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  1. Default Tulsa OK to Scranton PA

    I've been reading this forum for years and years, and now have a question to ask.

    This summer, (dates of travel are firm) my husband, 12yo, 9yo and I need to go to Scranton PA from Tulsa OK. We have no need to see sights or attractions along the way; our goal is to get to Scranton to clean out my mother's house. (While in PA, we plan to do little trips to Philly or Hershey Park, etc. I don't need help with things to see while there because we've got that covered.)

    We are figuring on taking 3 days to get to Scranton. Day 1: Tulsa to Terre Haute, IN. Day 2: Terre Haute to Pittsburgh, PA.Day 3: Pittsburgh to Scranton.

    We've taken road trips for years, so the kids are fantastic travelers. (As such, I'm not looking for advice on how to keep them occupied, because again, we have that covered.)

    We always get bagels and crap to eat breakfast in the car, and we ALWAYS bring a cooler and have a picnic lunch at a rest stop. (There's a super cool one just this side of St Louis that we like to stop at.)

    We always leave for road trips at 6am. No particular reason, other than it works for our family. And this way we're ready for lunch at the cool rest stop outside of St. Louis. Then we always go out to dinner at that day's destination.

    We know to bring maps, an atlas, GPS, emergency supplies, etc. (This isn't our first rodeo!) We will stay in hotels along the way that have wifi, a swimming pool, and free breakfast.

    My questions are thus:

    I'm really waffling on the first leg of the trip, ie from Tulsa to Terre Haute. In my mind I can say, "Oh, Terre Haute is just a few hours from St. Louis, and St. Louis is EASY to get to, which it is. But how is it, really? We HAVE to get to Scranton in 3 days. I know to add 25% to what Mapquest tells me, and even with that it seems doable. We have 2 drivers, so not concerned about one person getting driver fatigue. (And IL has COOL rest stops with hot chocolate machines! Yummalicious! I always bring my travel mug with me for just that purpose! Hee hee!)

    I'm considering getting one of those electric coolers that plug into the car outlet. (We have one in the wayback that could be used.). Are these cool or lame? Any recommendations?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Tulsa to Terre Haute is 562 miles -- an easy 10-11 hour drive. The drive from St Louis to Terre Haute is 165 miles or so, or easily 2-1/2 hours. If you are driving I-44 to I-70, take the belt loop around St Louis, as you'll avoid the traffic. BTW, if you don't already know this, fuel up in Missouri and then somewhere in IN. The gas taxes in IL raise the price by a good 15-20c a gallon! (When we came down I-70 in both '11 and '12, we fueled up in Terre Haute and then in Missouri along I-70, because GasBuddy warned us about higher prices in IL.)

    I-70 in Illinois is not excruciatingly busy (at least not when we've traveled it). You'll do fine! As for the 12v coolers, I'll let someone that knows, tell you. Also, 1300 miles in 3 days would be easy for us -- did it all the time with kids in tow. :-)


  3. Default

    You could split the difference at stop at Effingham, there's quite a good choice of motels there.

    And how do I know about Effingham? It's a major crossroads and several of the long distance truck drivers who post vlogs on YouTube regularly mention spending the night at one of the truckstops there.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John259 View Post
    You could split the difference at stop at Effingham, there's quite a good choice of motels there.
    That's so funny that you mention Effingham! When I was first thinking about this trip months ago (just brainstorming) I had figured a stopover there! But my husband insists we can go Terre Haute.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Getting to Terre Haute shouldn't be much of a problem for you. It's a fairly long day on the road, but very manageable, especially for a family of experienced travelers. I might look to take an extended break in St. Louis just so the day doesn't feel so long, but I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    Terre Haute is a pretty good place to spend the night, I've stayed there before and found it to have both a large number of places to stay, as well as very reasonable prices.

    I have one of the small electric coolers, and I find they work best for short trips. I do like them for storing things like sandwich meats, so you don't have to worry about having them contaminated by cooler water. The downside, if you're not in the car, they either aren't running, or they are draining the car's battery.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Why Pittsburgh?

    It seems to me that Pittsburgh is a bit out of your way if your intention is simply to get to Scranton as efficiently as possible. A shorter routing, both in terms of miles and time, would be to leave I-70 at Columbus OH, using I-270 around the northwest side of town, and take I-71 up to I-76 trough Akron and continue straight onto I-80 at the intersection with the Ohio Turnpike. I-80 is a great scenic and relatively wide-open route across northern Pennsylvania. You'd then finish up using I-81 into Scranton. Going that way entails no tolls whatsoever and you could spend your second night at either Youngstown (fairly sizeable city), Grove City (major Interstate junction), or Clarion (college town).

    I used to have a 12v piezoelectric cooler, and I am afraid that I was less than thrilled with it as a RoadTripping accessory. First of all, it didn't keep things that cold, and had a very hard time cooling anything down from room temperature. Then it was poorly insulated so that it had to be kept running constantly. That meant that it had to be lugged in each night and lugged back out to the car each morning, and after just a few RoadTrips it was burned out. For the money, a standard chest and some ice is for me the much better deal.


  7. Default

    Oh, thank you! This is the exact info I needed! Why Pittsburgh? Why indeed? I've been asking my husband that for months! I'll definitely show him this!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Fridge beats a cooler anytime.

    My experience with the 12v cooler echos Buck's. They really do not keep things all that cold and really struggle in hot weather. Mine only lasted a couple of trips. I now have a proper compressor fridge in which I can keep items at freezing point, no matter what the weather. It runs off a supplementary battery, not to flatten the car battery. But even if you do not have a supplementary battery, it is not a great effort to take it into a hotel room, especially when you choose accommodation where you can park outside the door. It's the best thing I ever bought. In fact, I have two, one in the US and one at home. Not only that, but one I have had for around a decade without it ever giving me any problems.

    Last edited by Lifemagician; 04-27-2014 at 01:19 PM. Reason: punctuation!

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