Please confirm driving time between Salem, VA and Little Rock, AR
My wife and I will be driving to Fort Worth, TX from Rhode Island over the next few weeks, and our route will bring us between Salem, VA (near Roanoke) and Little Rock, AR. The problem I'm running into is:
Google Maps says it's 773 miles, or about 14 hours 49 minutes, while Yahoo Maps says its 772 miles, or about 11 hours, 2 minutes.
Google Map Link
Yahoo Map Link
The two routes look just about identical. What gives? What's closer to reality time-wise? 11 hours is long, but I'm fine with it. Almost 15 hours is too long I think.
Has anybody traveled between these points and can tell me how long it took them to travel?
Don't trust the maps!
Welcome to the RTA Forum!
Online maps work well for estimating distances and coming up with good basic outlines for routes. But they are lousy at coming up with time estimates.
Each of them use different formulas to determine the time of travel, but they all pretty much assume you'll be able to drive non-stop, never needing food, fuel, or a restroom.
The best rule of thumb for actual time it will take to travel says 57 mph is about the fastest you can travel in the west over a long distance, which drops to around 53 mph in the more crowded east.
In this case, that actually works out to around 14.5 hours - actually a little less than what Google estimates. So perhaps Google has adjusted their way of calculating times lately to account for the the human factor.
I haven't driven the route myself, but personally, I don't try to push beyond 700 miles in one day unless I absolutely have to and I will have time to recover afterwards. Since presumably you are continuing on to Fort Worth the next day, I would look at stopping at Memphis instead. That will still be over 600 miles of travel, and sets you up for a long, but comfortable last day.
3 days better!
Personally, I think you should break this trip up into thirds and do it over three days, not two. Since you will have lots of traffic when you're in the Northeast, I just think it's pushing it to get to Memphis. Do-able? Probably. Enjoyable? Probably not.
The trip from RI to Forth Worth is about 1700 miles. This comes to 3 legs of about 560 miles each. That's still 3 LONG days. If you broke this up into 3 equal legs, the first night would be spent around Staunton, VA. The second night, just east of Nashville, TN. And then onto Fort Worth.
You shouldn't need to worry about finding a hotel so I wouldn't make any hotel reservations. And I would just use those places as guidelines. Of course, you might feel great the first day and might want to travel a bit farther. Or, you might be zonked from traffic and need to stop sooner. But those towns should give you a good idea if you're close to being on pace. I would trust my body and when I'm tired, pull over for the night.
Agree on 3 days
Now - I tend to drive a lot when I'm out on the road - spending 14+ hours on the road just to escape Texas if I'm heading west or to get to my destination if I have a place I want to get to is nothing for me. But - I've traveled from New York and New Hampshire to Shreveport, LA several times and have never made it in less than 3 days.
A suggestions - I prefer to spend the night in West Memphis is Arkansas. It's just a lot easier to navigate than Memphis (the interstate has been under construction there for the last two summers and is a mess) or Little Rock.
Driving time - it's probably closer to the 14.5 hours if my memory serves me right from taking that route. Especially with the traffic.