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  1. Default Dallas to Connecticut Trip Advice

    We are planning a trip from Dallas to CT. We are planning to do 10-12 hours of driving each day, with two overnight stops. We will have two drivers so we think we can rotate/rest to make these goals achievable.

    We are thinking of making the first stop in Nashville or the Knoxville area and the second stop in the Virginia to PA corridor (depending on progress, fatigue, etc).

    I'm looking for some advice on traveling this corridor and possible stops along the way or things to look out for. Our route will take us I-30 E, I-40E through TN, I-81N, I-78E, I-287N crossing over the Tappan Zee. I am particularly interested in the I-81 corridor as this seems like a major corridor. I've seen it described on this forum as "scenic".

    Thanks in advance for your advice on this.
    Last edited by CTTraveler; 02-18-2016 at 11:20 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    This drive is a full 3 days, without any real time for stops other than brief rest, food, and fuel stops. I would plan on overnights around Jackson TN and Roanoke VA. Trying to go farther isn't really a good idea. You might be able to make it to Nashville and Staunton, but Knoxville and anywhere past Staunton is too much for 1 day, regardless of the number of drivers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Even Things Out

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The main thing to remember about a long distance, multi-day RoadTrip is that you need to treat it like a marathon, not a sprint. Each of your three days should be as nearly the same length as you can manage. Having overly long days, especially at the very beginning, will just leave you fatigued for the rest of the trip. As it is, three days is about the minimum required to get from Dallas to Connecticut. So, the first thing I'd suggest is that you plan on stopping closer to Jackson TN (midway between Memphis and Nashville) and Staunton VA, even if you don't 'feel' particularly tired at those points. By the time you start to think you're fatigued, it's already past the time to pull over for the night. You need a solid eight hours of sleep each night, plus an hour or so to relax in the evening before going to bed, plus another hour or so in the morning to get up, fully functional, and ready for another long day on the road.

    You won't have time for scenic byways or long stops, but the route you've chosen is relatively enjoyable. In particular, I-81 runs up the Great Valley between the Allegheny Mountains to the west and the Blue Ridge to the east and avoids a large chunk of the BosWash corridor. Shortening your first day or two also means that you will have time to take a few short breaks each day to keep yourself refreshed and alert. I-287 around New York City will be at least a bit congested and you'll need to figure out where to exit it for your final destination. Only if you're headed for one of the coastal cities just east of NYC should you continue all the way around to I-95. Otherwise, take I-684 north from White Plains to I-84 through Danbury to Hartford and central, even eastern Connecticut.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-18-2016 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Corrected route number: I-684 out of NYC

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


    I suspect you've fallen victim to the false promises of online mapping programs.

    10 to 12 hours a day on the road is a solid plan, but it's the stopping points that Buck and GLC suggested that will put you at those marks.

    Dallas to Knoxville is 850 miles, and while Google might suggest that such a drive could be done in 12 hours, such an estimate that you would be able to average more than 70 mph is wildly inaccurate. In real world conditions, Dallas to Knoxville is really a solid 15 hour drive.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the tips. This is what I was looking for. Good points about evenly spreading out the driving each day.

  6. #6


    I done Dallas to Washington DC few times recently.

    I30 to Little Rock should be not an issue however Texarkana is growing and seems to be bit traffic.

    I40 Memphis construction and traffic to deal with but should pass through without much trouble.
    The traffic on I40 near Nashville is not getting better. If you hit Nashville day time you likely to stuck in traffic and may eat up some time.

    I81 is another beast... Always seems to be traffic on it and it feels long drive from Bristol, TN to DC area. It's going to feel like I35 between Dallas and Austin during busy day or weekend.

    If you like a round trip (TN, KY, WV and VA) then I40 to I65 to I64 to I79 to I68 to I70 and on to I81 may be an option.

  7. #7

    Default I-81 from east of Knoxville on northward

    I particularly enjoy the Great Valley through which I-81 runs for its entire distance through east TN, VA, WV, MD, and southern PA. It is, however, an older Interstate route and normally carries a considerable traffic load of cars and tractor-trailers. Being an older route, there are few 3 lane sections on the long uphill grades, so one frequently encounters rafts of traffic boxed out by tractor-trailers two abreast grinding slowly up hills. Be that as it is--I-81 is still, by far, the least of several evils, chief among being the I-95 corridor all the way from Richmond, VA into New England.

    This mentioned as support for the notion that long days along even rather rural stretches of Interstate can be tiring, hence the recommendations to spread it out over 3 full days.


  8. Default Trip Report

    Thank you all for the help in making this trip a success. There is no way I would want to approach this distance in less than three days. We treated our trip very seriously and the only leisure was finding a good place for dinner every night.

    Using two drivers we shared the load very evenly. We on average stopped every 2-3 hours for bio break, and to switch drivers. This kept us very fresh for the ENTIRE trip. We made the trip in a 26' box truck. No offense to anyone on this site, but I've noticed that some of the opinions are pretty judgmental and can lose sight of the actual question at hand. I did not want the fact that we were driving a truck vs car to cloud the important input that we were looking for...sorry.

    Leaving dallas at 6am we made our first night in Nashville. We had stopped for a late lunch outside of Memphis and realizing how much further we had for Jackson or Nashville, we decided to go for Nashville. Our only stipulation was that we had to be off the roads by night (our choice). Not an issue going that far on day one. We chose to stretch our time on day 1 and day 2 so that we could have a shorter drive on the 3rd day.

    Our second day of driving brought us up to Winchester, VA. This was probably the hardest day of driving because of the time change in-route. We arrived about 30 minutes after sun down.

    The last day was "only" 400 miles. Made it to our destination in the mid-afternoon.

    Lessons learned.
    Speeding is overrated! Set the cruise control for 70 MPH and forget it.
    The podcast "Serial" is very good. Really helps the time pass.
    Cell phones Kill. Amazing number of oblivious drivers we passed on the road talking on their cell phones.
    Drivers are completely oblivious of large trucks.
    When passing through a city area we only stopped on the "other side" of the city. That way when we got back on the road the traffic was behind us and we had smooth sailing ahead.
    Cracker Barrels are everywhere. It seems like we passed thousands of them.
    Breakfast was always light followed by a mid morning snack. Lunch was not heavy. The best way to ensure a tired afternoon to load up on a greasy spoon meal. Dinner was very filling with a few adult beverages.
    7 hours sleep every night

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Congratulations on your trip and thank you for sharing your report.

    It sounds like you approached the trip exactly how we recommend. Solid, full days on the road, without pushing yourselves too far. After pushing yourself quite hard on day one, it's not at all surprising that your second day felt more difficult, even though it was a shorter distance. That's exactly why we recommend evenly spaced days, and urge people not to go too hard on the first day. The stopping on the far side of the city is also something frequently recommended here.

    As far as this site being judgemental, we make no apologies for taking safety very seriously. When people insist they can drive for 800, 900, 1000 miles or more, day after day, we are going to inform them of how dangerous that it. As you mentioned, cell phones kill - and people are frequently told that. Fatigue is just as big of danger, but probably the one most overlooked when planning a trip.

    Again, congrats on a safe and well thought out trip. We're glad we could help you make it a success!

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