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  1. Default Advice First Cross Country, Travel with Dog.

    We are planning our first cross country trip for this summer. It will be Los Angeles to Maine and then Back. We are planning on taking 4-5 days there, staying in Maine for a week and then 7-9 days coming back. I am really looking for any advice. We want to limit hotel stays, is it feasible to sleep in the car for a couple nights? Do you think we are crazy going there and back and only taking 3 weeks total?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    My husband and I have gone from Bar Harbor ME to LA (and then further south to San Diego County, which we call "home"), by one of the faster routes that does not include much in the line of toll roads, and I can tell you, it's NOT a 4-5 day drive. It is more like a 6 day drive (of 550 miles per day) because it's well over 3200 miles. This would be what we call a "speed run". Treat it like a marathon, slow and steady wins the "race".

    You will definitely NOT want to sleep in your car unless you happen to have a conversion van. You'll need your rest where you can stretch out, not have lights in your face or engines rumbling, and you'll need to be safe. Rest areas are not safe, and you'd have lights in your face and engines rumbling all night. Truck stops would be safer, but you still have the problem of lights and engines. Either way, you won't get the rest you need to operate a 2-ton machine for 550+ miles the next day. You can find motels for about $40-50/night, and many will accept a dog. Another thought, if you're up to it, is to bring along a tent, a couple of sleeping bags and an air mattress. That would be FAR more comfortable than your car. The problem will be locating a campground acceptable to tenters that is still close enough to the highway.

    Do I think you're crazy? No. We all do things like this at times in our lives. We just try to encourage you to use your common sense, be safe, and arrive at your destination each day, so that you will enjoy your trip a lot more.


    Donna

  3. Default

    Thanks for the response! I had thought about the camping option also, I grew up in Maine in the outdoors and LOVE camping, my fiance however is from San Jose...and not much of an outdoors man, so that is probably out of the question! I was thinking since there is 2 of us we could do close to 800 miles a day, do you think that would not be possible? I know we will need to stay in hotels at some point, I am just really hoping we can limit them and do the car sleeping maybe one or two nights. I want to get there as fast as possible so we have more time to stay in Maine, and more time to take our time coming back.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Two Drivers Doesn't Increase Your Speed

    It is a common misconception that having multiple drivers allows you to drive more miles in a day. That is simply not the case. You can't go any faster at any given time because you have two drivers, and they really don't let you go any longer either. First, even if you could just switch off with no penalties, trying to drive 800 miles a day means that you'd be in the car for 15 hours of the day with minimal stops to do nothing but gas up, go to the bathroom, and order your meals through the mouth of a clown. You would get no exercise, no fresh air, nothing. Then there's the fact that every stop you make will take longer than if you were alone, because you can never get back on the road until the slower of you is done and back in the car, let alone the time the dog needs. Such a nonstop, enforced period of inactivity will make you yearn, paradoxically, for both exercise and sleep at the same time. It is an enervating way to spend any amount of time and after even a singe day of it you will be totally drained. Again, as Donna said, this is a marathon and you simply have to pace yourself.

    The other thing Donna said which is absolutely true is that you cannot get any meaningful sleep in a car, moving, stationary or otherwise. It is simply not built for that purpose. You may doze off for a bit but that is not quality sleep and if you try to push yourself too far, you will find yourself dozing off when it's your turn behind the wheel. Which is why in a Speed Run it is imperative that there always be a navigator/co-pilot awake to help and watch over the driver. You don't have that luxury with only two people.

    There are concrete and valid reasons why professional, experienced long-haul truckers are prohibited by law from driving more than 600 miles a day. I have listed just some of them. You have neither their stamina nor experience, nor are you carrying what amounts to a motel room in your back seat as they do. 800 miles a day is out of the question, 700 miles a day is out of the question. 600 miles a day is possible for a couple of days, but not on a sustained basis. Plan on 550 miles a day and you can have a nice safe trip. If you don't have the time for that pace, you don't have the time for the trip.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-29-2014 at 09:28 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    I have to completely agree with what has already been said.

    2 drivers does not mean you can safely drive 800 miles a day. Sure, could you probably do it once and finish the day in one piece, but there is no way you'd be in any condition to be a safe driver the next day, or the day after.

    2 people also means that sleeping in the car is basically off the table as well. Really think about it, how on earth do you think that two of you would be able to stretch out and get the real rest you need to do your job, of driving all day long.

    The fact that you are bringing a dog only makes the above points even more true. Traveling with a dog means your days need to be shorter - not longer! The drives will take more time because you'll need to stop more often and for a longer period of time. And when it comes to sleeping in a car, there isn't enough room for two people to sleep comfortably, and add a dog to the mix and you've got even less available space.

    This trip is possible in 3 weeks, as long as you understand the reality that you need to plan more time for the drives, even if that means spending a little less time in Maine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    My husband was a long-haul trucker at one time. He was allowed to be behind the wheel for 10 hours (roughly 600 miles) and then had a MANDATORY 10 hour break from behind the wheel. Those rules were made for good reason: about all your body will be able to take of the road is about 10 hours, then it needs rest. He was always with another driver, but only allowed to co-pilot for a certain amount of time before it was MANDATORY sleeper-berth time. Truckers have to keep copious logs about this, and woe to them if they lie and get caught!

    I'm not saying we've never done non-stop travel. Back when we were young and didn't know any better, my husband and I tried that. We arrived at our destination exhausted and cranky, and we weren't very good company to those we were visiting. Another time we tried driving at night (thinking that it would be cooler to travel and less traffic) and then to sleep during the day. Well, motels aren't very cooperative that way, we found out when we tried to get a room at 6 or 7 am, and then we learned how we couldn't sleep even though we were tired. Our body clocks were off-kilter! We also tried driving 700+ miles one time, and found out that this was crazy, to try that. By the time we'd driven 600 we were ready to get off the road.

    In short: plan to get to Maine in 6 long days, or 7 slightly shorter ones. Plan to return in the same amount of time, and you'll have that week in Maine. Also plan on finding some motels or turning the young man into a temporary camper. :-)


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    I know this is a road tripping forum, but your plans aren't a road trip, they are major work. I'd recommend you board the dog for 3 weeks and fly to somewhere on the east coast and rent a car. Either that or add more days and plan on taking a minimum of 7 days each way with motel/hotel stops each and every night. If you do the math, flying may actually come out less expensive - if your car gets 20 mpg, your fuel costs will be on the order of $1200 for the round trip and 12 nights in a hotel will add at least another $600 or so.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

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    Add meals out while on the road, at $40/day (for cheap meals) for 2, comes to $560. That's well over $2300.

    Compare that to flights ($400 per person), dog boarding ($420 assuming $20/day for dog boarding), and 3 weeks car rental ($600). Less than $2000, and you get loads more time in Maine.


    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Way to go!

    I'll second that suggestion. Economically as well as time wise, it just makes more sense. Heck, even taking the dog could be an option, when you look at how much the roadtrip would cost you. That's not even accounting for wear and tear on the car and all the other hidden costs, such as quick snack meals (when you are in a hurry). If you were to add a good nutritious meal each day, that would be another $600 or more for the trip.

    Lifey

  10. Default

    We understand it's not going to be cheaper than flying, we have enough money. I also would NEVER EVER EVER board my dog, plus the dog hotels around here are like 60 bucks a night. She is my princess though, and she is small so shes not much of an issue, she has done the trip to Maine on an airplane before. The reason we are doing it is that it's a once in a lifetime experience. We are planning on starting a family next year, so I figure this would be a perfect time to do it!

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