Friday, July 29, 2005

Driving from coast to coast of the US

Does anyone know how long this would take? I'm working on a thing in which this is a major part (vague) but I just realised I have no idea how long this would take.

Three days? Ten? Two weeks? I don't get out much.

UPDATE: Google maps have been suggested, but annoyingly not Mac-compatible. Nor are lawnmowers. However m'erstwhile colleague Paula says:

he distance from NYC to San Francisco is 2929 miles (I think San Francisco is more cinegenic than LA), and the speed limit is about 55mph so it could technically be done in under 54 hours if you drove at 55mph the whole way. If you drove for 8 hours a day at 55 mph you'd cover 440 miles per day and cover the whole distance in just under a week.
In real life, I'd say anything from 10 days upwards depending on whether one is being chased by bandits or not.

... which was very useful. Ta.


Anonymous said...


Go to google maps put in New York to LA and it will give you the total number of hours.

Evans said...

Aha, now it depends what you are driving. Car - maybe one week. Sit on lawnmower - the rest of your natural life (I refer you to Straight Story, The, for further musings on this form of travelling). Pennyfarthing, my own preferred means of transport - one month. Tops.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be on a downer here, but I can't figure out why anyone would want to try this. Having lived in the American south for a couple of years and driven across various states and also large parts of British Columbia in Canada, I am not sure you're going to get the cool "road trip" experience you're possibly expecting. It's just very, very long and arse-cheek-achingly boring... whatever you do, make sure you have a car with cruise control.

I don't know how long it'lll take but I'd guess a week if you get no sleep and up to three if you take more breaks to see things/sleep.


james henry said...

No no, it's for a script. And I want the journey to be as mundane as possible, I just need to know the rough details. As a holiday, it would pretty much be my idea of hell.

I need to go and check my geography now. The Rockies are sort of in the middle, right?

Anonymous said...

We did it in 5 days once.
For a holiday, I'd say about 2 or 3 weeks.
4 for hell.

fakeyourbeauty said...

pretty good. i use it at work all the time. of course, work involves checking maps of Norway, but hey...

Todd Brown said...

It all depends how hard you want to push ... I did one loop that saw me go Toronto to Denver in one stretch (thirty something hours with a couple hours sleep in the middle) and I did Seattle to Toronto in two days on the return trip. Call me a masochist, but I actually kind of enjoy long haul driving ...

Forlorn Flo said...

Well, it
a) depends on how fast you decide to speed (65 mi/hr is the offical speed limit). But most people speed at 70-80 on the interstate for these trips...
b) depends on the season in which you go (i.e. much slower crossing 3000 mi of graceland when there are giant blizzards in winter vs summer when you're only dodging tornados in the midwest)
c) it took me a day to travel from Seattle, Washington to San Francisco, California (or 15 hours). so logic suggests it would take roughly 2 days.
d) but seriously, if you're ever pondering a vacation, you should hop over for a seriously roadtrip.
d) scenic route vs. non-scenic route
e) you've got a fantastic blog

Forlorn Flo said...

whoops, forgot to add this, it should be useful & pretty accurate.

Anonymous said...

Mapquest says NY to LA in 41 hours of driving. They're usually pretty accurate so it just depends how much you want to drive each day.

Orb said...

I just finished reading the excellently unhinged "Cannonball!" by Brock Yates, about the real Cannonball Runs, before Burt Reynolds got involved and it all went cack. Apparently anything under about 38 hours coast to coast qualifies as a "good" time... if you're only stopping for petrol or to hide from the police. Wouldn't want to get a lift to Tesco with Mr Yates, I must confess.

(Not wishing to go so far as to add anything useful to the conversation, of course...)

Anonymous said...

I driven it in 54 hours and I did it regulary 74-76 hours my friends would call me the commuter.
The eaverage time though when taking my time was 5 days.
The 54 hours -- I was highly motivated to go from LA to New York, sleeping in my car for a few hours at a time ,toilet and shower stops at truck stops.
Exhausting but exhillarting.
I believe that the record is
held by Al Unser Jr. Cannon-ball run 34 hours.
( see Petersen Auto Museum.

Anonymous said...

By large luxury sedan I can go from Boston to Newport Beach in four days if I drive at a good clip, do zero recreational stops, and make it completely about transportation, and none about sightseeing.

I will stay three nights in a hotel while on the road between destinations. If I really want to shave time, and the weather cooperates I will just sleep in truck stops and rest plazas for 8 hours, and then right back on the road once I eat to maximize travel time.

If I have a driving partner, we can tag team the trip, and make it just shy of two days of driving with each driving for 6 hour shifts, and bathroom, food, leg stretching breaks about every two hours for 15 minutes.

On my own I have driven it in a big luxury sedan, an old police car, a small van, a motor home, a box truck, a commercial semi truck, a M35A2, and a Harley.

The E-250 van was handy because I could sleep in back, and was able to pack food, and drive 70-75 a good bit of the way.

The old police car was good as I could hit speeds over 100 mph, and often 120 mph on long stretches.

The M35 was torture, and I will never try it again, and it look 7 full days or driving, and 2 of more hours per day of maintenance. The truck could not maintain a speed of 55 for very long.

The big luxury sedan is nice, but you can not hold the higher speeds for as long as an old police car.

The motorhome was comfortable, but required a much slower pace due to the size, and the beast always got cranky, and the driver lazy about two days into it.

By semi-truck I had to be very careful to dodge toll booths and DOT check points and run with creative log books, but have made the run in three days.

The motorcycle was the best trip, but it required 10 days each way, unless you want to destroy your back.