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  1. Default Asheville-Chicago-NYC-Boston

    This March 6-10, I'm traveling from Asheville, NC to Boston, MA and back. I'm going with two friends, to visit grad schools, and we have a pretty limited time frame to go and come back. So far the plan is this:

    -I sleep Sunday March 5 into the night so that I can drive comfortably.
    -Leave Asheville around midnight, getting to Chicago around 11am.
    -Spending Monday in Chicago.
    -Leave at 7am on Tuesday for NYC, arriving around 6/7pm.
    -Spending Tues eve/Wednesday in NYC.
    -Leave NYC around 4pm for Boston, arriving around 8pm.
    -Spend Thursday in Boston and either leaving around midnight to get back to NC by 4pm on Friday or spending the night in Boston, leaving at 7am and getting back at 11pm Friday.

    First, does this seem realistic? I know the night driving seems problematic, but I feel comfortable.

    Second, where can I get information about toll roads? I'm trying to figure out a budget for all of us - and this is the part I can't figure out.

    Third, this may seem stupid but, do gas prices go up around "Spring Break" weeks? I'd budgeting gas based on current prices - should I expect a spike?

    Fourth, what about winter weather? Is that something I can't really deal with until it happens? I come from a southern US state, so we don't really anticipate it. On the other hand, I live in the mountains so I can drive in it somewhat well; and, I assume that places that get snow a lot are good at clearing it.

    Fifth, the car I'm taking is about 1 month away from its scheduled oil change (not sure how many miles away). The trip is roughly 2500 miles. Should I get an oil change before and after? Only before? During?

    Sixth, not a question but a comment - the gas calculator is wonderful!

    Seventh, is parking as bad in Chicago as it is in New York City/Boston?

    Lastly, is there a type of oil I should get for more "wintry/cold" climates such as the Midwest/Northeast? I use regular 10W30 now.

    Thanks so much for any and all help you can provide - this site is amazing!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Yeah, that will be pushing it hard

    Quote Originally Posted by bsmcneill
    This March 6-10, I'm traveling from Asheville, NC to Boston, MA and back. I'm going with two friends, to visit grad schools, and we have a pretty limited time frame to go and come back. So far the plan is this:
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum -- we are glad you found us!
    Thanks so much for any and all help you can provide - this site is amazing!
    What makes this place "work" is the depth of real-life roadtrip intel our members bring back to this board -- so after your trip, we look forward to hearing how things went.
    Now, all of my comments recognize that your youth will enable you to push the envelope more than we generally recommend, but....
    -Leave Asheville around midnight, getting to Chicago around 11am.
    As you know, by the most direct route this is 650 miles and traveling at night will ensure that the roads will be icy in many, many places therefore, as a rule of thumb you need to figure that your best highest average speed (including fuel & food breaks, and slow-downs in the iciest patches) will be about 51 mph. This 51 mph assumes that you will be driving 75+ in the sections that you can... This would put you into Chicago at ~ 1:00 pm.
    -Leave at 7am on Tuesday for NYC, arriving around 6/7pm.
    A similar issue here -- normally I would say the outlook for good weather is high in March -- but this has not been a normal year -- as witnessed by the shellacking of snow earlier this week in NYC. The most direct route is 795 miles and you might be able to average closer to 53 mph (with stops for fuel, food, toll plazas, & increased amounts of traffic etc.) putting you into NYC at about 10:00 pm.
    -Leave NYC around 4pm for Boston, arriving around 8pm.
    Notice a developing pattern here? Actual likely arrival will be around 8:00 pm (assuming weather is OK -- if it snowing or worse, this could twice as long).
    -Spend Thursday in Boston and either leaving around midnight to get back to NC by 4pm on Friday or spending the night in Boston, leaving at 7am and getting back at 11pm Friday.
    I will be amazed if you can cover this distance any faster than 17 hours in the saddle...
    Second, where can I get information about toll roads? I'm trying to figure out a budget for all of us - and this is the part I can't figure out.
    One of our regular posters found a great link for this purpose, but I can't find it at the moment -- but I am sure someone will post on this soon.
    Third, this may seem stupid but, do gas prices go up around "Spring Break" weeks? I'd budgeting gas based on current prices - should I expect a spike?
    Well, if I was running an oil company I would do that... Seriously, pricing in this country is a complex issue -- there is little correlation between raise in fuel prices and Spring Break -- I would factor a 3-5% increase of current prices for budgeting purposes.
    Fourth, what about winter weather? Is that something I can't really deal with until it happens? I come from a southern US state, so we don't really anticipate it. On the other hand, I live in the mountains so I can drive in it somewhat well; and, I assume that places that get snow a lot are good at clearing it.
    It isn't snow that is the tough thing -- it is freezing rain and ice on most of your route. If that happens you need to SLOW DOWN. Read these tips and be prepared. Keep a list of the toll-free numbers in your car of the State DOT weather/road conditions reports and use the 511 system. Links to all state DOT can be found on our road conditions page.
    Fifth, the car I'm taking is about 1 month away from its scheduled oil change (not sure how many miles away). The trip is roughly 2500 miles. Should I get an oil change before and after? Only before? During?
    Get it done now -- with your schedule you don't have time for in-trip maintenance issues.
    Sixth, not a question but a comment - the gas calculator is wonderful!
    Thank you. The algorithm that drives it is seriously complicated -- much more than I originally expected!
    Seventh, is parking as bad in Chicago as it is in New York City/Boston?
    Nothing is a challenging as Boston!
    Lastly, is there a type of oil I should get for more "wintry/cold" climates such as the Midwest/Northeast? I use regular 10W30 now.
    Cars that live in the frigid winter north do use a lighter oil, but it is really important that you read your vehicle's manual and follow the recommendations for winter driving.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum -- we are glad you found us! What makes this place "work" is the depth of real-life roadtrip intel our members bring back to this board -- so after your trip, we look forward to hearing how things went.
    Now, all of my comments recognize that your youth will enable you to push the envelope more than we generally recommend, but....
    As you know, by the most direct route this is 650 miles and traveling at night will ensure that the roads will be icy in many, many places therefore, as a rule of thumb you need to figure that your best highest average speed (including fuel & food breaks, and slow-downs in the iciest patches) will be about 51 mph. This 51 mph assumes that you will be driving 75+ in the sections that you can... This would put you into Chicago at ~ 1:00 pm.
    I hadn't actually thought of this. I'm glad you mentioned it - I still have some leeway (I needed to be in Chicago by 4pm), so that's good.

    A similar issue here -- normally I would say the outlook for good weather is high in March -- but this has not been a normal year -- as witnessed by the shellacking of snow earlier this week in NYC. The most direct route is 795 miles and you might be able to average closer to 53 mph (with stops for fuel, food, toll plazas, & increased amounts of traffic etc.) putting you into NYC at about 10:00 pm.
    Notice a developing pattern here? Actual likely arrival will be around 8:00 pm (assuming weather is OK -- if it snowing or worse, this could twice as long).
    I will be amazed if you can cover this distance any faster than 17 hours in the saddle...
    I've actually changed our route some after playing with Google Earth. We'll be going from Chicago to Boston, leaving around 7am and not planning on getting to Boston until around 9/10pm (it says 14 hours). Hopefully this will avoid ice and make the trip easier. It also means that we're heading to NYC after Boston and leaving NYC for Asheville which will take the trip from a perspective 16 hours (BOS-AVL, according to Google Earth) to 11/12 (NYC-AVL), which I feel is much better. We're also definitively staying over so that I can drive fresh all day Friday.

    One of our regular posters found a great link for this purpose, but I can't find it at the moment -- but I am sure someone will post on this soon.
    I'll search the boards.

    Well, if I was running an oil company I would do that... Seriously, pricing in this country is a complex issue -- there is little correlation between raise in fuel prices and Spring Break -- I would factor a 3-5% increase of current prices for budgeting purposes.
    It isn't snow that is the tough thing -- it is freezing rain and ice on most of your route. If that happens you need to SLOW DOWN. Read these tips and be prepared. Keep a list of the toll-free numbers in your car of the State DOT weather/road conditions reports and use the 511 system. Links to all state DOT can be found on our road conditions page.
    I doubted there was much correlation in prices and spring break - but I figured prices might naturally go up in the spring due to more driving. I know very little about the economy though.

    The list of phone numbers is a huge help - I'm wishing on a star that the weather is fine. Ice, freezing rain, etc doesn't worry so much since there's only one mandatory thing and that's taken care of in the first part of the trip (in Chicago).

    Get it done now -- with your schedule you don't have time for in-trip maintenance issues. Thank you. The algorithm that drives it is seriously complicated -- much more than I originally expected!
    The Valvoline place in town offers free liquid fills before you reach 3000 miles (or get a new oil change) - should I try to take advantage of this midway through the trip?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Google's way off

    Quote Originally Posted by bsmcneill
    I've actually changed our route some after playing with Google Earth. We'll be going from Chicago to Boston, leaving around 7am and not planning on getting to Boston until around 9/10pm (it says 14 hours).
    I can't believe that Google told you its only 14 hours from Chicago to Boston. Chicago to Boston is almost exactly a 1000 mile drive. To cover that in 14 hours, you'd have to average 71 mph. Not only is that higher than the speed limit in any state along the route, but it simply impossible to do in a practical sense. This leg of the trip will be 18-19 hours minimum in good conditions.

    The Valvoline place in town offers free liquid fills before you reach 3000 miles (or get a new oil change) - should I try to take advantage of this midway through the trip?
    There really aren't many fluids that need to be topped off over the course of 3000 miles. Certainly, check your fluid levels every couple of stops, but if your car is in good running condition, the only fluids that should need to be refilled is the windshield wash and maybe a little bit of oil.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael
    I can't believe that Google told you its only 14 hours from Chicago to Boston. Chicago to Boston is almost exactly a 1000 mile drive. To cover that in 14 hours, you'd have to average 71 mph. Not only is that higher than the speed limit in any state along the route, but it simply impossible to do in a practical sense. This leg of the trip will be 18-19 hours minimum in good conditions.
    I'm sure they didn't factor in stopping, etc but it says 983 miles, 14 hours, 10 minutes (on I-90 mostly). Thanks for the more realistic estimate.



    There really aren't many fluids that need to be topped off over the course of 3000 miles. Certainly, check your fluid levels every couple of stops, but if your car is in good running condition, the only fluids that should need to be refilled is the windshield wash and maybe a little bit of oil.
    Yeah, I wasn't sure about the fluids - but I have been on the bad end of a car without any oil in it, so since that day (many years ago) I've been diligent about keeping check on things.

  6. Default

    Is there a way to get from Chicago to Boston that takes me through VT/NH? Each map I get takes me on I-90 all the way, but I want to see these states.

  7. Default

    I've decided to alter the plans a little, I think. I was a bit ambitious.

    Now it's:

    Asheville-Indianapolis, Sunday March 5, 3-11pm
    Indianapolis-Chicago, Monday the 6th, 7-11am
    Chicago-Boston, Tuesday the 7th, 6am-10pm
    Boston-NYC, Wednesday the 8th, 4pm-8pm
    NYC-Asheville, Friday the 10th, 8am-8pm

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Time for Detours?

    Well, you could get off I-90 and head up into Vermont and/or New Hampshire. I don't have a map in front of me, but my last time through that area I cut to the northeast at Albany and stayed in some National Forest land in Vermont on my way to Boston.

    However, on your timetable, you simply don't have time to do this if you want to see any of Boston. Staying only on interstates, with good weather, leaving Chicago at 6 a.m. still won't get you into Boston until at least midnight at the very earliest.

    If you decide to detour into Vermont, you will add at least 2 hours to your travel time, meaning you'd get to enjoy a very scenic drive about 11 o'clock at night, on your way to getting into Boston around 2 or 3 in the morning.

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