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  1. Default PA to San Jose move

    Hi folks - this seems like a great frendly forum, and I've learned a lot by lurking, but I have a couple of questions:
    I'm moving from western Pennsylvania to San Jose, Ca at the end of this month, and due to the fact I have a pet bird and dog whom I'd never torture by putting into cargo on an airplane, I'll be driving. I'm pretty excited because I think it will be a great trip to mark my huge life change by moving to the west coast.

    So, my current plans are this: I have a friend in Kentucky whom I haven't seen for ages, so I was going to visit her after the first day's drive, and then I have another friend in St. Louis who would be great to visit. My mother wants to drive with me, but due to her age, medical condition, etc. I don't want to subject her to the whole thing, so I was thinking of flying her into St. Louis and we'd drive off from there. So the first bit of the route is pretty well set for me (until St. Louis), but the rest of it is a bit up in the air.

    Mapquest has me going along route 70 until I hit Kansas city then head north to 80 for the rest of the way. I could also stay on 70 until Denver, head north and then do 80 for the rest of the way. Which route is more interesting? The difference in milage is minimal.

    Also it looks like it's slightly more than 2000 miles from St Louis to San Jose, would it be reasonable to plan for 4 days for that? Or is it more difficult driving and I need more time?

    And finally, an equipment question - I'm planning on buying a little 12v cooler for the trip with a converter plug to use when I'm in the hotel rooms - do you think one of those things could handle being on 23/7 for a week or more, or would the motor burn out?

    Any other hints, advice?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default ideas

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I don't think there would be too much difference between taking I-29/I-80 or I-70/I-25 from Kansas City. The I-70 route would take you through Denver, and I suspect I-80 would be a little bit faster.

    Personally, I'd take I-70, but keep taking it all the way into Utah, and then cut up to Salt Lake City via US-6. Lots of great mountain views with this option, although it might take a little more time.

    Either way, 4 days should be about the right amount of time to cover this distance. You'll have full days on the road, but not unbearably long.

    As far as the cooler goes, I have one and it works ok. I don't think you'd have a problem wearing it out over just a week. However, I will say that I found I like just using a small cooler better because it seems to do a better job of keeping things at lower temperatures.

  3. #3

    Default Highways, cooler

    Hello Lisa-

    It's a little difficult for me to describe either I-70 in Kansas and eastern Colorado or I-80 through Nebraska as "interesting". I would, however, lean slightly towards Nebraska and I-80 simply because much of the route follows the Platte River and you at least get some cottonwood trees along the floodplain in the bargain whereas trees are very few and far between on I-70. I tend to avoid large cities when I can, so staying away from Denver and the I-25 corridor north of there would send me through Nebraska, too.

    I think 4 days for the 2,000 miles is quite reasonable. You should have a little time each day to stop and smell the roses (or cactus, sagebrush, etc).

    I've never favored the 12v coolers simply on the basis of size. The ones I've seen are pretty small in terms of storage volume. The only one I've been around pumped a lot of heat into the pickup truck cab, too. Perhaps that's not an issue with a larger vehicle interior. I favor small regular coolers and simply ice them down each morning and evening via the usually free motel ice machine.

    Have a great time planning and taking your trip!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default How much do you want to explore?

    Four days is definitely about the right amount of time. We typically recommend people drive no more than 500 miles per day in order to have time to explore a bit but still cover some miles. But that is our maximum miles per day recommendation. If you want a more leisurely drive with a bit more time for exploring, and also a drive that might better suit your mom's health condition, I would suggestion stretching it out to at least a fifth day. Of course, the more days the better if you want to have a leisurely drive.

    I have a small 12-volt cooler (holds about 9 cans). I have mixed feelings on it. It can be handy but since I make a lot of stops, and since I worry that it will draw the battery down if left on when I'm not driving, I tend to put a ziploc baggie or small plastic container full of us in it to keep things cold anyway. I really don't think it's all that much better than just having a smaller cooler with plastic containers to put ice into (so you food stays dry). But, then again, I have friends who think it's the bomb. So, it can be handy but it's really not a necessity, imho.

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