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  1. Default summer road trip

    two of my friends and i are planning to take a road trip this summer. initially we wanted to go from DC through the south and then out west to cali. (maybe getting onto 80 and going across or coming down from 66) how long do you think that would take with enough time for short stops? we were thinking about a month.
    any suggestions? another option is to go to the pacific northwest. (on route 20) we are up for wherever but we are just having trouble deciding what we want to see and how long it will all take. so looking for ideas...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Rules of Thumb

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    When starting out to plan a big cross country RoadTrip, it's handy to have a general sense of how long things will take, so your questions are right on the mark. Some of the first order guesstimates that I use are that it will take one week coast to coast with a minimum of stops. Then as I plan to do things along the way, both seeing things and taking detours, I just add the needed time to that week. Another way to look at things that you'll see cited often around here is the rule of thumb that your overall average speed will be 55 mph, a little bit less in the congested northeast, a little bit more in the wide open portions of the west, but not much more either way, maybe a couple of mph. That average speed takes into account stops for gas, food, and other necessities, as well as a small margin for traffic lowdowns, and is remarkably consistent. A third general number to keep in mind is how many miles per day you can cover. This is where people new to the adventure invariably overestimate what they can do and think that 600, 650, even 700 miles a day will be easy and even allow time to see some sights. Not a chance. 600 miles a day can be done, but only if you sacrifice everything else and just drive from sunup to sundown and do nothing else. Such days are not terribly pleasant, and you can't do too many in a row. Even 500 miles a day is a good run for most people. At 400 miles a day, you're starting to allow time to actually get off the interstates, take some back roads, and make a few stops. I personally can keep up 350-450 miles a day forever and feel like I'm on a very relaxed and laid back sightseeing tour. You will find your own pace as you head down the road, but a month should be enough time to make a couple of different transits of the continent. Now for the fun part - picking which of the many, many possibilities best suits you and your companions.


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