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  1. #1

    Default Heading from Maine to Montana and then back via pickup truck. Any advice?

    Our plans:

    - We'll be taking my 2015 GMC Denali Sierra pickup (winter picture), plenty of power, lots of space inside and in the backseat, Fold-A-Cover on the back and will put some items in totes due to dust. It's not 100% waterproof, but about 95%. Me and the wife and twins all together. Wifi will be on, GPS, traffic, weather via SiriusXM and will schedule some baseball games to pass the time. Want to test out E85 gas when we get out west. Will be hitting a Geocache in each state I don't currently have, hope to find some GRC's (Guard Rail Cache) to make it quick.

    - Girls are going to keep a log book and help me with the atlas, figuring out where we are, etc.

    - 11 day drip, heading from Maine on Thursday night to Niagra Falls (will get there in the week hours of Friday), hang out there Friday morning, then hit the road.

    - Will try to get from Niagra to Gary Indiana, or South West of Chicago and stay over.

    - Next day to Fargo, ND, heading out through ND, back through SD (more sights to see, from what I read).

    - Going to hit Teddy Roosevelt Park on the way out of ND, hammer down and get as close to Missoula as possible. Finish it the next day or whatever.

    - Couple days with my sister at her house in Missoula, MT.

    - Head out after a couple days, Little Bighorn, Devil's Tower, head over to Deadwood if possible in one day's trip.

    - Crash (not literally of course), head out the next day to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands Scenic Byway and get as far as we can, maybe to the Corn Palace.

    - Next day Lewis and Clark Rest Area, World's largest six pack, etc.

    - Sissy the Cow, maybe Lake Shore Drive in Cleveland.

    - From there, hammer down and try to rip back to Maine.

    Any advice? Last major roadtrip was when we went to Bristol, Charlotte, Martinsville back in the late 90's and early 2000's when we used to rip overnight to go to the Nascar races, then hammer back after the race.

    Wish me luck and any advice on cool things to see, please let me know. I have my 2016 Rand McNally Road Atlas all ready to rock with the routes and will have waypoints in the GPS in the Denali. EZ Pass will work until Illinois, not sure how many tolls past that?

    Plan on packing a 5 gallon gas can in a tote in the back of the truck, is that over-thinking it? Any other needs? I have my truck pretty much stocked with the regular air compressor, first aid kits, etc.

    I have Choice Hotels and Best Western Rewards ready to go, we'll figure out how far I can drive and start calling on reservations based on the AAA hotel ratings.

    I had a friend tell me in an 80mph stretch, don't go 5-8 over like I do in Maine, if you go over 82mph they will pull you over, is this true? Gas milage must stink bigtime at this speed?

    Hoping my wife and I don't have a major meltdown, there are occasions when we fight in the truck, not crazy, but she's not the most natural co-pilot.

    Wish me luck...
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Some advice - don't overextend yourselves, traveling with children you are best off getting an early start in the morning, then get off the road and into a hotel by dinnertime. Do NOT try to drive overnight, you will screw up your body clock and become tired and unsafe. If you are just trying to get from point A to point B on Interstates, limit your daily drive to 600 miles. You are not going to be able to get to Missoula and back in 11 days, either add more time or cut back the scale of the trip. It's 5 full days each way via fastest route with no detours or diversions for sightseeing.

    Do not pack a gas can. There's nowhere in the country where you won't find gas within 50 miles except on I-70 in Utah and on state highways in Nevada. If you use E-85, expect to lose about 30% gas mileage.

    You would be best off keeping the speed down to no more than 5 mph over the limit. When I travel, I set the cruise at 3 over.

    EZ-Pass works all the way through Illinois, there are no tolls west of there unless you go through Kansas or around Denver, and EZ-Pass doesn't work there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,063

    Default You're probably not going to like this

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but when I see your plan, I see a disaster waiting to happen. You're just trying to do too much with too little time, especially on a family trip. When I hear people say they hate doing road trips, it's usually because they either have done - or been forced to go along - a trip like you've laid out here.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cravenfan View Post
    - 11 day drip, heading from Maine on Thursday night to Niagra Falls (will get there in the week hours of Friday), hang out there Friday morning, then hit the road.
    You're starting your trip out in the worst possible way. Your home in Maine to Niagara Falls is a full day drive all by itself. Presumably you're leaving at night because you'll have already been at work, or doing other things all day long. Not only is that uncomfortable, but it's incredibly unsafe. A professional driver would be required to have a full night of rest before setting out on a trip of this distance, and then be required to have another full night of rest afterwards.

    But you're planning to double down on the danger. After pulling into a hotel at 4 or 5 am, you are barely giving yourself enough time for a couple hours of napping (and your kids will likely be waking up just as you start to fall asleep), before trying to see a major attraction, and then head out on the road for another 10 to 12 hours of driving.

    I can't emphasize enough how dangerous that is. There is simply no way that you or your wife will be getting nearly enough rest to be a safe driver. Fatigued driving is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving, and if you wouldn't ever consider driving drunk with your kids in the car, then you shouldn't consider doing what you laid out here.

    Hoping my wife and I don't have a major meltdown, there are occasions when we fight in the truck, not crazy, but she's not the most natural co-pilot
    Even if you want to dismiss the dangers of your plan, I can guarantee that you and your family will be at each others throats long before your trip is done. Rest is essential not only for safety, but to also be able to enjoy your trip. By the time you arrive near Chicago, you'll have been up for well over 30 hours, with at most a couple hours of sleep in between. That's going to cause a level of fatigue that you simply can't recover from - especially when the rest of your trip, while not nearly as bad as the start, is still a very aggressive plan.

    - From there, hammer down and try to rip back to Maine.
    The number of times you had to write "hammer down" should itself be a warning, but it's worth noting that your plan heading home could be even more dangerous. Cleveland to your home is about 750 miles - or more than 14 hours of real world travel time - it's also far beyond what is safe - and would be illegal for a professional driver. Doing it at the end of an exhausting trip simply increases the chances that you will run into danger - and you'll be even more likely to make bad decisions in the push to "get home."


    Any advice?Last major roadtrip was when we went to Bristol, Charlotte, Martinsville back in the late 90's and early 2000's when we used to rip overnight to go to the Nascar races, then hammer back after the race.
    We've all done things in our younger days that weren't the safest or smartest thing (lord knows I did!). The thing is, as we get older, we should realize that we were also lucky that bad things didn't happen, and learn as we move forward - especially when you've got kids to think about.

    Wish me luck...
    We do wish you luck, but we wish even more that you'll find some more time for this trip, so you don't need luck just to survive, without hurting yourself or the many people with whom you'll be sharing the road. 11 days is basically only enough time to drive to Missoula, spend 1 night there, and then turn around and come home. "Hammer down" the whole way. If you want to spend a couple days with your sister, you really need a full 2 weeks, and if you want to see your sister, and enjoy some of the places you mentioned along the way, then you need about a week more than the 11 days you are planning right now.

  4. #4

    Default

    Extended the vacation by 1 day...now 12 days...still crazy?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default basically, yes

    As was stated, even with hard driving, leaving hardly any time for extra stops, you need at least 5 full days each way to do this safely.

    So is forcing your family to spend 10 hard days in the car (about 12 hours each day) to spend 2 days with your sister crazy? I'd say so, but that's a decision you'll have to make.

    As I also stated, I wouldn't do it without at least 2 full weeks.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cravenfan View Post
    Extended the vacation by 1 day...now 12 days...still crazy?
    Coast to coast is a full 5 days of driving. Hardly and time to stop and see anything.

    Now you are going to Montana. So you will have 4 days of driving to get there and back, 8 days total. Two days at your sister's, now 10 days. Those extra 2 day's can give you up to 16 more hours to use on stops. Thus you the can make some stops on the way out and on the return.

    Though you are going to put in a lot of time driving for such a short time at your sisters. So how about you get out to Montana as fast/direct as you can. Then spend at least an extra day to use your sister's as a base to make some short sightseeing trips from.

    Then based on how much time you have left maybe you can fit in a sightseeing stop on the way home.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 07-30-2015 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Removed non-standard font

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    So you will have 4 days of driving to get there and back, 8 days total.
    No - it's 5 days each way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32vld View Post
    Coast to coast is a full 5 days of driving. Hardly and time to stop and see anything.

    Now you are going to Montana. So you will have 4 days of driving to get there and back, 8 days total.
    It's easy to think that if a coast to coast trip takes 5 days, then they could get to Montana in 4.

    The problem is that Maine to western Montana is actually a longer distance than many coast to coast trips. Portland to Missoula is actually the same distance as a trip from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. That's why they really do need 5 full days each way - leaving hardly any time left in Montana.

  9. #9

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    Planning about 4.5 days out (first day is Thursday afternoon/night), 6 days back, 2 in between. We'll see how it goes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default T-Rooselvelt is not a fast-driving park!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cravenfan View Post
    - Going to hit Teddy Roosevelt Park on the way out of ND,
    I was just in the northern section of the Teddy Roosevelt NP last week. It is an awesome place, great scenery and interesting history. It would be a very long day to try and see much of the park and still make Missoula.

    Mark

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