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  1. Default Chicagoish to LAish

    Hello RTAers! I'm hoping you can help me out and provide a little insight and advice for me.

    In June 2016, I am planning a crosscountry move, the kind where I just pile my dog and belongings into my 2007 Honda Accord and land in California. Last summer I took the 40 from Alabama to California in 3 days, 2 overnights (and a morning at the South Rim). I've traveled and driven a lot, so it's not my first time.

    This go-round I will be driving up to Toledo to say goodbye to some family and then starting the adventure from there. I have some options and poor decision making skills so I need your help. The end game is to wind up in Bakersfield (please no judgment).

    I am hoping to do this in 4 days since I will be all alone with my dog, perhaps 5 if you think it more wise.

    Option 1: Toledo to Denver to LV to Bako, essentially the i80, 76, 70, and 15. Interested in knowing others' experiences with this route, how treacherous it is, how much driving through the mountains sucks, etc. I am also not sure if there are any pet friendly places along the way for a little roadside Americana.

    Option 2: Toledo to Mount Rushmore to SLC to LV to Bako.

    With these options I'm trying to find out also what a realistic days mileage would look like through the Rockies. I can do a good 900 miles through a flat desert no problem, but I'd like to know what is typical for the mountains so I can plan overnights accordingly.

    Option 3: make my way down to the i40 and take that long, hot, desolate route again, because it is safe and I know what to expect.

    If you have any other suggestions for routes, foods, things to see on the way, please let me know. I'm pretty open and flexible! Oh and in case you want to make informed suggestions: I teach art and art history; I like potatoes, tacos, and Thai food; my favorite places in the states are Charleston, Maine, and Santa Fe. Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Toledo to Bakersfield is 4 days solid driving, at least 10 hours a day, via fastest route - so your sightseeing time is going to be very limited. The fastest route is I-80/I-76/I-70/I-15/CA-58. So, option (1) is your best bet, and in the summer it's a beautiful drive from west of Denver to roughly Salina UT. Don't worry about the mountains, I-70 is a good road and you can make good time. Overnights spaced out evenly would be Des Moines, Sterling CO, and Richfield UT.

    I can do a good 900 miles through a flat desert no problem
    That is NOT wise, especially on a multi-day trip. Professional drivers are limited by law to about 600 miles a day, this is a 2300 mile trip. I'd stretch it to 5 days if you want to have any kind of sightseeing diversions other than through the windshield of your car and at quick rest stops along the highway.

    You shouldn't have a problem finding pet-friendly hotels, the 2 chains that have a universal free pet policy are Motel 6 and La Quinta. Other policies vary from no pets to pets with a surcharge to pets with a refundable deposit. You would have to research each individual hotel.

    Note one thing - the stretch of I-70 between Green River and Salina UT is 108 miles with no services whatsoever except one pulloff with a porta-potty around the middle. That stretch also has no cell coverage. It's incredibly scenic.

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

    Default Great options and good decisions.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Your planned trip is a full four days by the most direct route. That is four days of 11 - 12 hours in the car without sightseeing or side trips. Five full days would give you a little more wiggle room and time to enjoy the trip.

    A realistic and safe distance on any given day is up to 600 miles. This is the distance which for safety reasons is the maximum professional drivers are limited to. That sees you 11 - 12 hours on the road.

    You are right that you have some 'poor decision making skills'. One of the worst was driving 900 miles in a day. That would push you into fatigue (though you won't necessarily know that at the time) and a danger to yourself and all other road users. Look on 600 miles as a days 'work'. 500 as a pleasan6t day with some sightseeing, and fewer miles would mean time to explore things along the way.

    The most direct route - I-70 is one of the most scenic interstates in North America, and a very pleasant drive through the Rockies. Like all other interstates it is designed to standards which make for relative easy driving and speed maintenance. But along this interstate there are many pull offs and scenic view points, of which you might like to take advantage. You could also take the short detour over Loveland Pass - US6 . At 11000' it gives the most wonderful views and a pleasant place to go for a walk.

    As for I-40, I would have to disagree with you. There are stretches which left me breathless with its scenic beauty. The desert can be so beautiful, especially in summer.

    Lifey

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

    Default worried about the wrong things

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I've got to tell you, there is absolutely no such thing as a treacherous road anywhere on the Interstate system. You'd have to search long and hard to find a road fitting that description anywhere in the United States, but you're certainly not going to find it anywhere on the Interstate system, which is designed to allow cars and trucks to move at high speed even across the highest mountains - with limited slopes and grades.

    The one thing that can make a trip treacherous is dangerous driving - and I've got to tell you, what you've told us about yourself, that needs to be a much bigger concern than any selection of road. The human body can't safely operate a vehicle 900 miles a day, no matter what the terrain or conditions, and it can be said with certainty that while driving from CA to AL in 3 days, there were times where your reflexes were just as bad as someone driving drunk - even if you didn't "feel" tired. Professional drivers are forbidden from attempting such a feat, because it is so dangerous - they are limited to driving roughly 600 miles in a day, after which they must stop for a full night's rest.

    For your upcoming trip, if you only want to be on the road for 4 days, then I-70 across Colorado would be a good option - because it's the most direct - and 4 days is the bare minimum amount of time you need to make this trip safely. It is arguably the most scenic interstate in the US, but if you are concerned about safety, then you don't have time for any additional detours or exploration unless you add at least 1 more day.

    I-40 could also work, as the distance is similar, but it seems pretty clear that's not your ideal choice. Going up to Mount Rushmore just isn't an option unless you look to add at least a couple days to your trip.

  5. Default

    Lots of judgment and jumping to conclusions here, looks like I made a mistake thinking this site would be somehow different from the rest of the Internet. Last summer, two drivers. This summer, one driver. Doing the drive in at least four days this time around, possibly five. I didn't realize I would need to submit to blood tests and finger wagging to ask some simple questions.

    No further responses required. Thank you for this information. I have learned my lesson. Will take into consideration.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I suspect you will continue to ignore the warnings, but having 2 drivers did nothing to improve the safety of your last trip. It was dangerous, and it put your lives and the lives of everyone else on the road in danger. What you did is beyond what can possibly be done safely.

    The people "being judgemental" are responding to your statement declaring that you have no problem doing what can not be done safely. All of us are sharing the road with you, and we don't like our lives being put at risk by people who tell us they have no problem engaging in activity that is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving.

    Safe travels.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default It is a fact!

    Following on from Michael, it constantly amazes me that we have a great memorial to some three thousand people who were killed on 9/11. Yet just as many are killed on the roads of the United States every month.... not by terrorists, but by their fellow countryman. The very people who think and act as if the laws do not apply to them.

    Think about it, before you become a statistic!

    Lifey

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I've got to tell you, there is absolutely no such thing as a treacherous road anywhere on the Interstate system. You'd have to search long and hard to find a road fitting that description anywhere in the United States, but you're certainly not going to find it anywhere on the Interstate system, which is designed to allow cars and trucks to move at high speed even across the highest mountains - with limited slopes and grades.
    Michael, have you ever driven I-84 east of Pendleton, Oregon over Dead Mans Pass? It is the one interstate highway that is dangerous, and a bus full of tourists proved it in December of 2012. I drove that road for the first time in 2009, and I failed to heed the 35 MPH speed limit sign on one of the curves. My Ford Taurus nearly rolled over at 50 MPH. Check it out on a map and you'll see what I mean.

    BTW Lifey, well said on your post. There are too many drivers who exceed their limits, and they cost the rest of us our lives all too often. I hope I'm not on the same road as this lady when she falls asleep at the wheel.

    Harry

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