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Old 02-04-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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The notion of a one-day driving distance comes up here and there in American culture and business. Cities use it as a way of describing how close they are to other cities. Businesses use it to plan where to put distribution centers. Tourism boards take the distance and cut it by 2/3rds or so to come up with the radius for possible "day trips" from a particular location.

But what is a one-day driving distance? It obviously varies by road and geography, but for major cities in the US, we'd assume freeway access and "normal" conditions along the way.

I think it varies wildly according to person (a person in a hurry driving alone, speeding, and making few stops between an early start and a late end might hit 1,400 - 1,500 miles), but in terms of a comfortable day's drive, where would you put the limit?

The generally-accepted figure seems to be 500 miles, which is often around 10 hours of driving with a few stops to eat included. Is that too much? Not enough?
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
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Last year I drove between Minneapolis and Bozeman montana about 12 times which is just under a 1000 miles eachway. And for me that comfortable and any further and I was at about my limit before I started getting tired and sick of driving. I always left either place at 3 or 4 in the morning so I could get to where I was going while it was still light out. It always helps having a friend along!
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:19 AM
 
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I usually plan on 400-500 for a comfortable day's drive. This assumes interstate or other 4 lane/large town bypass driving. When I take the two lanes or back roads, ~350-400 will do it. For me it's more a matter of time--9-10 hours behind the wheel is about my tolerability limit. (I make sure I have my motel reservation before I leave--nothing's worse than driving 500 miles, then spending another hour driving around town trying to find a motel room! )
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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8 hours/ 500 miles is the standard. If you do the math, you will see that 8 hrs. of driving at 60 mph gives you 480 miles travelled. Throw in the extra 20 forliving life on the edge and you got your range.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:29 AM
 
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For me, it's 12-14 hours (but I don't have kiddos or a significant other to tell me to stop). I'm like the above poster who measured it more by the hours than the miles.

When on road trips, I only stop for gas (get food while filling up with gas). I went from Denver to Missoula, Montana this past summer (about 12 Hours) and from Missoula to ABQ (about 15 hours). Neither was bad. But after about 14 hours behind the wheel I tend to get a lil cabin fever in my car lol. But I enjoy driving, gives me time to think about 'life'.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loboABQ View Post
For me, it's 12-14 hours (but I don't have kiddos or a significant other to tell me to stop). I'm like the above poster who measured it more by the hours than the miles.

When on road trips, I only stop for gas (get food while filling up with gas). I went from Denver to Missoula, Montana this past summer (about 12 Hours) and from Missoula to ABQ (about 15 hours). Neither was bad. But after about 14 hours behind the wheel I tend to get a lil cabin fever in my car lol. But I enjoy driving, gives me time to think about 'life'.

My twin? lol I think the same way you do! I love traveling alone, it gives me time to contemplate.


When I left Bristol, Virginia my destination being Portage, WI I had 801 miles of road ahead of me. I left at 8 a.m. eastern time and arrived in Portage at 10 p.m. eastern time. So I was on the road for 14 hours, my estimates were 13 hours and 57 minutes, not bad right? I was only 3 minutes off. I stopped in Gate City, Virginia, London, Kentucky, Indiananopolis, and Poynette, WI. That's only four times in 14 hours.

So I did 801 miles in 14 hours, not bad. I was exhausted at the end of the trip so would I do it again? Maybe, I'm only 20 and I live for this crap.


Just know your limits!
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:11 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tablemtn View Post
Tourism boards take the distance and cut it by 2/3rds or so to come up with the radius for possible "day trips" from a particular location.
There's a difference between a "one-day" driving distance, and a "day trip" driving distance, though.

As you mentioned, roughly 500 miles would (to me) be considered a "one-day" distance, as that's about the limit I would comfortably drive during the course of one full day on the road, with minimal pit stops to pee and get stuff to drink.

However, I would not drive 500 miles for a "day trip".

Example of a day trip: I live in Atlanta. Chattanooga, Tennessee is roughly 120 miles North of the City, so, about a 2 hour drive. Lots of people take "day trips" to Chattanooga, because they have a neat little downtown area with frankly, no bums, and a nice riverfront area to walk around in. So, you can get up early, drive up there by lunch time, eat, walk around and do some touristy stuff, and still be able to drive back home to Atlanta in time for an early evening dinner and to get ready for work the next day if you need to. THAT is a day trip.

Savannah on the other hand, is a 4.5 to 5 hour drive. You really couldn't drive that far, see the sites, hang out on the beach, and get back without really having to rushrushrush while there. You wouldn't have enough leisure time to enjoy anything. Same with places in that same general distance range like Charlotte, Gatlinburgh TN, etc... so, these would be considered overnight or weekend trips by the locals where I live (most of them, anyway).

So anyway. A one-day trip to me is just how much time you spend one day driving most the time, and since unlike some folks I'm NOT 20 (lol), my ability to drive forever on one charge is limited. A day trip is going somewhere, playing around, and then coming home the same day kind of trip.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:14 PM
 
Location: State of Superior
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Not to brag , but last summer I turned NYC from Marquette , MI. non stop. both ways , except for a short cat nap over the wheel. Took 2 days round trip, Going out pulling a boat. coming back , hammer down in my Dodge Diesel p/u. I like driving alone also. Motels are for wimps. ( 2400 miles ).
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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I say you could do a daytrip to somewhere up to 5 hours away, if you leave early and come back late. I've done daytrips to Jacksonville (4 hours from home), Tallahassee (5 hours), but that's the limit. If you enjoy long scenic drives and have a lot of energy like I do, you can pull it off. For a one day drive total, I'd say 12-14 hours would be my limit, followed by a hotel stay.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:29 PM
Status: "Fall is here!" (set 12 hours ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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I agree with many here that 500 miles is a good guideline for a one day drive. Something to think about when relocating and leaving family behind. We always figured 3 days to Pittsburgh (1500 mi), but it can be done in two if you really put the rubber to the road.
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