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  1. Default Denver to Boston

    Myself and 3 of my friends are planning to rent a car and drive to Boston from Denver in July. We plan to stop for one night in Chicago but other than that we're driving straight through. Between the four of us, should we be okay for the 2000 mile trip to only stop one night?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default

    Absolutely not!!!!

    Welcome to the RTA Forum.

    I'm sorry, but no, you certainly not plan to drive back to back 1000 mile days and expect to be safe drivers, even with 4 of you. Such a plan is incredibly dangerous, in fact it is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving. There is simply no way you will be getting enough real rest while sitting in a car for about 20 hours a day.

    If you rotate all 4 drivers, with at least 1 nondriver being required to nap pretty much at all times, then maybe you could safely do it with 2 overnight stops (equally spaced, so not in Chicago), and frankly, even that is pushing it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    6,936

    Default Test yourself.

    Just as mentioned above, it would be a very dangerous undertaking. I know that when you are young you are invincible... or at least, you think you are. But statistics tell a different story.

    Here's a little test for you. If you are competent at playing computer or arcade games, games which require not only skill but rapid reflexes, then spend some time playing those games after having spent 20 hours of non stop work. See how your scores compare with your best.

    The fact is that sitting in a car, even as a passenger, is tiring. If you have been a passenger for even eight hours, you will be tired by the time you take the wheel. Your reflexes will not be what they should be while in charge of a lethal weapon... which is what a speeding car is. And if that drive is during the hours of darkness you could well double all the negative affect.

    Best scenario is to make this a comfortable four day trip, with three overnights, if you are set on stopping in Chicago. If not, as Michael mentioned you could just make it with two stops. But make sure you all get a good night's sleep, every night.

    Have a safe trip.

    Lifey

  4. #4
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    May 2011
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    Default

    Ah, when I was about your age, 3 others and myself attempted the same thing. We drove from college in the Midwest to California, non-stop. The rule we used was that no one drove more than two hours at a time. We had a specific rotation (and I still remember this, almost 40 years later): driver--->passenger-side front seat awake with driver--->rear seat right side to try to sleep--->rear seat driver side to try to sleep and then become the next driver. What I also remember was the feeling that I was tired when I tried to drive the 2nd and 3rd time. Sleepy when we'd pulled into a restaurant, gas station, rest area, wherever. Arriving in northern Arizona (my destination) sleepy, being picked up by my parents and sleeping the entire 4 hours home while the other 3 made their way into California. I also remember the owner of the car (and the only man of the 4 of us) splitting up the expenses (fuel and oil) equally when we pulled in for lunch in Flagstaff and having my dad hand him twice what he asked. The young man protested, and my dad said, "the wear and tear on your car, and on all of your bodies, is worth that to me." The young man kept the money.

    I wouldn't do that again. When two of us went to return to college in the fall, we boarded Amtrak -- she got on in Los Angeles, and I got in at Flagstaff. It was much more relaxing and we didn't really care if we were sleepy when we got into Fort Madison, IA.


    Donna

  5. Default

    Thank you all for your advice.
    This will be my first long road trip where I'll be a driver so I wanted to make sure we were planning safely.
    Realistically, how far do you think we'll be able to get per day?

  6. #6
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    It's 2000 miles from Denver to Boston by the all-interstate/toll-road route. Lifey suggested three overnights, which would make each day about 500 miles. That's roughly 9-10 hours on the road, including your fuel-rest room stops. Remember that 4 people take longer to get out of the car and take care of business, stretch legs, get snacks out, than 2 do. Overnights would be around Omaha, Portage IN, and Buffalo, NY.

    If you tried to do this with two overnights, it means you need to do 650 miles per day for two days, and a 700 mile day another day. That means 12-14 hours in the car with 3 people. Overnights in Des Moines IA, and somewhere just west of Cleveland, OH, would probably work.

    Either way, when driving east, you lose two hours. You will also want to make it a point of staying on the eastern side of cities to ensure that you don't have to fight morning rush hour (unless you've pulled into the city just in time for the afternoon rush, but why do it twice?).


    Donna

  7. #7
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    Default

    600 miles is a good rule of thumb for a full day on the road, on a multi-day roadtrip. That's roughly what professional drivers are allowed to do in a day, and works out to 10-12 hours on the road once you factor in the minimum stops and slowdowns.

    If you were just doing a one day sprint, you could look at going farther. Even there Chicago would be farther than I'd recommend, but you could potentially get it done safely. The bigger thing is that the day after you'd arrive there, you'd be so exhausted that you won't want to do much, and you'd certainly not be in any condition to be back out on the road.

    If you're going to try to do this as a speed run, then you should plan to spend the first night around Des Moines, and the second around Cleveland. Those will be about 650 mile drives each, and I wouldn't recommend going any farther than those places.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Make sure you run a rotation with at least one person awake besides the driver, in the front seat to navigate and keep the driver awake. 3 hour shifts would work well.

  9. #9

    Default

    Once, many years ago, when I was younger and more energetic than I am now, I did a straight-shot from Boulder, CO to Los Angeles, alternating with one other driver - this was about 1000 miles. We made it, but we collapsed a the end and were no good to do anything useful afterward. No way could we have done another drive like that the next day.

    Realistically, you should be able to do your trip with two overnights if you rotate drivers (but it will be a slog and probably not much fun). If I were doing this trip and absolutely had to do it with only two overnights, I would aim for your first stop to be somewhere around Des Moines to Iowa City (yes, this is a long first day, but do-able if you are well rested - plus the driving is faster across Nebrsaka). Second stop, I would aim for somewhere around Cleveland to Erie, PA.

    Jon

  10. #10
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    Default

    Something else you need to keep in mind - the fastest way from Denver to Boston involves a lot of toll roads. Jon's recommendations for overnights reflect that route - I-76/I-80/I-90.

    Des Moines is no issue, but spending the second night around Cleveland is going to jam you up in rush hour - I'd fight my way through in the evening and stay east of town so getting out in the morning won't be an issue.

    If you weren't in such a hurry, you could cut the tolls way down from over 40 bucks to less than $10 by driving 60 miles farther. This would be a REAL push trying to do it in 3 days.

    A thought - have you compared the costs of a car rental, gas, and hotels to taking public transportation - either fly or train? I don't see the point of driving day and night just to get from Denver to Boston without taking your time and doing and seeing things! You are going to get hit with a heck of a DAILY surcharge for every driver under 25 - and a one way dropoff fee unless you are going to turn around and do the same thing coming back!

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