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  1. Default Moving to Glendale, AZ from Bethlehem, PA on Oct 6th - route ideas and things to see?

    Hello all!

    I have checked out some of the previous posts and it seems like I would enjoy the southern route which goes through Nashville (as I am a country music fan), despite the fact that the short route that Google tells me would save me about 140 miles (give or take).

    My situation is that I am a single female in her 30's and I'm a paramedic who just got a new job in Glendale, AZ. I move on October 6th from Bethlehem, PA and will probably be leaving around 5pm that night (I work the nightshift so being up late at night is quite common place for me) I will be packing up my belongings in a Mazda 3 and that's it. Not hauling anything extra besides what's inside of my car. :)

    My move in date to my new apartment is on October 10th, which gives me a fairly tight timeframe so I understand that I cannot spend too long at any one particular place, so essentially what I am asking is what are some nice places to stop along the way that would be suitable for a nice rest stop where I wouldn't be too far off the path, be scenic (natural beauty, not tourist destinations) or good food suggestions (I am not a huge meat eater, but I am also not a strict vegetarian). I'm more than ok with camping in a tent, or staying at a decent motel.

    I am budgeting about $750 for gas/lodging - is that enough?

    Also, I am more than ok with going the traditional "shorter" route if need be, but I'd like to at least stop by Nashville if I'm making the drive cross-country - not sure when vacation would first be available as it's a new job! Any suggestions would be welcomed as I enjoy seeing and reading the other posts so far.

    Oh and if it helps, I am using a Garmin Navi 500 I believe it is.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,505

    Default Congratulations on the new job!

    Welcome to RTA!

    At 2500 miles, this is a 5-day drive. I'm not sure if you were just planning to get a "headstart" on the 6th by leaving at 5, or if you are going to drive at night. If it's the latter, bear in mind that most motels are not set up for day sleepers and night departures. If you are actually trying to arrive on the 10th -- well, I wouldn't recommend it. You'll be lucky to actually get on the road at 5, and then a lot of motels at this time of the year will have their check-in desks closed by 11, so you aren't going to get more than about 200 or 250 miles down the road. That leaves you trying to get 2250 miles in 4 days -- not impossible, but those are very long days and it won't leave you time to see anything except what's on the other side of your windshield. (We recommend 500-550 mile days.)

    Overnights can cost anywhere around $50-75/night, and if you're in a touristy area on a weekend, it might set you back a little more. We have a fuel cost calculator on this site, just look to your right, and to know your average price per gallon just look through Gas Buddy for a little bit.

    I'd personally recommend a real set of maps, or at the very least, an atlas. The old-fashioned paper kind should not lead you down the primrose path. We use our Nuvi to find places in cities, but it has still caused us some issues, so we have been finding places the way we used to before electronics: fly by the seat of our pants.

    BTW, the route you're talking about taking through Nashville is probably mostly I-81 and I-40, right? The shorter route would probably be I-70, I-44 to I-40, right? My husband and I have driven both sets, many times, and much prefer the I-81 to I-40. It's a lot prettier!

    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 09-26-2017 at 08:21 PM. Reason: punctuation

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,985

    Default not enough time to cover the miles, much less detours

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The shortest route for this trip is 2350 miles, and as you mentioned, going via Nashville pushes that up to about 2500 miles.

    Typically adding 150 miles to a cross country trip wouldn't be that big of a deal, but as you've laid it out, you really don't even have enough time on the shortest route, without any stops except for food and fuel.

    2350 miles is the absolute max of what you can safely travel in 4 days, adding that extra 150 miles means a 5th day really becomes mandatory. As you've laid out, you're not leaving until the night of the 6th and you want to be there on the 10th - presumably early enough that you can start to move in to your new place, that means you've really only got about 3.5 days, or not enough time to safely complete this trip.

    I appreciate your pattern of working a night shift meaning that you can probably safely drive at night more safely than most people, however, the problem is that services on the road really aren't designed for night owls - the hotels you'll need to stay at to get the rest you need to be a safe driver have check in and check out times that really limit how late you can reasonably be on the road.

    You're looking at around $200 in gas and probably around $300 for 4 nights in a low/medium end motels, so $750 should be fine for gas and lodging. I really enjoy tent camping, but on your timeline it's not a great option - because of the extra time needed for set up/tear down and to drive to campgrounds which are usually a few miles off the main road.

    A GPS is a perfectly fine tool, but you shouldn't expect it to replace real maps, and you should always make sure you are using the GPS to go where you want to go and not just blindly follow where it says you should go.

    So to sum things up, if getting there on the 10th is your priority, then taking the shortest possible route is really your only option, and even that is pushing things safety wise. If you'd like to use this trip as an opportunity to even quickly see Nashville or other places along the way - and I would encourage you to do that if at all possible - then you really need to find at least another 1-2 days on the road.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,318

    Default To Reiterate

    I also used to work the night shift, in a community hospital ER just off I-95 in New England, and would usually do my long drives in the middle of the night. This had a few advantages, particularly in getting through New York City at roughly 3:00 AM when traffic was practically nonexistent. But understand the drawbacks as well. You get to see essentially nothing of the beauty you'll be driving through.

    For that and the other benefit of daylight travel, safety, I'd recommend that you limit your night driving to the first 'day' only. Get packed up and rested and leave in the evening. Drive through the night and into the next day. Then pull up for your first 'night' of sleep as soon after noon as a motel will let you check in. I've occasionally lucked out and found check-in times as early as 11:00 AM, but you can research this from the comfort of your home before departure. Leave after a full eight hours sleep (no less) and continue to push your departure/arrival times back an hour or two each day until you are more-or-less in synch with the rest of the world.

    The other thing I learned in my years of ER work was the distinct downside of driving past one's limits. Not from my experiences on the road, but from those of the 'customers' who came through our doors at 2:00 to 3:00 AM. Fatigue is insidious and will have you visiting an emergency facility just as surely as drunk driving. This has been verified by study after study. Your situation is going to be a bit tricky, since you will not only be pushing time/distance considerations to the limit, but time shifting in the process as well.

    ALL of the above, as well as ALL of the previous comments, argue strongly for taking five full days for this drive. If you have to leave a day or two earlier than you currently plan, or arrive a day or two later, then that's the way it has to be. You CANNOT make this drive safely in three or four days.

    Period.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,985

    Default

    I'm not sure if I would agree with Buck's advice about driving through the night for the first day, especially noting you're hoping to depart around 5pm. If you left home at that time, and found a place with an early check in of noon, you'd have to be on the road for 17 hours - which is a dangerous amount of time to be behind the wheel in one sitting, day or night.

    First, when you say you work the "night shift" do you mean you typically work 2nd shift and get done sometime around midnight, or do you work a true 3rd shift, starting around 11pm/midnight and getting done around 8am?

    Second, what are you planning to do before your planned 5pm departure? Is that roughly the time you normally wake up and thus are planning to get up and immediately get on the road, or will you have already been up for several hours at that point finishing your packing and getting ready to leave? If you will have already been up for a few hours by the time you are ready to leave, that's all the more reason to limit yourself on that first day/night.

    If you normally work 3rd shift, then I could see driving through the night, but only if you waited to depart until the time you usually leave for work (assuming that's sometime around 11pm).

    However, since you've said you are in a position to leave at 5pm, what I would do is plan to get 250-300 miles that first night, which would get you off the road sometime around midnight. That would still be early enough where you could still get a full night of sleep, before a hotel's typical check out time of around 11am, and then gradually work your way back into a more "normal" daylight schedule. Having spent plenty of time working 3rd shift myself, I've never found it difficult to get back into being awake during daylight hours, and and in your case leaving from PA, you're not going to have any major metro areas, like NYC, where you'd be avoiding significant traffic by driving overnight on the first day.

  6. Default Ok...slight revision based on your recommendations!

    Hi everyone!

    Thank you so much for all your smart advice! I have actually pushed my move in date back to the 11th of October, to allow myself an extra day and not push myself so hard. I have up till 7pm Arizona time to move in that day, so I have a bit of time to play around.

    That being said - perhaps I may skip Nashville and just save up some of my vacation days...it's tough for me to give up on the idea completely as I feel like if I'm making the long trip in general, I'd like a nice "pick me up" along the way to look forward to like that.

    I will definitely purchase an atlas to supplement my Garmin. Even using it on the ambulance, it has led me astray sometimes. I cannot say that I fully trust it always :)

    As for the question of what my normal nightshift hours are - I work 6pm to 6am. I am off the night before which means my normal "go to bed" time is around 1 or 2am. Then I'll be sleeping till around 9am. Then I have a short burst of a meeting to hand in my final keys, etc which will be done by 11am. Then it's home to pack up my car (which I'm already basically packed and it's just a matter of sticking the bags in my car) and taking a nap from 1pm to about 5pm before starting to head out. I figure that should get me a decent amount of rest to make that initial push.

    I'm glad my money calculations seem to be decent. As for lodging, it's a very good point you make about the timing. I'll have to look into that more or go with my tent and blow-up mattress idea. Perhaps look for some campgrounds along the way which may have more flexible check-in times for sites.

    Hmm...what else am I missing? Any other glaringly obvious things I should be aware of or pay attention for?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,215

    Default

    I would take I-78 to I-81 to I-40 to I-17.

    If you will be getting up at 9am, I would not drive any later than 11pm that first night. That would give you about 6 hours on the road and get you to around Roanoke VA.

    Get up as early as you can while still getting a decent night's sleep, and get on a schedule that gets you up reasonably early each day. You will have time to go to Nashville. Plan on spending the next night there, and you can spend a good portion of the next day there too.

    Your next overnights would need to be around Memphis, OKC, and ABQ. This will get you into the Phoenix area late afternoon the 11th. For planning purposes, allow 8 hours to get from ABQ to Phoenix. If you can gain some time without driving into the night, that's all for the better, the last day won't be as long.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,985

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by emtjessi View Post
    As for the question of what my normal nightshift hours are - I work 6pm to 6am. I am off the night before which means my normal "go to bed" time is around 1 or 2am. Then I'll be sleeping till around 9am. Then I have a short burst of a meeting to hand in my final keys, etc which will be done by 11am. Then it's home to pack up my car (which I'm already basically packed and it's just a matter of sticking the bags in my car) and taking a nap from 1pm to about 5pm before starting to head out. I figure that should get me a decent amount of rest to make that initial push.
    To me, that just proves the point that you will already be transitioning back to a "normal" sleep schedule before you leave, and should just get yourself back into normal hours as you make your way down the road. There really are no significant advantages to traveling overnight, and a lot of disadvantages, as previously noted. I really don't see the point of trying to take a nap in the middle of the day, just so you can drive later into that night.
    I'll have to look into that more or go with my tent and blow-up mattress idea. Perhaps look for some campgrounds along the way which may have more flexible check-in times for sites.
    It's true that campgrounds will generally have more flexible check-in times, generally speaking you're just not allowed to set up or tear down during quiet hours which are usually something like 10pm to 7am.

    Of course, trying to sleep in the middle of the day in a tent certainly isn't as easy as in a hotel room that usually has thick curtains to block out sunlight, which just adds to the element that I don't see any advantage of you trying to do your driving overnight.


    Hmm...what else am I missing? Any other glaringly obvious things I should be aware of or pay attention for?
    I don't think there is anything else that's a huge issue that you should worry about. As long as you've got a little extra time, going via Nashville is a relatively small detour and if it's a place you've always wanted to visit, then you really should. As you've noted, you don't know when you'll be able to take another trip like this, especially while starting a new job, so take advantage of the time you have on the road to the fullest!

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