Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25
  1. Default Los Angeles to Northern Virginia - early Dec

    I will be moving cross country at the end of the year. Unfortunately, it looks like I won't be able to leave until around Dec. 1st-3rd.
    I'd like to leave earlier but my work schedule is not going to allow it. :(

    It'll be me and a friend plus two big dogs (a pittie and a shepherd mix) in my '04 Prius. We'll be Motel 6-ing our way across the Southern route b/c of the dogs. I won't be towing anything, movers will be taking my stuff across.

    I've never driven more than one day, and that usually wears me out. My friend is coming to help handle the dogs, but probably won't be doing any driving other then in an emergency situation.

    I'm looking for any and all advice: about the route, prepping my car, traveling with dogs, how long the whole trip will take, etc. I'm a novice at planning this sort of thing. I've been a passenger on a road trip as a kid, and was a passenger for a UK road trip a few years ago. But I have a feeling it's a different ball game as the driver.

    I'd travel I-15, I-40, I-81, and I-66. I plan to go to AAA to get some paper maps to back up my nav system and the GPS on my phone, in case they don't work for some unknown reason. I'll get an ice scraper for my windshield. Over the last 2 years I've replaced both my front and rear tires, so I think they're okay. I'm not a heavy mileage person, so they're pretty new.

    I'm thinking I don't want to drive more than 6 hours a day, but don't really know how long that would take. Not being exhausted when I'm driving is more important than keeping to a specific schedule. Beating bad (worse) weather is also important. I'd like to at least do some drive-bys of interesting places along the way. My travel partner is a musician, so I'd like to stop a bit in Nashville for her sake.

    Other than that, I'm in your hands. Help a girl out.
    Many thanks, in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A week [+]

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Depending on wher exactly in VA you are headed, it is going to take you about 7 days travelling about 6 and 7 hours a day. Places to aim for overnight stops would be Williams AZ > Santa Rosa NM > Oklahoma city >Memphis ? [cool place to stop but could take 8 hours] > Knoxville TN and then to VA. You should have no need to book lodgings in advance so you could just see how you feel each day and pull off the road when you have had enough driving or find a cool place. [ Note. Most stops are edging nearer 7 hours] Of course if you would like to spend a night in Nashville, detour to the Grand canyon and the like, you will have to add time and/or adjust stops accordingly.

    I would get a workshop to check your car over properly [unless you know someone who can] and explain to them you are driving across country. You will need to make sure your servicing is up to date and all the fluids are topped up, get a brake inspection for wear if you are unsure and make sure your spare tyre is legal, inflated and that you have the tools to change a wheel if need be. Interstate driving is quite easy compared to roads in the UK, or driving around LA and shouldn't be tiring in the same way, just make sure to take short breaks when you fill up with gas to walk around and stretch and breath in the fresh air.

  3. #3

    Default Your route, vehicle prep, and watching the weather

    Hello Keaira,

    I'd probably want to start a long trip like that with a fresh oil and oil filter change in addition to the other maintenance items already discussed. A new pair of windshield wiper blades or refills is always nice. Top off your windshield washer fluid reservoir before you leave and take a jug with you. Also take a fresh roll of paper towels to keep your headlights and side windows and their mirrors completely clear.

    It's always possible to run into icy/snow weather on your route. I-40 reaches elevations of 7,700' in New Mexico, nearly that high in Arizona, and stays up around 4,000' across North Texas. It gets up again crossing the Cumberland Plateau between Nashville and Knoxville, TN, but only in the 2,500' range (high enough to draw snow/ice, however). I've encountered snow and ice in November-December in the Great Valley between Knoxville and I-66, too. Making sure you've got some sort of live connections to weather forecasting and real-time conditions (smartphone or wifi), and having plenty of time to pull over and wait it out at a Motel 6, before driving into a storm, will ensure you of not needing to deal with bad weather to the greatest extent possible. Under most expected circumstances, highway travel woes due to ice/snow only last 24-48 hours, so it's entirely possible to avoid them if you're looking well ahead and have time to let it pass before continuing.


  4. Default

    Okay, so plans have changed.

    Now I have to get it done in 4 days, no stopping for sightseeing. I think leaving the day before Thanksgiving: probably late afternoon, early evening.

    I will now have a different second driver who is used to long hauls… so I'm thinking - weather permitting - we could do 10-12 hour travel days.
    Can anyone give me direction on milestones I need to hit by which days to make that happen? Is it even possible? Or am I only dreaming?

    Oh and thank you for the earlier advice! I did get my car checked. And I have gotten hard copy maps from AAA.

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

    Default not a dream... a nightmare

    Sorry, but if you have to do this trip in 4 days, then you shouldn't be doing it at all.

    You're looking at a trip of about 2700 miles, and even with multiple drivers in good weather, you need a minimum of 5 days to do this safely. Trying to do this in 4 days would mean you would have to be on the road for more than 12 hours a day each day, and there simply is no way to do that - even with 2 drivers - without being a danger to yourself and others.

    If you want to do this trip safely, then you need a minimum of 5 days available. Overnight stopping goals would be Holbrook, AZ; Shamrock TX; Forrest City AR; and Bristol TN/VA. Push any farther than that, and you'll be putting yourself in danger, and will creating a situation where you will be too exhausted to be a safe driver the next day.

    That's assuming you see perfect weather conditions, and while that might happen, it's also quite possible that you'll see some sort of winter weather that would slow you down. If you see bad weather, you will have to adjust those points, and you could even need another night on the road.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I agree with Michael: find another day somewhere!!!! My husband and I have driven the route described above. That's a 5-day trip, no matter how you slice it. To do it in 4, you must drive 13-15 hours per day, which is 3-5 more hours than the commercial (truck) driver is supposed to ever drive. If you have a weather problem, or (as we did), come into traffic snarls that keep you held up for an hour or more, you're on the road even longer. Then you become a danger behind the wheel.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You also should not start a trip in the late afternoon or evening and expect to get very far at all. You can't legitimately call that a travel day. You need 5 FULL days, starting out in the early morning EACH day.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Safety first.

    When you were originally planning to travel for 7 hours a day you would only need to stop for fuel once and perhaps have a 20-30 min break and would have had lots of time to rest up in between each day. Travelling further each day requires more fuel stops and rest breaks, some longer, for a proper meal and stretch of the limbs and to clear your head so that you stay safe and alert. Allow 5 days as mentioned above and be prepared for longer if the weather doesn't go in your favour. Your second driver maybe used to long hauls, but the longer you play Russian roulette the more chance of it not ending well, don't risk it no matter what you are told.

    Have a safe trip !

  9. Default

    Okay, here's what I figured out last night.

    I started mapping it out right after I posted and I also agree that 4 days couldn't work (at least in winter or with dogs in the car).
    So I built a 6-day version that adds up to 5 travel days.

    Got the boyfriend to take an extra day off, but we have to be in by Monday. There's no room to spare.
    Wish there was, but no go. He has to be back for work. And I think we're safer with 2 of us going across than just me alone.

    Day 1 - (Half day) Load the truck, p/u bf from airport,
    then LA to Needles, CA (5-6 hours)
    Day 2 - (Thanksgiving) to Albuquerque, NM (8-9 hours)
    Day 3 - to Oklahoma City, OK (8-9 hours)
    Day 4 - to Lakeland, TN (7 1/2 - 8 1/2 hours)
    Day 5 - to Roanoke, VA (9 1/2 - 10 1/2 hours)
    Day 6 - (Half day) to final location (3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hours)
    then unload the truck

    Day 7 - sleep all day (haha)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Well done.

    That's a much better plan so well done you ! The travel times might be a litlle longer than you think but it's all doable. Roanaoke is quite a long haul and you could reduce that by pushing onto Jackson TN instead of staying in Lakeland. If you try and find lodgings to the east of each City you will have less chance of getting snarled up in traffic during the morning rush as you will be going in the opposite direction of the majority of traffic heading in.

    Have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Similar Threads

  1. Northern California to Kansas City in early March 2012
    By treccad in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-17-2012, 06:15 PM
  2. Northern VA to Los Angeles Roadtrip Is Over!
    By RalphZero in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-21-2010, 07:14 AM
  3. Northern Virginia to Sacramento Routes
    By Duck Noodle Soup in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-22-2009, 07:20 PM
  4. Northern Virginia to Sacramento, CA in 4-5 days?
    By xalohalovex in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-03-2009, 12:59 PM
  5. Early April Northern California Road Trip
    By zoblarnator in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 03-15-2007, 06:08 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name