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  1. Default Berkeley CA to NYC with large elderly dog in early January

    My father is quite ill and I am moving from my home in CA to care for him and my mother. I am not a confident driver in the best of conditions and driving in winter is making me terribly nervous. I will have my 98lb, 13.5 year old labrador with me to add to the fun.
    Arriving safely but quickly is my primary focus. I do not know if it is worth the time to head South or if I should simply take 80 the whole way. I've driven to Tahoe in sudden storms a few times and that was terribly nerve wrecking. I may be able to get a friend to come along with me but hate giving up the space in the car. Car is 2011 BMW 325x station wagon. Should I get snow tires? I do have chains although I can't put them on by myself. How many days should I estimate to arrive?

    I am also considering shipping the car and flying but worry that it will be super stressful to my old dog. This is keeping me up at nights so all sincere advice is very much appreciated. Happy Holidays~Judith

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Do You Have Seven Days Available?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If everything goes well, and you don't mind being behind the wheel for a solid eight hours each and every day covering 580 miles day, then you can get to New York by car in as little as five days. However, to make it more enjoyable trip, especially for an aging dog, fairly frequent stops are in order. That would put you more in the realm of 500 mile days and needing six of them to complete the journey. But that is quite a maintainable pace particularly if you take those breaks from the road. Then you should hold a day in reserve in case of any untoward weather. If it gets to the point where you find your nerves getting racked, simply pull up at the first reasonable motel, check in, and wait for the storm to pass and the road crews to do their jobs. I-80 through the Rockies is an important winter economic life line and is kept open if at all possible, and those crews have lots of experience, so just leave them to it while you and your dog enjoy not being out in the weather.

    There is no need to make reservations at this time of year, even over the holidays, so you can travel at your own pace and not worry too much about where you'll end up each evening. You should do a little research on your favorite motel chains to see what their corporate pet policy is, and understand that an individual franchisee may depart from that policy.

    As for your car, the only less than optimal thing about it is that it has rear-wheel drive. But if you are otherwise comfortable driving it and it has a good set of tires, then there is no need to buy a new set of winter tires just for this drive. I would, however, recommend that if you are going to be in New York for a while that your next set be all-weather tires. Chains are also pretty much a waste if you have no experience either mounting them or driving with them. If you run into a case where they are required to go over certain mountain passes, then your best bet is to take the earlier advice about putting yourself up in a motel room until conditions improve (rarely longer than a day).

    Shipping the car and flying is an option, but an expensive one. And as you say, your dog would be a problem. (S)he is a bit too large to fly in the cabin and I would be more than hesitant to put him/her in the cargo hold, even though it is heated and pressurized.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    AZBuck has given you sound advice about amount of time, route, tires, and more. As far as motels go, take a good look on the right hand side of this page for a motel finder. It will give you a good idea of which motels are pet-friendly.

    Most rest areas on the interstate have specific "pet areas" where you can feel comfortable walking your pup, and we've noticed that some motels are starting to have these areas as well.

    Of course have your vehicle looked over by your regular mechanic before you leave, to make sure there are no belts or hoses that look ready to erupt. If you have a membership in AAA, that would help you feel better on the road, too, as well as giving you the free maps and tour books that you might like to have.

    Another thought on the motel thing -- look for motel coupon books at truck stops and visitor center rest areas in each state. Most of the ads/coupons will state "pets welcome" or "pet friendly", or (sadly for you) "no pets please".


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Isn't the 325x all wheel drive?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default When 8 = 10+.

    As Buck mentioned you really need 7 days available to give yourself a relaxed pace with a 'cushion' of time so that you can simply pull off the road if conditions got bad enough to require chains and let the storm pass through and road crews do their job of clearing it.

    Posted by AZBuck] If everything goes well, and you don't mind being behind the wheel for a solid eight hours each and every day covering 580 miles day, then you can get to New York by car in as little as five days.
    Just to clarify, when considering your options keep in mind that trying to do the trip in 5 days and "driving 8 hours solid" to cover 580 miles, it will actually equate to 10 hours [or more] on the road every day by the time you have stopped for fuel, food and bathroom breaks and given yourself and the dog a chance to stretch the limbs. That would be with favourable conditions as well, weather or other delays could put you further behind.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Isn't the 325x all wheel drive?
    Yes, it is all wheel drive. It never felt like helped me much just going to Tahoe.
    I've been stuck for hours getting over Donner Pass and this year seems like
    there are all sorts of freak storms. I just don't know if I have 7 days to spare.
    I may have to fly with the dog and ship my car. It's so hard to know what is
    the best thing to do. Thanks for your replies.
    Anyone have experience shipping a car?

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