at a Steak 'N Shake near Nashville, ate dinner at a Steak 'N Shake in Memphis, and finally stopped for the night in Carlisle, AK. The next day I left Carlisle before sunup, ate breakfast at a Waffle House in Ft. Smith, and got 30 miles due east of Oklahoma City before the car I was ferrying back to California threw a rod. D'oh!

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