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  1. #1

    Default Mother/ Daughter Road Trip LA to North Carolina

    Hi All,
    I'd love your help planning my mother daughter road trip to Durham, North Carolina. I was so excited when my daughter told me she wanted a car at college this year. I knew I could turn this into a mother daughter bonding experience, while enjoying the country. I just need some advice please. BTW we can share the driving, although, I enjoy it more, so I will do the majority and give up the wheel when I start to get drowsy. (Also, this is not my first cross country road trip and I have driven the almost 500 miles to Tahoe many times and always by myself.)

    We have 6 nights and 7 days to make it from Los Angeles to Durham. I put in google maps , but I'm questioning a few things.

    SO far I have

    Wednesday-Leave LA Stop in Flagstaff 500 miles or in Holbrook 569.5 miles
    Thursday-If I stop in Holbrook then it's 514 miles to Amarillo
    Friday-Little Rock- 601 miles
    Saturday-Nashville 349 miles
    Sunday-Cherokee, N.C. 288 miles
    Monday-
    Tuesday-270 miles till Durham, North Carolina


    First question, Should we continue to Holbrook instead of staying in Flagstaff?

    Second Question:
    As you can see, the way I did it we have decided to do more miles on the front end than the back end. This gives us one night where we can stay over two nights in the location without moving and see the sights, or we can shorten some days of longer driving.
    At this point my daughter thinks she'd like to stay in Little Rock 2 nights, I'd rather stay an extra night in Cherokee (great Smoky Mountains).
    That way we rest at the very end before we get to work on her apartment and getting her everything she needs for school.
    What should we do-stay an extra night somewhere-or shorten per day mileage somehow?

    Also, should we book hotels in advance, or on the fly???

    Last question...We are driving a Prius where you can see into the trunk...Do you think it's safe a roadside motels (Best Westerns/ Courtyard Marriott) to leave things in the car overnight? We will have the car packed with her things. Do you think it will be necessary to bring these items in each night? It will probably be way to much for us to handle, but basically I'm asking if in places like Holbrook, Arizona, is it safe??

    I know I put out lots of info, but I appreciate any advice you might have for making a mother daughter road trip the best it can be. IF you have suggestions for different stops or must sees along the way I'd appreciate all that input.

    Thanks!!!
    Sagtravelgal
    Last edited by sagtravelgal; 07-11-2018 at 09:58 AM. Reason: thought of another question

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,494

    Default Start with the Basics

    You've got to cover roughly 2,600 miles in seven days. If you use all seven days for driving, then you only have to cover roughly 375 miles each day. That leaves plenty of time each day for short, restful and interesting breaks each day. If you take a day off to stay in one place and see the local sights as well as take a break from the road, you'll still only have to make good less than 450 miles on your six driving days. Still easy as pie. You could even take two full days off from driving if you'd like, but that would be about the limit. Under NO circumstances should you continue to drive until you "start to get drowsy", because by the time you feel drowsy, you've already been driving at diminished capacity (statistically very similar to driving drunk) for quite a while. Besides, as I've pointed out, there is simply no need for it.

    Now, with that basic time/distance framework in mind, it's up to you and your daughter to decide what you want to see along your route. You can certainly vary the number of miles driven each day, but I wouldn't try for more than 500-550 on any given day. You'll have to be very generous in the time you allow for any off-Interstate attractions that you decide to see, leaving time for getting off the highway, to the attraction, gaining admission, seeing the site, getting back to your car and out of the parking lot, and finally returning to the highway and getting back up to speed.

    I would make reservations all along the route, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, doing so means that you're shopping for your accommodations from the comfort of your own home while you're fully rested and have almost unlimited time to compare your options. That certainly beats looking for something (anything?) in the dark of night when you're getting drowsy and the No Vacancy signs have started to light up. Having reservations also means that you just show up and check in, no fuss, and sort of forces you to maintain the pace you set for yourselves in the cool light of reason rather than being tempted to press on regardless one evening and throw your whole schedule out of whack.

    One of the things you can look for when doing your lodging shopping ahead of time is references on either the motel's website or in its reviews to a well-lit parking lot. You can also ask at check-in if there are any parking spaces that are in view of the front desk. Such considerations will help keep your belongings safe in the car, as will covering them all in a dark blanket. One simple trick I use is to park directly under an overhead light. This has the effect of making the exterior of your car brightly lit while keeping the interior darkened.

    So...what I guess this all comes down to is that you continue to sit down with your daughter and further plan your epic RoadTrip with all the above considerations in mind. They're mostly about how to plan a RoadTrip around a safe and sustainable framework. What you actually see and do while on that journey is entirely up to the two of you, although I will say that everything you've mentioned as a possibility is both doable and rewarding.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,795

    Default

    Hi....not to be nit-picky, but there is a mileage estimate on your plans that is a little "off". It's 91 miles between Flagstaff and Holbrook, about an hour and a half. Still, depending on exactly where you are starting in LA, it's about 550 miles from LA to Holbrook....doable unless you want to sight-see (not recommended). What route did you envision using? I-15 to I-40 is a good route, lots of trucks, but I would advise looking at your gas tank before you leave Barstow, as Kingman is the next somewhat-affordable gas. Food 4 Less in Barstow usually has reasonable gas prices (for California.....), and Smith's in Kingman is worth the few blocks off the 40 for reasonably priced fuel. There's a bunch of construction just west of Flagstaff, redoing the hideous mistakes they made last year, and it's not supposed to be done until the Fall. Bear that in mind!

    Holbrook to Amarillo at 514 miles is "right on". This was our Day 2 on our recent trip, and took us about 9 hours. If you can, a fun dinner stop in Amarillo is the Big Texan. You don't have to try the 72 oz challenge to enjoy the food and the atmosphere.

    As for unpacking the Prius every evening, that all depends. First, if it's valuable (laptop, electronics, cameras), take it in. If you can, toss jackets, a blanket and such over other things that might not be valuable but might entice a thief. Park under a light. LOCK YOUR VEHICLE. We've crossed country with stuff in a truck and just followed those rules, with no issues. Whatever you do, don't leave a bicycle or something like that on a roof rack, and definitely LOCK YOUR VEHICLE.


    Donna

  4. #4

    Default

    Thank you both for your quick responses. AZBUCK, I knew when I was typing someone would have an issue with my wording of "start to get drowsy." It's nice to see how caring and thorough you are. Don't worry, I err on the side of caution.
    Donna, thank you for your response as well. My stop that I was considering was a casino just on the outskirts of Flagstaff, so the mileage is correct, but you guys catch everything! I wanted to stay there, but the rates are ridiculous, not to mention the price of gambling. So that's why I was debating a dinner stop with some fun and then continuing on to Holbrook for the night. Probably a better plan than staying there as I can lose track of time at a casino and then not be able to function the next day. We are taking the 15 to the 40 thx for the update on construction.

    Is there a way to check out construction along the highways for delays in advance??

    I love the suggestion for the Big Texan. I'd love more of those must see suggestions if anybody has them.
    Thank you for the safety advice on parking!

    Again thx for your help in planning this special trip!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,494

    Default Construction Updates and Stuff to See

    Most states' highway departments maintain a website where they list and update construction projects. Just do a search on "Statename highway construction" and you'll find them.

    We maintain a few different lists on this site of things to see and do all along routes in the US. The first is a list of small venues along the major Interstate Highways, linked to in my original response. The second is a set of 26 or so attractions in each state. And the final one is the constantly updated list of attractions in the Map Wizard database.

    All of those resources are at your disposal!

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,316

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sagtravelgal View Post
    Is there a way to check out construction along the highways for delays in advance??
    I've rarely found the state provided construction information to be of any significant value. Many times, minor work that never causes delays gets classified the exact same way as a major project that routinely backs up traffic.

    That said, Google's real time traffic info can be quite good, letting you know if you're likely to see any traffic when you are actually on the road. For example, last weekend, I was driving and got an alert that there was a crash about 60 miles ahead that was causing significant delays giving me a chance to look for an alternate route. But I was also able to use that information to see that by the time I'd actually reached the scene that while there was still a little bit of a backup, it was relatively minor and not worth trying to detour around.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,795

    Default

    I will agree with Michael about the construction delays. Most are pretty insignificant and may slow you down a little, but most won't stop you completely for hours at a time. Can't say the same about accidents, though. Sometimes you get a notice on your GPS that there's an accident with a recommended re-route, and sometimes that's worth taking.

    Other ways to find dinner stops are simple: Just ask at your hotel check-in desk. If you are specific about what you're looking for, they'll be better help than just pointing at the Denny's or the McDonald's across the street. For instance, in Holbrook, we stayed in the Quality Inn on the east end of town. Just down the street is a Denny's, but upon asking at the desk, we were handed a list of locally recommended places, including one a half mile down the road. We WALKED to it and enjoyed it. It was an Italian place, Mesa. Food was good, service excellent.


    Donna

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