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  1. Default Help please! Driving from NY to LA with dog

    Hello everyone!

    We are an Australian couple (49 & 51) and have been living in NY for almost 5 years. We are about to move back to Australia and have a 4 y.o. Boston Terrier who will be relocating with us. We have just found out that United PetSafe won't fly Bostons, Pugs or French bulldogs in the cargo hold during the Summer and she is too big for the cabin so we need to drive to LA. We have up to 8 days to complete the trip leaving August 10th. My husband will be doing all the driving as I don't have a U.S. license. We would really appreciate any advice regarding the best route and when and where we should stop along the way. I think 4-5 hours driving max. per day is as much as he'd want to do if that's possible and I guess we'll be limited to the interstates given the timeframe and only one driver.

    Thanks so much in advance for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default To Quote Cole Porter: "Something's Gotta Give"

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    New York to Los Angeles is about 2800 miles by the most direct all-Interstate route. That can be done in six days of what we would consider 'normal' but definitely solid driving of about 500 miles a day. If your husband is going to be doing all the driving and limiting himself to five hours a day behind the wheel, then you're going to need closer to nine or ten days to complete the journey. So clearly something's got to give. The first thing I would suggest is that you check whether you can drive. You say that you don't have an 'American' driving license, but you don't necessarily need one. If you are comfortable driving in the US and have a valid (current, not expired) Australian driver's license, then that is all you need to drive in the US. The so-called International driver's License is nothing more than a translation of your own license into several international languages including (for American constabulary consumption) English. But your Aussie license is already in English and so the International license does nothing for you. It's your 'native' license which is honored. The International license is just a courtesy for local police.

    If you can share some of the driving, then your husband can take a couple of shifts and you give him a break in between, making a total of somewhere around seven to eight hours behind the wheel combined for the two of you and pushing you more toward a six day crossing of the country. If your license has expired or you don't feel up to driving on the 'wrong' side of the road then your husband has no other choice, if you simply have no more than eight days available, but to cover 350 miles per day. We would consider such days sustainable on a day-after-day basis. Even though they would require your husband to be behind the wheel for more than five hours a day, those hours don't have to be continuous. Consider driving a pair of three hour (more or less) shifts each day, morning and evening, with a solid break in the middle to visit a park, a museum, or simply stroll a city. In fact we have long recommended that people take breaks every few hours during long drives. Your's would simply be a case of doing maybe one less 'leg' between stops each day and taking slightly longer to 'recuperate' at each stop.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck. I do have a current Aussie DL, just no experience driving on the wrong side of the car/road so maybe I CAN share some of the driving, although not sure how much relaxing he'll do with me behind the wheel. 2 x 3 hour shifts with a good break in between might be the way to do it.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-08-2013 at 03:10 PM. Reason: Removed quote of entire previous post.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    The most direct route from NYC to LA is I-80/I-76/I-71/I-70/I-44/I-40/I-15. Tolls will be in the $10 range.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Not so bad.

    It's quite easy to adjust to driving on the 'other' side of the road, however driving 6- 8 hours a day in the US is not that big a deal, especially if you get on the road at a reasonable time and take regular breaks to stretch the legs and have lunch etc. For example if you were to be on the road by 8:30am and drive for a couple of hours or so and stop around 10:30/11am for a break/coffee, before continuing for another couple of hours and stopping for lunch. Three more hours and you could be in your hotel and relaxing before the evening rush hour with time to feshen up and go out for a meal.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default An Alternative

    As is often the case with very long, trans-continental RoadTrips, there is more than one route that will get you from Here to There in roughly the same amount of time and miles. At which point it's up to you to choose the one that best serves you and your needs. In this case, the route that glc has outlined is one such route, but not necessarily the 'best'. The alternative is to leave New York on I-78 to join I-81 and then I-70 in the Harrisburg PA area. Continue on I-70 to St. Louis and then use I-44 to cut down to I-40 at Oklahoma City. Take that all the way to the end and then drop down into Los Angeles using I-15. This differs from glc's route only as far as Columbus OH after which they are the same. glc's is about 50 miles and maybe 30-45 minutes longer, but I might give it a slight edge in scenery across Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Turnpike (on my route) is a toll road, but as such, there are very few entrances/exits with their attendant merge lanes. I-80/I-76 through Youngstown and Akron will have entrances every mile in congested areas. In the end though, the choice is yours.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-09-2013 at 10:25 AM.

  7. Default

    Thank you all for the good advice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Missing the worst of the morning rush.

    Another suggestion would be to plan on stopping on the west side of any major City. This would have the advantage of heading away from the City congestion each morning, while most of the morning workers will be headed towards it, which will get you off to a much better start each day.

  9. #9

    Default Don't worry about driving on the 'wrong' side

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    It's quite easy to adjust to driving on the 'other' side of the road
    FWIW, I just recently got back from my first experience driving in the UK (on the other other side). It takes about an hour to get used to driving on the other side - and if you are driving on the Interstate it will be no problem at all.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default I'll endorse that.

    Go ahead and give hubby a break. You'll find that in even less than an hour you'll feel quite at home. If you're on the interstates you just can't go wrong. Drive at your own pace. Don't be intimidated or tempted to go faster than you feel comfortable with, and stick to the right hand lane.

    If you have one, stick an Australian flag in the back window. It will show other drivers that you are not a local, not a natural left-hand-drive driver.

    BTW... how come in five years you have not driven in the US?

    Lifey

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