Monday, December 06, 2010

Cross-Country in less than a week?

Hi Jamie,

I recently moved from NY to CA but my car is still in NY. I will not be able to take more then 4 days off work and was wandering if its doable to fly to NY take my car and start driving on a Friday and get to CA by a Tuesday. Is this possible...?

I have never done a cross country trip however i always wanted to but this time i dont have much time and at this time of the year i am wondering if i should go for it.

I would appreciate your advise.



Hi Nick --

Many thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA -- in my younger freer days I would have read your note and immediately offered to do the drive for you (though preferably some time in summer, when the days are nice and long...)

That said, you can definitely make the drive in a long weekend -- if you figure it's 3000 miles coast to coast, at 75 mph that's 40 hours of driving. At 8-10 hours a day behind the wheel, you could leave NYC Friday morning, and be on the West Coast by Tuesday, for sure.

You'd probably want to take I-80 most if not all of of the way, and I'd recommend taking a long walk at least once a day, or a series of short jogs, to stretch legs and keep your body in working order. Lay off the temptations of caffeine & beer too, or you won't be able to get a good night's sleep, which is crucial for safe travel.

When I'm on a crazy road trip like this, to stay sane what I tend to do is jog around one or two sights I want to see -- for your trip, if you get an early start on Friday you could see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on Friday afternoon, then on Saturday have breakfast in Chicago and dinner in Des Moines.

Sunday you get to cross Nebraska, following the old pioneer trails along the North Platte River, if you like some historic resonance, or looking over the "World's Largest Railroad Yard" from atop the Golden Spike Tower in North Platte URL:

(The Great Plains are definitely the place to crank up the miles. )

Though I-80 continues west across Wyoming, whether or not you're going to Southern California, if I were you I'd want to detour south via Denver and I-70, which makes a spectacular cruise across the Rocky Mountains and the prettiest parts of the red-rock Colorado Plateau (Colorado NM near Grand Junction, and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah). Better than working on a Monday morning, for sure!

La (via Las Vegas) is a day's drive from here, so you could be "home" by Tuesday -- and if you are bound for SF then you can follow the fast and fascinating "Loneliest Road" along US-50 across Nevada, by way of Lake Tahoe.

Yes, it's a crazy long haul, but definitely do-able.

Go for it, for sure!

Hope this helps,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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