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  1. #1

    Default Toronto to California!

    Hey Everyone,

    I'm new to the RTA community, but I've been finding this particular website so helpful when it comes to planning our big cross country road trip, so I though I'd reach out to all of you about some questions I have which I'm having trouble finding the answers too.

    On Aug 15th me and 3 others are setting out on a road trip from Toronto to California. On the way there we have intentions to stay over night in the following cities; Chicago, St. Louis, Santa Fe, and Phoenix. Google maps and other planning has helped us estimate about a 4 day travel time, that includes staying over night in these places. Some of these over night stops are a bit "out of the way" but we're not in any rush, and to us its more about the journey then the destination!

    I'm having some concerns about my car/driving situation when it comes to boarder crossing. My car is in my Father's name because at the time of purchasing the car we put it in his name because I was too young. After fully paying the car off to my Father, it is fully mine however still remains in his name. Will this be any trouble at the boarder crossing?
    Also, myself and one other are fully licensed drivers and intend on sharing the driving through out the road trip. Does he need to personally insured on my vehicle? Or is it okay if I'm the only driver insured on the particular vehicle?

    Any other information on this particular road trip/things to be aware of when crossing the boarder will be greatly appreciated! The trip in total will only be about 16 days long, and I'm familiar with the claiming process. Just trying to learn as much as I can to avoid conflict!

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    This is more than a 4 day drive. You will need an additional overnight between St. Louis and Santa Fe - Oklahoma City would be the most logical choice. Google Maps drivetimes are very optimistic, and you should not try to drive more than 600 miles a day, less if you get off the Interstate highways. Add even more days if you want to enjoy the trip and actually see and experience things.

    I would get a notarized letter from your father authorizing you to cross the border with the car, and also you need to discuss the insurance issue with your insurance agent.

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

    Default not quite

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First thing, Toronto to LA really is a 5 day drive - or at least 4.5 days - not really a 4 day drive. It's a bare minimum of 5 full days if you are going to detour via Phoenix. Now, it looks like you're planning 5 to get to California, which is fine, but your planned stops just don't work. The huge problem is St. Louis to Santa Fe. That's more than 1,000 miles and is not even close to possible to safely do in a day. That's a pretty full 2 day drive. Realistically, St. Louis and Santa Fe don't make good stopover points if you are trying to get there in a relatively short period of time - and 16 day round trip from Toronto to California is a relatively short period of time. You need to rework your stops based on traveling no more than 500-600 miles in a day.

    As far as the car, you've got two options. The first, would be to make sure you have a notarized letter from your father giving you permission to use the car. The second - and better - option, would be to finish the paperwork to transfer the ownership into your name. The reason is would be better ties in a bit to your insurance question: liability. If you or your friends get into a crash while driving a vehicle that is, legally speaking, your fathers, he could be found to be liable.

    Generally speaking, your insurance policy should still cover someone else driving your car, especially if you are in it. However, that really is a question for your insurance agent. He/She can explain the details of your specific policy and what it covers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Toronto to Chicago is a bit over 500 miles, definitely doable in one day. Chicago to St Louis is around 300 miles, which is a short day but if you are planning to see the Arch, the (free) zoo, the brewery or similar, that's a nice overnight stop. Then, as mentioned above, St Louis to Santa Fe is well over 1000 miles. Sure, MapQuest and Google list it as "15 hours, 45 min", but that's not "real world" time. In real-world driving, where you have to stop for fuel, food, restrooms, stretch your legs, it's more like 18-19 hours -- but not all on the same day! You could stop about Oklahoma City for an overnight -- if you don't want to stay IN the city, El Reno (west of the city) is a good alternative. Then Santa Fe could be your next leg, followed by Phoenix and then LA.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Oakville, ON, Canada


    I have driven from Oakville, ON to LA a few years ago with my family. We stopped in Springfield IL, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque NM, Grand Canyon, AZ (Phoenix is a bit out the way of your route unless you are seeing someone there), and LA. As other posters have noted, you need to stop between St. Louis and Santa Fe as it is over 1,600 km apart and not safe to travel in one day. Our first day to Springfield was just over 1,000km and we drive 12 hours with stops for food, gas and to stretch our legs. If you are not visiting the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff is a good place to stop. Enjoy your trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Border crossing.

    I agree with the above, that really, if it is your car, it should be in your name, for more reasons than just this trip.

    On the other hand, I have crossed the border in a car belonging to a friend, when I travelled from Boston to Alaska, and back. At no time was I asked any more than the name and address of the owner. I was not asked for paper work at any time. (That may have had something to do with the fact that it was being driven by a senior citizen.)

    On the whole I have found border crossing personnel polite and obliging.


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