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  1. Default Richmond, Va to Keystone, CO

    Been wanting to take the family of four to ski in CO. Flying with baggage fees, ground transportation, parking, etc just doesnt make it affordable...not to mention I hate airports. Tossing the idea around to drive it. Have 10 days to play with from April 18 through the 27. Anyone done this? Looks like a simple route in the sense that its 64w to 70w. Google states about 27 hours. Figure St. Louis to be the half way point. We drive to Ohio and back several times a year. That is about a 9 hour drive so this would certainly be longer than anything I have ever done. Would want to make the trip to and from interesting with things to do so it isnt just a road warrior journey to ski. The amount of money I would save vs flying would be tremendous because we could take our own food, ski gear and bring our dog with us, have our own transportation, etc, etc... Thoughts, feedback, personal experiences will be appreciated.

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

    Default recalculate

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Despite what online mapping programs will tell you, it is an absolute fantasy that you'd be able to travel this distance in 27 hours. That would only be true if you never stopped for any reason (even fuel!) or even slowed down below the speed limit. More importantly, at nearly 1800 miles, this is not a trip that should be measured in hours - it needs to be measured in days. This is not a trip that can safely be done in just 2 days. This is 3 pretty hard days on the road, being on the road for 10+ hours a day for each of those days, with only limited time for stops. Trying to do it any faster than that is simply unsafe, even with multiple drivers, and also counter productive, as you would be way too exhausted when you arrived in Colorado to have a good time on the slopes.

    That doesn't mean you can't drive, but you need to plan that at least 6 days of your available 10 days would be dedicated to being on the road. You'll have to decide if that's worth the trade off of the money you'd save by not flying.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Michael is right -- this is 1800 miles, which is 3 days on the road. Professional truckers can't drive more than 10 hours or 600 miles at one stretch, and we never recommend going more than that, either. If you're traveling with children, 600 miles will be at least 11 hours. If the weather decides to go against you, you'll need extra time, perhaps even an extra day or so to hole-up and wait for the roads to be better to drive in.

    You might want to compare apples to oranges a little better, though. Driving seems cheaper, but you need to factor in your overnights (at least four for being on the road 6 days), food on the road for 6 days, fuel of course for 3600 miles, wear and tear on your vehicle. Then compare it to the flights, ground transportation, etc. Having a friend driving you to/from the airport and giving him a little gas money might be a lot less expensive than parking at the airport (that's what we do when we absolutely MUST fly).


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default What age children?

    It really depends on the ages of the children. With young children it would be almost impossible to do this in three full days. Older children would possibly be prepared to sit in the car all day for three days, especially if you plan well for it. But what you would also have to take into account is that sitting in a car all day is very tiring. That could affect the energy left to enjoy the slopes. As Michael said, it is a trade-off.

    You could cut down on the food expense for the trip over. Prepare food at home and freese it. Make sure you pick hotel rooms which have microwaves. Cereal, sandwiches and fruit are easily carried in a cooler. On the way back it may not be so easy.


  5. #5

    Default Marginally worth it, at best


    In January 2011 and again in January 2012, I drove from Raleigh, NC to Park City, UT for a family ski trip, first with one of my adult sons, then with both of them. The womenfolk flew while we schlepped the gear in the truck (2011) and the Equinox (2012). Same logic as with your family--saving airfares, extra bag fees, and the high cost of a week's rental of a fullsize 4WD SUV out of SLC airport. I won't go into details as to travel times, etc, but suffice it to say we pushed the envelope on daily travel time and distances. We spent between 33 and 36 hours of travel time, including all stops other than overnight stops, on each leg.

    The outcome? I won't likely do it again for a week to 10 day trip. We arrived pretty well beat and started stressing about the return trip 2 days before heading home. We did save the $$, so that was nice, but the drive made the experience less enjoyable than it could have been. We did have terrible weather on 3 of the 4 legs over the 2 years, including two ice storms, subzero cold WITH a 50 mph headwind, Interstate closure due to blizzard conditions, and whiteouts along I-80 in Nebraska and Wyoming.

    If I had maybe 3 weeks or more, I'd definitely do it again, as the extra time would allow for a more leisurely drive out and back and time to wait out intervals of terrible weather.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default For Comparison

    You say that you have experience driving from Virginia to Ohio, and that the trip takes 9 hours. You then say that a software mapping routine says it would take 27 hours to drive to Colorado. That's comparing apples to oranges (at least they're both fruit). You're comparing a real-world experience with a silicon-based fantasy. To get an idea of how far off the mark that 27 hour estimate is, see what that same program gives you for a drive time for the trip you know takes 9 hours. I used Richmond to Columbus and got an estimate of just over 7 hours which means (if those are roughly your start/end points) that the program is underestimating the drive time by over 25%. That's one thing on a single day's drive where you can spend a couple of extra hours in the saddle without too big a problem. On a multi-day drive, such a divergence from reality means that you have to add significantly to what you're being told by your computer. Distances over about 500 miles should never be thought of in terms of hours, but in terms of days. and as you add more days to the length of the trip, your per day average distance covered will also drop due to cumulative fatigue as you go along. It will also drop as you add more people to the car with the resulting more frequent and longer meal/bathroom breaks.

    1800 miles is at the absolute upper limit of what could be done by an experienced solo driver in three days. It is not something that you can do enjoyably or safely with a family of four. As Foy points out with his personal experience, nearly every regular contributor to these forums has at one time done a marathon trip of the sort you are proposing, and everyone of us has come away with the same lesson: Never Again!


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