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  1. Default Allentown PA to Los Angeles CA - Nov 1st week

    I am moving from Allentown PA to Los Angeles CA (relocation). I have the option to drive my car cross-country or to fly and ship my car. I prefer to drive my car cross-country with my wife. I am starting my trip during 1st week of November.

    1) If I give myself a total of 5.5 to 6 days driving (and 5 nights stay), is that enough? I think I will drive about 500 miles a day (except 250 miles on Day 6).

    2) I am planning to take the southern route (Ohio, Missouri, OKC, Albuquerque NM, Arizona, Los Angeles) instead of the northern route (Illinois, Colorado, Utah) because I am concerned about any snowfall in the North. Will the southern route have any snow fall in the 1st week of November (forecasts for that route has around 45F as minimum, so it should be ok I guess, please advise).

    3) Planning to drive about 3.5 to 4 hours each (8 hours max a day), me and my wife to cover 500 miles each day of the trip. Is this doable, meaning we wont be exhausted as hell at the end of the road-trip? I understand some fatigue, but i hope it's manageable. We are in early 40s.

    4) Should we plan for any historical or not-to-miss place to stop by and take a few pictures along the way, given this schedule?

    This trip is purely for a cross-country move, not for sight seeing. But, i am trying to find out if it's doable practically with minimum fatigue and fit 2 or 3 places for sight seeing along the way.

    Thank you all for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default First work out the route you would prefer.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Your timing is just about perfect for this trip, keeping it fairly relaxed and having time from the car for a little stroll and to be able to eat and rest without feeling to rushed. You will most likely spend a little longer on the road with stops, perhaps closer to 9 hours but perfectly doable with regular breaks. Nobody can give an accurate forecast this far in advance so I would look at the route you would prefer to take and use the other as a plan 'B'. I say "the other" as going south and expecting the weather to be OK is a common misconception, it's quite possible the south will have storms and the north will be clear. You will have a little time 'here' and 'there' so take a look at your route options and see what stands out, you shouldn't plan on doing more than 550 miles in a single day, but a couple of those and then you could have a shorter day to enjoy a place of interest.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    I've driven the routes you're planning to use - mostly I-70, I-44, and I-40 till you get to I-15? SWDave is correct to say that you'll want to check weather before you leave. I'd add, have paper maps/atlas in the car in case you have to revert to Plan B or even Plan C. Always have an extra day in case you're held up someplace.

    Your maps will indicate places of interest along the way, but some that stand out to me might be the OKC Memorial (which might take an hour or so), Petroglyph NM near ABQ, Petrified Forest NP (the drive through may take about 2-3 hours, though), and Winslow AZ has the "standin' on the corner in Winslow AZ..." place from the song fame. I'd suggest Grand Canyon, but once you're settled in LA, it's about an 8-10 hour drive to GCNP - nice for a long weekend.

    An early welcome to California to you --


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Right Foot

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your overall plan is quite feasible, and you've already taken the best first steps you could have by plotting an efficient route, scheduling sufficient time for it, and spreading the workload properly. As we often remind folks, such long RoadTrips need to be treated a bit as a marathon: with a constant steady space that leaves time each day for short breaks every few hours as well as a solid eight hours sleep each night. The one thing I would caution you on is your assumption that 7.5-8 hours of driving will let you cover 500 or so miles. If you understand that eight hours behind the wheel will be needed, and that the total time 'driving' including stops for food, fuel, and bathroom and photo-op breaks (let alone traffic/construction/weather delays) will be closer to ten to twelve, then that's fine. Just don't expect to leave your motel room at 9:00 and be 500 miles down the road by 5:00.

    As far as "not-to-miss" places to see, those will depend on your own interests and expectations, but some of the major historic and scenic attractions that you'll pass within reasonable visiting distance of include some Wright Brothers sites in Dayton OH, Lewis and Clark's launch point in Illinois, the Oklahoma City Memorial, Petroglyph National Monument outside Albuquerque, the Petrified Forest, and Mojave National Preserve. You could even afford, if you keep up the pace you envision and find yourself with several hours (at least) to spare when you get to northern Arizona, a drive though Grand Canyon National Park.

    Unfortunately, weather forecasts more than a few days out are unreliable at best, so you won't really know what you'll run into on the western portions of your trip, even at the time you leave Allentown. But you've already taken out the best insurance policy available to you. You've built a day or so leeway into your itinerary so that you can just get off the road and sit out any weather that you are uncomfortable driving in. It, too, will pass.


  5. Default

    Thanks SWDave, Donna and AZBuck for the quick replies.

    I am planning to book the hotels in advance and my stops are Columbus OH, Saint Louis MO, Oklahoma City OK, Albuquerque NM and possibly around Needles CA. Hoping that I don't get stranded somewhere in between (because priceline reservations cannot be canceled and i don't wanna lose a lot of money :-).

    I will keep checking the forecast as the days get closer to my trip. But, once I am on the road, how do I check the weather for that day along my route? Like, I can use weather app and radio. But should I be concerned about tornado breakouts in parts of OKC, Northern TX (Amarillo) area or any storms or something near Albuquerque or Flagstaff AZ (on I40)?

    I understand there could be specific weather threat on a given day, but Nov 1st week (looking at the forecast now) is in general a OK period to do cross-country? (better than doing it in late Nov or through winter?). Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    During the first week of November, there is probably NO reason to get your reservations in advance, especially not the variety that can't be canceled. You're probably better off relying on the coupon-books (found in rest areas, state welcome centers and some truck stops/travel centers) for good deals, as well as getting in early each day (before dinner).

    Another word of advice on any of those cities: try to drive through them early enough in the day so as not to get stuck in evening rush hour traffic. Then stay on the WEST side to avoid the morning rush hour. If this were me, I'd plan to stay in Warrenton MO (west of St Louis), El Reno, OK (we've actually stayed there), and at the Coors Rd. exit for ABQ. For Needles, no worries about rush hour there, but you'll want to tread carefully about your departure hour in order not to arrive in LA during Rush! My husband actually stayed in Kingman when he did part of that same trip in mid October, 5 years ago.

    If you have a smart phone, most of the carriers have a tornado alert system. It scared the dickens out of my husband and I while traveling through western Indiana, a few years back.

    Between Amarillo and Flagstaff, the highway is between 5000 and 7000 ft elevation, so yes, you could see some weather conditions. It can be as easy as winds, or snow, but keeping abreast of the weather conditions and having an extra day to sit out if need be will help. This is another reason why you might not want to pre-pay for overnights.

    On that, btw, my husband and I pre-paid one night on our summer trip this year and really, really regretted it. In the future, we plan to pull over, get out the phone, look up some likely places when we're 100 miles out, get the online rate, and then CALL the place and see what they can offer when we get there. Or use coupons (generally available for places along the interstates, rather than small towns along state highways).


  7. Default

    Wow Donna, thanks for the specifics on where to stay.

    To be honest, i am still leaning towards booking the Hotels ahead. I know i am like that, sorry :-). But, i will think a bit before I decide whether to book along the way or book now (may be use expedia instead of priceline to keep it flexible for cancellation).

    That Amarillo to Flagstaff warning is good - i will be double careful in checking the weather on that day.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You will not see tornadoes anywhere in November, that would be extremely rare.

    I also would not book hotels in advance - that way you don't have to feel you have to drive a specified distance. You need to keep flexible due to weather and possible route adjustments. Don't worry, you won't be shut out of anywhere, I VERY seldom book in advance and have never been totally shut out of hotels in any town along the Interstate. Any town of any size will have multiple choices right by the exits.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you're worried about the price, then you might use an app or similar to book online when you're a couple of hours out from stopping. We've done that a couple of times.

    That said, on this past trip, my husband and I pre-booked a lot of places online before we left. Most of the places had a pretty liberal cancellation policy with their online pricing: we could cancel up to 4 pm of the date of arrival. One exception was the booking we made through TripAdvisor -- good experience booking, but the motel was terrible. Another exception was a motel right next to Glacier National Park, which wanted a cancellation 7 days in advance. We found that the online pricing was very close to coupon rates for the area.


  10. Default

    Thanks Donna and glc.

    glc - When you say that i may have to make adjustments due to weather - could you please explain a bit more what kind of weather challenges am I looking at travelling the 1st week of November. Snow storm is almost out of question except may be in and around flagstaff or upper elevations between Amarillo and Flagstaff (like Donna said)? Tornadoes are almost out of question as well. Rain should be manageable I guess.

    I am trying to figure out what weather related delays may happen.

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