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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    eastern North Carolina

    Default Eastern NC to Vegas via I-40! (AGAIN!)

    Hi, guys!

    I am so excited that I found this forum.

    My husband and I are actually accidental road-trippers. We never knew this would be a passion of ours.

    Our first trip was in February 2014 and took us from eastern NC to Nashville, TN. We then traveled through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Utah to our final destination, Las Vegas, NV. When we left, we went through Arizona, New Mexico, up to Colorado and back home the same way that we went.

    Our second trip was in December 2014 (when we got married in Vegas, on Christmas Eve!). We took I-40 all the way to Vegas, then back.

    We are now planning yet another trip for December 2015, to Vegas via I-40 again. :)

    Our last trip was pretty stressful because we pushed hard and only gave ourselves 3 days to get there. We still had a total blast, but I'm wondering if anyone has any advice to give us for this time to make things a little less stressful. We'll be staying in Vegas for 8 days this time instead of 3 last time, so we will have a lot more time to "rest up" before heading back.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default "Pushing Hard" is Stressful

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you want a less stressful RoadTrip, you already know what you have to do. Give yourselves more time. Three days not only makes for a stressful 2400 mile trip, it makes for an incredibly unsafe one as well. 800 miles a day is simply unwise and unsafe even with two drivers. If you want to (finally!) relax and enjoy your drive to Las Vegas, you need to budget around four and a half days, one-way, between 'eastern North Carolina' (I used Goldsboro for rough planning purposes) and Las Vegas. NO LESS.

    But four and a half days will give you a chance to relax and actually see something of the country in between that you've so far blown by so fast that you might as well have flown. Mostly what you'll be able to see are local parks and attractions just off I-40, but you can - by spending only a little more time, say another half day - have time for one modest detour eastbound and another westbound. Your possible choices include Great Smoky Mountains, Memphis, Hot Springs National Park, the Oklahoma City Memorial, Santa Fe NM and the Turquoise Trail back to I-40 at Albuquerque, and the Grand Canyon.

    If you really want an enjoyable trip, spend your additional time on the road, not 'resting up' in Vegas for a drive that's stressful because you're pushing it into too little time.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    eastern North Carolina


    Hi AZBuck! Thanks for the fast response!

    It's funny that you chose Goldsboro, because that's where we live! Well, we actually live in a teeny town in the same county (about 10 miles away), but close enough!

    We did see the Grand Canyon (and the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead!) on our first trip. We are thinking about taking a helicopter tour from Vegas to see it again this time, but we probably won't drive out that way.

    I agree -- our last trip was too much. Actually, my now-husband drove the entire way on the 1st day of our December trip -- he drove all the way from here to just past the Oklahoma border. I think it took about 18 hours. In hindsight, it was really stupid and dangerous, but he was so pumped and alert that it seemed fine, ya know? I was awake with him the whole time, but he just wanted to drive.

    The second day of our trip, though, we only made it to Tucumcari, NM because we ran into TERRIBLE weather coming out of Texas. The snowflakes seemed to be the size of golfballs, and even though the road wasn't slick (yet), the visibility was terrible...particularly with the huge semis that were flying past us. We drove about 12 hours on our last day, and it was actually the best day of our trip, but it was still a long day. We were so exhausted that we spent most of our Vegas trip sleeping...but we did manage to wake up to make it down the aisle. ;)

    Thanks for the suggestions about things to check out. I would love to spend a little more time in Memphis this time around. I would also like to check out Albuquerque a little more -- it was gorgeous! We also want to see the Meteorite and possibly just other things that we see and find interesting.

    Sorry for the babbling! I'm just so excited to be in a place where I can talk about this. Everyone that I talk to is like...."Ummm, why don't you guys just fly????" I think they think we're crazy!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    You should be aware that helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon based out of Vegas don't really go to the Grand Canyon - as in the National Park. Where they go is the West Rim, the section of the canyon on Indian lands that is much closer to Vegas, but also only about half as deep as the National Park. That is also where the skywalk is located.

    While you may have stopped at the Grand Canyon on your last trip, I can say it would have been impossible to see it on your homicidal timeline (and let's be clear, while it may not have "felt" bad at the time, what you guys did was every bit as dangerous as drunk driving. If you were to even think about doing that pace again, I would be joining your friends in begging you to fly, just so you don't hurt someone else.) The actual Grand Canyon National Park is a huge place, and even if you don't do any serious hiking, it takes at least a half day, and preferably a full day, to get to see all of the miles of different viewpoints and really appreciate just how amazing the place is, so it could really be worth your time to go back there.

    Of course, everything still depends upon how much time you're actually going to give yourself for the trip this time. 4 full days is the minimum amount of time you need to do this trip SAFELY, and that's just for the drive. That doesn't factor in time for extra stops to explore places like Memphis and Albuquerque, not to mention additional time if you again see bad weather. If you gave yourself 5 days for the drive, that would give you a half day in each Memphis and Albuquerque. For your return trip, it would also open up the possibility of using a different route. Going up to I-70, for example, only adds about 100 miles, and is within reason if you're not just planning a scorched earth speed run across the country. Dipping down and heading through Dallas and Atlanta would also be a way to see some different countryside without adding much for miles.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Some extra reading before you leave.

    Quote Originally Posted by lmking1224 View Post
    Everyone that I talk to is like...."Ummm, why don't you guys just fly????" I think they think we're crazy!
    As well they might, if you were thinking of repeating your last trip. I am just pleased that you are here to tell the tale. glad you feel you can talk about it.

    Perhaps both of you would benefit greatly from reading 'The Art of a Roadtrip'. After all, your previous trips can't really be called 'roadtrips'. You never stopped to enjoy, explore and learn a lot more about the country you call home.

    I take it you are planning this with good detailed maps, such as those from AAA. On those you can see all the places Buck mentions above, and lots more, giving you lots of choices for stops along the way.


  6. #6


    Welcome to the RTA Forum.

    Eight days in Vegas? Are you both gamblers, or do you just love the entertainment? There's a lot more to see near Las Vegas than there is inside the city. Five of those eight days would get you to five national parks and several state parks with a side trip on iconic Route 66. There is just so much to see out there!

    Here are some ideas for routes and places to see most within a day's drive. If you really want to become road trippers, you have to trade 'gambling' for 'gamboling' (look them up) to enjoy the scenery.

    Good luck on your planning and congratulations on your marriage.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome aboard RTA!

    I'm with Harry, above ... do you really need 8 days in Vegas? So much to see and do in the area, within a few hours' drive. Zion National Park is about a 3 hour drive. Valley of Fire State Park is about an hour out of LV. Both are beautiful...I've been to both and highly recommend them. About an hour north of Zion is Bryce Canyon National Park ... another gorgeous place. The Grand Canyon is about 5 hours drive to the South Rim of the National Park. (As has been mentioned above, the helicopter tour AND the bus tours out of Las Vegas do NOT take you to the national park, they take you to the Native-American-owned West Rim.)


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    eastern North Carolina


    Thanks so much for the responses, y'all, even if they were just to call us crazy. ;)

    We actually saw the Grand Canyon on our first trip -- not our second one -- when we took I-70 to Vegas. We looped down to see the Grand Canyon and came back up into Colorado. That trip was not as quick as our last one. We actually took 6 days each way.

    The reason we shortened our trip so much the second time is because hubby felt that our first trip was a little TOO leisurely and that we could do it much quicker the second time. We kind of overestimated ourselves and overdid it, though.

    I don't really want to shorten our time in Vegas -- and we did already book our hotel. We're actually going to three UFC fights in a row (Dec 10, 11 and 12) because my husband is a UFC freak. Between going to the fights and going to the weigh-ins and such, 3 1/2 days are going to be pretty much JUST UFC. Even though we've been to Vegas twice, we've never been able to do everything that we wanted to do. I'm thinking that the first day that we get there, we will be tired and won't do much. Then, we'll have 1.5 days to just do the stuff we want to do there, then 3 days of UFC fights, then 2 more days to do "stuff." So, maybe it's not quite as excessive as it seems?

    We're not necessarily on a tight time schedule because we're both self-employed and are planning ahead for it, but there does come a certain point where a trip is a little too long and you're just homesick. I'm thinking 4.5 days -- arriving in Vegas on the 5th day -- will probably be okay.

    Oh, and now we are actually thinking about taking I-70 one way and I-40 the other. Hubby would like to visit Colorado again. I'll talk to him about maybe heading to the Grand Canyon again.

    Thanks again for everyone's input.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    eastern North Carolina


    OK...this is our rough itinerary right now:

    December 4th -
    Leave Goldsboro, NC @ 7:00 a.m.
    Arrive in Nashville, TN @ ~4:00 p.m. (including 1hr time change)
    See Country Music Hall of Fame
    Go out to dinner with sister-in-law
    Crash in hotel

    December 5th -
    Breakfast w/sister-in-law
    Leave @ 10:00 a.m.
    Arrive in Oklahoma City, OK @ 9:00-10:00 p.m.
    Crash in hotel

    December 6th -
    See Oklahoma City memorial
    See National Cowboy & Western History Museum
    Leave Oklahoma City @ 1:00 p.m.
    Arrive in Albuquerque, NM @ 10:00ish p.m. (including 1 hour time change)

    December 7th -
    See Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
    Leave Albuquerque @ 12:00 p.m.
    Arrive in Las Vegas, NV @ 10:00 p.m. (including 1 hr time change)

    December 8th-15th -

    December 15th -
    Leave @ 6:00 a.m.
    Arrive in Denver, CO @ 8:00 p.m.

    December 16th -
    Denver, CO

    December 17th -
    Denver, CO

    December 18th -
    Leave Denver @ 8:00 a.m.
    Arrive in Kansas City, KS @ 8:00 p.m.

    December 19th-
    Leave Kansas City @ 8:00 a.m.
    Arrive in Lexington, KY @ 8:00 p.m.

    December 20th-
    See Horse Stuff
    Leave Lexington, KY @ 1:00 p.m.
    Arrive home in Goldsboro, NC @ midnight

  10. #10


    Wow! You are really gluttons for punishment.

    You'll average 600 miles/day and at least 10 hours driving with only two stopovers. (I don't consider crashing for a few hours in a hotel/motel a stopover - it's just a rest break) And you'll be driving a lot of those miles in the dark with lots of wildlife hazards and other handicaps of nighttime driving.

    You really won't be able to stop and see anything along the way with that schedule, and that isn't road tripping to me, it's road torture. I recommend that you reconsider and try to break it up into 400-500 mile segments if at all possible.

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