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  1. Default Moving from CA to TX

    Hey all :)

    I know this is more of a "move trip" than a "road trip," but I wanted to post here because this seems to be the site with the most experienced travelers.

    Our family of 5 is moving from Oakland, CA to Austin, TX. We include my husband & myself, plus 3 kids; ages 3months, 23months (almost 2), & 4 years. We are making the drive in our Honda Odyssey minivan.

    The only date set is that we have a meeting in a suburb of Austin at 3pm on 6/16.
    We'd like to get in to austin on 6/15 so that we have a good night's rest before readying ourselves for our meeting (closing of our house.)

    I just don't know when to head out! I do know that the trip is about 25 hours drive time. I know that we need to stop every 3 hours for gas, bathroom, diapers, food, & to nurse the baby.
    My husband and I will be sharing the drive.

    I've been wondering if it's possible to do the trip with just 2 over nights; one in flagstaff, AZ & one in maybe Lubbock, TX? We'd prefer to take I-40 over I-10 based off what I've read on this forum. We'd like our driving hours to be between 7am & 9pm. Is this feasible?

    Thoughts, advice, & experience appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default If at All Possible...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Trying to get from Oakland to Austin in three days would be pushing it under the best of conditions. But that's not your situation. You've got small children who require more frequent stops than adults and generally longer ones as well. You're driving a minivan, not the nimblest or quickest accelerating of vehicles and at highway speeds their boxy shape cuts their miles per gallon resulting (again) in more frequent stops, this time at the pump. Going via I-40 adds about 30 miles to the trip, but more than an hour in time because you will need to use surface roads such as US-84 to drop down from I-40 to Austin. And finally, remember that when heading east, your days are only going to be 23 hours long due to time zone changes.

    At best, on a multi-day RoadTrip, we recommend no more than 550 miles per day. Having multiple drivers really doesn't help. Neither of you is going to get any meaningful sleep or even rest on this trip. Trying to push past that only means that you will start the next day already a bit worn out and that fatigue will simply build on each subsequent day. Remember that you're also going to need time each night to get the kids settled, and then have a bit of time for yourselves to unwind before falling asleep. Then reverse the process the next morning. All of that takes time.

    So what to do? If you can leave Oakland and get even a few hours in on the evening of the 12th, then this drive, while still a grind, becomes far more feasible. Even Fresno would be a worthwhile jump on the rest of the trip. That would allow you to take a little time each day to treat the kids to some fresh air and exercise stops rather than sealing them up in the car each except for bathroom and meal breaks. I'd also encourage you to shop for accommodations now and book each night's lodging now. That's one less thing you have to worry about or waste time on while on the road, and will lessen the desire to get 'just a little farther down the road' before stopping for the night and then finding that either there are no motels or they're all full when you do decide that you're too tired to continue. If you get to Fresno on that first night, then reasonable targets for your other two stops would be Flagstaff AZ and Clovis NM.

    Alternatively, you could leave early on the morning of the 13th, while still planning to spend three nights on the road. But in that case, you'd finish up the drive into Austin on the morning of the 16th. In that case, stops would be roughly Needles CA, Moriarity NM and Brady TX. That would leave you about a three or four hour drive into Austin on the 16th. But please, for the sake of your children, don't think that it would be easy or enjoyable to drive 'just an extra hour' each day. I think every one will have a much better time if you make the trip in a relaxed manner rather than trying to squeeze every last mile out of every day.


  3. Default

    Thank you so much! This is exactly the advice i'm looking for!

    Our minivan gets about 300miles/tank(we fill up at 250) when loaded with kids & cargo, so we want to plan gas ups to coincide with break times.
    And we've read that long distance driving is more exhausting to parents than it is kids; so we do want to have time for the kids to get out their energy as well as us having enough rest&sleep.

    Neither my husband or myself currently have work obligations (we're relocating for his job) so we'd prefer to leave early morning on each of our travel days.

    I'll look into the stops that you've recommended! Thanks again for your advice!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would recommend you take I-10. To do this and avoid LA traffic, cut off of I-5 to CA-99 via CA-46, take CA-58 to US-395 to I-15 to I-215 to CA-210 to I-10. To avoid Phoenix traffic, take AZ-85 to I-8 back to I-10. Take US-290 off I-10 into Austin.

    Leave after rush hour on the 12th and plan on spending 3 nights on the road. Your first and last days can be short days, overnights doing it this way would be Bakersfield or Tehachapi, Gila Bend or Casa Grande or Eloy, and Van Horn.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Gila Bend or Casa Grande or Eloy, and Van Horn.
    Gila Bend does not have much choice -- a couple of mom-n-pops that are kinda run down, a Best Western, and a America's Best Value Inn. Also not much choice for food -- mostly fast food.

    Casa Grande -- Toltec -- Eloy. If you have a choice, take Toltec. Casa Grande, while fine, is going to require that you go into town from I-8 using Thorton or Trekell Rd, or going the OTHER way on I-10 just to pick up Casa Grande lodging at exit 194 (5 miles in the wrong direction, one way). For Toltec, you can use Sunland Gin Road exit 200 and choose between Days Inn or Travelodge, and there are 3 or 4 restaurants right there (sit-down and fast-food). At Toltec Rd exit 203., there are 3 motels (Best Value Inn, Red Roof, and Super 8) and a couple of places to eat. Eloy itself ... you don't want to. (I am VERY familiar with this area. Toltec is your best bet. If it were me, I'd take Sunland Gin Road.)

    Van Horn ... lots of choices. About 4 years ago, we stayed there, exit 138 had a few choices. BTW, heads up...if you choose to stay one night at Toltec and the next in Van Horn, you will "lose" two hours that day. You lose an hour going into NM, and another one at mm135 in TX, just before you pull into Van Horn.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default I-40 and 4 days.

    I would actually take 1-40 and plan on taking 3 overnight stops, equally spaced, given the fact you have the time available and young children. It will be more relaxed without the pressure of clock watching if one of the Kids is unsettled on the journey and if you get a good day on the road, you can relax, take a stroll in the evening to help settle down for the night at the end of it. With a relaxed start on day one you could overnight at Barstow, Holbrook/Gallup, Clovis/Lubbock and on to Austin. Heck ! I would be tempted to add another half day/day and visit the Grand canyon to make it more of a 'Road trip'.

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