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  1. Default Cross Country NJ to CA with a toddler and senior parents - HELP PLEASE

    My mother has been denied clearance to fly due to severe vertigo and altitude issues. We have two weeks off from work starting this Monday the 12th but we can hit the road as early as this Saturday 10/10. Does anybody have any ideas of how long it would realistically take us to drive one way with a 3 year old toddler and senior parents (considering stops). Do you think this can be done is 2 weeks? NJ to CA and then back from CA to NJ? The parents have always wanted to go to California.. Any tips/advice would be immensely appreciated, thank you!!!

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    What altitude is your mom limited to? What does she need to stay under? The reason I ask is that there are mountains between NJ and CA, and some are higher than others. It could affect the length of your one-way trip.

    A one-way trip by the shortest route, just by normal adults, is a 5-6 day drive. When you throw a toddler into the mix, things change. Add senior adults, more changes, particularly if you have to stay under a certain elevation. It could probably be done in 10 days and still stay comfortable. Double it for round trip.


    Donna

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

    Default CA may be unrealistic.

    As you will realise from the above response, and depending on your mother's health requirements, CA may be an unrealistic destination. I would agree that with a toddler and elderly parents as well as health concerns, it will take you a week or more to travel one way. I have done it in six days, which was more like work than an enjoyable trip. And I did not have to worry about a toddler nor elderly parents, though I am probably the age of your mother.

    To have an enjoyable holiday, you might be better off staying closer to home, and exploring some of the wonderful country between the east coast and the Rockies. Montana could also be included. Of course if you have not been there, Florida would be another wonderful destination. Or, have you all explored the great lakes' shores?

    Get out some good maps, the type you get at AAA, and look closely at all the attractions. A common misconception is that there is nothing much in the middle.

    Lifey

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

    Default The difference between can and should

    I have to agree that with 2 weeks, and an inability to fly, California isn't a good choice of a destination.

    Yes, it would be possible to drive there and back on your timeline, but that's really all you'd have time for. Even if you were a talking about a trip with a few 20 or 30-year-olds, 2 weeks would be pushing the limits of what would be reasonable. At a minimum, even at a speed run pace without additional stops, you'd be talking about 5 days each way just for the drive, and that wouldn't leave much time left to explore California. In your situation, with a toddler and elderly parents, 7 days each way would seem to be about the minimum time you'd need, and even that would be a pretty workman-like pace. That would mean you'd essentially be turning around to come home, as soon as you got there - probably not what your parents are thinking of if they want to see California.

    One other option you could consider might be Amtrak. If you left on a Saturday, you could be in Los Angeles on Tuesday via the train. You'd have to transfer trains at least once, but it could be a comfortable way for your family to get across the US faster than you could by driving. The big downside would be cost, especially since you're looking to leave in just 2 days.

    Otherwise, I think looking for destinations quite a bit closer to home is going to be your best option to have a good vacation with your entire family.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default It wouldn't be fun.

    I too would agree that it is far too much for an enjoyable break and would look to another area that will give you time to enjoy your time together in the fresh air and not just out on the world from inside the vehicle.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    NJ -> CA -> NJ means you'd be spending most of the 2 weeks in the car looking at Kansas or Nebraska or Texas or other parts of the country that just aren't all that scenic once you've had your fill.

    I like the train idea. Covering ground toward your destination while sleeping has a lot to recommend it. But I have to admit I haven't ridden a train in the US for 50 years so it might be harder than it should be to do it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You are still going to have altitude issues on the train.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Depends on the route.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    You are still going to have altitude issues on the train.
    Even if you took the Empire Biilder to Seattle and then the train down the coast? Given it is a much longer trip, but it would avoid altitude... wouldn't it?

    Lifey

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