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  1. Default San Jose, CA to Houston, TX


    I think this is where I should be looking for some road trip advice!

    I am moving from San Jose to Houston the first weekend of December. I will start driving right after work at 3 PM on Friday December 4th and plan to make it to Houston by some time the following Sunday.

    On Friday: San Jose - San Bernardino, CA = 6 hours and 30 min. Stay in San Bernardino for the night.
    On Saturday: San Bernardino - El Paso, TX = ~ 11 hours drive. I think it would take around 13 hours gas, stretch and food breaks.
    Sunday: El Pasto - Houston = ~ 11 Hours as well.

    I am driving by myself and I hope that this is possible. Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated. I look forward to seeing what you guys have to say.

    I could potentially leave on Thursday night after work as well and make my way down to LA. and split the rest of the trip into different days. But since Ill be working on Friday, it would start from 3 PM on Friday.


    and yes I searching the forums and found a thread for San Jose to Houston but it did not have much information for me.
    Last edited by akariban; 11-19-2015 at 08:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default unrealistic expectations

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It looks like you've fallen into a very common "trap" of believing online mapping programs and/or severely overestimating how far you can safely drive in a day.

    Day 1: Driving 400 miles is more likely to take you at least 7 hours and is a bad idea when you've already put in a full day of work. Essentially, you're "working" a double shift. Even if you make it there, you're going to be pretty exhausted, for the rest of your trip. Throw in the likelihood of seeing traffic on a Friday afternoon and the reality that it generally takes longer to get on the road than people plan, there's a very good chance you would be on the road until 11pm or later.

    Day 2: San Bernardino to El Paso is 750 miles. That's not 11 hours on the road, it's a solid 13. It's also about 150 miles farther than professional drivers are allowed to drive in a day, due to safety regulations. As a solo driver, on a multi-day trip, it really is very dangerous.

    Day 3 is essentially the exact same problem, with another 750 mile trip and the added problem that you'll be extremely fatigued after the 2 previously brutal days. I can promise you, you'd be a danger to yourself and others long before you arrive in Houston.

    What it comes down to is that San Jose to Houston is an 1800 mile drive, and that requires a minimum of 3 full days for a safe trip. If you want to get there by Sunday evening, you have to leave by Friday morning. If you want to leave Thursday night, and get a head start, that's fine too, but you still have to plan to get there on Sunday.

    Mind you, even 3 days assumes good weather, which is not a sure thing. I-10 can and does see winter weather in December, and it's entirely possible that you could hit a storm that would slow you down.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A marathon.

    Michael has outlined the problems with your plan very well. Think of this as a marathon, not three sprints.

    A marathon runner prepares and plans his run well, and paces the route exactly, being very careful not to burn too much energy at the start to be sure there is a little left at the end, should a sprint to the finish line be necessary.

    This is a full three days - long days on the road. You cannot possibly start when you already have a day's work behind you, and your body is ready for rest.

    Should you strike any storms along the way, and be held up for some time, be sure to choose safety over schedule. Nothing is worth getting hurt or hurting others.


  4. Default

    I am very thankful that you guys are looking out for my safety. I think it's best if I take a PTO for Friday and still plan on leaving San Jose Thursday after work.

    How would you guys propose I do this road trip? Any help/advice is appreciated.

    Perhaps I can just get to LA on Thursday night. And split the rest of the drive for Friday, Saturday and Sunday?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you can start by getting to LA on Thursday, I'd probably look to spend Friday night in Wilcox, AZ, and then make it to Ozona, TX on Saturday. Both are small towns, but have plenty of motels and other travel services. You'd be looking at about 550 miles/10 hours of driving each of those days. Your last day finishing on into Houston would be shorter, at only 400 miles.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Maybe Skip L.A. Entirely

    One of the biggest time sinks on your drive as currently proposed is going to be getting through the Los Angeles area. This is going to be particularly difficult if you try to spend the night in that city and try to get out the following morning (Friday!) during rush hour. Instead, I'd just add a few miles (around 30) and avoid Los Angeles altogether. Instead leave I-5 at Exit 257 and take CA-58 through Bakersfield to Barstow and pick up I-40 to Ludlow where you'd take Main Street east out of town to National Trails Highway south to Amboy and then Amboy Road south to Ironage Road and CA-62/CA-177 east and south around Joshua Tree National Park to Desert Center and I-10. Note that while I am suggesting this route, you shouldn't take it unless you have a good set of paper maps that show it and you know how to read them. Do not rely simply on GPS. But if you meet those criteria, this will be a much more scenic and relaxing route than trying to beat your way through Los Angeles on a Thursday night/Friday morning. And to set yourself up for a final two day run into Houston you only have to get as far as the Bakersfield or Barstow areas on that first Thursday after work, maybe about four to five and a half hours (plus stops) of driving, with yoiur second overnight around Tucson AZ and your third at Fort Stockton TX.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd stop Thursday night in Bakersfield. Then take CA-58 to US-395 to I-15 to I-215 to CA-210 to I-10 to avoid most of the LA traffic. Then your next 2 overnights could be Tucson and Fort Stockton.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I could potentially leave on Thursday night after work as well
    I would agree that Bakersfield would be a good target for your first night. As you are not leaving until Thursday night after a day at work you don't want to be driving late into the night and go to bed exhausted with 3 long days ahead of you.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-20-2015 at 05:44 AM. Reason: fixed quote format

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Caltrans is mostly finished with the road repairs to CA-58, but do check with Caltrans before you leave on your trip. For awhile, parts of 58 were closed for more repairs -- including this coming Saturday.

    I concur, San Jose to Bakersfield is about all you should do on an evening after work. BTW, West Texas seems to go on forever. Pick up fuel at El Paso, Van Horn or Fort Stockton, as there isn't much that's reasonably priced until about San Antonio.


  10. Default

    Hi Guys,

    Thank you for all the advice!

    I am going to try to leave work around 3 PM on Thursday and make my to Houston. Luckily my job is not too stressful around this time so I think I will be okay to drive a little bit on Thursday.

    Thursday: San Jose to San Bernardino or LA (with breaks in the middle, I don't mind if i get there late at night)
    Friday: San Bernardino or LA to Wilcox, AZ.
    Saturday: Wilcox, AZ to Fort Stockton, TX
    Sunday: Fort Stockton, TX to Houston, TX.

    I think this will workout well. Please let me know any suggestions. Again, thank you so much for helping me build this road trip!

    I also want to try AZBucks Idea. I will try to map that out on a map and see how I would take it! :D cheers!!
    Last edited by akariban; 11-20-2015 at 10:02 AM.

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