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  1. Default Bend, OR to Nashville, TN

    In July I will be moving from Oregon to Nashville. I visited last year and drove through Wyoming/Nebraska on the way down and Texas/Arizona/Nevada on the way back (which I thought was very hot, ugly, and boring.) I would like to go through Utah (Vernal), Steamboat Springs, and Denver on the way this time. Is there anything I should know about this route? I will have my teenage daughter and two dogs with me along the way and plan to do the trip in four days. Anything really exceptional to see or inexpensive places to stay?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Bend to Nashville is 2300 miles by way of Vernal and Denver, which is a lot of traveling in 4 days. That means you need to make about 575 miles per day of just driving, not including any sight-seeing you want to try to do along the way. With 2 dogs, you'll be stopping a lot for doggy-walks, which means about 12 hours in the car every day. Frankly, I don't think you have much time for sight-seeing except from the windows of your vehicle. Can you add another day or two? That would give you time to stop and sight-see in UT and CO.

    Inexpensive places to stay -- dogs and other pets always add more $ to your stay. La Quinta and Motel 6 are usually pretty open to pets. Other chains allow them in some rooms. (As one who has pet allergies, I appreciate the motels that keep them to specific rooms.) We get coupon books as we pull into a state where we expect to stay the night, and see what's available. Many of the ads/coupons will state "no pets allowed" or "pet friendly".


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Defeating the Purpose

    I have to agree with Donna on this. Going by way of Vernal and Steamboat Springs would certainly result in a scenic trip, but what it really means is that you won't have time to stop anywhere along the way for much more than minimal food/gas/bathroom breaks. You certainly won't have time to explore Dinosaur National Monument, window shop in Steamboat Springs, or do anything in /Denver other than fight traffic. Note that long-haul professional drivers are limited by law from driving more than 600 miles a day, even on high speed interstates, because they become a safety hazard after that much driving. By taking the route you've outlined, which includes many slower mountain roads, you won't be able to cover as much ground before you become a hazard as well. Even if your daughter is old enough to take on some of the driving, neither of you is going to get a good break from the road at any point on this trip. The added miles and slower going are going to turn this into a four-day marathon rather than a pleasant drive.

    Even if you take the direct, all-Interstate route (I-84/I-80/I-29/I-70/I-64/I-57/I-24), this would be four solid days of driving. But it would cut down on the number of miles you have to cover each day, let you cover those miles at a somewhat faster pace, and give you a chance to make the drive at a safe daily pace while still being able to take a few time-outs to give you and your companions a break from the road each day.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A state of mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by KatAlex View Post
    ... Texas/Arizona/Nevada on the way back (which I thought was very hot, ugly, and boring.)
    Before you undertake this trip, you and your daughter may benefit from this excellent article.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    I agree it is a lot of driving. A LOT!! According to Mapquest, it doesn't look like it is any longer in hours compared to taking 80 (through Wyoming/Nebraska) to 70 in Missouri. Are there disadvantages to driving through Kansas in late June/early July? Would Denver be a big hangup with traffic?

    I really only want to do 8 or 9 hours of driving a day. Is there a better route that is still scenic?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    The problem is that the most direct route already has you driving the upper limit of your 8 to 9 hour goal. Any other route really is going to add extra time.

    The route you proposed didn't just add miles, it added a lot of miles on slow going 2 lane roads. I'm not sure what Mapquest is telling you, but just think about it for a bit, how can taking freeways across Wyoming result in the same travel time as using 2 lane roads through the mountains and towns of Northern Colorado and Utah? It really is just another example where the times thrown out by computer programs just don't match the real world.

    One option just to find a "different" route would be to take US-6 through Utah and down to I-70. That is mostly freeway, but even that adds about 100 miles to your trip vs. I-80, and will push you up to a good 10 hours a day, and the very upper limit of miles you should be considering as a solo traveler.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Why There Are Limits

    You've placed a limit on yourself of four days for the drive from Bend to Nashville. Presumably you have your reasons for that or you would simply add a day to your driving plans and make this RoadTrip enjoyable, with time for stops and the most scenic route available. By the same token, when we tell you that you can't drive more than about 550 miles a day on a continuing day-after-day basis there are hard and fast reasons for that, mostly for safety reasons but also because of speed limits, miles to be driven, and the need for meaningful sleep as well as 'mental health' breaks during each day's drive. If you try to drive more or add stops or take detours you simply cannot get to Nashville in four days.

    That said, you have one and only one choice of routes that will get you to Nashville safely in four days: US-20/I-84/I-80/NE-2/I-29/I-70/I-64/I-57/I-24 through Ontario OR, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Kansas City and St. Louis. And you will not have time for any but the most minimal of stops and those must be near the highway. Fortunately, that route is relatively scenic for its entire length. Even the part that most people would dread, through Nebraska, follows the Platte River the route of the old Oregon Trail. You simply cannot bend the laws of physics or physiology to your desire to do more in the minimal time you have allotted to this trip.

    AZBuck

  8. Default

    I did this trip last year in two days with a friend and it did almost kill us. It was horrible. So four days sounds actually very leisurely to me after that. Thank you for all of the input, I think I will just have to settle for the more direct route and find a time to explore the more scenic areas at a later date.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Be thankful you're even alive after doing this trip in 2 days. We're glad you've learned your lesson, because doing something like that is flat out homicidal. You really are lucky not to have killed someone. Even doing this trip in 3 days with just 2 drivers would be reckless.

    As mentioned, 4 days may sound leisurely, but that really is the bare minimum needed to make this trip safely.

  10. Default

    It was actually my ex-boyfriend's idea to do it in two days last year. Then we broke up but I stuck to the itinerary. Not a good choice.

    This is exactly what I needed to hear. I tend to bite off more than I can chew and I think I needed to be talked out of that. Thanks everybody!!

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