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  1. #1

    Default Southeast Minnesota To Palm Springs, CA

    In the Mid to Late February, My Girlfriend and I need to Drive From Southeast Minnesota to Palm Springs CA. I will leave about 6pm on a Thursday, and Want to arrive with enough time for relaxation and fun in CA before having to leave for my return trip on the following Wednesday.

    I figure if I do a 7 hour day, then two 12 hour days, I should arrive late saturday night, giving me 3 1/2 days vacation in the desert. I'm willing to extend the road trip up to 1 day for stops along the way. We are in our late 20's, so we still have a bit of energy for these long days.

    I have two questions
    1) Where do you suggest be the "Must Stop" places along the way? Either Hotels to stay at, or sites to see.
    2) Once in Palm Springs area, what day trips do you suggest?

    Attached is a link to my planned route. I chose the longer southern route because driving through Colorado in February does not seem like a good idea, and the 2 hour difference will probably be made up in road conditions.

    I have marked stops along the way to give ideas for rest and stretching every 3-4 hours, but if you suggest a change, let me know.

    Feel free to open the link, modify the route, and post the link to the new google map you suggest.,39.199219&z=5

    Note: I am also a GeoCacher, so I good geo stop might be fun!

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

    Default several common mistakes

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    From the looks of your plan, you've made several common mistakes in your planning.

    First, the amount of time you are planning to be on the road is simply fantasy. Remember, online mapping programs assume you'll never have to stop, slow down, get gas, or do anything but drive non stop. This trip will take at the bare minimum 36-38 hours on the road - but in any case its a trip that needs to be measured in days not hours.

    I think you are also really overestimating how far you can travel in a day and maintain your peak level of alertness. Leaving presumably after a full day of work, and then planning to drive until 1-2 am just isn't a smart way to get your trip off on the right foot. 12 hours a day on the road is doable, but that's a long day that leaves almost no extra time, and you'll generally cover about 600 miles in that day.

    Simply put, there is no way that you can safely leave Winona on at 6pm on a Thursday and arrive in Southern California on Saturday. Quite frankly, if you planned to arrive late Sunday, you'd be pushing things and would have nearly no time for stopping.

    You've also made the common mistake of assuming weather along I-40 will be better. The route you've selected frequently sees ice storms across the southern plains, and crosses several mountain passes above 7000 feet through New Mexico and Arizona that can and do see snow. There are many times that I-80 or I-70 are better choices, but that depends completely on the actual conditions and forecasts. The fact is any of those route could see a storm that could force you to slow down or even stop for a day.

    Its not going to be impossible to do this trip and have a good time, but I think you really are going to have to rework your expectations, and understand that more realistically you're only going to have about 2 days in the desert based on the amount of time you've told us you have to work with and the kind of trip you want to do.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the Notes Michael, We do have two drivers, so we can endure a bit longer on peak alertness. I have done Wisconsin to Philly before on a straight through drive with two drivers, as well as Wisconsin to western Montana, and even Wisconsin to Las Vegas.

    Also, From my experience, Online maps have gotten much more accurate, even to the side of conservative. The majority of the time, when it comes to highway travels, the Map UNDER estimates the time it will take.

    Time of travel aside, could you elaborate more about some of the differences between I-40 and I-80 for me? Where do you suggest I go to check driving condition forecasts for either of those routes? I am allowing the flexability into the schedule, so if I have to change my route the day I leave, then so be it.

    Like I said earlier, this schedule is based on best case scenario of travel time, with a padding of 24 hours for contingencies.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default beyond our recommendations

    If you're the kind of person who thinks that you safely drove from Wisconsin to Philly or Las Vegas, in one sitting, while maintaining peak alertness even with 2 drivers, then I don't think you'll get much support for the kind of trip you want to do on this site. Simply put, its a very immature type of thinking where you've gambled and won. There have been countless people killed because they thought what you did was safe and we'll simply hope that you don't engage in that kind of action in the future.

    If you're finding mapping programs to be conservative, then you either aren't factoring in your stops, or you are spending the vast majority of your trip greatly exceeding the speed limit. In this case, Google estimates that you'd be averaging 65 miles per hour, yet mathamatically, with only the most basic of quick stops, you'd have to be traveling at a cruising speed of about 90 miles per hour for most of your trip to get that for an average.

    There are any number of weather sites you can use to take a look at the forecast. Some of my favorites include using from the weather channel, and going right to the National Weather Service website.

  5. #5

    Default The I-95 "Dead Zone" claims two more today

    In today's central North Carolina news is word of two more DOAs along I-95 in the North Carolina Coastal Plain. The two deceased were from Newark, NJ and had gone to Florida to pick up a car. Sharing the driving, they got halfway back and the driver fell asleep at around 0445 this morning. A car carrier tractor-trailer ran them over from behind as they ricocheted off the guardrail. The mashed car caught fire and both NJ residents were killed.

    This happens so often here in NC the DOT has installed "rumble strips" along the edges of the travel lanes within the long, flat, straight segments of I-95, and a cable arresting system in the median, in an attempt to awaken drivers before they wreck and in order to keep them from flying into oncoming traffic if they don't awaken. Our position around halfway between NY and FL puts us at the place where all-nighters frequently fall asleep between 2 and 5am, giving rise to the term "The Dead Zone".

    There is essentially no way to get meaningful rest in a moving automobile seat. "Sharing the driving" means sharing the weariness. Doing it extensively moves the question from "if" to "when".


  6. #6

    Default Clarificaition of Straight Through

    Let me clarify to you what I mean by driving straight through. A 12 hour day on the road consists of a 14-15 hour trip. Taking breaks along the way, and switching drivers every break

    Wake up at 5:30, on the road by 6
    Stop for breakfast at 9, 30 minute break
    Drive another 3 hours, lunch break at 12:30, 30 minute break
    Drive until 3:30ish, 15 minute stretch break
    Drive until 6:30, 45 minute dinner break
    Another hour or 2, stop at a hotel by 9, asleep by 9:30
    8 Full hours sleep, do it again.

    My Family has been doing road trips my entire life. That is the schedule that has always been used for a grueling pace trip. #1 rule is you never drive more than 4 hours at a time, if all drivers feel any drowsiness, you stop and rest, simple as that.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-12-2010 at 04:14 PM. Reason: Good Neighbor Rules

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    never drive more than 4 hours at a time
    stop at a hotel by 9, asleep by 9:30
    8 Full hours sleep
    If you religiously adhere to this, you are being as responsible as you can be when doing a "speed run".

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