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  1. Default Suggestions for a San Francisco to Boston route

    My daughter will be moving back east. While in California, she bought a dog. It is too large to fly home in-cabin and we won't consider the cargo option for her. So, I will be flying out to join her and we will make the journey back to the east coast. Neither one of us have ever driven this distance before. The longest I have ever driven, with a friend, was New Jersey to Florida and back, in my college days.

    I would sincerely appreciate any route suggestions, length of driving time each day, a good time to start out each day (when will the sun be less of a factor), etc. I will also need to find pet friendly hotels along the route. My guess is that it may take about 8 days but I could be wrong.

    My daughter would like to do a bit of sight seeing along the way, but we know that we will be limited because we have her dog with us (a French Bulldog for those of you who may be curious).

    I don't even know where to start so please feel free to give us as much help as possible. Thanks!!!!

    ps. My guess is that we will begin our journey in the beginning of May.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Pacing and Planning

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Setting a safe and sustainable pace is one of the points of planning that often goes overlooked by people with little experience in taking RoadTrips, so I give you full props for having that as one of your primary concerns. San Francisco to Boston is a trip that could be done in six relatively easy but solid days of driving. Eight days allows you the luxury of worrying about the time of day to set out, how many miles you'd like to drive (as opposed to have to drive), and making enough stops to keep the dog and everyone else happy.

    Let's start, however with determining a basic route. Rather than waste your extra time by taking long detours, you'd be better off keeping the miles to a minimum and using that time to take multiple short breaks throughout the day. To that end, I-80 is your route of choice all the way from San Francisco to eastern Nebraska. At that point I'd suggest you do take a 'detour' from the route that most mapping routines will suggest. Rather than staying on I-80 to Chicago and picking up I-90 for the rest of the drive to Boston stay a bit south by taking NE-2 from Lincoln to Nebraska City and take I-29 down to Kansas City and get on I-70 east. Follow I-70 all the way to Columbus OH. Use I-270 to get around the north side of St. Louis, I-465 south of Indianapolis, and I-270 northwest of Columbus. On the north side of Columbus, take I-71 up to near Lodi OH and ho on I-76 east through Akron etc. Stay straight at the junction with I-80 to take I-80 through northern Pennsylvania to Scranton where you'd pick up I-84 to Hartford, the Mass Pike (I-90), and Boston. This alternative to simply following I-80/I-90 is only 100 miles longer but will save you the expense of driving the Tri-State Tollway, The Indiana Toll Road, the Ohio Turnpike, the New York State Thruway, and the western portions of the Mass Pike. It will also keep you out of Chicago/Cleveland/Buffalo/Syracuse traffic.

    Over eight days you'd only need to maintain a pace of about 400 miles per day which would be easy to do, even with a modestly late start and multiple stops to walk the dog. Plan on four or five driving legs of 1½ to 2 hours in the course of each day with a stop for exercise, fresh air, food, and a change of driver at each stop. As for what time to start each day, since you'll be headed east you probably want the sun to be at least 15-20º above the horizon before starting out That means at least an hour after sunrise. But sunrise is early enough during the summer that that shouldn't prove to be a major problem. Do keep in mind, however, that sunrise time can vary by up to an hour depending on where in a given time zone you'll be starting your day from. Having the sun in your eyes won't be a problem in the evening because the sun will be setting behind you.

    The one other thin I'd urge you to plan out now is exactly where you'll be stopping each night. Deciding that now will let you do your motel shopping from the comfort of your home rather than doing it on the fly as you travel and make sure that a given motel will welcome your pet, offers a decent breakfast, and has any other amenities you might require or desire. 400 mile days would put your overnights at roughly (assuming you take the route I suggested above): Winnemucca NV, Evanston WY, Pine Bluffs WY, Lincoln NE,St. Louis MO, Springfield OH, and Milton PA. Obviously, you can adjust those a bit depending on your own accommodation preferences, but being near those cities at the end of each day will keep you on pace to complete your trip safely and comfortably.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I just came across Buck's suggested route from St. Louis to Worcester over the past 3 days. I'd like to give you alternate suggestions. Buck left something off - you take I-81 from I-80 to Scranton to pick up I-84. Well - I suggest you don't do it. I-81 is under major reconstruction through Wilkes-Barre. The I-84 bridge over the Hudson River is also all torn up. Both areas are experiencing significant delays.

    Bring your EZ-Pass if you have one and register it to her car. Follow Buck's suggestions as far as Lodi - then stay on I-71 to I-271, take that around Cleveland to I-90. Take that to I-86, take that across lower NY State to Binghamton. Take I-88 to Albany and pick up I-90 on into Boston.

    You could also take I-90 all the way across NY State if you prefer, a lot more tolls though. If tolls don't bother you and you do have an EZ-Pass, you could simply stay on I-80 into Ohio and take I-90 through Cleveland. To bypass the bulk of the city, you could take I-480 to I-271.

  4. Default Suggestions for a San Francisco to Boston route

    AZBuck, Thank you for such a detailed explanation of a route to travel. We will take your advice and follow the route you suggested. I appreciate the time you took to help us out. If there's any other insight you would like to share, something that I may not have thought about, please let us know. Thank you again!

  5. Default

    Thank you glc, for letting me know about the major construction. I will adjust our route accordingly. Your help is sincerely appreciated!

  6. Default A little more help needed

    Hi again, AZBuck and glc,
    I have decided to follow the 8-day plan with driving approximately 400 miles per day. I'll look into pet friendly hotels near each of the towns/cities, AZBuck mentioned.

    I will have an EZPass with me and it is already registered to my daughter's car (thanks for that suggestion). The easiest route possible would be the most important factor, so tolls won't be that much of a consideration, if taking toll roads makes the trip run more smoothly. With that said, is there any other tweaking either one of you would make to the suggested route? (glc, I will follow your advice and avoid the major construction. Thanks for the heads up)

    I will have a Garmin gps with us, since I haven't been able to get my hands on a physical map.

    This trip came upon me just this Thursday, so I am scrambling to make the plans. I am planning on flying to San Francisco on April 7th and begin our trek on or about April 10th.

    Would it be a good idea to join AAA or some other organization like that? Would they have the ability to provide me with physical maps of the route? Again, any help you can give to best prepare us for our adventure would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again!

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

    Default Getting hold of good maps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mama<3Bear View Post
    I will have a Garmin gps with us, since I haven't been able to get my hands on a physical map.
    Go to your local AAA. Depending where you are in Boston, I know there is one just off I-95 on Highland. If you are a member, maps are free. Or go to your nearest big box store and purchase a Rand McNally Road Atlas. For that matter, your daughter can do this before you arrive.

    I highly recommend you not rely solely on your gps. Many have done so at their peril, some with fatal consequensces.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Easy It Is, Then

    The 'easiest' route to follow is simply I-80 to Chicago, I-80 and I-90 to Elyria OH, and I-90 the rest of the way to Boston. That's if you define 'easy' solely on the basis of 'easy to follow. In this case you're 400 mile overnight stops would be Winnemucca NV, Evanston WY, Pine Bluffs WY and Lincoln NE as before, but now with the Quad Cities IA/IL, Toledo OH, and Syracuse NY being your goals for the eastern half of your drive. Something to keep in mind if you stop near any moderately large city is to try to stay on the far (eastern) side of town so you don't have to fight rush hour traffic in the morning when you leave.

    And paper maps are really very easy to get. As Lifey points out, if you're a member of AAA all you have to do is go to their office, show your membership card, and ask for any and all maps that pertain to your route and they will give them to you! On the spot! For free! Otherwise almost every big-box store, or bookstore, will have large format atlases for a reasonable price.

    AZBuck

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

    Default

    I agree with Buck with one minor exception - go past Elyria another 10 miles to the I-480 exit, take that to I-271 to I-90. This avoids downtown Cleveland, which can get quite congested.

    Your EZ-Pass will work in IL, IN, OH, and NY in addition to MA.

    Walmart sells the Rand McNally atlases, as do truck stops.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Something to keep in mind if you stop near any moderately large city is to try to stay on the far (eastern) side of town so you don't have to fight rush hour traffic in the morning when you leave.
    Excellent point about making a reservation on the eastern side of any city...I didn't really think about that. I am a member of AAA and will make a point of picking up maps so I don't just have to depend on my GPS. I'm going to use AAA's trip planner to enter all of the information you gave me, so I'll have turn by turn directions to print out as well.

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