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  1. Default NY to LA in 7 days

    Hi there!

    Me and my boyfriend are currently planning a road trip from NY to LA and we have 7 days to complete the journey.

    We know it's a bit stretched and we probably won't have match time to do anything other than traveling, but we would like some suggestions on where to stop, which routes are more scenic, etc while still making it a feasible trip in 7 days.

    We plan to drive 8 to 10 hours a day and would love to see the Grand Canyon if possible, but any suggestion on other places to see or places where to stop and eat great food is more than welcome!

    Can you guys help?
    Again, we know already is a bit crazy and having more time would be better, but we don't have more than this and we have a flight back home waiting for us in LA, so we have to make it! :D

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,139

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Just to drive from NYC to LA is a 6 day drive, so you do have time to spend a day at the Grand Canyon, but not for any other significant stops. I'd take I-81 to I-40.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,259

    Default Budgeting

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    When most people see the word 'budget' they think in terms of money, but often it's just as important, if not more so, to budget time as well as dollars. Yours seems to be such a case.

    The good news is that seven days is actually a fair amount of time to get across country as long as you realize that making good, steady progress each day is critical. On average, you only have to make good 400 miles a day, but that's on average. Obviously if you want to spend more than a few hours at any given site along the way, some days you'll have to cover more, some days less. More good news: 500 miles is a relatively easy driving day, as is even 550 miles. Such days allow for a few R&R breaks that make the day enjoyable, even when most of it is just devoted to covering miles. And such days let you bank your 'spare' time for modest detours and more time-consuming attractions such as the Grand Canyon.

    So, how to proceed from here? First decide on your basic route. If you want to spend time outside the car, that basically means sticking to a fairly direct all-Interstate route. The shortest such route is I-78/I-81/I-76/I-70/I-44/I-40/I-15 through Harrisburg, St. Louis and Oklahoma City. A slightly longer alternative would be to stay on I-81 from Harrisburg all the way down to Knoxville TN and then take I-40 west from there. Both would take roughly five full days to drive and both would bring you within easy range of a comfortable drive along the rim of the Grand Canyon. You could also, if you so chose, stay farther north using I-80 along the Great Lakes to Nebraska and then cut down via I-76 to Denver, I-70 through the Rockies into Utah and finish on I-15 through Las Vegas to L.A. That would take five days and bring you close to Zion and other national parks, but would mean that you didn't really have time to include the Grand Canyon. Your first task, then, is to look at those routes and see which takes you through areas or near sites that YOU would like to see.

    Your next, and equally important task would be to carefully decide where you'll spend your two 'spare' days. Then to make the best use of your time on the road, and to ensure that you aren't tempted to try to go 'just a little farther' at the end of a long day, decide where you're going to spend each night and do your lodging shopping from the comfort of your own home so that you can just roll up knowing there's a bed waiting for you, check in, and relax.

    Once you've got those major tasks taken care of you'll be in a much better place, logistically and mentally, to just enjoy your adventure.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-19-2017 at 08:50 PM.

  4. Default

    First of all, thank you both!

    I'm sorry for the late reply, but we're both been busy at work and today has been the first time we actually managed to sit down and look at options.

    We came out with 2 possible routes, one of which makes us a bit anxious but would be nice too. Both are of course a bit stretched, but we knew this already.
    We just want to run them by you and see what you think or if you have any suggestions to change something etc.

    Route 1:
    - Day 1: we travel from NY to Columbus, Ohio
    - Day 2: Columbus to Springfield, Missouri
    - Day 3: Springfield to Amarillo, passing by Oklahoma City
    - Day 4: Amarillo to Flagstaff, passing by Albuquerque and maybe the Painted Desert
    - Day 5: Flagstaff to Las Vegas, stopping at the Grand Canyon
    - Day 6: Las Vegas to Los Angeles
    This would in theory take us 6 days and leave us a spare day for any unplanned inconvenience.

    Route 2:
    - Day 1: New York to Toledo
    - Day 2: Toledo to Des Moines
    - Day 3: Des Moines to Denver
    - Day 4: Denver to Bluff, going through Moab
    - Day 5: Moab to Las Vegas, stopping at the Grand Canyon
    - Day 6: Las Vegas to Los Angeles
    This one is VERY tight, but we wanted an option to drive through the Monument Valley. We tried to keep the hours/miles travelled quite steady, which forced us to choose random cities to stop at for the nights.

    It may make no sense at all, any kind of help is more than welcomed :D

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,139

    Default

    Route 1:

    Day 1: 540 miles via I-78/81/76/70. Involves tolls, doable.
    Day 2: 630 miles via I-70/I-44. That's pushing it. I'd stop in Lebanon, 580 miles.
    Day 3: Lebanon to Amarillo via I-44/I-40. 595 miles, you do NOT have time to stop in OKC.
    Day 4: Amarillo to Flagstaff via I-40 is 610 miles, that's pushing it. Stop in Winslow, that's 550 miles. No time for detours or sightseeing.
    Day 5: You do not have time to detour to Las Vegas. Visit the Grand Canyon and spend the night in Tusayan.
    Day 6: Tusayan to LA is 500 miles via I-40/I-15.

    Route 2:

    Day 1: 560 miles via I-80. Tolls.
    Day 2: 560 miles via I-80. Tolls.
    Day 3: No go, DSM to Denver is 675 miles via I-80/I-76. Fort Morgan is 595 miles.
    Day 4: Fort Morgan to Blanding is 500 miles via I-76/I-70/UT-128/US-191. No time to stop in Moab. Bluff does not have a decent hotel selection.
    Day 5: Blanding to Tusayan will give you 1/2 day in the Grand Canyon.
    Day 6: as above.

    Either way, I'd highly recommend you replan your route using all 7 days. Do not drive over 600 miles in a day on Interstates, 500 or less on non-expressways. Plan your sightseeing time accordingly, subtract daily mileage for each day you want to stop and see something. If you really want to see Las Vegas, something else is going to have to give.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Route 1:

    Day 1: 540 miles via I-78/81/76/70. Involves tolls, doable.
    Day 2: 630 miles via I-70/I-44. That's pushing it. I'd stop in Lebanon, 580 miles.
    Day 3: Lebanon to Amarillo via I-44/I-40. 595 miles, you do NOT have time to stop in OKC.
    Day 4: Amarillo to Flagstaff via I-40 is 610 miles, that's pushing it. Stop in Winslow, that's 550 miles. No time for detours or sightseeing.
    Day 5: You do not have time to detour to Las Vegas. Visit the Grand Canyon and spend the night in Tusayan.
    Day 6: Tusayan to LA is 500 miles via I-40/I-15.

    Route 2:

    Day 1: 560 miles via I-80. Tolls.
    Day 2: 560 miles via I-80. Tolls.
    Day 3: No go, DSM to Denver is 675 miles via I-80/I-76. Fort Morgan is 595 miles.
    Day 4: Fort Morgan to Blanding is 500 miles via I-76/I-70/UT-128/US-191. No time to stop in Moab. Bluff does not have a decent hotel selection.
    Day 5: Blanding to Tusayan will give you 1/2 day in the Grand Canyon.
    Day 6: as above.

    Either way, I'd highly recommend you replan your route using all 7 days. Do not drive over 600 miles in a day on Interstates, 500 or less on non-expressways. Plan your sightseeing time accordingly, subtract daily mileage for each day you want to stop and see something. If you really want to see Las Vegas, something else is going to have to give.
    Thank you!
    I'll have a look at your suggestions today :)

    Las Vegas would just be a stop to sleep and them travel again the next day to LA, and just because it was the only big city we knew in the area. I'll check the others you suggested!

    Just a quick question: how expensive are the tolls in the US on average? I'm only used to the Italian ones and don't really know what to expect.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,139

    Default

    Exactly where in NY are you leaving from? Tolls from there to NJ vary.

    On both Route 1 and Route 2, there's a $1.00 toll on I-78 and I-80 to cross over the Delaware River into PA.

    On Route 1, the toll on the PA Turnpike (I-76/I-70) between Carlisle and New Stanton is $20.05.

    On Route 2, the tolls on I-80 in OH, IN, and IL are $26.15.

    These are cash rates.

  8. Default

    We pick the car up at JFK airport.

    Anyway, we managed to add an extra day, we will have the car for 8 days, so we'll rethink a couple of options.
    If we wanted to pick up Route 66 during the trip, where would be the best place to do so? I was thinking St. Louis or Springfield, but maybe other options are better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    135

    Default No More Route 66

    Hello!

    Sadly, Route 66 was decommissioned as a US Highway about 30 years ago, after it had been replaced along it's entire length by the Interstate Highways. In the western states, Interstate 40 follows the alignment of the old road, so you'll be passing through the same territory, at least. There is one remaining section of Historic Route 66 that still exists, west of Flagstaff: between the town of Seligman and Kingman, you can drive the old road for 100 miles. In Seligman, especially, they've fixed up the old downtown with all sorts of Route 66 memorabilia, keeping the spirit alive. If you drive that whole stretch, it will add about one extra hour to your driving time (as opposed to staying on Interstate 40).

    Rick

  10. Default

    Hi Rick!

    I think I meant I-40, yes. So I guess it's not worth to follow it as it won't probably have the same spirit.

    We definitely need to re-think our stops/routes anyway now, considering an extra day is A LOT of extra time from where we were coming from!

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