Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. Default Great Smoky Mountains from Jersey City in NJ---Need Advice

    Hello Guys!

    I am new to this forum, but already feel that I am at a great place! With lots of useful information and tips.

    So I have planned a trip from Jersey City in New Jersey to Great Smoky Mountains (GSM) in TN. Its not actually a road trip, we have rented cabin at GSM and would be travelling there for out vacation over the memorial day long weekend.

    This is what is I am so excited and cautious about!

    We would be travelling from NJ on 24th May (Friday) around 8:30pm and according to google maps it is a 10.5 hour journey. So my personal calculation is that we should be in GSM by 9:00 am the next morning (Saturday 25th May).
    What are the things that I should be taking care of during the drive?

    A. We have rented a Ford Expedition EL (The Rental agency said it was a 2012 Model)
    B. We are only 2 Drivers. The other guy is going to start off driving and would drive say till midnight trying to cover about 150-180 Miles and then it is going to be all me.

    Need some advice guys! How I should approach the drive?

    I am not as good as you guys or have not driven as much! But I love to drive and have driven long distances before. My Longest however has been to Niagara Falls from NJ which is like a 7 hour drive. I drove straight 7 hours with just one break.

    Thank you! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are several serious "red flags" with what you've told us about your plans that are more than cause for a little concern.

    Why are you planning to attempt this trip overnight? Unless you are both on a schedule where you typically up all night and asleep all day, you are simply asking for a potentially fatal crash. If you are planning to leave after you've been up all day - or even after just a short nap - this is an extremely dangerous plan. If you are planning to have your friend sleep while you drive, you are begging for a disaster, as you need a second person to make sure you are at your best while driving though the night.

    Safety is top priority, but even if you are successful in not killing yourselves or others on a drive like this, how on earth do you expect to be in position to enjoy yourself for the rest of the weekend, after a drive like that?

    Second, you are dramatically underestimating how far of a drive you are looking at. This is a trip that is more than 700 miles. That's already more than we recommend for a full day on the road, and there is absolutely no way this trip will only take you "10.5 hours." Even google's overoptimistic estimates put it at more than 11 hours, but in real world conditions you're talking about a bare minimum of 12 hours, and much more likely 13-14 hours, factoring in basic required stops.

    I also am curious as to why you are renting a supersized suv for a trip with just 2 people, but that really is a minor detail compared to the serious safety issues that I see. Unless there are some other facts that you've left out from your original post, your best approach to this drive is to seriously rethink your approach.

  3. Default

    Thank you Michael for your concerns! Appreciate that :)

    Let me have more information that could help!

    We are a bunch of 9 people! I thought I had written it, but I see that I missed out!

    To answer your other concern! We all are working, and that is the reason we plan on travelling over night. I however would be rested and would train myself to staying awake at night 2-3 days prior to the trip.

    Also, we plan to reach Smoky early and sleep/ rest and make up for the lost sleep, so that we enjoy the rest of our stay-- that is sunday through tuesday morning when we plan to drive back during the day.

    Also, I believe that we probably would be able to make it in 12 hours as there would be fewer stops.

    I guess that helps!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default I share Michael's concerns.

    Quote Originally Posted by abhilash31 View Post
    I however would be rested and would train myself to staying awake at night 2-3 days prior to the trip.
    Two or three days prior the trip will not 'train' you for an all night drive. Best start doing that now, and have at least a month's experience to let your body get the true feeling for it... to truly get used to it.

    ... as there would be fewer stops.
    This is a falacy. What makes you think there will be fewer stops? What even makes you think that nine people can sleep all night in even a large SUV, (along with the luggage)?

    ... we plan to reach Smoky early and sleep / rest and make up for the lost sleep, so that we enjoy the rest of our stay ...
    If you are going to spend much of Sunday sleeping to make up for lost sleep, would it not be wiser to leave early on the Sunday morning, even before dawn? Having slept during the day on Sunday, who will then want to go to bed again on Sunday night. That in turn will affect the enjoyment on Monday.

    None of this plan appears to me, to be well thought out.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Another Country Heard From

    Not to pile on, but the advice you're getting is spot on. Trying to drive through the night as a way to 'save' time is just a bad idea all around. No one is going to get any meaningful sleep on such a drive. By the way, you do realize that the Ford Expedition EL only has seating for 8 don't you. So you won't even have room for 9 bodies, let alone their luggage.

    Then, if you've read through these forums, you would have seen the many, many lists of reasons why computer generated estimates of driving times are pure fantasy. Remember that computers assume that you will always be able to travel at or above the speed limit, that you will never have to stop for gas, that you will never have to go to the bathroom, that you will never need to eat, that you will never get behind a slow truck or RV, that you will never come across any construction, that you will never encounter traffic...... In the real world, you should expect this drive to take 13 hours - that is: all day. You should note that professional long-haul drivers are prohibited by law from driving more than about 600 miles a day. You are proposing to drive significantly farther, as a novice, on too little sleep, through the dark of night. No part of that is a good idea.

    We are not trying to rain on your parade, but we are trying to save you from making what would be at best a fun-killing decision, and a worst a fatal one. Please rethink your plans.


  6. Default

    Well I said we would rest Saturday, the day we reach there so that we can enjoy the days from Sunday through Tuesday.

    Also, the reason I feel that there would be fewer stops at night is because most of the people would be sleeping! And I am completely alright in the passenger next to me sleeping! I am a pretty good at ignoring, so that would not be an issue. I have had long drives like that!

    However thank you for the concern :).

  7. Default

    Well I think I am starting to feel that I have to rethink of my plan! I do understand that the computer generated times are not accurate! But I do feel that they are not absolutely off!

    Also, I am trying to gain knowledge from you experienced people! About the drive! Thank you for all those concerns!

    However I also want to know if there is anyone who drove a similar route?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Pretty Much We All Have

    Every one of the 'Gurus' here has driven similar routes. Most of us have driven the exact same highways that you will be using from the NYC area to the Great Smoky Mountains. But for the most part, that experience is useless to you with your current plan. You won't have time to stop and see anything. Nothing would be open anyway. And even the great scenery on that route wouldn't be available to you in the middle of the night. But more to the point, each of us has driven very long hauls such as you're proposing, and we would all tell you (indeed we are all telling you) NEVER AGAIN!. You need to get the basic decisions right before any other advice will be of any help whatsoever.


  9. Default


    Well !! at this point! What would be a good way to travel? I mean we only have holidays from saturday through tuesday. And we have reservations from Saturday to Monday!

    What would be a good way to deal with this?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default There Are Other Mountains...

    ...and a lot closer to home. As you can now tell, there is almost no point to you're trying to get to the Great Smoky Mountains over a weekend, even a 'long' weekend. So how to proceed from here depends a great deal on what the point of the trip was in the first place.

    If it was just to get some time in the mountains hiking, camping, relaxing, that sort of thing, then there are great mountain retreats a whole lot closer to home. Consider the Poconos, the northern Alleghenies, the Catskills, the Adirondacks, the Berkshires, the Green Mountains or even the White Mountains. All of those are within 2-6 hours of Jersey City, rather than 14 hours, and can be gotten to by early afternoon with a Saturday morning departure after a good night's sleep. Fortunately, hotel, campground and car reservations can all generally be canceled without penalty if you do so several days to a week ahead.

    If the point was to get to get to the Smokies in particular, then you need to cancel this trip and find a spot on your calendars where you have more time. As noted, you will need an absolute minimum of a full day (not night) to get there from Jersey City, and a full day back. So a three day weekend would only leave you enough time for the two day, safe, round-trip drive and a single day in the mountains. Personally, that's not enough payback for me to want to sit with 9 people in an 8 passenger vehicle for that length of time.


Similar Threads

  1. Great Smoky Mountains
    By Imagine in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-31-2011, 04:27 PM
  2. One week roadtrip to great smoky mountains?
    By prophotodude in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 03-03-2010, 02:16 PM
  3. PA To Great Smoky Mountains (Tips/Suggs)
    By grecoromanaris in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-26-2009, 04:44 PM
  4. First road trip to Great Smoky Mountains
    By s_king in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-16-2007, 09:06 PM
  5. Great Smoky Mountains Adventure
    By JF2CBR in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-24-2007, 06:01 PM

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name