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  1. Default 1st Timer - Phoenix to Charlotte...the looong Haul!

    Hi All, this forum has seemed helpful to many, so I'm hoping I'll get some good response.

    The furthest I've ever driven is about 300 miles and I am about to embark on a 2,000 mile cross country drive to relocate myself for work. I am planning on selling/giving away almost all of my furniture, but still struggling to come to a conclusion about my LCD television. I am deciding between shipping my car and flying (~$2,000 including shipping boxes of clothes etc.) and driving by myself. Money is a concern, but not the only concern, and I have the following questions/topics I would love some help addressing:

    1) What is a realistic amount of driving to be able to do in a day?
    1a) I have good music and books on tape...any advice on keeping body/mind in tact?!

    2) I will be driving with a full trunk and backseat, which makes me think I should only stay in nicer hotels with secure parking, generally in larger cities. Thoughts?

    3) Does this self prepared itinerary seem realistic:
    Friday: Phoenix to Albuquerque - 420 miles, 8 hours.
    Saturday: Alb to Dallas - 650 miles, 11 hours.
    Sunday: Dallas to Atlanta - 780 miles, 12 hours.
    Monday: Atlanta to Charlotte - 250 miles, 4 hours.

    4) Do these dollar estimates seem realistic:
    2004 Honda Accord with 90,000 miles gets ~25 mpg (conservatively), avg gas price ~$4/gal, I will spend ~$300 on gas over the 2100 miles.
    $150/night for hotel & parking x 2 (Albuquerque & Dallas, I have cousins in Atlanta) = $300 on hotels.
    ~$50/day on food, entertainment etc = $200
    Total calculated cost for my drive = $800 (sounds good compared to the $2000 I estimated to fly...not to mention, it is a lot easier and more pleasant to pack a car than to pack boxes and go to the post office.)

    5) Am I grossly underestimating the difficulty associated with this? Driving across country alone, while looking to avoid wasting time/money AND ensuring the safety of my it as simple as it sounds? Or is this going to be more trouble than it is worth and would you recommend getting rid of the TV, shipping boxes and my car and flying, ending up in Charlotte with a nearly empty checking account?!?

    Any help is appreciated. I'm interested in hearing shared ride ideas and would be happy to help anyone in anyway I can (though I'm not sure how just yet). PLEASE take a couple minutes and earn some karma and help me out!

    thanks alot - Joe

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

    Default just a few tweeks

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    1) What is a realistic amount of driving to be able to do in a day?
    A good rule of thumb is that 500-600 miles is a full day on the road. That's around 10 hours of driving, factoring in just basic stops for fuel/food/etc.

    As such your plan to go Phx-Albq-DFW-Atl doesn't really work. First, its actually a pretty illogical route, as in involves a whole lot of zig-zagging and unneeded miles. Basically, it doesn't make sense to stop in both Albuquerque and Dallas. Either you go up to Albuquerque and continue across I-40 (potentially cutting south at Memphis to get to Atlanta via Birmingham) , Or you shoot straight across I-10/I-20 across West Texas to Dallas and onto Atlanta.

    The other issue is the miles. Abq-DFW at 650 miles would be a very long day on the road, and while not impossible, a bit more than we'd recommend. DFW-ATL, on the other hand at nearly 800 miles is way too far for one day. I'll also note that there is no possible way you could cover that kind of distance in 12 hours (computer mapping programs simply don't factor in basic stops.)

    2) I will be driving with a full trunk and backseat, which makes me think I should only stay in nicer hotels with secure parking, generally in larger cities. Thoughts?
    I don't think that's a bad idea, but I don't think its your only option either. Your best bet could be to stay in nicer/mid level hotels in smaller cities, which should cost significantly less. No matter where you stay, you should try your best to avoid having anything of value visable, and make sure any actual valuables are in the trunk or brought inside the motel room.

    Total calculated cost for my drive = $800
    I think your budget looks healthy, and you could even spend less. The one thing I'd note is that Atlanta really doesn't make a great stopping point if you are doing this as a 4 day trip, simply because it is so close to Charlotte. If staying with cousins is a priority, you can make it work, but it would be better to have more evenly spaced days. It actually wouldn't have to change your budget because, even if you figure $100 a night for 3 nights for motels, you should still be able to find some nice places every single night.

    If you take 4 full days, you're stopping points via I-10/I-20 would be around Van Horn TX, Dallas (stay in the eastern suburbs to avoid traffic as you leave), and Tuscaloosa AL.

    If you go via I-40 you'd look at Santa Rosa, NM, Fort Smith AR, and Nashville (or Birmingham is you want to go via Atlanta.)

    Take a look at RTA's Hotel Reservations section and you should have no problems finding a good place to sleep in all of those cities.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Another suggestion for I-40:

    1) Santa Rosa NM
    2) Sallisaw OK (the hotels there are slightly cheaper than in Fort Smith and there's a great catfish place nearby if you like catfish)
    3) Cookeville TN
    All of these are 575-600 miles apart. They are our goals for our trip this coming week.

    Good music and books - whatever will keep YOU alert. Everyone is different. I sure don't think I'd be playing lullabies, though! :-)

    As for parking - - make sure you park in a well-lit area. Then, don't leave anything valuable in sight. Either take those into the hotel with you, or stash them in your trunk.

    Motel/hotel bills can be LOTS less than $150/night. It would depend on your requirements. We regularly stay at mom-and-pop, Motel 6, Super 8 or Quality Inns, just to keep the bill down. Michael suggested the RTA hotel site, or you can let your fingers do the typing through the Internet or in the Saving Money forum (lots of good ideas in that forum).

    BTW, take care packing that flat screen TV. :-)


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