I'm moving to San Jose to start a job in early January and plan to rent a small Uhaul (with car in tow) to make the trip west after Christmas, planning on I-80 the whole way. My girlfriend will be joining me on the drive and we are both accustomed to driving stretches of 500 miles alone. Fortunately, I have a lot of time to work with, as my last day at my current job is Dec 21 and I won't start the new job until Jan 7. That said, I don't plan to leave any earlier than Dec 26 and would like to arrive no later than Jan 3, in order to have some time to settle in before beginning the new job.
So, at most that gives me 9 days to make the 2,840 mile trip, but it's more likely that I'll leave a few days later than the 26th. I'm figuring that the fastest we could make the trip would be 4 days, requiring 700 miles of driving per day with little, if any time for stops along the way and assuming perfect weather. More realistically, I am planning for at least 5, maybe 6 days, giving us the option to stop and enjoy a bit more of the drive, maybe even take a break to ski near Park City or in Tahoe, as neither of us have been through that part of the country before. Lots of possibilities, we could certainly try to make 700 miles the first two days and then slow down as we reach the Rockies. A lot will depend on the weather. I've driven in plenty of snow, but not in a Uhaul with a small car behind me (though it will be on a full trailer and the Uhaul with be the smallest, a 10 footer).
I know the weather is the uncertain factor, but does a plan of starting fast and slowing down out west seem reasonable? As for hotels, I had thought about booking them all ahead of time, but then that takes away freedom from the trip and would likely result in added stress. I assume that along I-80 there are plenty of hotels and motels one can find at leisure without much trouble, especially in winter?
Much thanks for the advice!