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  1. Default San Francisco to Washington DC in 8 days

    Hello, I'm new to this forum,but I hope somebody can tell me if the following road trip is realistic. Together with 3 friends I hope to drive from S.F. to Washington DC. On the 20th of September we arrive in S.F. from Amsterdam at 11.45 am. On the 28th of September we leave Washington DC at 5 pm for Amsterdam.
    The plan so far is this:
    SF. via Reno, Elko to Salt Lake City.
    From Salt Lake City via Laramie, Cheyenne to Denver.
    From Denver via Santa Fé to Tucumcari
    From Tucumcari, via Amarillo, Oaklahoma City to Tulsa.
    From Tulsa via St. Louis to Nashville.
    From Nashville to Wahington DC. Any suggestions on the best (nicest) way to dive from Nashville to DC are more than welcome.

    We dont mind driving 12,13 hours a day, there are no women or children along just one Irish guy (me) and three Dutch guys. We dont intend to visit all the attractions of the big cities, just driving through is enough. (we have been in California, Nevada, Utah before).

    Hoping somebody can help me.

    Best regards,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Perhaps a Bit Too Much

    Céad Míle Fáilte! Welkom! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    While seven days is more than enough for a comfortable drive from San Francisco to Washington, it is not enough to wander about with large excursions from the direct path and still have time to see and appreciate all the great places you're driving to. On my 'normal' long-haul driving days, I'm on the road for 14 hours, leaving what I consider a minimal 10 hours to relax in the evening, get a good night's sleep, and get up and going the next morning. Having more people does not lower the need for that ten hours of down time each night, and it does not mean that you can drive more hours in a day. It is still true that only one of you can drive at a time.

    In those 14 hour days I usually cover about 550 miles, have a couple of short time outs for meals, and see two or three sights. Your current plan calls for about 3800 miles, once you account for detours and side trips to see things. That takes up all seven days that you have available. So, yes, you can do the route you have planned, and yes, you can see a few sites along the way, but you won't have time to linger anywhere, And perhaps most importantly, and something I strongly suspect that you haven't considered, you will have NO time to yourselves. You will be with your companions pretty much every minute of every day for a week, and as Ben Franklin said: "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."

    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-07-2013 at 03:04 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California



    To respond to your question about the Nashville to Washington DC portion of your trip: You could go I-40 East to I-81 North. Then, at Staunton, take a short jaunt east on I-64 to Waynesboro, where you follow the signs to Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive. That's a beautiful (but slow) drive -- from I-64 north on Skyline Drive up to I-66 at Front Royal, it's 105 miles that will take about 4-5 hours. Then turn east on I-66 into DC.

    If you can't take the extra time to drive Skyline Drive, you can stay on I-81 at Staunton until you reach I-66 eastbound. The interstate takes a little over an hour, but the scenery on Skyline Drive is beautiful.

    Just curious -- were you looking to see something in St Louis? If not, just stay on I-40 at Oklahoma City and keep on moving to Nashville.


  4. Default

    Hello AZBuck,

    Thanks for your feedback. We know what we are letting ourselves in for (I think!). Afterall its only a week. Initially we were thinking of going from Denver straight through Kansas, Missouri and heading straight for D.C. stopping here and there along the way. But then I had the "bright idea" of going south from Denver to New Mexico and following Route 66 through Texas into Oaklahoma.

    Nice to see you know a bit of Irish.

    Best regards,


  5. Default

    Hello Donna,

    Thanks for your advice regarding how to get to DC from Nashville. I´ve looked it up and it sound beautiful. We dont have to see anything in St. Louis. I thought perhaps its nice to see. Would Oaklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville be a better alternative?

    Best regards,




  6. #6


    Given your time frame, I'd pick one of the major cross-country backbone routes: I-40, I-70, I-80 (pick depending on which is most interesting to you) and take a bit more time to explore along the way. Since you seem to be interested in the Nashville to DC leg and NM/OK/TX, this suggests I-40 to me.

    Zigzagging as your current plan calls for will entail a lot of driving - more than i would like to do in 8 days...


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    From OKC to Nashville, going through STL will add about 130 miles to the trip, which is roughly 2 hours or so not accounting for any stops or detours off the Interstate. If you had plenty of time, you could do this and see more of the old Route 66 attractions. However, it looks like time is going to be at a premium so I probably wouldn't unless you are well ahead of schedule when you reach OKC. It does depend on your interests - there are things to see and do in Memphis too.

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