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  1. Default BOS to LA in 4 or 5 days

    So, ive been on this forum for a few weeks doing a lot of research and reading everyones threads. Theyve been very helpful. I figured id share my story, or my plan, and gather any remaining advice or helpful hints from you guys before we set off.

    Okay, so this is a one way drive. We're going Boston to Los Angeles, time isnt a huge issue. Ive planned it out so we'll make it in 4 days, 3 nights give or take. Its me (23 year old) and my 18 year old sister and its both our first journey. We're not necessarily looking for the fastest route, but more the safest route. We arent going rt 90 or 80 the whole way because we're leaving Jan 30th and we dont want to get stuck in any bad snow storms and such.

    The plan is to take 90 out of Boston, towards New York on 84 (i wanted to avoid NY traffic/tolls but i suppose we'll have to suck this part of the trip up), then through PA on rte 76 to rte 70 which will take us to St. Louis, then take rte 44 through Oklahoma City to 40, through Vegas to Los Angeles.

    Ive done a handful of mixmatched interstate systems and this seems to be the best for us. We'll be heading through the Appalachian mtns, which will be a first for me. Im hoping the weather wont be too bad.

    Money isnt too limited. We want to get one or two 2 star hotels (50 est) one outside St Louis, and one outside Oklahoma City. We wanted to sleep in the car for a night but im hesitant because, as ive been reading a lot about truck stops (somebody on this forum suggested this ), i havent read anything solid, it all says you gotta make sure the truckstops are okay with a car being there over night. I havent found any solid evidence of people actually doing this, and where exactly. If we did, it would be on rte 40 in NM or AZ. I was thinking Gallup, NM, or outside Flagstaff, AZ

    We'll be splitting gas, and buying groceries before we leave. We dont want to sight-see too much, maybe every once in while on a long drive. We basically just want to drive the whole way. Which i dont mind, i have a little bit of long distance driving experience.

    Our first day the drive to St Louis is 15 hours, which we'll do overnight (or early the next day) and switch off. I know sleeping in the car (while in motion) really sucks, but im pretty active on less sleep than normal. Our second day will be another 15ish hour drive, which we could break up by getting lunch somewhere on the way and/or taking long pull-over breaks. Our third day will be another long drive to Gallup, NM, then the next day we'll split up the last drive by seeing the Grand Canyon and Vegas. We're actually staying with my Aunt in Vegas that night, so we wont have to cover a hotel cost for that.

    So thats that. Any helpful advice, opinions, or small things we could check otu along the way would be wonderful. Thanks guys!

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

    Default a dangerous contradiction

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but you've started your planning with an incredible contradiction.

    You talk about wanting to find a safe route - and then you proceed to build a trip where you'll drive from Boston to St. Louis in one sitting - which is one of the most dangerous things you can do while planning a trip!

    First of all, any route can see bad weather. The route you've picked simply is not any more or less likely to see a winter storm than say I-80 or I-70.

    Much more importantly, Boston to St. Louis is near 1200 miles. That's 2 full days on the road, and you couldn't do it in 15 hours even with a police escort. You would have to AVERAGE 80 miles per hour! In the real world, you're looking at about 21 hours on the road!

    Even if you stopped near Indianapolis, where your map seems to indicate, that's still a good 17+ hours of driving.

    Simply put there is no way to do that safely. Your plan to rotate sleeping is extremely dangerous, as there is no way to make sure the driver stays awake while the other person is asleep. Since you don't have a 3rd person to do a real rotation, that means keeping your days on the road to 10-12 hours max, or roughly 600 miles per day.

    If you want to do this trip safely, you need to add at least one more day on the road to do this trip and that's if you eliminate all of your extra detours at the end and you don't see any bad weather. If you want to include the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, you need to plan on this trip taking much closer to a week.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Hear! Hear!!

    Michael is of course, spot on. There is absolutely no way you can do this trip in four days. Even mature, experienced professional drivers do it in 5+ days, and that is in summer with longer daylight and with little or no chance of weather holdups.

    Having driven this exact route on more than one occasion, and considering your and your sister's experience you are looking at a week's driving with minimal sightseeing. It is also extremely unwise and outright dangerous to drive at times when you would normally be asleep.

    Perhaps these statistics will give you some insight.

    If you are really in that much of a hurry to get there, and since this is a one way trip, the wise thing to do is to fly.

    Lifey who puts safety first

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The fastest SAFE route BOS-LA is:

    I-90/I-80/I-76/I-15/I-10 in FIVE days with overnight stops near:

    Cleveland OH
    Iowa City IA
    Fort Morgan CO
    Richfield UT

  5. Default

    Okay fantastic, thanks so much for your input. Clearly i havent done this before so i value your opinions. I will add on an extra night to the trip, since we arent in a hurry. and of course, we want the safest route.

    So 600 miles a day, huh? Okay thanks for the advice for that one. Its good to have a number to go by when planning drives instead of just google maps.

    Thanks again guys, any other advice is much appreciated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico


    Quote Originally Posted by hlmackinnon
    We wanted to sleep in the car for a night.......
    If we did, it would be on rte 40 in NM or AZ. I was thinking Gallup, NM, or outside Flagstaff, AZ.
    You might want to re-think this, too. Both Gallup and Flagstaff get pretty cold at night during the winter. Nighttime temperatures in the single digits/below 0° F are not uncommon at all.

    Also, I assume the marker on your map marked “LV” means the Love’s truck stop in Albuquerque. That is not somewhere you would want to park overnight. Trust me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default good points

    I'm glad to hear you are adding at least another night. That will give you time to make the trip in a much more safe manner - but again, that's really not going to leave much extra time for sightseeing or detours to places like Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

    Truck stops are generally safe places to stop for the night, but some common sense is also needed. I would in general stay away from the ones in/near major cities which can be in rough parts of town and attract an undesirable element.

    But I'd say sleeping in your car would be difficult in general for this trip. You've got the weather that was already mentioned - you'll need some serious cold weather gear or you'll be too busy shivering to sleep (and no, running your car's engine should not be an option, unless the idea of not waking up is alright with you). You've also got the simple fact that its hard enough for one person to have space to sleep comfortably in the average car - trying to sleep two inside of one is often just not possible. If you do go this route, I'd try it at home first, and see if the 2 of you can actually sleep with the car parked in your driveway in winter. I think you'll both find that actually getting out of the car and into a bed after a long day on the road will be well worth the money.

  8. Default

    Great input, thank you. I'll probably skip the whole truck stop idea all together. Like i said, i was iffy to begin with. I was sort of waiting for someone to say "yeah! do it!!" or "hell no, not a good idea!". Haha so thank you. It sounds like too much of a fluster to even bother.

    And Mike, our destination is actually Vegas cause my aunt will be there and we'll be staying with her for a day. The only sightseeing will be grand caynon. But thanks though, im glad i made this post. the more input, the better!!


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Truck Stops

    On my recent trip I spent dozens of nights at truck stops, ensuring always that these were truck stops which welcomed recreational vehicles to park overnight.

    Since you do not have sleeping facilities for yourself and your sister, in your vehicle, I did not see any point in coming out and saying 'yeah, I did this'. But I can assure you that there are many who do have a mattress and sleeping space in a vehicle, who do stop at truck stops. It is completely save and there are publications available which indicate the truck stops where these are made most welcome.

    Lifey who feels good at truck stops

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