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  1. Default New Orleans to Grand Canyon

    Hello all! My girlfriend and I wish to drive from our home in New Orleans to the Grand Canyon, and possibly Zion National Park. We have seven to eight days. Is this even realistic? Unfortunately, we cannot afford to fly out and rent a car, so driving the whole way is our only option.

    I am new to long road trips with multiple destinations... the most I have done is a week in the Smokies (far less driving)

    Seeing the Grand Canyon is a must for us (we have never been out west). We intend to visit the North Rim of the canyon, which would put us closer to Zion.

    I realize that this trip involves a LOT of driving. We are, of course, trying to find stopping points along the way that will provide both lodging and sightseeing (i.e. Carlsbad Cavern). Here is a tentative itinerary for our trip:

    Friday @ noon - Depart from NOLA
    Friday night - arrive in Houston, spend night with friends
    Saturday AM- depart Houston
    Saturday PM- arrive Carlsbad Caverns
    Sunday- enjoy Carlsbad
    Monday AM- depart Carlsbad
    Monday PM - arrive late to Grand Canyon North Rim (lodging in jacob lake, most likely)
    Tuesday-Wed - Grand Canyon
    Thursday- Zion
    Friday noon - depart zion
    Friday PM, Saturday PM -hotels, etc. on drive back
    Sunday PM - arrive New Orleans

    These times are based on Google maps estimates. How accurate are these for such a trip?

    Carlsbad could in theory be replaced by albuquerque, which would involve lodging only and no sightseeing.

    Is this even humanly possible without several dozen cups of coffee and duct tape for our eyelids? Are we going to kill each other from being in a confined space for so long? Any input would be appreciated. If any of this is unclear, let me know :)

    Thanks for reading,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not Terribly Realistic

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I'm sorry to say that every driving time you have is a gross underestimate of what it will really take. As we are forced to point out over and over, the times that Google Maps, Mapquest or other mapping sites give you are fantasies. They assume that you will be driving at or above the speed limit every second you are on the road, that you will never encounter any traffic, that your car will never need fuel, that you will never need food, even that you can drive 10 hours straight without so much as a restroom break. Here in the real world, 550 miles is a very good day indeed and 600 miles is really starting to push what is sane and safe. And even that can be accomplished only if you make only the most minimal and essential stops and otherwise drive continuously at Interstate speeds.

    While you might be able to make the 650 miles from Houston to Carlsbad Caverns in a day of very hard driving, you will not be in the best of shape to then hike the caverns the next day. And there is simply no way you're going to be able to drive the 825 miles from Carlsbad to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in a day. Similarly, the 1760 miles from Zion back to New Orleans is going to be closer to 3½ days rather than the 2½ you have scheduled.

    You're going to need to cut back significantly on how much driving you plan to do and/or cut out time sent seeing the places your driving to. I would suggest that what would be possible and enjoyable would be a trip that took a little more time to get to the Grand Canyon, went to the South Rim instead of the more inaccessible North Rim, and used the 'extra' time gained to see some of the sights between there and New Orleans rather than trying to get as far as possible.


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