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  1. #1

    Default Iowa to Abbotsford, BC and back

    I took Labor Day week off to pick up my brother in Abbotsford, BC. I've done central Iowa to St Paul, Kansas City, and Chicago without issues. This will be my biggest me-behind-the-wheel trip. I wanted to take different routes there and back and I'm just kind of hoping to get a sense of whether or not this whole thing is completely insane. I'd also like some advice on some places to stop . I was thinking about stopping at Shoshone Falls even though it apparently won't be as impressive.

    Here's my schedule:

    Friday, August 29- pick up rental car after work.

    Saturday, August 30- drop my cat off with mom at 7 AM, head to North Platte, NE. My goal is to be in Laramie, WY by 6 PM. It's about 675 miles. Hotel overnight.

    Sunday, August 31- Laramie, WY to Ontario, OR. 739 miles, hotel overnight

    Monday, September 1- Ontario, OR to Abbotsford, BC, Canada. 560 miles, hotel overnight in Bellingham.

    Tuesday, September 2- Bellingham, WA to Ocean Shores, WA - neither of us have seen the Pacific (the farthest west I've been is Wichita, KS). We may stop at Snoqualmie Falls on our way to or from. Ocean Shores to Moses Lake. 515 miles total. Hotel overnight.

    Wednesday, September 3- Moses Lake, WA to Livingston, MT. 527 miles. Will stop at Coeur d'Alene. Hotel overnight.

    Thursday, September 4- Livingston, MT to Spearfish, SD. 474 miles, including time for Devil's Tower.

    Friday, September 5- Spearfish, SD to Sioux City, IA. 522 miles, including time for Mt Rushmore. We could probably coast into DSM if we felt like going another 3 hours, otherwise hotel overnight.

    Saturday, September 6- home before 10 AM.

    I also took time off for Sept 7/8/9 so we could stretch something a bit more. I'm not really into hiking/camping, more I just want to see some of the country. Money is an issue - it's tight, I'm paying for everything on this trip by saving now. Is this too ambitious? Will I be exhausted after 1 day in Nebraska?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not a Chance

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It is obvious that you are getting your travel distance and time estimates from a computer-based mapping routine. They are simply unrealistic. I'm sure the distances are accurate, but the times are shear fantasy. They assume, as all such computer-based estimates do, that you can travel at or above the posted speed limit for every second of every minute of every hour of every day you are on the road. They assume that you will never stop for food, or to use the bathroom, or even to get fuel. They assume that you will never get slowed down by heavy traffic or construction, or that you will ever see a stop sign or traffic light, let alone take more than half a second crossing the border (twice). And finally they assume that you will never get tired, or lose your concentration, or become a danger to anyone else as you never move from behind the wheel for 10-12 hours straight - never taking your eyes off the road for all that time. Does that sound reasonable to you? Or do you think there might be some reason why professional long-haul truckers are limited by law to no more than 600 miles a day?

    For anyone trying to have a safe and enjoyable journey who isn't a professional and isn't, as long-haul truckers do, carrying their motel room literally in their back seat, we recommend no more than 500-550 miles a day. That allows for necessary food, fuel and bathroom breaks, as well as one or two stops to simply get out of the car for a few minutes, stretch your legs, refocus your eyes and clear the mental cobwebs. Let me perfectly succinct here: Trying to drive 740 miles in a day is suicidal at best and could by negligently homicidal at worst. If your trip depends on you're driving two such days back to back, you do not have time for the trip. Period.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default the good news

    Quote Originally Posted by jessbright View Post
    Is this too ambitious? Will I be exhausted after 1 day in Nebraska?
    The answer to your question is yes.

    As Buck indicated, trying to drive 675 miles in a day will leave you rather exhausted. Trying to follow that up by driving another 700+ miles the following day will make you a danger to yourself and others.

    The good news, if you have a few extra days available, you can tweek your plan to make it work. You'll need at least another half day to get to BC. Look at stopping at Sidney NE, Ogden UT, and Kennewick, Wa.

    Coming back home, your legs are better spaced out, but I think you'll want to shave them down a bit more if you actually want to stop to see the places on your list. Even one more full day would make it a lot more enjoyable trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Another way of thinking of it.

    If you're not used to it, even 550 miles on back to back days can be exhausting. So much so that you won't want to get started the next day. A late start on one day could throw out your whole schedule.

    The realistic thing to do is to think of both legs as a marathon, and plan them, evenly spaced and within your capabilitiy so that you are able to continue day after day..... just as a marathon runner does, mile after mile. By not exhausting yourselves at any point, you will - just like the marathon runner - still have that little in reserve at the end, just in case a sprint to the finish line is required.

    Have a safe trip.


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