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  1. Default Planning Roadtrip Dallas - LA this December! :'D

    What route should we take? The northern [I-40] or southern route [I-30, I-20, I-10]? Note that we're traveling in the winter, is the northern route as bad as it sound during the winter?
    What time of day (morning, afternoon, night, or even midnight) should we leave? We're planning on leaving 22nd to celebrate Christmas in CA.

    And I was thinking of I-10, leaving at midnight so that puts us a wide awake window and puts us somewhere in AZ by noon. But I'm not sure if this is wise.

    What do you think?

    We're driving a 2011 Camry LE [pretty new], should we take breaks, how well will the car do? We have 3 drivers and can shift off.

    Can I get some opinions and past experiences with this route? Thanks! :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Not recommended.

    Hi, and Welcome to the The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Unless in exceptional circumstances we do recommend that you not drive through the night, or leave at midnight. (Not unless your normal work / sleep pattern has you awake at that hour.) Neither would we recommend driving for twelve hours. Fatigue will set in, especially on a multi day trip. And even sharing the driving, it is very tiring sitting in a car all day, even as a passenger. The person taking over from the tired driver will likely be almost as tired. It does not make for an enjoyable trip. And besides, you won't see anything.

    Plan on covering 500 - 600 miles per day, which will put you in the car for around 9 hours a day, with just minimal stops for fuel, food, etc. You are looking at a 1500 mile trip. Plan on two and a half days. The fact that this is a winter trip you will need to wait for the forecasts at the time, to see which is the better route. However, no matter which route you take, it is wise to leave a day in reserve in case of adverse weather.


  3. Default

    My family is really used to staying up really late (often times, 4AM). So our internal clocks are pretty used to the whole late thing. We don't mind the time we late, we just want the most convenient. :) But if not, would it be convenient to leave at 4PM?

    And I see your point with the fatigue, we just don't have much time as we don't get off work until 22nd - 23rd ish and we have to be there by 24th in the morning for a Christmas event.

    We won't be expecting to see anything, haha. Which route should I take?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Have you done the maths?

    If you don't have the time, and are not "expecting to see anything", you would be better off flying. By the time you arrive in CA you will not be in any state to really enjoy Christmas.

    A quick rough calculation figures that you would spend more than $400 each way, and that's not figuring in the wear and tear on the Camry. If you get in early, you could more than likely pick up three return tickets for less than that, and you'd arrive refreshed to enjoy Christmas.

    I know we like and often prefer road trips, but sometimes it just makes more sense to fly.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default the real issues

    The reality is your questions don't really matter, because you don't have time to make this drive.

    Its nearly 1500 miles no matter which way you go, and that's a trip that requires two overnight stops to be done safely. If you can't get off until the 22nd or 23rd and you have to be there by the morning of the 24th, there's simply no way for you to make this drive without putting yourself and the thousands of other holiday travelers on the road in a significant amount of danger.

    The "best" route is going to depend upon the weather, but we won't know that for another 10 months. Either route can see snow, ice, and even highway closures because of winter weather, and its entirely possible that such weather could cause additional delays for your trip. I-40 on average sees more snow, but an average won't help you if Southern NM/AZ is getting hit by a storm on your specific travel days, and the northern areas are clear.

    If you are used to being up until the early morning hours, and would prefer to do your driving from the afternoon into the early morning hours, that's fine, but you still need to stop and sleep for the rest of the morning - no matter how many drivers you have. If you are used to being up until 4, that means you are used to sleeping from 4 until noon (or there abouts), and those are still hours where you should not be on the road. Drowsy driving kills, and its an even bigger problem when you think you can push through it because of a deadline.

    I really don't think you understand just how much work it is to drive this kind of distance in a short period of time. Your car can go forever, your body can not. If you have an event on the morning of the 24th, then you'd really have to leave by the 21st, and if that's not possible, then trying to drive this is not going to be wise.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'm going to go a little bit against the previous posters - if you have 3 drivers, you can use "speed run" procedures. Please read the article carefully and use the 3 hour rotation exactly as described.

    With that said, you still need to take TWO FULL DAYS. Whichever way you go, plan a hotel stop halfway. If you take the northern route (US-287 to I-40) that would be Grants NM, taking the southern route (I-20 to I-10) that would be Las Cruces NM.

    Leave no later than the 22nd at NOON, the earlier the better. This will get you into LA late at night on the 23rd.

    Of course, if the weather is bad along either route, you have NO cushion and you will not get there in time.

    Not that I'd ever do it again or recommend it, but I *have* made the trip from Dallas to San Diego solo in 2 days. However - it was in summer and I drove from sunrise to sunset both days. If I-20 and I-10 have good weather, that would be the preferred route, simply because of the 80 mph daytime speed limit through much of West Texas (you will not be able to take advantage of that unless you get a very early start out of Dallas, the night limit is 65). However, there is a bit of a downside - traffic through Tucson and Phoenix - workday rush hours are pretty rough. This is a reason to get on the road fairly early in the morning so you get through both before afternoon rush.

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