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  1. Default Moving from LA to DC

    I would like to get some thoughts on what route to take.
    I was planning on taking the I10 to the I95.
    I was thinking the weather might be terrible on the 40.

    I have calculated that I will drive around 750 to 780 miles per day.

    Any I idea as to what hotels I should stay at and any good spots to eat along the interstate?

    I'm traveling with the entire family more then 300 miles for the first time.
    This will be a non stop trip. Unfortunately I don't have time to enjoy the
    citys along the way. I plan on driving at least 12 hours a day.
    Do you think that is too less or too much?

    I know the I40 is the shortest way to go but I'm afraid the road conditions may be bad. I will start my trip on 11-26 or 11-27. is that a bad time being it's only 2 days after thanksgiving?

    I really need some suggestions.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You Need More Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There is no way to know what the weather will be this far out, and being prepared to take an alternate route is certainly a smart move. However, any reasonable alternative to the I-40/I-44/I-70/I-78 route is going to add a significant number of miles to an already over-packed trip. If you go all the way to Jacksonville, FL by really only using I-10 and I-95 then you add nearly 600 miles to your trip. If you use I-10 and I-20 through Dallas and Atlanta to I-95, then you still add nearly 400.

    Of more concern to me is your plan to try to cover 750 miles a day with a car full of family in only 12 hours. I don't think that is a terribly realistic expectation. We do offer tips on these types of Speed Runs, but your plan calls for even more miles than is envisioned there. This is going to be very hard on any kids. Food and rest stops are all going to take longer than you may be used to when traveling solo. I'm a fairly seasoned RoadTripper and I consider a 650 mile day to be an excellent day's work when I have no one else to slow me down. I recommend that you seriously reconsider how many miles you plan to try to make good each day, and find the time to make this trip at least tolerable, rather than sacrificing everything to trying to keep an unrealistic schedule.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I'd go for I-40

    I-40 is 2670 miles. I-10 is 3119. I don't think it's worth it when you're in a rush to get there and are adding 500 miles to your trip. It's early enough in the season where weather shouldn't be that bad yet anyway. We usually recommend that people check the weather report the night before/morning of their drive and adjust their route if need be.

    Often, if a bit of ice is on the road, it will be burnt off after a few hours of heavy traffic. So, sometimes, a bit later start in the morning will make a big difference.

    We generally recommend that people don't plan on driving more than 500 miles per day. But, if you have kids, even that mileage might be a bit high for them. Kids generally need to get the wiggles out, you know. Take a break every couple of hours to get out of the car and stretch, even if just for a few minutes.

    Since time is of the essence, I don't think that waiting until after the holiday weekend is over is going to help you out. Yes, you will probably encounter some thicker traffic but the miles you'll burn getting on the road two days sooner, and the fact that this will probably give you a bit more flexibility to pull over and take a break while on the trip, outweighs the traffic factor, imho.

    We recommend packing a cooler of healthy snacks so you have to stop for meals less often. Replenish at grocery stores along the way. This is usually cheaper and healthier. Even if it just eliminates one restaurant stop along the way, it should be worth it. Here are some budgeting tips and what to pack and meals you can easily make on the road.

    Motels shouldn't be a problem. Just drive until you're ready to stop for the night. Most motel chains will offer you a clean, safe room for the night. The difference is just in amenities. You'll get more at the higher-end chains like Holiday Inn than you will at budget chains like Motel 6. But either works fine for a quick overnight stop. I really don't think you'll have any problems finding a vacancy at this time of year, even over the holiday weekend. However, during the holiday weekend, you might want to plan to start looking for a motel a bit earlier in the evening just in case.

    Remember that wherever you travel is somebody's hometown. There are a wealth of restaurants and motels out there and your chances of not finding a decent choice of either is pretty slim.

    I haven't travelled those routes enough to give you any specific recommendations. We often recommend that, for restaurants, people drive a bit off the highway and then look for local establishments with a lot of cars in the parking lot. That's often a great indicator that the local people enjoy the food and that you've found a good place to eat.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-18-2007 at 12:20 PM. Reason: fixed the links for the Budgeting & Meal prep tips

  4. Default

    Thanks for the response .

    I was kinda thinking that 750 was a bit unrealistic.
    I think that 600-650 is a reasonable goal.

    I forgot to mention we are traveling with our small dog.
    My children are 8 and 10 so I don't think they'll be to difficult .
    They will have plenty of handheld games and books for entertainment thru the ride.

    I don't plan on dining in at any time on this trip.
    We will make the occasional restroom stop but no time for eating in.

    I expect to drive for 10 hrs of a 12 hour run each day. I figure 2 hours for drive thru ,gas , restroom use , and dog walks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default saving sanity

    Just a few thoughts that add to what Buck and Judy have already said.

    I know you are trying to get to your destination as quickly as possible, but I think you are setting yourself up to really have a pretty miserable time, and I suspect your family members will never want to do another trip in the car as long as they live.

    12 hours a day is a long day, especially with kids, and even more so when you are only giving yourself 2 hours of your day outside of the car. You will do everyone a favor if you spend at least a little bit of time finding things to enjoy along the way. You don't have to spend hours upon hours, but just little stops here and there to have something during your trip that will be worth remembering is important.

    Your eating plans sound pretty horrific to me. I don't mind the occational fast food trip, but do you really think that you'll want to subsist on nothing else for a week?

    Not every roadtrip can be a leasurely stroll, but even trips on a quick timetable can be enjoyable. Being that you've never taken more than a 4-5 hour roadtrip, I think you are still trying to do more than what you should realistically expect to do.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default With a dog too?

    You have two kids and a dog and you think you can average 600-650/day without any problem? I totally admire your optimistic spirit. And I hope you have a spouse/partner to share driving duties with. This pace is going to wear everybody out fast. I predict you'll be able to do it for two days, at most, before tempers start exploding.

    When you say you won't be dining it but, rather, dining out. I hope you mean out of the car. Find places like parks and picnic areas where the kids and dog can run as much as possible. In fact, if you're really only going to allow a quick stop for this, it's probably best to have the adults prep/eat/clean-up while the kids and dog play, and then let the kids eat in the car. I guess the dog can grab a few quick bites on the run.

    Even so, I think the adults are going to be quite weary at this pace. So be sure to stop and rest from driving if you get to the point where your nerves are shot and you are fatigued. This is when people can start to make dangerous mistakes and we don't want you to be a statistic.

  7. #7

    Default Look ahead

    I will second (third?) what's said about taking I-10 back east instead of I-40--I would not do it. The additional distance is virtually a full day added at the end, not to mention you will have "earned" a chance to travel I-95 back up from the Deep South. In much of GA, SC, NC, and VA, I-95 is a lousy road, rough, only 2 lanes each way, and congested. I'm a firm believer that additional distance and congestion are more troublesome, and dangerous, than all but the worst of winter weather.

    Look ahead at the weather forecasts, and unless widespread ice is predicted for AZ on east, take I-40 to Knoxville, TN, thence I-81 up through VA, thence I-66 into DC. Within this recommendation is a respectful disagreement with AZ Buck's route. My 40/81/66 route keeps you completely out of the mountains of WV, and having just traveled from NC to CA on 40, the cities encountered are fairly small and uncongested, unlike some encountered on the slightly more direct route. Off the cuff, I think the route suggested by AZ Buck is something on the order of 100 miles shorter, and despite my position on extra distance to avoid, staying out of the upper midwest and the mountains of WV is worth that little extra, in my humble opinion.

    One note about terminology: I think CA is the only location where "the" precedes the route number. Arriving in DC and discussing the 495, the 95, and the 66 will have the locals looking at you as if you are speaking a foreign language.

    Best of luck,


  8. Default

    Thanks for all the advice .
    I will be taking the I10 to the I15 to I40 all the way to I81 to 66.

    This is how I have planned my trip.

    Day 1. La to Flagstaff AZ ( 480 miles I think we could get further but well have a late start the day we leave)

    Day 2. Flagstaff to Amarillo Tx (600 miles)

    Day 3. Amarillo to little rock Ark (600 miles)

    Day 4. Little Rock to Knoxville Tn (527)

    Day 5. Knoxville to D.C (480 give or take a few)

    Do you think this is a realistic plan?

    As for the family getting fussy, I think they won't.
    They've got a portable DVD player, with lots of movies and some trivia DVD's
    Gameboy DS, PSP's, magazines ,toys ETC.
    Plus they are really well behaved boys.

    Thanks a bunch for all the replys.

    Happy Thanksgiving! gooble gooble

  9. Default

    I made it in 4 days. to be honest it was fairly easy. the children was easy to please and the weather was great.

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