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  1. Default Dallas to San Francisco drive in Summer- Advice on route, sights?

    I just got a new job in San Francisco and need to move ASAP from Dallas (actually Plano in North Dallas to be specific) to San Francisco. I have never done such a long drive before, and I will be driving solo with my car packed with household stuff I need to take along with me. I have a 2012 Honda Civic 4-door sedan with around 12k miles on it. I'll probably be driving in the next week or two, so mid August roughly.

    Considering this situation, and the time of the year (hot hot summer in the desert), what would be the best route to take? I believe I will need three full days of driving. I have been to Vegas and Grand Canyon before so I am not too interested in detouring, want to stick to straight up path, unless there is something pretty interesting to stop for an hour or so not too far from shortest path.

    So, how should I divide the trip? Where to stop overnight? What precautions to take for a solo drive in summer this long? Any suggestions appreciated!

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

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You can certainly do this trip in 3 days, but it will be 3 pretty long days and you wouldn't have time for much, if any, extra stops.

    I'd plan to take US-287 to I-40 to CA-58 to I-5. I'd say the spots to shoot for for overnights would be Santa Rosa or Albuquerque NM and then Kingman AZ or Needles CA. This route does have a handful of national monuments and Route 66 related attractions that could provide a quick break from the road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,270

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    Agreed. Let me expand on that a bit.

    Take the George Bush to I-35E to Denton, then US-380 to Decatur to get to US-287.

    A good place to spend the night between Santa Rosa and ABQ is Moriarty.

    One diversion that you may like will only add about an hour - get off I-40 in Seligman AZ and take old 66 from there to Kingman. If you are going to do this, I'd spend the first night on the west side of ABQ and the second night in Kingman. Kingman is a lot better place to spend a night than Needles anyway.

    To get from Bakersfield to SFO, I'd take CA-99 north to CA-46 west to I-5 north. Where you get off I-5 and what roads to take are very dependent on exactly where in the SFO area you are going, and day/time of day. Please post back with that info.

    No extra precautions needed - if you and your car can survive a Texas summer, you won't have any issues out in the desert.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    4,545

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    On the west side of Albuquerque, you'll find that the Coors Rd. exit has a BUNCH of motels. If you decide not to go that far, you'll find more choices in Santa Rosa than in Moriarty. Then get up EARLY and try to get through Albuquerque before Rush Hour. (That's probably another reason why GLC suggested staying on the west side of ABQ.)

    Kingman also has more choices for motels than Needles.

    If budget is an issue, take a look at the motel finder on this site, or pick up a Room Saver coupon book for each state you plan to stay overnight in. If staying in ABQ then Kingman, one coupon book (Four Corners book) will cover both NM and AZ. You'll find motels for each of those cities in there.


    Donna

  5. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions. That's what I was thinking of too based purely on Google Maps, trying to divide the drive into three equal parts. One thing I'd like to know from any folks who have done similar ride is, should I aim for the second night in Kingman, AZ or is it possible to go upto, say, Barstow, CA? I don't know how it is going to turn out but I am thinking if I am going to be tired of driving by the third day, I'd rather keep 3rd day shorter than first two.

    About the car, for such a long drive solo through "wild west", what are the things I need to keep with me, apart from obvious food and water? Also, should I be taking AAA membership or some such service temporarily that can come to help me if my car breaks down somewhere in the middle of nowhere? My GEICO insurance includes Roadside Assistance, but since they provide this feature for only like 3 bucks a month, I am not too sure what all they'd cover and what they don't. Anyone knows?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    I wouldn't recommend trying to get to Barstow. You'd have to driving about 700 miles a day, which is more than we recommend, and more than professional drivers are allowed. Throw in the fact that during a move, things never go quite right, and you'll likely get on a the road a little later than you'd like.

    Check with your insurance company to see what their roadside coverage includes, as it could very well be ok. For dollar comparison, AAA is about $6 a month ($80/year) for a comprehensive package. The one nice thing with AAA if you go up to their mid-level coverage, you get 100 miles worth of towing included (you only get 5 miles with the base package), and its very easy to need to travel a whole lot more than 5 miles when traveling out west.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Exactly where in the SFO area are you going?

    If you want to try to make Barstow on the second night, that's going to be pushing it. Plano to ABQ is 650 miles and ABQ to Barstow, staying on I-40, is 675 miles. It's actually doable because the speed limit is 75 most of the way, but it will be 2 long days. It's not going to be very enjoyable, but being you need to get there ASAP you can do it if you look at it as work, which it will be! Stop and get out of the car for at least 10 minutes every 3 hours.

    You actually may want to do this - so you can get an early start out of Barstow (I'd recommend 6am) and get into SFO before the height of afternoon rush hour. You are looking at 7+ hours to do that.

    Donna is correct - hotel choices in Moriarty are very limited, but I've stayed in the Super 8 and it's not bad. It is a better choice traveling east than west, even though ABQ rush hour isn't too terrible on I-40.

  8. Default Dallas to SF: Northern route or southern? Please advice

    I have to drive from Dallas to San Francisco next week. I know the straight route is through Amarillo-Albuquerque-Flagstaff-Bakersfield and up the I-5 to Bay Area and can be done in 3 days, but I want to break it into a 4 day journey and go a little "off track". From Google Maps I came up with two possible routes and can't decide which to choose-

    1) Dallas to Raton, NM to Grand Junction, CO to Salina, UT to Carson City, NV to Sacramento, CA to Sunnyvale, CA: I guess this would be a scenic route since I get to pass through Colorado Rockies and Sierra Nevada, but I read somewhere that this is a very desolate route, especially the US Route 50 in Nevada, plus a major part of the route is not along Interstates and is a two-lane road. This is what's worrying me.

    2) Dallas to Albuquerque to Kingman, AZ to Las Vegas, NV to Carson City, NV via Route 395 "The Extraterrestrial Highway" to Sacramento, CA to Sunnyvale, CA: A large section is on well traveled Interstates, except the Vegas to Carson City part, but would it be significantly less scenic than the former route?

    I will be driving with my parents and some luggage in a Honda Civic (no big SUV or truck for me) and I have never done a road trip that's even half as long as this one. According to you guys, which route should I take and why? Any suggestions on where to stop for the 3 overnight stops on either of the routes?

    Also, if you have any third route to suggest, please chip in. I do not wish to extend the journey to more than 4 days and would not be driving more than 10 hours a day.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-01-2012 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Merged threads -- Please keep all posts about the same trip in this thread

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    1. US-50 may be desolate but it's a very good and fast road with speed limits predominately 65 in UT and 70 in NV. This would be a good route.

    2. 395 is not the ET Highway, that's NV-375 between US-93 and US-6. If you took this route, I wouldn't go to Carson City or Sacramento - I'd go from LV to SF via Death Valley and Yosemite.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    1. US-50 may be desolate but it's a very good and fast road with speed limits predominately 65 in UT and 70 in NV. This would be a good route.
    Is there cell phone coverage along this route? My only worry/concern is what happens if my car develops a problem, even as simple as, say, a flat tire, someplace in the middle of nowhere along US-50? How good or bad is the availability of gas and food options between UT/NV border and Carson City along this road?

    2. 395 is not the ET Highway, that's NV-375 between US-93 and US-6. If you took this route, I wouldn't go to Carson City or Sacramento - I'd go from LV to SF via Death Valley and Yosemite.
    [/quote]

    Sorry, my bad. Yes the ET highway is NV-375, not 395. How desolate is this road? Cell phone coverage? Anything "Area 51" or "ET" related to see except the well-known Little Ale-Inn place in Rachel, NV?

    Google Maps says the road cutting across Yosemite "may be closed seasonally". Will this road be open and in safe driving condition this time of the year? How about the traffic and driving time, since we'd be cutting right through the heart of mighty Sierra Nevadas?

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