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Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

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Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

hi.. i am relocating from Las Vegas to Washington DC in Mid-August... traveling with 2 teen drivers, a dog and 2 cats... want to get there fast... maybe 4 days... no sightseeing...

googlemaps advises route 40, route 70 or route 40 changing to route 70 all pretty much same mileage and drive time..says 36 hours...

which is better highway (no 2 lane travel, if we can help it...), easiest driving... ?

and any recommendations for most pet-friendly hotel chains.. one more thing... dog parks along the way?

anything not to miss, as long as we will be passing right by?

thanks for advice!

rachel

Baltimore
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1. Re: Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

I get 35 hours; it’s only an estimate anyhow.

As to routes, I’ve driven large sections of each; it’s a coin toss. By and large, the roads should be similar. AAA could advice as to any major road work. There will be some; there always is.

I-70 actually means I-15 to a rural point in Utah where you pick up I-70 at its western terminus. The usual route to DC via I-70 would have you leaving the Pennsylvania Turnpike south of Pittsburgh, 58 miles on single lane two way roads to a point west of Cumberland Maryland. It’s actually faster than sticking with I-70 and you save tolls. However, I’ve driven that route and it can be frustrating and confusing. Sticking with I=70 would bring you in to the Washington area from the northwest via I-270. If you Washington area destination is in Maryland, it could be a point in favor of the I-70 route.

The I-70 route has some tolls.

I-40 starts down US Highway 93, through Henderson picking up I-40 at Kingman Arizona. You would leave I-40 east of Knoxville Tennessee picking up I-81 up through the Shenandoah Valley to pick up I-66 near Strasburg Virginia and then to DC. If your Washington area destination is in Virginia, it could be a point in favor of this southern route.

I love I-70 through the Colorado Mountains as well as the Utah portions. From eastern Colorado to Kansas City, as well as rural areas of the Midwest, it’s not too exciting. You do get to see some important cities: Kansas City, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. In far eastern Ohio, the country gets more scenic all the way to the outskirts of DC.

I think I-40 is rather truck laden from Little Rock to the I-81. The weather can be a little hotter, but I’m not sure it matters in August. Personally, I like the southern route better.

NOW … about those four days. You’ll lose three hours as added insult. The 36 hours means rolling time. That would be 9 rolling hours a day if you could divide it up equally. 9 rolling hours translates to about 10.5 hours – not stopping to eat much less sightsee – just adding time for pitstops to gas up, relieve oneself, walk the dog. I’d figure 11.5 hours plus, if you grab some McDonalds type fast food for lunch eating at the hotel before you leave and calling for pizza delivery to your hotel room when you check in. [A good idea, incidentally when trying to make time]. Add the hour lost on the clock three of those four days, and what we’re talking is getting up at 6:00 am, rotating walking dog, feeding animals, turns in the bathroom, someone eating in cycle at the free hotel breakfast – fueling up at 7:45 so as to be rolling on the Interstate at 8:00 am. Not really much sightseeing, just grabbing food, pulling in to road stops periodically for the animals and to stretch, it’ll be 9:00 pm on the clock when you finally get checked in, bags in the room and that pizza delivered.

I’m not sure which of the routes is best for reaching St Elizabeths in DC, but after four of those days maybe you would just want to go directly there.

And to make it worse, the best layovers don’t necessarily allocate themselves conveniently. For example, If I were taking I-70, I’d definitely want to overnight at Grand Junction so I could best enjoy the Colorado Mountains. How awful to drive them in the dark. Now that’s not too bad. Grand Junction is 7 hours from Vegas and you lose that first hour on the clock. But then, divvying up the remainder of the trip in 3 days, is short of cool. Basically, you’d have to go for Salina Kansas for the next night.

Incidentally, the southern route lays out a bit better for this value, but not much.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

I'd also take the southern route. But 36 hours for almost 2500 miles is not realistic with the stops esp for your dog. roadworks etc etc. This easily will take 40-45 hours in real life. We have done trips like that and averaged roadworks every 100 miles or so.

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3. Re: Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

wow, thanks for your thoughtful responses! appreciate the feedback ... maybe better plan an extra day or 2...

Bloomington, Indiana
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4. Re: Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

Agree that 40+ hours is a better estimate, you're going to run into stuff along the way that will slow you down; even hitting one major city at something near rush hour could add an hour or more. (On my phone will try to do some looking at things & give more observations tomorrow.). I have driven from Indiana to DC (& back) multiple times, so I have some specific suggestions for that portion.

Consider that if you only bump the 36 hours by 10% (a fairly minimal fudge factor), BOOM you're basically at 40 hours.

The real reason I'm weighing in now is the pet aspect. I do know that La Quinta allows pets at the entire chain. Also, a Google search will reveal a handful of websites that list pet-friendly hotels. Also, you should be sure to investigate the details as things can vary widely. I've seen cases where the pet portion is very reasonable (say another $10 or so to your bill). I've also seen cases where it ends up adding 50% to the cost of the room. These are usually a single high dollar charge rather than per night charge and , if you're staying multiple nights, it can end up being reasonable, but that's not what you're looking at.

That's all for now maybe more tomorrow,

hlo

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5. Re: Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

Yep, the directions I got on Google also say 35 hours (I-15 to I-70 most of the way). I too got the little "detour" south of Pittsburgh which drops you down to I-68 to I-270 and have driven this route multiple times. There is a chance of problems on the two lane portion, but I've never had any real issues. I will say that I *much* prefer the I-68 route to following I-70 through Pennsylvania and then dropping down to DC.

I will point out that there is a variation to get you down to I-68. Instead of following the route Google gives you, you drop down on I-79 at Washington, PA and then pick up I-68 at Morgantown, WV. It's kind of 6-of-one/half-a-dozen of another situation. It's a few more miles, but you're traveling them at interstate versus 2 lane speeds. I might go with either one depending on whether I wanted to get a break from mind-numbing interstate travel, thought I might want to take a break in the area, etc.

I will point out an alternative that we took last return trip from DC, US 50. It basically runs from Cincinnati to DC (actually goes further west, but this is the portion we drove). What we did was take 270/68 out of DC and then dropped down on I-79 & picked up US 50 at Clarksburg, WV. Much of what we drove was 4 lane and while not up to interstate speeds in general, you make pretty good time, there is less traffic, it's more direct, you get to see something besides the same things at every interstate exit (and can stop more frequently/conveniently) and is generally more scenic than i-70 (in my opinion). I don't think that taking this route added more than *maybe* an hour (and probably less) to what would otherwise have been about a 10 hour drive. One way to do this would be to take I-74 out of Indianapolis & drop down to Cincinnati.

Another alternative (particularly if you think you might go with the US 50 suggestion, but even if not), is to take I-64 rather than I-70 out of Saint Louis. This cuts across southern Illinois & Indiana to Louisville, KY. There you could take could then take I-71 to Cincinnati (to catch US 50) or continue on I-64 onto Charleston, WV. At this point you can catch I-79 up to I-68 or even continue on I-64 and then take I-81 up the Shenandoah Valley (and then take I-66 into DC).

One possible advantage to these alternatives is that there are a few less major metro areas. (For example the I-64 route avoids Indianapolis, IN and Columbus, OH, but does add Louisville, KY.) This is kind of a devil is in the details aspect. If you're not going to hit these at rush hour, no big deal. But, if you do hit rush hour traffic in some of the larger cities, it's going to cost you time and going an alternative route might not cost more time in the big picture. (A worst case could have you hit Saint Louis morning rush hour and then Columbus evening rush hour.)

I didn't check how much of a time difference these alternative would generate (you can do it yourself on Google maps by "dragging" the route and generating waypoints), but when you're talking about a 35-40 hour drive adding even adding 3-5 hours isn't going to make a huge difference (it's only about 10%, maybe a half day drive or less).

Anyway, you might want to look at some of those and see if there's anything they pass by/through that piques your interest (realizing this isn't a sight seeing trip, but still . . . ) and/or if you just think it will be more scenic (and this will depend on whether you'd rather get a "drive by look" at some of the cities or prefer rolling hills, woods, etc.).

Hope this helps,

hlo

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6. Re: Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

I have no suggestions at all, BUT if you can add a day or 2 that would be great. Then you all would have the option of stopping for a couple of hours if you pass something interesting. (The thought that popped in to my mind if you choose I40 was the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City which now goes by something else now, but I'm showing my age here, lol!!)

Otherwise to me the song from Wizard Of Oz where the neighbor is riding the broomstick during the tornado is what is running thru my head.

Pam

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7. Re: Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

Hi Rachel,

Here are a couple of sites that highlight pet-friendly lodging, and a site that has quirky roadside attractions along whatever route you select:

http://www.petswelcome.com/

http://www.dogfriendly.com/

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

Safe travels.

Zed

8. Re: Las Vegas to WashDC mid-August... quickest route?

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