This is my first post. I have been reading posts here over the past few weeks, as well as doing Internet searches. I am in my early 40's and drive a 2012 Hyundai Elantra with 30,000 miles and new Michelin tires. I am driving from Dallas, Texas to the Santa Rosa area of California in July. I will be driving solo there and with my wife on the way back. Going there is 1786 miles and 27 hours per Google Maps. On the way there I want to be there ASAP - so I plan 2-3 days maximum. On the way home, we route via Lake Tahoe, Vegas, Grand Canyon, etc, then pick up I-40 and head home over 4 days time.
I love to drive and in 2004 I took off from Baton Rouge, LA to Colorado Springs. I planned to stop overnight, but I hit Amarillo, TX at 5pm - so I kept going. I ended up driving 17 hours straight to my destination with 2 stops for gas only.
That's my back story - here is where I get into questions. I understand safety and staying awake and I do not plan to drive 17 hours this time. I am plotting possible stopping points along the way, with options being:
Leg 1: Dallas to Flagstaff, AZ. 14.5 hrs drive. (options: Dallas - Holbrook, AZ 13.5 hrs)
Problem: I hear Flagstaff motels are along loud train tracks and noisy at night.
Leg 2: Holbrook, AZ to Santa Rosa, CA. 13 hrs drive. (options: Holbrook to Bakersfield, CA; spend night and drive 5-6 hours on Day 3).
1) Has anyone made this trip and could lend advice on these legs?
2) Any surprises I may encounter with construction or traffic problems?
3) Any suggestions on inexpensive places to consider that are clean and quiet? (I found KOA Kabins)
4) Any recommendations on an affordable hotel/motel in Flagstaff?
5) Any recommendations around Bakersfield, CA on lodging?
In sum, I want to get there quickly and take my time coming back. I am not looking to smell the roses along the way. I want to get to California in as little time as possible, but not recklessly. I may change my mind and allow a little more time. I know I may be forgetting some things, but wanted to put this out for feedback or any comments you may have.