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Old 07-20-2016, 12:00 PM   #1
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Question 3600 mile / 10 day trip ... a little nervous :)

We are about to head out from Central California to Little Rock (Arkansas) on a 10 day trip (1800 miles each way). We leave in 2 weeks and I am a little nervous. HA

We have had our Class A MH (a 2012 Thor Hurricane 30q) for about 3 months and have done 4 small trips (each trip was about 500 miles round trip). 3 of the trips were just weekend, 2 night trips and one was 4 days, 3 night trip (boondocking). The boondocking trip was a great eye opener as it allowed me to see we could go 4 days on our 50gallon fresh water tank. Our grey tank was about 2/3 full and black was fine.

Our only reservation is the RV park in Little Rock for 2 nights and I am allowing 4 days to get there. We want to allow time each day to see the surroundings... like possibly visit the Grand Canyon and so forth. The plan is to take 4 days to get to Little Rock, stay 2 nights (first day partial driving to get there, next day all day in Little Rock, then last day starting to drive back) then allow 4 days to drive back... again, possibly hitting scenic/tourist spots on the way back.

But other than that, I thought we would just "wing it" and drive what we can each day and then figure out where to settle each night based on where we are at the time. I am a planner at heart so this is hard from me. LOL But when I started planning, I already started feeling the pressure to drive X amount of miles per day in order to make it to the next stop (or reservation), which feels like it takes the fun out of RVing. If we have to stay in a truck stop, Rest area or Walmart, we are ok with that if needed.

What do you guys typically do or suggest on this kind of trip?
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:46 PM   #2
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I'm a planner at heart as well. When I'm planning an "out and back" trip like yours - I typically make reservations for a campground at our "destination". The overnight stops on the way out and back ... not so much. I do make a point of at least identifying several potential stops for each night along the way - but I stop short of reserving sites.

Just a side note - 1800 miles in 4 days means an average of 450 miles per day. If you average 60 mph - that's 7.5 hours of drive time each day. If you're not getting an early start ... than means you'll be looking for an overnight later in the day. Of course, later in the day means available spots start getting fewer and farther between as others who started looking for a place to bed down for the night beat you to them. In the prime summer season - it might not be a bad idea to reserve your overnights ... unless you're willing to take the risk that you end up driving an extra hour or two if your "first choice" doesn't have a spot available.

You'll get lots of different opinions on the topic - but I think you'll find that many feel that 450 miles per day is a hair on the aggressive side - especially when you start talking about driving that sort of distance day in and day out for several days.

Just my .02 on your question.
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:37 PM   #3
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Driving 7 1/2 hours per day doesn't leave much time for sightseeing and you're gonna be worn out! We try to limit our driving time to 300 miles per day! Hope the trip works out great for you!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 07-20-2016, 01:43 PM   #4
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When are you going to have time to see the Grand Canyon or other sights if you're needing to drive 450 miles a day for 4 days? Did I understand correctly? Is there a reason you're going to Little Rock? Do you need to be there for some reason? Otherwise, why not let your destination actually be the Grand Canyon or another sight you'd like to see that's a little closer to home for a much more enjoyable trip?
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:05 PM   #5
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I sure hope you can either add more days or cut some miles. Over four years I've found we average about 50 mph just with gas and rest stops. I've got about 375 mi ahead of me tomorrow. It's more than I like to do, but for one day it'll be okay. Good luck.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:11 PM   #6
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Just a side note - 1800 miles in 4 days means an average of 450 miles per day. If you average 60 mph - that's 7.5 hours of drive time each day.
Note: This is a CA driver.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:15 PM   #7
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NOTE: I mis-read your post, and thought you were going from little rock to ca, not vice versa. I'm too lazy to fix my post, it will apply on the way back Just pretend. You'll hit all of these passes in reverse order


I agree with all comments.

Our very first trip was from Houston to San Francisco, and we took 5 days to get there.

It was grueling.

In later travels, after learning our limits, our biggest commitment was two 8 hour days in a row, then 2 to 3 days of downtime wherever we landed. At a minimum, at least one full day of resting.

We split the driving of 8 hours up equally into 4 hours each. We further subdivided the 4 hours into two hour blocks.

I'd drive two hours, she'd drive two hours and so forth. We only did this when we had to.

It's completely possible to do what you are wanting, but it's really will take a lot of hours behind the wheel to do it.

I find that new RV owners are more willing to take the task than those who have been there, done that. And husbands are notorious for "I can do anything"

And some can. I have a buddy who is in his 80's and has zero problem with back to back 10 hour days all on his own.

Is it absolutely necessary for you to make <strike>California</strike> Little Rock? You may consider stopping at the Grand Canyon and going no further. I would expect this trip to be a 14 day trip.

In my experience, here's what I know.
  1. Everything WILL take longer than you expected.
  2. California's 55mph speed limit for you is very serious.
  3. Expect an average of 55mph total drive time everywhere else, 45 in CA.

Good sams shows this route (attached) I have no idea where you are going in CA, so i just left this at Sacremento.

But it basically shows I-40 all the way.

Petrified National Forest is on your way and worth a day.

The drive through Arizona, 10 miles west of flagstaff is going to require an underwear change. I highly recommend you not drive that area at night and don't expect to run full speed up or down that twisty grade. Eastbound, the road is straighter, and you'll be climbing. But the westbound decent.... it's cliff faced, no shoulder, 6%, blind curves and filled to the brim with tractor trailers that blaze by you, even in corners. I crawled down it at 25 to 40.... at night, after 7 hours already - my mistake, my white knuckles.

Once you enter California on 40, you'll likely feel like you've reached the surface of the moon, and the highway is in dis-repair there, again forcing some slowdown.

The next pass, South Pass, is much nicer to cross. The westbound decent is 4.5 miles at 4%, then you climb 5 miles, some in the 3-5% and some in 1-2%, then back down 8 miles 3% - feels like a mole hill compared to the pass after Flagstaff.

depending on where you're going. you might take 58 out of barstow, and there will be one more pass, The Tehachapi. Total decent, 22 miles mixed in steps ranging from 4% to 5-6%, but the road is very nice there.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by G.G. View Post
When are you going to have time to see the Grand Canyon or other sights if you're needing to drive 450 miles a day for 4 days? Did I understand correctly? Is there a reason you're going to Little Rock? Do you need to be there for some reason? Otherwise, why not let your destination actually be the Grand Canyon or another sight you'd like to see that's a little closer to home for a much more enjoyable trip?
Yes, we have a specific destination in Little Rock. Our son is stationed in Little Rock and we are going to drive to see him and figure we would hit some places on the way. We have a 15 year old and 6 year old that will be driving with us as well.

We were going to fly out to Little Rock but since we bought the MH, I thought "what the heck, let's drive to Little Rock!". I have driven from Atlanta to California 6 times and each time did it in 3 days so I thought I would add a day of driving because of driving the MH instead of a car.

Sounds like I am being a bit optimistic on driving 450 miles a day? As far as seeing things on the way, the way I thought about it was allowing 7-8 hours a day driving, 8 hours for sleeping (overnight) and 7-9 hours to do other stuff (eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and see a few things on the way).
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TechWriter View Post
Note: This is a CA driver.
Why does that matter? LOL
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:18 PM   #10
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Doable yes, but you won't get much else done other than drive time.

Too many miles in a day over multiple days, IMHO. Your RV average miles per day is not as much as in a car. We will push 400 in one day sometimes, but not multiple days in a row.

If I have a need to be somewhere that far in as few days, it's flying and hotel travel.

Good luck!
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ghoticov View Post
Yes, we have a specific destination in Little Rock. Our son is stationed in Little Rock and we are going to drive to see him and figure we would hit some places on the way. We have a 15 year old and 6 year old that will be driving with us as well.

We were going to fly out to Little Rock but since we bought the MH, I thought "what the heck, let's drive to Little Rock!". I have driven from Atlanta to California 6 times and each time did it in 3 days so I thought I would add a day of driving because of driving the MH instead of a car.

Sounds like I am being a bit optimistic on driving 450 miles a day? As far as seeing things on the way, the way I thought about it was allowing 7-8 hours a day driving, 8 hours for sleeping (overnight) and 7-9 hours to do other stuff (eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and see a few things on the way).
Tough to say.. no telling what your stamina is. It's not overly optimistic if you had to do this only two days in a row, but you're talking about back to back to back. Fuel stops, and stopping for the night always take a little more time than you think. In arizona and california there are no overnight parking ordinances, so you are fully committed to finding campgrounds. The check in process and parking can easily eat an hour sometimes, just by it's nature.

Ideally you would add 4 days to the trip or it might be like this.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:24 PM   #12
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Doable yes, but you won't get much else done other than drive time.

Too many miles in a day over multiple days, IMHO. Your RV average miles per day is not as much as in a car. We will push 400 in one day sometimes, but not multiple days in a row.

If I have a need to be somewhere that far in as few days, it's flying and hotel travel.

Good luck!
Basically I have from August 4th - 15th to get it done. I have reservations in Little Rock on the nights of the 8th and 9th and then head back. So we don't HAVE to be there any certain day, its more that I have 10-11 days to get there and back. We just thought it would be "fun" to see the country as a family (I've done it 6 times but not with the family).
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ghoticov View Post
Basically I have from August 4th - 15th to get it done. I have reservations in Little Rock on the nights of the 8th and 9th and then head back. So we don't HAVE to be there any certain day, its more that I have 10-11 days to get there and back. We just thought it would be "fun" to see the country as a family (I've done it 6 times but not with the family).
And it is! You have the right attitude with take it as it comes.

Your trip has a dedicated destination, you'll have many many more opportunities to stop and smell the roses. I would say Have A Great Time! Enjoy the family, and get that puppy down the road.
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by plasma800 View Post
NOTE: I mis-read your post, and thought you were going from little rock to ca, not vice versa. I'm too lazy to fix my post, it will apply on the way back Just pretend. You'll hit all of these passes in reverse order


I agree with all comments.

Our very first trip was from Houston to San Francisco, and we took 5 days to get there.

It was grueling.

In later travels, after learning our limits, out biggest commitment was two 8 hour days in a row, then 2 to 3 days of downtime wherever we landed. At a minimum, at least one full day of resting.

We split the driving of 8 hours up equally into 4 hours each. We further subdivided the 4 hours into two hour blocks.

I'd drive two hours, she'd drive two hours and so forth. We only did this when we had to.

It's completely possible to do what you are wanting, but it's really will take a lot of hours behind the wheel to do it.

I find that new RV owners are more willing to take the task than those who have been there, done that. And husbands are notorious for "I can do anything"

And some can. I have a buddy who is in his 80's and has zero problem with back to back 10 hour days all on his own.

Is it absolutely necessary for you to make <strike>California</strike> Little Rock? You may consider stopping at the Grand Canyon and going no further. I would expect this trip to be a 14 day trip.

In my experience, here's what I know.
  1. Everything WILL take longer than you expected.
  2. California's 55mph speed limit for you is very serious.
  3. Expect an average of 55mph total drive time everywhere else, 45 in CA.

Good sams shows this route (attached) I have no idea where you are going in CA, so i just left this at Sacremento.

But it basically shows I-40 all the way.

Petrified National Forest is on your way and worth a day.

The drive through Arizona, 10 miles west of flagstaff is going to require an underwear change. I highly recommend you not drive that area at night and don't expect to run full speed up or down that twisty grade. Eastbound, the road is straighter, and you'll be climbing. But the westbound decent.... it's cliff faced, no shoulder, 6%, blind curves and filled to the brim with tractor trailers that blaze by you, even in corners. I crawled down it at 25 to 40.... at night, after 7 hours already - my mistake, my white knuckles.

Once you enter California on 40, you'll likely feel like you've reached the surface of the moon, and the highway is in dis-repair there, again forcing some slowdown.

The next pass, South Pass, is much nicer to cross. The westbound decent is 4.5 miles at 4%, then you climb 5 miles, some in the 3-5% and some in 1-2%, then back down 8 miles 3% - feels like a mole hill compared to the pass after Flagstaff.

depending on where you're going. you might take 58 out of barstow, and there will be one more pass, The Tehachapi. Total decent, 22 miles mixed in steps ranging from 4% to 5-6%, but the road is very nice there.
I'm ok with driving on the grades... up or down. We just went on a day trip to see the Redwoods in Northern Cali and it was 6-7 hours of driving and if you have been to Kings Canyon National Forest, those two lane roads and go straight off a cliff are not fun. hahahaha I think everyone in my coach was more scared than I was. I am used to driving big vehicles (drove trucks in my past). We were going to bring a TOAD on an Acme Dolly but I am thinking there is no reason to now since we won't really have much time to drive anywhere anyway.
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