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  1. Default pls help-road trip-detroit to seattle 30th oct 2015

    hello all

    for my new job i need to relocate at short notice from detroit to settle. i am thinking about load my things and driving with my 2009 toyota camry car LT 90k on it. this is my 1st time long drive, however am confident about driving long distance..max long drive i have done is 6hrs.. map quest says its gonna take 34-36hrs.. i have 3 days to do the trip and i do plan to break between 11pm-4am.. can you please provide your suggestion on route to take, how to be prepared for toll roads, is it ok to just go by GPS, suggestions about where i can lodge on the way and refuelling options and any other precautions that i need to take or need to know before i make this trip? awaiting for all expert suggestions.. thanks so much in advance


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Insufficient

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I'm sorry, but three days is simply not enough time to make this trip. It will take four days at an absolute minimum. Trying to drive for 12-13 hours a day on five hours sleep a night is a recipe for disaster. Having driven for six hours once does not mean that you can do it twice in a row, take a quick nap, do it twice in a row again, take another short nap, and drive it yet again twice in row.

    You also need to be aware that when a mapping routine says "34 hours", it does not mean 34 hours from Pint A to Point B. It means 34 hours PLUS time out for fuel stops, PLUS time out for meal breaks, PLUS time out to go to the bathroom, PLUS time spent behind slow moving traffic, PLUS time spent at lower speeds due to construction or accidents, PLUS any time spent at red lights or stop signs or even slowing down slightly for a yield sign. Software-based drive time estimates assume that you can drive at or above the speed limit for every second of every minute of every hour you're 'on the road' - a physical impossibility.

    Again, and I can't emphasize this enough, you need a minimum of four days f you plan to drive from Detroit to Seattle. Anything less will put your life, and the lives of everyone else forced to unwittingly share the roads with you, at risk.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Can't safely be done in 3 days

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry but your initial post looks like a list of "rookie mistakes" when it comes to planning a roadtrip. There are a lot of things you're going to have to rethink when it comes to planning this trip. The number one thing is that this trip can not safely be done in 3 days, period.

    First off, travel time estimates from online mapping program just aren't close to realistic. They assume you'll never have to stop, slowdown, need gas, see traffic, or anything that keeps you from driving at or above the speed limit every minute of the day.

    Just as importantly, a distance like this isn't measured in hours, it's measured in days. Detroit to Seattle is nearly 2400 miles. Even at a speed run pace, that's 4 full days. 600 miles a day works out to about 10-12 hours on the road, and that's roughly the maximum that professional drivers are allowed to do in a day, because of safety laws.

    Along the same lines, rest is not something to take lightly. Driving drowsy is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving. Your idea that you'll just stop from 11pm to 4am is frankly, homicidal. Long hours behind the wheel are work. It doesn't have to be unenjoyable work, but it is work non-the-less, and you can't expect your body to safely operate a 2 ton machine at 75 mph for more than 12 hours a day - especially if you're thinking of getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night! Also note, planning to drive until you "get tired," is a very foolish plan, as by the time are so exhausted that you feel tired, you'll have been an unsafe driver for many many miles.

    Other things to keep in mind, a GPS is NOT a substitute for real maps. Electronics can be a great tool, but blindly following them can quickly get you into danger. Paper maps are essential. If you know where you want to go, a GPS can be a great tool to help you get there, but only when you are telling the car where to go.

    I would plan to follow I-94 to Chicago and then I-90 the rest of the way (using either I-294 or I-355 to bypass Downtown Chicago), making stops in LaCrosse, WI; Rapid City, SD; and Butte, Mt. Again, 4 full days is a minimum for this trip, and if you only have 3 days then you have no business driving, because you'll be endangering yourself, along with every other person you'll be sharing the road with.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    A good alternate to avoid the majority of tolls and a good portion of Chicago traffic would be to take I-80 to I-680 to I-29 to I-90. It only adds about 20 miles.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Google maps says it's 2350 mi.
    Truckers would assume 50 mph - that's 47 hours.
    Driving really, really fast and spending little time refueling might get you 60 mph. That's 39 hrs.
    12 hrs driving is pretty fatiguing - even in a nice car. Even if you are used to driving 12 hrs sometimes. 10 hr days will see you pretty darned tired and that puts the trip at about 4 days.

    Ever driven all day after 5 hours of sleep? Is 5 your normal, healthy, regular amount of sleep?

    This plan has trouble written all over it. But be assured that fuel and motels are at about 2 hr driving intervals from Montana to Seattle. It's not trackless wilderness except if you get very far off the interstate.

  6. #6


    Based upon my experience the electronic mapping programs hours to travel and GPS-generated times of arrival, as noted above, are for non-stop trips as the roads' speed limits (no stops for gas, no meal stops, no sleep periods, no traffic...). Realistically, multiply by 1.2 to obtain a more realistic "hours on the road" number. Or, using easy math divide the number of miles by 50 mph for a realistic number. Not only does you need to feed your machine (vehicle) and clean the vehicle and feed yourself, you need to take time to walk around so your body does not atrophy--keeping the blood flowing also keeps you awake and prevents various body disorders.

    Four days is an overly ambitious schedule.

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