Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18
  1. Default San Francisco to Northern Ohio- Solo and First Time

    Hello All,

    Just wanted some advice on making my drive from San Francisco to Northern Ohio (for school). Going to be leaving the first week of August.

    Have a decent car with good mileage (Toyota Camry or Honda Accord), which was the major decision in driving, since gas isn't outrageous (*knock on wood*).

    Planning to drive about 8-10 hrs a day, and stop close by to either a scenic spot or a new town to visit. I would love to explore new areas, but as a student, I need to stay on a restricted budget.

    Any suggestions on routes to take or suggestions for stops. I plan on leaving Tuesday (August 2) and hope to get to Chicago by Friday (August 5) night to visit a few friends. Saturday will be the target date to arrive to Northern Ohio.

    Going to be driving solo, so alot of funky music and going to be relying heavily on the my cell phone's sound for directions. Also I was thinking of doing AirBnB or Couchsurfing just to find a place to shower/sleep and charge my phone. Would need lodging for Tues/Wed/Thurs night.

    Let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for stopping by!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default A nice steady pace.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Matching your time and distance you will need to take I80 to Chicago and spread the stopping distances into equal segments to avoid fatigue setting in. Pushing too hard on the first couple of days when you are fresh is an easy mistake to make. I would look at overnights in Wells NV, Laramie WY and Omaha NE leaving you a slightly shorter run into Chicago to hook up with your mates on the final leg. I would look at a decent map and do a little research to find places for a short break that interest you, like a quick visit to the Salt flats for example.

    If you stay on the east side of a city you will be heading away from the bulk of the rush hour traffic heading in during the morning. You should be able to find cheap Motels by the Interstate and to the right of this page you can browse suitable Road trip motels.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    4 days is a nice amount of time to make the trip to Chicago. With your goals, I-80 is the obvious choice, and Dave has laid out the best choices for overnights based on what you've told us.

    I will say, even as straightforward as this trip is, you should still make sure to get yourself a good atlas - as real maps are essential while on the road. Just relying on your cell phone's GPS is not enough.

    For overnights, if you aren't a member of Couchsurfing yet, you may struggle to use that as an option for an upcoming trip. While I am not a user, my understanding is that Couchsurfing is much more of a community than just a free place to sleep. Generally, you need to have some sort of reference/record on the site before people will offer you a place, and when you do stay, there is an expectation that you will do something for your host, such as bringing a gift or taking them out to dinner, etc. Similarly, while AirBNB could also be an option, I've never found it to be a great choice for my purposes while on a solo trip. I suspect that based on the fact that you will only be stopping for a place for the night, and then will be getting right back on the road, looking for budget motels will be a easier and more cost effective option.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Couchsurfing.

    As mentioned by Michael, couchsurfing should not be looked on as a place to sleep free, shower and charge your phone at your host's expense. Most hosts like to meet their guests and socialise a little, or at least get to know them. Arriving ready to eat sleep and shower and move on early may not suit many hosts. Then to use their power to charge your phone, sounds to me a selfish way to travel.

    If you want to couchsurf and you are not already a member, I would forget it. Most hosts are loath to host a member without verification. It takes a while to build up a profile with good refernces.

    The joy of couchsurfing is meeting people from all over the world, sharing stories and experiences. I have hosted many guests from different countries, and have stayed in contact with some of them.

    It is a great community to join, but it is not just a free bed and shower.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    For your overnight purposes, I think you're better off finding a cheap motel room. As you enter a state where you intend to spend the night, grab a coupon booklet at the state information center near the state line, or at a truck stop. (Sometimes they are also located at rest areas within the state, but I have better luck at the state info centers.) There used to be 4 or 5 different brands of these booklets; the advent of Hotels.com, Expedia and the like have narrowed them down to 2, and they aren't as full of coupons as they used to be.

    We have an entire forum about saving money on the road. Among our themes include packing a cooler with drinks, ice and snacks; get Gas Buddy app (and use it while at a rest area, restaurant or motel) if you have a smart phone; go to a grocery store for your lunch or dinner, as even the tiniest places have ready-made meals for the fraction of the cost of going out.



    Donna

  6. Default

    Dave,
    Thanks for the insight.
    Yes seems that I80 seems to be the route of choice. After looking through the map, seems that I will try to stop in Elko, NV, Laramie, WY, and Des Moines (Because I want to check out the town/university). 8, 9 and 10 hours of driving the first three days. And a "short" 6 hour drive to Chicago, when I am burnt out. Each day I plan to leave as early as possible (7am) so I can get to my new destination as early as possible and do some exploring in the areas.

    The research for places to take breaks and to check out, starts now. Thanks again for your advice!

    Michael,
    Thanks for the heads up on Coachsurfing, I have never used it. As you said, it's probably too late to get involved in the community now. I will look for motels on the route. Gonna go through the garage and look for a physical map.

    Lifey,
    Thanks for the breakdown of the culture of Coachsurfing. I would be up for all of that, yet I doubt anyone would want to host me, since I have to reviews/resources. But I was hoping to get into most towns around 6 or 7pm and get a feel for the area. So hopefully that would have left enough time to interact with the host. But I see your point. Hopefully in the future I can get more involved, as it seems like a nice community to be a part of.

    Donna,
    Thanks for helping me out on the budgeting aspect. Will definitely look into the travel/info centers. Agreed, I am going to look out for grocery stores, since it's both the cheaper and healthier option. Gasbuddy will be a lifesaver, since majority of my expense will be gas. Great tip with the cooler, also I will checkout the other forums

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    It looks like you've fallen for the very dangerous trap of believing the travel times of online mapping programs. You need to expect real world conditions to take at least 20% longer, to factor in traffic, construction, and minimal stops for fuel, restrooms, etc.

    Laramie to Des Moines is nearly 700 miles, which is really more like a 12-14 hour drive, it's also too far to safely do on a multi-day trip, especially as a solo driver. Professional drivers are limited by safety laws from traveling more than about 600 miles a day.

    Elko to Laramie alone is just over 600 miles, and would take you a solid 10 hours.

    Keeping to even length days is really key when doing a long roadtrip - think of it like a Marathon. That means if you want to get to Des Moines in 3 days, you really need to get to at least Wells the first day, and at least Cheyenne the second day. As it is, those are already pushing the limits of how far you can safely travel per day, and they will require 10+ hours on the road each day.

  8. Default

    I am worried about the trip from Laramie to Des Moines the most. As you said, it is going to push my limits. May think about calling it a night at Lincoln, NE instead. And just making a stop in Des Moines to explore, as I drive through, during the day.

    The most I have driven so far is a 500 mile trip, with only one major stop for food, and occasional stops for fuel. I am hoping the 600 mile trip will be possible, if I have two major stops. And occasional stops for fuel.

    Stopping before, and calling it a night at a motel close to I80 is always an option if I feel like I am pushing myself too much or not focusing on the road.

    I will definitely keep in mind about the allowing an extra 20% travel time for traffic/construction. Thank you for keeping me out of fairy tale land, and instead in reality.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by busdrivin4life
    Stopping before, and calling it a night at a motel close to I80 is always an option if I feel like I am pushing myself too much or not focusing on the road.
    Unfortunately, by the time you "feel like" you're too tired to drive, you've already been too tired to drive for many, many, many miles. And your reaction time has been the equivalent (or worse) of that of a drunk driver for all of those miles. This is not something to address after the fact but to plan for on the basis that you are human and suffer the same fatigue as every other human. Thus the ten hour (approximately 600 mile) limit on professional long-haul drivers. It's simply not possible to make two major stops and cover 600 miles in a day. Don't either plan or expect to.

    AzBuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    The most I have driven so far is a 500 mile trip, with only one major stop for food, and occasional stops for fuel. I am hoping the 600 mile trip will be possible, if I have two major stops. And occasional stops for fuel.
    There is a big difference between doing a single 'stand alone' 500 mile day, to covering 600 miles as just a part of a multi day road trip. That's why we say treat it as a marathon and not a sprint.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-29-2012, 12:05 AM
  2. first-timer solo car camping trip from san francisco to vancouver
    By inthecellar in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 06-19-2012, 02:25 PM
  3. First trip, Detroit to San Francisco SOLO
    By rewitzda in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-06-2011, 10:20 AM
  4. Austin,TX to San Francisco,CA. First time in US.
    By leop in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-16-2010, 02:51 PM
  5. roadtrip solo- first time
    By arielramira in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-23-2009, 03:37 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES