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  1. Default Boston to Seattle relocating

    Hi,
    I am new to Roadtrip America and fairly new to posting in a forum as well. I am trying to get from Boston to Seattle (Whidbey Island actually) probably around the end of November. I was going to fly but am very reluctant to put my dog in the cargo hold. The last time I did a long road trip was in the early 70's and I hitchhiked (fun) and wish I could do that again. So, I am thinking of getting a new (used) vehicle and driving. I am wondering 2 things. 1. What vehicle would be best? I am carrying my 45# dog and whatever stuff I can cram into the car. I am looking for reliability and good fuel economy. 2. What route would be best? If it was Spring/Summer I would go shortest northern route but I am nervous about that in winter. Time doesn't matter except as far as cost of trip, which does matter. Thank you to all. Hey, anyone looking for a ride to West Coast?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    1. It's hard to define "best" but if you don't already have a car, I'd probably get a small SUV or crossover. Something like a RAV-4, CRV, or Forester would be economical and reliable.

    2. The best route is generally the shortest route, regardless of season. In this case, I'd modify it a bit to avoid heavy tolls and be prepared to change in midstream to avoid bad weather and/or be prepared to find a hotel to wait out a storm.

    Take the Mass Pike to Sturbridge, then I-84 to Scranton PA. Then take I-81 to I-80 to I-76 to I-71 to Columbus OH. Take I-70 to Indy, then I-74 to I-80 to I-680 to I-29 to Sioux Falls. Then take I-90 on in to Seattle.

    This is going to be a 6 day drive at a minimum, driving basically all day - 10 to 12 hours a day including fuel, rest, and lunch stops.

    Your overnight stops going this way would be around:

    Brookville PA
    Champaign IL
    Sioux City IA
    Gillette WY
    Missoula MT

    All 5 of those (small) cities and towns should have a decent selection of reasonably priced hotels at or near the Interstate exits.

    For costs, plan on 3400 miles - if the vehicle gets 25 mpg on the highway, that's about $475 at $3.50 a gallon. You can probably find cheaper but plan on $75 a night for a room. You do have the concern of finding "pet-friendly" hotels. Food costs all depend on how you handle meals, a lot of hotels have a free breakfast of some sort - all the way from a basic "Continental" to a full service buffet. You can save by taking a cooler and getting food at grocery stores instead of restaurants. When I travel, I usually snack out of a cooler for lunch and find a reasonably priced restaurant for dinner - AFTER I get off the road and checked in to the hotel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I have a cousin who travels with 2 Boston terriers quite often. She says the "go to" motel chain is Motel 6, as they generally accept and welcome pets. Another chain that is pretty pet-friendly is La Quinta.

    We usually pick up coupon booklets for motels at the state visitor center, usually right after you cross into a state. These coupons will usually say either "no pets", "pet friendly", "small pet okay", "pet deposit required", or similar. The coupon also has the address and phone number, so that if you're not sure, you can call ahead and ask.

    Like GLC, when we pull into a motel, we get situated and then go seek out the food situation. What you will do about dinner may depend on the motel and the weather. Your motel may or may not appreciate pets left alone in a room, and leaving him in the car may not be a good idea either if weather is cold. Sometimes my husband and I have run into a grocery store quickly and grabbed something that we can fix in the motel room's microwave, if there is one. (You may want to travel with a set of silverware and a small pkg of napkins, if this appeals to you.) Once again, that's dependent on the motel room, as there are those without microwaves or that say "no cooking in the room".

    We have used the motel's breakfast, and there are those that we skip. Mostly we skip them, drive 2-3 hours, and find a breakfast elsewhere. There are a couple of reasons why we do this. Sometimes we have used them, though. But finding lunch on the road for us is rare, if we have eaten either the motel's continental breakfast or stopped for breakfast along the way.


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    As far as route, shortest is still best in winter. You simply can't go far enough south in the US to avoid winter weather, and the shorter the trip, the less time you are on the road, the less chance you'll see a storm, and the more time you'll have available in case you do have to slowdown or stop because of a storm. Now, if there is a storm in the forecast along the direct route (Basically, I-90, although there are some other options and alternate variations), you might want to take a slightly different route, but generically "going south" doesn't actually help.

    As far as a car, are you going to need a car once you arrive at your new home? A car is generally just too big of a purchase to make much sense for a single trip, and it could very well make more sense just to rent a car - where you'd get something basically brand new, where you wouldn't have worry about repairs or anything like that. If you still think you need to buy, then I'd start by figuring out what class of car you think would work best, be it small sedan, large sedan, suv. There's just no way of even guessing what might be the best car for you without having some idea of what you'd like and what you'd have for a budget.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Buy the Car for Seattle, Not the Trip

    Before you decide on what car to buy, or even whether to buy one, you have to decide what kind of car will be appropriate for use in Seattle. Those are the conditions for which you should buy the car, not for the week or so that you'll need it to cross the country. If you have no use for a car in Seattle then don't buy one, rent one instead. It will prove far less costly in the long run. If you do need a car in Seattle then I generally agree with the type of car that glc has suggested. I have done quite well with the majority of my cars being relatively small (high gas mileage) front- or all- wheel drive (great in the rain and snow) hatchbacks or small wagons (utilitarian and can be configured to afford your dog a place to lie down). When I had my own dog and lived in Maine, I drove a Subaru Outback wagon. I currently drive a Honda Fit. I have been more than satisfied with both vehicles.

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Hi Donna,
    You're the second person who mentioned Motel 6 to me so I'll see where they are on my route. Do you usually make reservations in advance? As for food, I mentioned liking PB&J in glc's post and I can get fruit to cut up and pop in my mouth as I drive and do some take out. Motel breakfasts are a good idea although the last motel I stayed in it was pretty inedible. I really appreciate your suggestions.

    Carolyn

  7. Default

    Hi Michael,
    Yes, I will need a car in Washington. I probably would not buy a car at this time if I was not going across country but my Matrix which I like was hit in the back at a red light by a person who was texting/talking on phone and forgot to stop. This was a couple of years ago but it's never been the same so I'm not sure if I trust it on the long trip. I will check with my mechanic but I've been considering another car anyway. Thank you for taking the time to help.
    Carolyn

  8. Default

    Hi,
    I am leaning toward a Subaru but earlier I saw that the Honda Fit had more cargo area than some of the SUVs! I drove a few Chevy wagons over the years and although they were not beautiful I loved the practicality of them and miss them. I do need a car as I won't be living in the city but maybe I will look into renting and then buying once I get out there. Actually the Honda Fit might be a good little car for zipping around Whidbey Island. I love Maine, beautiful state. Thanks for your help.
    Carolyn

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I generally do not make reservations because I don't know exactly how far I'm going to be driving each day. What you could do is load up the hotels.com app on your smartphone, then around 4pm or so when I have an idea where I'm going to need to stop, I make a rest stop and see what's available, then call the hotel directly and book a room. That way you can also discuss the pet policy.

    Motel 6 has their own app, that's worth installing too.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If you are traveling over the Thanksgiving weekend, then you might want to make reservations. Or, do as GLC suggested, and make a reservation when at a rest or gas stop.

    Several great apps to have, if you are traveling with a smart phone: GasBuddy, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, Weather Channel (or the preloaded one if you have an iPhone), AAA (if you are a member), and the Motel 6 app since you may be using them. I've been known to sit at a rest area, look at a motel on hotels.com, check TripAdvisor for ITS reviews, and then call to book something.

    Donna

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