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Driving from San Fansisco to New York

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1. Posted by ssdfcd (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

Hi, am planning a trip to drive from san fransisco to new york does anyone know if this is achieveable over a week? I have 2 weeks but want to spend some time in San Fransisco and New York and a day or 2 in a couple of loactions on route.

2. Posted by boreal2673 (Respected Member 345 posts) 9y

Well to do the drive fast and enjoyable I would count on 4 days one way. Then add days for stopping enroute. Several years ago I drove from new york to Salt lake city. Me and a friend did it straight in 32 hours. I would not recommend this approach but hopefully it gives you a rough idea of the time it takes. It also depends what time of the year you are going to do this and how many drivers you have..

3. Posted by Liberte30 (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y

I agree with ''boreal 2673''. It's going to take you about 4 or 5 days to get to NY if you are not the only driver. I actually did it in 6 days, but i'm not a fast driver and we were 2 of us and stopped once in a hostel for one night.

If you go by yourself you'll need at least 7 days to get there! So a week would be a little short.


4. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 9y

I would suggest the following for a nice trip (and here are my suggestions for where to spend the night/visit).

Day 1: Leave San Francisco on Interstate-80 and drive to Reno, Nevada to spend the night.
Consider dropping south far enough south to visit Lake Tahoe along the way. It's a bit out of the way, but definitely worth the views/visit.

Day 2: Leave Reno, Nevada and drive to Salt Lake City, Utah (all on Interstate-80)
This is probably the longest drive--and undoubtedly the drive with the least to pull off the highway and see of any day on the trip, since you will be going through a desert the entire way. In Salt Lake City, consider visiting the "Temple Square" area at nighttime. Be a bit careful, since they always want to convert people to Mormonism. Just tell them you are passing through and they will go easy on this; the people actually are quite nice about it. This square is beautiful at night all lit up. And the giant mountains right next to the city are fabulous. It's a great place to live and raise kids--and I should know since I lived about 30 miles from here for 4 years.

Day 3: Leave Salt Lake City, Utah and drive to Cheyenne, Wyoming on I-80 or else drive to Denver, Colorado via one of the routes listed below.
If it is winter, go to Cheyenne, otherwise, consider the drive to Denver via Highway 40 or else via Highway 6 and Interstate 70--either route which is much more scenic than staying north to Cheyenne. It takes longer to go to Denver, but the Rockies just west of Denver are a spectacle of their own and probably the single most interesting drive day of your entire trip. If you can take the Highway 6 route and go through Moab and then back up to Great Junction on this trip, you will see some of the most scenic country of all--on both the early and late part of the day. (Makes for a long day, though, so start this drive early--especially since you don't want to be driving through gigantic mountains in the dark at the end of the day if you can avoid it). If you stay north, consider stopping at Fort Bridger to see one of the forts alongside the "Oregon Trail" that the settlers took to get to Oregon and California.

Day 4: Leave Cheyenne or Denver and drive to either Lincoln, Nebraska or Omaha, Nebraska. Fairly flat drive now, with lots of cornfields and you'll be driving alongside the Platte River until you get to Omaha, where the Missouri River is.

Day 5: Leave Lincoln/Omaha and take a short day trip to Chicago. Spend some time to look around and enjoy Lake Michigan. (Stay out of south Chicago--but visit the areas on the west side, north side or downtown).

Day 6: Leave Chicago area and drive to Cleveland, Ohio. Get to Cleveland early enough to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the rest of the day.

Day 7: Leave Cleveland and drive to New York City. Another long day, but the road just meanders through the rural part of Pennsylvania, and then the northern part of New Jersey.

If you want to shorten this trip to 6 days, make your trip on day 4 go to Omaha (not Lincoln), then drive on day 5 to Toledo, Ohio, and drive on day 6 to New York from Toledo.


5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 9y

A couple of things I should mention about the trip above.

(1) Make sure you keep the gas tank filled. Sometimes its a long ways between gas stations--especially in the west and especially on Day 2 of this trip. You don't want to run out of gas in the middle of the desert 80 miles from the closest city.

(2) The most scenic driving days will be Day 3 and Day 1. Therefore, don't be in such a rush on these days that you take the "short" drives and don't make any stops. If you want to make up time, plan to do it in the eastern part of this trip--where there isn't as much to see (except maybe on the last day of the trip, or if you swing through Chicago).

(3) If you want to go to a "Las Vegas-type" show, make sure you get to either the south end of Lake Tahoe, or to Reno itself prior to 7:00, since all the shows start at 8:00 PM or sooner--and it takes time to get settled and choose your show and get your tickets--and maybe to eat before the show. Also, consider trying your gambling luck, but don't go overboard. You have to be 21 to gamble--but the shows are generally open to any age above 12.

(4) You might want to park on the New Jersey shoreline side of the Hudson River and take a ferry over to New York. Driving a car in New York is impossibly difficult--and there are absolutely no parking places in the entire town that won't cost you at least $12 an hour (and probably more) and it will cost you money to take bridges and/or tunnels in and out of the city. There is a parking lot in Weehauken right next to the Holland Tunnel that's not too expensive and is where you get the ferries across. The buses from the ferries (on the New York side) to all parts of New York are included in the price of the ferry.


6. Posted by ssdfcd (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

Thanks for all of your advice, it has helped, to put a slight spin on things we were hoping to pop to Las Vegas for a day after we leave San Francisco then go to Dollywood In Tennessee for a day, looking at these 2 stop offs it looks like we would probably have to take Route 40 for most of the way, hopeing this is still achieveable.

7. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 9y

You many have this all figured out, but here's my two cents: I've driven from Seattle to D.C. in 5 days with another driver - had to for work. It sucked, big time. I would definitely give yourself more time than that. Don't know how this fits into your plans but as a general rule I-80 is pretty good. Also, I might recommend buying an exit guide such as The Next Exit. It's quite handy and will let you know about where you can get gas and food and such. You can buy it online, or usually in truck stops and Cracker Barrels. Hope this helps you out a little bit.

8. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

You can take the route you mentioned, but just realize that this will mean more time required for the trip. I'd say that if you plan to take the "southern" route, you should plan on a minimum of 8 days--and longer if you will be spending a lot of time at Las Vegas, Dollywood--and any other locations (for example, Washington, D.C.).

For example, to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas is a minimum of 10 hours and probably closer to 11 hours if you hit any traffic along the way.

The advantages of going this route is that during the winter you would have fewer problems, and that there are good sights to visit in more places--specifically in Santa Fe, Memphis, Nashville, maybe Ashland, NC and definitely Washington, D.C.

Let me give you suggestions for this route on where to go and what to see in my next post (and yes, Interstate 40 is the primary route for this trip).


9. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

Day 1: Long drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas. The nicest route is south on US Hwy 101 to the wine country of Paso Robles, east on state highway 46 to Lost Hills, south on Hwy 5 to state highway 223, east on this highway to state highway 58, east on highway 58 to Barstow, then north on Interstate 15 to Las Vegas (be sure to fill up near Mojave or Barstow (near the halfway points of this trip) before crossing the Mojave Desert. Make sure you have a car in good condition and with a working air conditioning if you take this route in the summer. Temperatures will be near 120 degrees Farenheit (49 degrees Centigrade)

Day 2: Another long drive day. Take US Highway 93 south to Kingman where you get on Interstate 40 east. Take State Highway 64 north to US Highway 180 to go north and see the Grand Canyon (single most impressive thing to see in the entire US). Drive along the rim and then return via US Highway 89 south to Flagstaff, where you will get back on Interstate 40 heading east. (Note: It might be snowing in Flagstaff--even in the summer--so check the weather forecast before heading out). (I actually drove almost this same route one day and it was 120 when was in the desert and snowing when I got to Flagstaff). Go on east on I-40 until you get to Albuquerque, then get on Interstate 25 north and go to Santa Fe.

Day 3: Visit the downtown area of Santa Fe and maybe the church here The city was founded in 1610 and the mission was built shortly thereafter--making this the second oldest city in the United States that has been continuously inhabited--and the oldest of all the state capitols in the US. Go have some good New Mexican food at Maria's or one of the other great restaurants. Check out some of the places that sell unusual pottery. Head south out of town on US Highway 285 and get back on Interstate 40 heading east. Drive east as far as you can this day--probably to about somewhere in eastern Oklahoma.

I'll pick up from here in my next post.

10. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

Day 4: Head east from eastern Oklahoma through Arkansas and into Memphis. Stop off on Beale Street to see the Sun studios where Elvis got his start those many years ago, get some great barbeque ribs and chicken and then go to the BB Kings club for jazz. Spend the night.

Day 5: Next morning go see Graceland (Elvis Presley's old home) on the south end of Memphis. Drive to Nashville and go downtown near the river to the Wild Horse Saloon. Then head east of town to the Opryland hotel (an amazing place itself), go to Opryland amusement park, and visit the Grand Ole Opry. If you like "country" music, get tickets to one of the shows in town (many are free or reasonably priced). Either stay here or head on east to the Great Smoky Mountains are and see Dollywood. (seems to be your choice).

Day 6: Take a day to visit either Opryland in Nashville or Dollywood in eastern Tennessee.

Day 7: Stay on Highway 40 and head over the hill to Ashland. You'll see some amazing views from the top of the mountains here. Once you get to Ashland, visit the Vanderbilt estate here, then head east to Interstate 95 and north to Washington DC.

Day 8: Visit the main sites in Washington DC (Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Air/Space museum of the Smithsonian, Bureau of Printing and Engraving (where they print the money--fascinating), the Georgetown section of town, Washington Monument, Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial, Jefferson memorial, White House, restaurants and shopping near Connecticut Avenue and M street, or Mount Vernon (George Washington's home about 20 miles south on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. Simple place to get good fish in the summer is down near the bridge just east of the Jefferson Memorial. Lots of outdoor market stalls there.

Day 9: Full day's drive from Washington DC through Baltimore (nice Inner Harbor and Little Italy and great aquarium), Philadelphia (liberty bell and Independence Hall) to New York City.

Best of luck with your trip and your plans. Hope this helps. Enjoy