Newb: looking for tips on drive time
Nice to be here :)
I'm planning a road trip from london, ontario to whitehorse yukon. I've got no set limit on the number of days the round trip should take so I've just been planning the route based on things I want to do and how much driving per day I think I could take.
For now I've been setting myself a cutoff of 10 hours a day on the road, but I'm starting to think that that may not be enough to take into account the unplanned stops, gas breaks and the occasional spontaneous camera clicking. While still getting me to days end on time. So I'm thinking that I have to concentrate on this being more of a speed run so my actual driving time equals what I'm doing on google maps or shorten the number of google map driving hours per day.
What do you guys think? Am I underestimating the amount of time I'll be on the road or overestimating the number of driving-time-sapping stops I'll be making?
P.S. In the days and weeks to come I can guarantee you I'll have more questions :)
Google maps gives you drive time at the speed limit with no stops whatsoever and does not account for any traffic or construction delays. I'd recommend you reset Google for 8 hour days. If you plan on crossing into the US, plan on possible lengthy delays at the border crossings both ways.
Setting my Microsoft software to 8 hour days, it says 7 days to make that trip by fastest (not necessarily shortest) route. This takes you across to the US at Sarnia, through Chicago, and back into Canada below Winnipeg, then through Regina and Edmonton. With border delays and other miscellaneous stops, etc. I'd plan on 8 days.
Staying in Canada by going to Toronto and Sudbury is only 100 miles longer but adds a whole day according to my software.
Food and Creature comfort questions
In planning to travel to whitehorse I'm now looking at the food aspects of a 10-day(one-way) trip. I'm planning on buying a cooler but not sure what size I should be looking at or even if cooler can mean something other than plastic-box-that-keeps-things-cool.
Are there such a thing as "cooler features" that I should be looking for?
For the food that goes in that cooler, is there anything edible that I should be expecting to last the 10-day trip or should I fully expect to empty out and replenish that cooler multiple times?
I also see a lot of people talking about spending much of their foraging time at grocery stores. I like this idea as it would probably be a lot cheaper(not to mention healthier) than fast food lunches and fine dining dinners. But, I've often found that mcdonald's can be the most convenient food to eat while driving as the regular hamburgers and cheeseburgers are easily weilded with one hand. What foodstuffs have you all found to work best in a car, whether driving or taking a break from the road?
For creature comforts the only thing I can think of are those beads you can put on the drivers seat. When on extended trips(I'm looking at 3 hours max drive time between rests) what has worked best for keeping your back, neck and lower extremities relaxed and un-blood clotted?
Thanks for all the help!
There are a lot of different options for coolers. There's the basic plastic box that you put ice in, there are coolers that plug in to your car's 12v accessory outlet.
The only thing that I can think of that would last a 10-day trip after being opened are things like salami, not the healthiest choice. But with smart packing, you can get things to last awhile. For instance, packing frozen food (such as meats) can help keep the cooler cold until you're ready to thaw and eat. It takes some getting used to the timing, but it can be done.
The grocery store option is one I use on every trip. It can still get pricey if you're not careful to make a list beforehand. You could come up with a menu for each day of your trip and stick to that if you want. Many supermarkets have a food service area now with salad bars, roaster chickens, etc, which can be helpful if you don't feel like cooking but want something good to eat. Just be careful not to go too late in the day or you'll be eating the heat lamp specials!
I'm not big on eating and driving. I'd much rather take the time to enjoy what I'm eating (although I did once find an interesting location due to Fig Newtons.) So, having a small grill along gives more options. Buy some hamburg at a grocery store and cook it up at a stop along the route. Why stop there when you could prepare a nice porterhouse?
As far as creature comforts, having a vehicle with good seats to begin with is a must, but if this isn't an option, then getting out for frequent rests is a very good idea. If you find you're in the "white-knuckle" driving position, then it's definitely time to find a rest area. I tend to sit in a more upright position when driving and I find that I can go for hours like that if needed.
If you are going to use a cooler, bring plenty of zipper bags - both quart and gallon size - to keep stuff in so it doesn't get wet and to help keep it fresh and safe.
Cooking can be a pain due to all the utensils required, and the hassles of cleaning it all up and repacking it.
Hotelling and side food question
I'm working on the finding-places-to-live part of the trip and would like to know what I should be looking for in a hotel/motel/lodge/whathaveyou?
So far I'm keeping track of which ones offer a breakfast, smoking rooms(cause I'm the devil), CAA discounts, built-in restaurant, laundry services and things I haven't yet considered important(the extras).
But if there is anything I should add to that list I'd love to know.
As an aside, I sorta tried planning how much money I'll eat per day, I came up with $30 but then thought that might be higher then needed. Any advice?
Thanks for the help!
Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-07-2009 at 05:56 PM.
Reason: Merged all questions about this trip into the same thread
When you get out into the middle of nowhere, your food costs will be higher if you have to buy anything onsite. You also can't be too fussy with hotels, what you see is what you get out there, and they are not cheap.
When it comes to accommodation, once you are north of about Jasper / Prince George, it is thin on the ground. What does your CAA accommodation guide tell you?
As for a cooler, may I suggest that you look into the possibility of purchasing a small 12v fridge. These are quite cheap, and if you get one with a power pack for plugging into a wall socket, you can leave it on all day in the car, and plug it in at your accommodation at night. (Do not leave it on in the car if you want to be able to start the car in the morning.)
No wet mess. No ice to buy. More reliable than an ice filled cooler. And you'll have a cooler which will do for any future roadtrips.
I find that this way I can purchase milk, cheese, vegies and fruit as well as drink, and keep them until eaten. I do however, not keep meat, fish or chicken in mine for more than 36 hours. Tins of tuna / salmon and such are a good standby. Here is a good guide.
As for which foods are most convenient for eating in the car. I make a point of not eating in the car unless it is absolutely pouring with rain. Get some excercise and fresh air. Get the blood pumping so you will be alert for the next leg and you won't need to worry about blood clots.
If you will be driving up the AlCan, there are few places to restock your cooler beyond Dawson Creek. Same thing on the Cassair, beyond Smithers there's really not much at all until you get to the junction with the AlCan, but no real grocery stores till you get to Whitehorse.
Lifey who is looking forward to her trip up there
Last edited by Lifemagician; 04-08-2009 at 04:04 AM.
Can't help with accomodations, but I can help with food!
Read this post. It should give you lots of ideas of what to pack, including things that will keep.
I have a 12volt plug-in fridge (sized to fit 9 cans) but it really doesn't keep things as cold as the ice chest. I will move what I want handy for during the drive into the 12volt but keep the balance of the items in the ice chest. For example, if I suspect I might want a yogurt, hard-boiled egg, some cheese, grapes, and a tuna-fish sandwich while on the road that day, I'll put them in the 12volt. But I keep the bulk of the food with the ice and just do those transfers once or twice a day. I'll also move a pop and a water bottle into the 12volt so it's cold when I want it. I keep this within reach and transfer one in when I take the other out.
So I think the 12volts are quite handy but would not depend on them to keep multiple days worth of food cold.
I've not done this myself because I'm not big into packaged meals but I have a friend who just told me that she buys some of the new meals that don't need refrigeration. She said you can get various things like this but I haven't checked it out much. And then she just heats it in a pot over her camping stove or, if staying in a hotel with a microwave, does that. So these might be worth looking into and stocking up on to avoid having to pay higher food prices when you get farther north. And you could do the same thing with canned foods if you don't mind eating canned ravioli, spaghetti-o's, and stuff like that. At least you'll know it will keep. These aren't to my taste but would be handy in a pinch. Although I wouldn't mind doing this with some good canned soups.
Hope this helps a bit.
Judy, my little 12v fridge holds more than two dozen cans of drink. I have heard that the tiny ones (6 - 9 cans) do not have a temperature control and do not really keep food for any length of time. So I got the bigger one, which does.
The one I have here at home would hold many dozens of cans, and I have it full of food on trips.
Last edited by Lifemagician; 04-08-2009 at 04:28 PM.