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Old 09-25-2020, 11:36 PM
 
25 posts, read 28,942 times
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Hi all,
My husband and I will be driving from CA to TN with a U-haul trailer attached to our Subaru. We are heading from Long Beach to Clarksville the fourth week of October. We want to head through smaller cities, but make sure there are places to stop for gas. We're planning on pre-packing food and stopping along the way for picnics, then stopping at pet-friendly hotels for each night. Since it's a 30-33 hour drive without stops, we're thinking 8 hours a day, 10am-5 or 6pm or until we get tired, so 3-4 days. My husband might try to squeeze up on the day and make it 10 hour drives.
What is the best way to get from CA to TN in late October?
We were considering going through Vegas, Utah, Colorado, Missouri, to Tennessee, for a prettier drive, but a friend of mine said that it's trickier with altitude and a trailer.
Alternatively, we could drive the 40 through Texas, but I've heard it can be isolated, no gas/bathrooms for 8 hour stretches. Also, do we have to worry about weather/tornadoes that time of year?
I would love to see some pretty countryside on the way there (might as well enjoy the journey, right?) but want to consider safety.
We need some pet-friendly places to stay. We ordered an extra-large pet carrier for our kitty cat and are working on harness-training her. She is up-to-date on all of her shots. We're going to use a calming spray for her too. We have never traveled with her, so it will be an adventure for all of us!
TIA
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:19 AM
 
100 posts, read 59,555 times
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I would stay out of the mountains if at all possible. You never know what the weather will bring at the higher elevations. Here is a link that shows you how to make your trip
https://www.gasbuddy.com/tripcostcalculator

All Red Roofs are pet friendly.

If you are going to trade off driving you can do 10 hours days. If not that will be hard to do.

Last edited by fishingupnorth; 09-26-2020 at 06:22 AM.. Reason: Update
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Old 09-26-2020, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Somewhere below Mason/Dixon
8,079 posts, read 8,586,796 times
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I 40 is far enough south that snow should not be a worry in October on almost all of it with the exception of high elevation out west.

Towing a trailer with a Subaru? I would check the tow rating of the car. That is a LONG drive with a trailer.....could be considerable strain on the car to do that. A Subaru dealer could give you some advice on this.

I 40 is likely the easiest way from southern CA to TN. There are a lot of isolated places though. Beauty? The prettiest parts of I40 are in parts of Arizona and New Mexico. The Texas panhandle and Oklahoma are long, dull and go on forever. You won’t find anywhere on the interstate system with 8 hour stretches with no gas, food or bathrooms. I would not worry about that. Arkansaw and Tennessee are much nicer for driving across on 40 as you will see the return of green and trees. One of the prettiest parts of I 40 in the whole stretch is a part you won’t see....East Tennessee and western North Carolina. At the State line 5-6 thousand foot mountains rise up all around you as you pass through the stretch of I-40 known as “the gorge”. Once your here you can take a trip to Asheville NC and see it...beautiful area. Your Subaru will be right at home in “crunchy” Asheville. Asheville is a nice place for a getaway weekend...lots to do there.

I took a cat on a 700 mile drive once. I’ll warn you they hate it. If your moving though there is no choice. Cats hate cages, they hate cars and they hate change. This trip is a felines worst nightmare. Talk to your vet....they can help.

Be careful and have a safe trip across the country.
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Old 09-26-2020, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielj72 View Post
I 40 is far enough south that snow should not be a worry in October on almost all of it with the exception of high elevation out west.

Towing a trailer with a Subaru? I would check the tow rating of the car. That is a LONG drive with a trailer.....could be considerable strain on the car to do that. A Subaru dealer could give you some advice on this.

I 40 is likely the easiest way from southern CA to TN. There are a lot of isolated places though. Beauty? The prettiest parts of I40 are in parts of Arizona and New Mexico. The Texas panhandle and Oklahoma are long, dull and go on forever. You won’t find anywhere on the interstate system with 8 hour stretches with no gas, food or bathrooms. I would not worry about that. Arkansaw and Tennessee are much nicer for driving across on 40 as you will see the return of green and trees. One of the prettiest parts of I 40 in the whole stretch is a part you won’t see....East Tennessee and western North Carolina. At the State line 5-6 thousand foot mountains rise up all around you as you pass through the stretch of I-40 known as “the gorge”. Once your here you can take a trip to Asheville NC and see it...beautiful area. Your Subaru will be right at home in “crunchy” Asheville. Asheville is a nice place for a getaway weekend...lots to do there.

I took a cat on a 700 mile drive once. I’ll warn you they hate it. If your moving though there is no choice. Cats hate cages, they hate cars and they hate change. This trip is a felines worst nightmare. Talk to your vet....they can help.

Be careful and have a safe trip across the country.
Agreed. Many Subaru models only tow around 2,500-3,500 lbs.

I drove from San Diego to West TN once, and it took around 26 hours I think. I swapped with another driver, and we went pretty steady while the other napped some. It wasn't overly fun. If I was taking animals with me, I'd go I-40 and get it over with as soon as possible. You could find some sights to stop at along I-40, but I remember enjoying some of the open land and scenery that I wasn't used to living in a large city. I also remember the sun was pretty brutal/blinding at times when it was low while driving East... might want to take that into account for what time of day you're driving East for hours.
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Old 09-26-2020, 01:23 PM
 
392 posts, read 198,659 times
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Vote for the I-40 route also. Only a couple of sections that are barren for any length, and one that may get snow, but that time of year, I would doubt it. If you have not driven in snow much, or pulling a trailer, although not hard, it would be prudent not to combine the two.
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Old 09-26-2020, 05:18 PM
 
Location: E. TN
79 posts, read 371,050 times
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Get your cat some tranquilizers. Seriously. I once travelled 8 hrs with a cat and I’m not sure which one of us was more stressed out. Never again.
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Old 09-26-2020, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Bellevue
1,311 posts, read 1,596,156 times
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Another route could be to use I-10 out of California, Arizona, New Mexico. If it is too hot for cats maybe travel mornings/evenings but avoid the heat of the day. From El Paso head to Dallas then Memphis. From Little Rock pick up I-40. I-10-I-20,I-30,I-40 about 30 hours total.

Looking at general weather patters it appears could be hot in the west then much cooler in the east.
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:23 AM
 
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It really depends on your cat. We have two, one was senior at the time. Did a CA to OH car trip, took about 3 days. The cats did just fine. As long as you can get them out in the evening to stretch their legs and eat/drink, most do okay. But it really depends on your cat. Some do not like it, you won't know until you try.

Have you done any car trips with them? To the vet, probably? I would suggest that you start doing car trips 1-2x/week until you leave. Get them used to it being the 'new normal' so that the big trip is not such a shock. Best of luck, they will survive, even if they hate it.
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:46 PM
 
25 posts, read 28,942 times
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Thank you all for your replies.

For the Subaru weight, my husband did the math and checked the towing capacity on the model, and made sure that we rented a small trailer that with all of our moving boxes (pre-weighed) is within the weight limit.

For our cat, talking to the vet and going for car rides are great ideas! We have been harness training her, and she seems very much used to the harness already. We do plan on exercising her by playing with her in the morning and evening, and her carrier is about 30 inches by 20 inches by 20 inches, so she has room for her litter box and to stand up and stretch. We will run the A/C with her as we drive. Perhaps we'll have to consider how hot it may get, but maybe worst case, we pull over into a parking lot and eat in the car with the A/C on, so that she's not alone. I've heard others go to pet-friendly restaurants and bring their cat in the carrier and sit on the patio, but I think the picnic or pull-over option may be easier/better. We're packing poop bags so we can pull over and scoop the litter box if necessary, and she will be in her harness, but we haven't tried her on a leash or outside yet (too populated where we are, but we can definitely do car rides). She's overall pretty mellow, but we do plan on helping her with ways to get the nervous energy out. In the past, she cries a bit, then settles down after about 10-15 minutes. We have done 30 minute car rides with her before and she has been really good. I know it's not ideal, but we do plan on keeping her as comfortable as possible.

For the time of day, we plan on getting some good rest, sleeping in, going for a walk, having breakfast, then packing up and driving around 10am, so the sun won't be too low in the sky.

For the scenery and Asheville, "Crunchy!" I like it! Yep, that pretty much sounds like us haha!

For the route, it sounds like the I-40 is the way to go, merely for the altitude and trailer. I would love a prettier route through Utah and Colorado, but if it would put wear and tear on the car or put undue strain when driving a trailer and potentially on icy roads, that kind of makes our decision for us easy. My husband has driven with a trailer and has driven in snow, I don't know about both at once. I have done neither. I suppose I would be worried about steep elevation changes and braking on icy roads if that's an issue. If nothing else, we'll get some open space and lots of time on audio books.

Thank you all so much for your help and well wishes!

Does anyone have any recommendations on good small cities to stop on the way through? We'd like to avoid major cities and just keep it low-key as we drive across-country.
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Old 09-29-2020, 10:40 PM
 
121 posts, read 83,025 times
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If she calms down during car rides, she is probably going to be fine for this trip. If she's not being threatened and can hear your voice and smell you, good chance she will not freak out too much. Hope it goes well!
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