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Old 06-29-2014, 01:16 PM
 
38,231 posts, read 14,933,179 times
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34 hours of driving divided up into 4 days is 8-9 hours a day of driving, and 3 nights on the road.

I would suggest the I-40 route. Spend the first night in Memphis. Stay in a B&B or a hotel near Beale Street. Enjoy the music and the experience of Memphis. Columbus is about 3 hours out of Atlanta. Try your best not to hit Atlanta from around 7 to 10 am.. It's a mess at rush hours and not a whole lot better at other times. I'm not kidding. HowStuffWorks "Getting In, Getting Around Atlanta" might help you plan a route to avoid the worst of it.

It's a long haul from Memphis to Amarillo, about 10 or 11 hours. But there is nothing to see in Amarillo really. So no sense doing anything but getting a hotel room with and working out the kinks in the swimming pool. Though if you get there early enough there is an outdoor performance of the history of Texas and a BBQ that might be of interest. https://www.texas-show.com/about_show.html

From Amarillo to Flagstaff is about 8-9 hours. Flagstaff is an interesting place to wander around. I don't know if it's authentic, but it's different. In addition to all the New Age businesses, there's an arboretum and an observatory (discovered Pluto), wildlife park where you can see bears and bison... It's about an hour from the Grand Canyon if you want to fool around the next morning for awhile.

From Flagstaff, it's about 6 hours into Redlands, so you if you take off first thing in the morning, you can arrive early enough to do something that afternoon or evening.

We always pick up the roomsaver.com or hotel.com discount hotel coupon booklets at Flying J, Pilot, or other truck stops as we enter an area. You can go online and get the coupons ahead of time. We call ahead in the afternoon to see if they are honoring the coupons. Sometimes they say no, that they only have a few rooms left so they are not honoring the coupons. So we call someone else. Usually, we can get a decent room in a La Quinta or Quality Inn for under $75.

We freeze a bunch of water bottles and pack a Trader Joe's insulated cooler with cups of yogurt, cheese, apples, etc. and stop at freeway rest stops to stretch our legs and eat lunch. The AAA TripTiks have the rest stops on them, so that's nice.

Bon Voyage!
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Old 06-29-2014, 02:02 PM
 
38,231 posts, read 14,933,179 times
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The only place you may want to consider camping is Flagstaff. It might be cool up there. There are several campgrounds in the area.

I find that camping is a lot of fuss and bother for a quick trip. But if you were looking for memorable experiences on this trip, sitting around a campfire is hard to beat. Unfortunately, due to all the fire danger this year, open fires are restricted.
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Old 06-29-2014, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
8,258 posts, read 11,124,485 times
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It's too bad you're on a tight schedule because I40 is parallel to the old Route 66. There are great stops in Williams and Winslow AZ and Tucumcari NM. Williams is an hour from the Grand Canyon and full of vintage neon. And Winslow has the statue of Glen Frey "standin' on the corner in Winslow Arizona". Take another couple of days if you can but if you can't have a safe journey.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:03 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,983 posts, read 83,671,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eureka1 View Post
It's too bad you're on a tight schedule because I40 is parallel to the old Route 66. There are great stops in Williams and Winslow AZ and Tucumcari NM. Williams is an hour from the Grand Canyon and full of vintage neon. And Winslow has the statue of Glen Frey "standin' on the corner in Winslow Arizona". Take another couple of days if you can but if you can't have a safe journey.
very true: we have done it, Well I wouldn't say there is much in Winslow, but the rest, yes. If nothing else just the nostalgia. Because they are on a tight schedule I think taking 10 and 20 would be a better bet.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,983 posts, read 83,671,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotHereQuickAsICould View Post
34 hours of driving divided up into 4 days is 8-9 hours a day of driving, and 3 nights on the road.

I would suggest the I-40 route. Spend the first night in Memphis. Stay in a B&B or a hotel near Beale Street. Enjoy the music and the experience of Memphis. Columbus is about 3 hours out of Atlanta. Try your best not to hit Atlanta from around 7 to 10 am.. It's a mess at rush hours and not a whole lot better at other times. I'm not kidding. HowStuffWorks "Getting In, Getting Around Atlanta" might help you plan a route to avoid the worst of it.

It's a long haul from Memphis to Amarillo, about 10 or 11 hours. But there is nothing to see in Amarillo really. So no sense doing anything but getting a hotel room with and working out the kinks in the swimming pool. Though if you get there early enough there is an outdoor performance of the history of Texas and a BBQ that might be of interest. https://www.texas-show.com/about_show.html

From Amarillo to Flagstaff is about 8-9 hours. Flagstaff is an interesting place to wander around. I don't know if it's authentic, but it's different. In addition to all the New Age businesses, there's an arboretum and an observatory (discovered Pluto), wildlife park where you can see bears and bison... It's about an hour from the Grand Canyon if you want to fool around the next morning for awhile.

From Flagstaff, it's about 6 hours into Redlands, so you if you take off first thing in the morning, you can arrive early enough to do something that afternoon or evening.

We always pick up the roomsaver.com or hotel.com discount hotel coupon booklets at Flying J, Pilot, or other truck stops as we enter an area. You can go online and get the coupons ahead of time. We call ahead in the afternoon to see if they are honoring the coupons. Sometimes they say no, that they only have a few rooms left so they are not honoring the coupons. So we call someone else. Usually, we can get a decent room in a La Quinta or Quality Inn for under $75.

We freeze a bunch of water bottles and pack a Trader Joe's insulated cooler with cups of yogurt, cheese, apples, etc. and stop at freeway rest stops to stretch our legs and eat lunch. The AAA TripTiks have the rest stops on them, so that's nice.

Bon Voyage!
That would be a great trip but I really think the OP is just looking for the fastest way and the least boring way to get to CA. I am not sure he cares whether he spends time enjoying Memphis for instance. Also depending on your speed, I think you would be pressed to make it from Amarillo to Flagstaff in 8 or even 9 hours.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:54 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,613,838 times
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It's actually 36 hours of driving, which doesn't account for traffic congestion (you will find it even in the high desert), road construction, accidents, and other delays.

The reality is that this trip will likely be closer to 40, and as much as 45 hours of actual behind the wheel time.

The OP nd his wife are driving two cars, so they can't relieve each other. Because of this, driving for more than 12 hours a day with a break every 4-5 hours will be crucial. That's a long, boring drive through much of the country, regardless of which route they choose.

OP, one thing we did when we needed to drive a long distance taking two cars was to buy a pair of walkie-talkies so we could chat on the drive. There will be parts of the drive with no cell service, regardless of which route you choose, so you won't be able to rely in that for communication.
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Old 06-30-2014, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Between Mid-South and West Coast, lol
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These tips are great and I will definitely be checking out those apps for our AR to CA move on I-40 next week! Thanks for sharing and hope all have safe journeys!
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
102 posts, read 108,157 times
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Wow, thanks for all of your help, everyone. I kind of abandoned this thread after it looked like it was losing steam, so I apologize for not thanking each of you for your time and consideration.

GotHere, thanks for the suggestions. I can tell you've done a bit of traveling. I'm sure, as you've experienced, it's usually easier the first day to driver further. We will be rested and excited to get on the road, so a 10-11 hour day is certainly possible. Amarillo was the one city that we had our eye on for our second night (not like there are a lot of options out there). Thanks so much for taking the time to write your response.

Just to clarify, we are not exactly in a hurry to get out there, but we would like to stay in a hotel only 3 nights and with a 34 hour trip (at minimum), you don't have too much time to explore. I think we have really high expectations for our drive, but it certainly seems like we're going to be seeing a lot of nothing regardless of the route.

Thanks for all of your responses. We are excited about this big change in our lives.

And Annerk, we just got some walkie talkies!
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:13 PM
 
38,231 posts, read 14,933,179 times
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I would also suggest getting some books on CD. I usually check them out of the library, but since you won't be returning you may not want to mail them back. But you could.

My understanding is that Cracker Barrels have audio books. That might be an option.

Audiobooks | Cracker Barrel

My husband and I have traveled a great deal. You're right, the first day is usually our long day. We try to schedule it so we don't hit big cities during rush hours. It's just a pain in the butt and throws our schedule off.

Sometimes we've gone and reserved spots ahead of time. Other times we use the coupon booklets. Call ahead from a rest area about 4 pm or so.

One thing we try not to do is eat a lot of fast food along the way. We find that all the salt and fat makes us sluggish and tired. Plus, we get to move around a bit if we stop for a picnic at a rest area by the freeway.

I like to go out to a decent dinner and see a bit of a place when we spend the night. That way when the word Memphis pops into my brain, I think of Beale Street and the good music we listened to while we were there. Or ...

We've camped the night at hot springs in the Dakotas and saw Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. Short side trips didn't slow us down all that much. Sometimes we stop at museums and so forth.

Life is an adventure. Enjoy.

Bon Voyage!
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:01 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,613,838 times
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Agree on the no fast food issue. We packed a cooler with lunch "fixings." Our hotels had a mini fridge with a freezer area so we could refreeze our ice packs every night. We had yogurt, fresh fruit, lunch meat, peanut butter and jelly, string cheese, bread, and some hard cooked eggs and nuts to nibble on.

We would spend five minutes at a gas and bathroom stop to have lunch. We saved money, saved a lot of time, and ate far better than we would have if we had gotten fast food.

For dinner we stopped once at Whole Foods and had the salad bar, and once at Chipotle. We had a good meal at Seasons 52 in Phoenix and at a steakhouse at the Venetian in Las Vegas.
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