From South Carolina to California, back and forth, in 8-9 days ?
I'm thinking about going on a road trip to California from South carolina with a friend during the spring break. The ideal destination in Cali would be San Francisco. First of all my car is a pretty old ford taurus and the mechanical issues are my first problem, do you think that such a trip would kill it ? Then speaking of the road itself, is it enough time to do so ? Is 4-5 days a reasonable basis to cross the country ?
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Since I'm not a mechanic and I've never seen your car, I'm hardly the one to tell you whether it is up to the trip you have planned. Before I took a car that I had any doubts about farther away than my best friend would drive to pick me up, I'd have it thoroughly checked out by a competent mechanic who knew what I had in mind. What I do know is that 9 days is insufficient to get to San Francisco and back from South Carolina in anything like an enjoyable manner. I suppose that the two of you could make it one-way in a 4½ day Seed Run, dip your toes in the Pacific, and immediately get back in the car and do another grueling 4½ day drive. But it wouldn't be fun, so what's the point?
I agree with everything AZBuck said!
Just want to add that if your car is questionable, why not do a short loop trip close to home. If a breakdown happens, you're not too far from home and help. And you could make a lovely drive on backroads, exploring nearby things that you've often wanted to visit but haven't taken the time for. It's kinda funny how people will visit our home areas as tourists but then we will ignore the things tourists find fascinating even though it's in our backyard.
Of course, if the mechanic checks out your car and deems it worthy, you could do a bigger loop. Maybe to Key West and back? Or a loop along the Gulf Coast? Something interesting like that but more do-able in your timeframe.
Spring Break is supposed to be for fun
I'm hard-pressed to see the fun in such a trip, and I'm an enthusiastic road-tripper. Case in point:
I just completed, in October 2007, my first coast-to-coast trip to California, a Raleigh, NC to Ventura, CA trip for the purpose of ferrying my US Navy son's pickup truck from home to his base following a 6 month deployment overseas. The trip, with a 1/2 day detour through Grand Canyon National Park and another 1/2 day to Hoover Dam, was 2,800 miles. We left on a Sunday afternoon and arrived on Wednesday night. Excepting the detour/sightseeing, it meant starting out between 0430 and 0600 each day, one sit-down meal (breakfast), then I-40 West signs, coffee, Love's radar hotdogs, and a post-sundown stop at a motel, quick supper, and crash. We drove a very comfortable late-model long wheelbase pickup truck in excellent condition, so the ride was as good as it gets short of a luxury sedan or SUV of some sort. Once in California, I stayed in the Ventura area for a few days, drove +300 miles north to visit family, then back to Ventura for a flight back to NC. I could not imagine the tedium of having to drive BACK across the country after what I'd done getting out there. In fact, his orders come June may require that he relocate back East, and I'm already bumming on the thought of another speed-run that soon.
Sure, I'm 52, not 22, I still would not recommend such a trip. I'd predict the adrenaline would run out somewhere between Amarillo and Tucumcari--westbound. The other 75% of the round trip could be sheer drudgery. I'd take a shorter trip and have more time at the destination.