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  1. #1
    aspinall Guest

    Default Chicago to San Francisco

    We are planning to do the above in 17 days, a long way but there are four of us to share the driving. Searching for suitable car hire seems to be difficult. We wish for comfort, space, air-con and a good stereo! Ideally a four wheel drive dodge (although a 69 caddy would be great!!). Does anyone have experience of one way car hire without all the extra drop off fees etc?

    Also has anyone done a similar distance? How long did it take you and how many hours were you on the road a day.

    Thanks for reading... Brighton, UK

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    Can't help you on the car hire/rental issue but there are tons of posts here on that which you should review.

    You have tons of time to make this trip. I know you'll mix it up more than this but if you drove each day, you would only have to average 2 hours driving/day to make this trek. (34 road hours total) This leaves you tons of time to explore.

    I've made trips of similar distances in 2-3 days of speed runs. I've rarely had the pleasure of the time you have.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-06-2005 at 11:37 AM.

  3. Default 17 days and 4 drivers

    Welcome to the board!

    With this kind of flexibility, there's another option you should at least think about. Choose one of your cities as a start and end point, and make it a round trip. Your airfare AND your auto rental will be less expensive, most likely. As Judy said, this drive can be made in about 34 hours. You could split your available time between two different routes, or just amble along on one route and then make a fast return at the end.

    As far as vehicle, why 4wd? If you're not planning on any off-road adventures, you won't need it. I had a 4wd vehicle for almost 7 years and even with back-road driving here in the rugged west, RARELY ever used it -- maybe twice was it necessary in the entire time I owned the vehicle. A 4wd will cost you considerably in higher fees. Just my opinion. But if it is what you WANT and cost isn't a consideration, that's what you should do.

    Check the major US companies for their best rates (at least Alamo, Advantage ($60 per day, no drop charges), Thrifty, National, etc) -- but also check through travel companies in the UK -- sometimes they have better deals than you can get here (we're told).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    I just want to echo Bob's comment about 4-wheel drive. We have our first truck without 4WD in about 20 years. Quite frankly, my husband always wanted it because he hunts and fishes and was worried about getting stuck in remote areas. And then he realized that he uses it maybe once every 2-3 years. He is doing fun on backroads/logging roads/etc. without it. It just isn't necessary unless you're doing some serious off-roading. And it really increases your gas consumption.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default 4-WD & Rentals

    Quote Originally Posted by aspinall
    We wish for comfort, space, air-con and a good stereo! Ideally a four wheel drive dodge (although a 69 caddy would be great!!).
    I have owned at last one four-wheel-drive vehicle continously for the past 12 years. Judy and Bob's advice is well-taken -- there is no question that the rental rates, fuel consumption costs and insurance expense will always be higher with a vehicle equipped with four-wheel drive. That being said, just about every rental car company in the west stocks passenger vehicles equipped with 4-wd and I always recommend it. I can guarantee that your rental agreement will prohibit use of the vehicle off-highway and so technically you will never have occasion to use it -- but you never know. Unless the dirt/gravel roads that you may travel on your adventure are super hard-packed, I always recommend engaging the 4-WD High to provide that extra level of traction when off-highway.

    Another point, on any of the rental car/trucks that may have 4-WD options that you are likely to get, none of them will have either locking hubs and/or true locking differentials and so if you were to get in truly four-wheel drive conditions, your 4-WD vehicle may not have the capability of performing like you think.

    One final point -- I have been able to travel on roads rated 4-WD with 2-WD sedans and light trucks -- navigating a rough road is more about deft steering than brawn, but as Moderator Bob has seen I can get stuck in the silliest places and, in a recent such example, 4-WD would have helped!


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