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  1. Default SEA to NASHVILLE in DEC20/JAN21


    Kicking this to the top in case there is any new info/advice. We are moving to Nashville from Seattle in DEC or JAN, and considering driving to save the cost of transporting our pets and vehicle.

    My initial thought was to plan for 5 driving days, after leaving Seattle in the early AM on day 1. I would plan so that using a 6th day of travel is possible in case of road closures.

    Our first priority would be avoiding potential closures, so we would not be traveling across WY. I also know NE Oregon can get pretty tricky as well as Snoqualmie Pass here in WA.

    The second priority would be seeing a few sights, as we have never been through most of the middle of the country. That could get tricky, though, with certain things closed during winter months (Most of Yellowstone, for example).

    We would not be reserving hotels in advance, as we would be planning to decide on the fly when we've had enough traveling for the day and then book something nearby.

    Any thoughts/ideas/advice anyone has would be much appreciated! :-)
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-05-2020 at 09:42 AM. Reason: Moved post to its own thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I don't think there's much new advice to add. with the exception of the precautions you'd take for COVID (assuming it's still hanging around then): hand sanitizers, wipes, mask, wash your hands a lot.

    I'm not sure I would automatically kick out a route at this point, though. Since you aren't going to make any reservations, you can take the route with the best weather predictions. I'm glad to see you're prepared for a 6th day in the event that weather holds you up.

    You're correct about so much being closed in the winter months in the northern reaches of the country. Only the Gardiner area of Yellowstone is open unless you have snowshoes or are willing to take a snowbus tour of some sort (IF those are even running, I haven't looked into that.) Other places ARE open, with limited services and/or hours, in the winter months. You'd have to research each individual venue -- but that is only if you have time.

    Seattle to Nashville, by the easiest interstate route, is 2400 miles (give or take a few), which is a solid 5 days of driving without doing any sightseeing. Add a stop to see Mount Rushmore, for instance, and you've added at LEAST 3 hours to your trip (traveling to/from the interstate to the monument, looking at it for an hour).


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    We appreciate you looking at old threads, but since each trip is different, we like to give each trip its own thread.

    Overall, I think you've done your homework, as your plan seems very solid. 6 days will be a nice amount of time, where you should have time for exploration even if you see some bad weather.

    I will say I-90 is generally going to be the preferred route across the Rockies, as it is at lower elevation, but as you've noted already, the weather forecast should always be your first guide post.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Five or Six Days: The Decision Point

    As Donna pointed out, at 2,400 miles(±) by the most direct route (I-94/I-90/I-29/I-70/I-64/I-57/I-24), you won't really have much time for major sight-seeing stops, certainly not if they entail significant detours from that short-as-possible route. You would only have time for a few near-the-highway rest stops.

    I also wouldn't leave the Seattle area much earlier than your normal rise and shine time. That's just going to interfere with your normal circadian rhythm and leave you exhausted long before the end of Day 1. Then there's the fact that in December and January daylight hours are significantly reduced. If I were planning this trip for my wife and myself, I would definitely plan on taking six days


  5. Default

    I tend to be a bit more pessimistic about travel times, especially on long multi day trips. I always use an average speed of 50mph and hope for better; usually I do better but sometimes I do worse. Your 2400 mile trip would be 48 hours in my book.

    Sure, you may be cruising along at 75 or 80 mph, but you won’t average that. Traffic, accidents, construction, rain will all slow you down. And the clock is still running when you stop for gas, meals, potty stops or whatever. Plan on 50mph and you’ll be happy that you’re making great time. Plan on 70 mph and you’ll be under constant pressure to “make up time” because you’re falling behind schedule. Hurryupitis kills.

    I like to use several apps while traveling. WASE is a very popular one and I also like the iexit app to see what’s up ahead.

    As for lodging, the various exit booklets at the rest areas often have cutrate discounts below anything else I can find. Don’t lose the ad because they’re going to ask you for it at checkin! A good idea is to start looking for a hotel an hour or two beforehand. That gives you plenty of time to book a room and will alert you far in advance if a certain area is completely booked due to some kind of local event.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you're anything like we are, preferring maps and books, we carry AAA maps, a Rand McNally atlas (in case we have to go around something like weather, brush fire, etc), and a book called THE NEXT EXIT. The latter is helpful only if you're on interstate highways, though. It doesn't help on US or state highways. But for a trip like yours, most of your travel will probably be on the freeways.

    We do have the AAA app (since we are members), the Gas Buddy app (that one has saved us a lot of bucks over the years), a weather app, and an app for Choice Hotels, which we book a lot. (That's the brand for EconoLodge, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, and Comfort Inn/Suites, among others.) So we're not anti-app. Just old-fashioned enough to prefer paper for a lot of stuff. (I know, I know, poor trees! But we only replace maps when they are too taped up to be able to read them any more, and The Next Exit usually only every-other-year.


  7. Default

    Thank you for the responses so far - very much appreciated! Glad to know I'm on the right track. It's been a good 20 years or so since I've planned any kind of real road trip, and that was of course pre-app and I relied on Rand McNally.

    I'll be downloading a couple of the suggested apps that I don't already have, and go from there for now.

    A note about our "sightseeing" along the way - it's definitely along the lines of "not too far off the path". With all our family still in WA, there will likely be a more casual drive back to WA some day with a purpose of seeing the sights.

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