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  1. Default Indianapolis to Los Angeles via Route 66, next week


    In about a week I will be driving a 22 ft truck (alone) from Indianapolis to Los Angeles. No car towing thankfully.

    Route Plan:
    I70 to St Louis
    I44 to Oklahoma City
    I40 all the way past Albuquerque, Flagstaff, to Las Vegas (diversion)
    I15 down to LA

    Stops I plan to take:
    Day 1: Leave mid-afternoon, stop in St Louis first night
    Day 2: Goal to make it to Amarillo for the night (backup is Oklahoma City if I get slowed down)
    Day 3: Amarillo to Flagstaff for night
    Day 4: Get some scenic views in near Flagstaff before starting. Check out Route 66. Possible diversion to Las Vegas to meet a friend
    Day 5: Reach LA late morning

    - Is the plan realistic?
    - What should I watch out for? Any bridges, narrow passes, mountains etc?
    - Any bad roads I should avoid?
    - Also, I plan on driving a Penske 22' with cruise control. Any suggestions on driving in the mountains with a truck? Should I use cruise control or not in the mountains?
    - Any must see attractions/scenic views/suggestions?

    Thanks in advance for any tips.

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

    Default Pushing it.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The main problem I see is trying to get from St Louis to Flagstaff in 2 days. That's 1365 miles which could easily turn into 13 hour days in a truck. It's not impossible but Oklahoma and Albuquerque would be much more ideal as tops after SL. The problem is that although you could still make it to Vegas it would be late in the day and if you need to be in LA by late morning, is it worth it ? I would consider leaving earlier on day 1 and get further down the road, plan to arrive in LA later in the day, or skip your visit to LV.

    You could push a little further west of each City, but if you wanted to stay around the city try and find a hotel located on the western side of each, that will have you heading out of town during the morning rush while others are heading in to work.

    The problem I find with larger vehicles and speed control "in the mountains" is that while going up long gradual gradients it will suddenly make a downshift to maintain speed where it isn't really needed. You will get better fuel economy and comfort by 'giving up' 4 or 5mph with little loss of time by gently 'feathering' the throttle to avoid kick down and maybe gaining a little momentum prior to the climb. You'll figure it out by just using CC when you think it's correct to do so.

    While on Interstate you will not experince any narrow passes, mountain roads etc as they are all built to cope with the biggest and heaviest of rigs in mind, using gradual curves and gradients. You won't have any issues along your route and any 'side tracking' would be well signed with potential problems.

    Unless you find an extra day you really are not going to have time to sight see around Flagstaff or along the way other than the places you stop at for the night during the evening. You will need to stop for regular rest breaks, food, bathroom and to fill with gas etc which all add to the time and you will need more of it in a truck than you would a sedan.

    You don't say exactly when you are travelling, but you may also have to take the possibility of weather disruption into consideration which could further eat into your time.

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

    Default a big tweek

    Your St. Louis to Flagstaff plan is pretty worrisome, especially considering you are a solo driver.

    Amarillo to Flagstaff wouldn't be a problem, but St. Louis to Amarillo is more than 750 miles, which is significantly more than we recommend, and significantly more than professional drivers are allowed to drive in a day. Even if you make it there safely, it will likely impact your ability to be a safe driver in the following days.

    On the flip side, if you only make it to OK City, then making it to Flagstaff is out of the question, as that would be more than 850 miles, and that really is very dangerous as a single day drive. As Dave suggested, Albuquerque would really have to be your next stop at that point.

    I think your overall plan needs to be tweeked to hit the general goals of your trip.

    One option would be to leave Indy a little earlier and make it a little farther on day one, say to Rolla MO. From there you could still do Amarillo and Flagstaff.

    Another would be to adjust your intermediate stops. From St. Louis, you could get as far as Clinton or Elk City OK, and then Holbrook AZ. That's the most I would recommend traveling in 2 days from St. Louis, and even Holbrook is pushing it. However, from there (or even Gallup NM if you stop a little short) you could still make it to Vegas early enough to enjoy time with your friend, but without much extra time for siteseeing.

    Or if you'd rather spend more time exploring Northern Arizona, you could skip Vegas, and look at spending the night somewhere along I-40 like Kingman or Needles. Since you're moving to LA, it will always be easy to head up to Vegas for a weekend at a later date.

  4. Default

    Hi Southwest Dave & Midwest Michael,

    Wow, the time does fly. It's already a week since I posted this topic. Thanks for your detailed and well thought out responses. Very sound advice I might add.

    I start my trip tomorrow (13th). I have decided to skip Vegas altogether. I will be stopping far West of SL on the first night, probably won't make it to Rolla though. I do intend to make an early start from SL and hope to drive thru to Amarillo, but I know it's a stretch so I will see how far I get - may end up staying the night in OK City. In that case will probably only make it to Albuquerque on day 3. I do want to stop by near Flagstaff for a little bit on Day 4. May shack up at Kingsman for the drive down in the morning.

    Thanks for the advice!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Hubby went from the STL area to San Diego -- first stop Oklahoma City (500+ miles), second stop Albuquerque (500+ miles), third stop Kingman (400+ miles), then home (340 mi?). He was driving a U-Haul truck at the time.


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