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  1. Default Driving alone from Chicago to Portland

    Hi! I am so thrilled to have found this forum. My family will be moving to the Portland (Oregon) area from Chicago the first week of September. I will be driving our car (2009 Toyota Camry) with our dog & cat, and my husband will be flying with our 1 year old daughter. I am excited for the drive, but have no idea what to expect. The only long distance driving I am familiar with (as in, I have done once before, 10 years ago) is Chicago to Lancaster, PA.

    What is the safest route? Do you have any tips for traveling alone? With pets? As a "single" woman (I'm 31, look much younger). I am allowing myself 4 days to get there, but it would be great if I could do it in 3.

    Thank you in advance for any insight you can provide!

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Via the fastest route, this is a 2100 mile trip, definitely NOT something that should be done in 3 days when you are the solo driver with 2 pets along. You will need all 4 days, at 525 miles per day, to get there. Pets usually have to be walked every couple of hours, and it's good for the driver, too, in order to stay limber and awake. Cats aren't generally very good travelers, either, making things a bit more complicated.

    When stopping in a rest area when traveling alone, I try not to use one that is empty. Instead, I'll go on to the next truck stop which are generally ALWAYS pretty busy places. In motels, I use my 6th sense -- if something doesn't look or feel right, move on. With pets, sometimes the best course of action for meals is to grab something in a drive-through, then travel to a rest area or park to eat and let the dog play on a leash. For motels, you'll have to look for "pet friendly". There's no one chain that is pet-friendly across the board. I find that the hotel coupon books, found at visitor centers for states and at the truck stops, usually state their pet policy up front, either "pets okay," "pet-friendly", "1 small pet okay", or "no pets allowed (except service animals)".


    Donna

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

    Default More females than males solo roadtrip.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    At over 2000 miles this is a four day trip, especially when you are travelling alone with pets, and are not a long distance veteran. Perhaps into three equal days with the last day a little shorter, as by then I am sure you will be eager to be reunited with your daughter.

    Travelling as a solo female is really no different to travelling any other way. You need to be aware of your environment, and listen to that little voice inside, which tells you when it is not a good place to stay, and move on. Don't ignore your better instincts.

    When booking accommodation make sure you check out the room before committing. Check that the smoke alarm is working - a long umbrella is handy here - and that the door has a lock which cannot be opened from the outside, such as the chain lock.

    You might be surprised to learn that there are more female solo roadtrippers than male. I for one have been doing it for more than a decade, and I am twice your age.... and then a bit. ;-)

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Thank you both for your replies. I guess,y in-laws scared me a bit, they seem to think it's the end of the world that I am female and driving alone. I have confidence and am more excited than worried. The cat will be the hardest obstacle, I think. Good tip about drive thrus, I hadn't even thought how dining in restaurants would be a no-no. I have a AAA card, I wonder if giving them a call could help me plan this trip out a bit (with accommodations, etc). I look forward to looking through this site more! :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Your AAA membership can be a very good friend. Get the maps, tour books, TripTik if you want one from them. As for accommodations, we've found that we can always do better price-wise, so we don't ask them for help with that. However, the Tour Books DO list whether pets are accepted or not. Then of course that peace-of-mind that comes from having AAA for roadside service (if needed) is helpful.

    You can dine in restaurants -- just have to think about Fido and Meow-face and how they will fare inside a vehicle. During the summer, it's usually too hot to leave them there. Sometimes, hotels don't mind the pets, but don't leave them while you go eat. Which leaves you stranded -- either drive-through or pizza delivery. (sigh.)

    We'd love to know how your trip turns out when you get to your destination!


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Steady pace to stay safe.

    As mentioned above, you should look to take the 4 days to cover the distance. All your route choices would be 'safe' if you keep yourself alert and awake by not pushing too far to the point of getting tired and by taking regular breaks. This is a marathon and not a sprint so it's wise to pace yourself from the start. For example, if you took I90 your first stop would be around Luverne MN, then Gillette or Buffalo WY and Missoula MT. If you look at the RTA Roadtrip travel planner to the right of the page, you can search for hotels in the area and select pet friendly lodging.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Use them wisely.

    Many of the services of AAA will be of use to you, both before you start and while on the road. Get all the maps you want / need, for the States and major urban areas along your trip. Tour books and Trip Ticks can also be useful, but with a proviso. Just like blindly following a gps can be fraught with danger, so can trip ticks. The most important thing is to know where you are in the scheme of the whole trip, and what your options are. That way, when there appears a huge hold up ahead, you know whether you can exit off the highway and have an alternative to get round the congestion. Only today I saw a line of vehicles more than 4 miles long, moving at a walking pace. You don't want to feel stuck, not knowing what alternative you might have.

    Lifey

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