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Driving to San Francisco from NC

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by diamondqueen diamondqueen (Member) Member

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Hello everyone! I just graduated in May and I am relocating to San Francisco. I plan on driving and I was wondering if anyone has ever done this and if so did you take the northern or southern route. Those of you that have driven from California to the east coast can chime in also.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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tnbutterfly is a BSN, RN and specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

13 Followers; 118 Articles; 5,413 Posts; 195,768 Profile Views

Hi diamondqueen,

Just a few weeks ago I drove from northeast TN to LA. It took about 3 1/2 days. I could've made it in less time but chose to drive about 600 - 700 miles per day. I took I 81 to I 40 which took me all the way to CA. I have driven out that way before and have driven the southern and northern routes. I 40 is a little more direct for where I was going and the traffic was not bad at all until I reached CA.

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124 Posts; 2,442 Profile Views

Really depends on when you are going.. but South is usually good.. just becareful when crossing the desert.. put extra water in your car (if you don't carry it already.. for the car not you) and if you can arrange it drive it in evening.. it can get hot hot hot.. and blowing your A/C can kill your car! I learned this the hard way...

Also depending on where you are staying.. hotel.. motel.. whatever.. you might want to get a KOA card.. it's 10 bucks.. but saves you money at all of them.. and they usually have promotions in summer like stay 4 nights at anyof them 1 night free.. plus they have cabins that are usually alot cheaper than hotels.. b/c you need to bring sheets/bedding.. but if your relocating you'll already have them.. just a thought.

good luck

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Psqrd specializes in Cardiac/ED.

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I have driven from Alabama to Cali many times while I was stationed near Birmingham...I have always taken the southern routes and what I have discovered is that it takes just as long when you stop each night as it does to drive more and sleep in the car a few hours each night. So my suggestion is to take it easy and enjoy the ride...its beautiful country you'll being going through so stop and smell the roses! Watch your fuel, when you get towards Texas and Arizona there can be some larger than normal gaps in fuel locations so do keep an eye on that. Oh, lots of speed traps both in Georgia and Arizona...in Arizona they hide at the bottom of some of those little rolling hills and when you come over its already too late! (I learned the hard way) But they are nice and give you a self addressed envelope to mail your fine back in. LOL!

Drive safe, P

P.S. Northern routes are nice too but have more unpredictable weather so keep your radio on and pay attention to local stations as you come across.

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EarthChild1130 has 9 years experience and specializes in Psychiatric.

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We moved to Oregon from Mobile, Alabama last year, and we came across the southern route...it was nice...then we hit California and drove straight up on I-5...it was a nice drive...we took 5.5 days to get here...good luck!! Happy Travels!

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CityKat is a BSN, RN and specializes in Trauma.

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Hi there...

I drove from SF to NYC close to two years ago and will now be driving back home to start my nursing career:)

As far as driving through the south, I cannot help you, but I have driven through the midwest. I will head through Pa, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, Nevada to California. I will also drive through Colorado. Anyhow, I just say brings lots of music, have a cooler somewhere in your car to have healthy foods (veggies) to munch on, water to drink, your cell phone (charged), mace (just in case since you're driving alone) and chewing gum:)

I had a great me coming across and plan to do the same while driving back home. I stopped at coffee shops to get online and check email, visited friends along the way, drove through vail which was ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING drives up 94,5? through Utah. That is a very beautiful highway. I need to get my film developed from that trip yet. If you can take it, it will take you through the rocky mountains of Colorado and into Salt Lake City, Utah. Once you get to SLC, the drive across the salt flats is pretty WHITE, HOT and boring. You can come up through Reno and through Lake Tahoe and then down into Sacramento and into the bay area. Let me know if you want highway info. I have to look it up again on my route, but you might have an easier way coming from the south on through the southern states up into LA and then driving up to the bay area. Good luc and have fun:)

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Daytonite has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

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diamondqueen. . .i have driven three different routes. probably the most practical route for you to take is i-80 because it ends in san francisco. parts of it are toll roads through the midwest. you're going to hit long stretches of land when you go through iowa, nebraska, wyoming, utah and nevada. if i remember correctly, there are some big hills to drive in wyoming and utah and you'll get to see some desert in nevada. if you go west via i-70 you'll get to drive through the corn and wheat fields of indiana, illinois, missouri and kansas, see some desert in eastern colorado and the rocky mountains as you get into western colorado (they are awesome!) and then the canyon country of utah (those neat rock formations). i-70 ends at i-15 which takes you right into lost wages, er, las vegas and right on down into california where it merges with i-10 and takes you into la. if you go south all the way on i-10 you're going to go through the southern states and the southwest desert which includes the painted desert and the grand canyon. if you've never seen the desert before, you might want to do that. they now have signs posted along the highway to warn you to gas up when there are no gas stations for the next 100 miles or so. you can get information about all these routes (http://www.interstate-guide.com/) on the internet by just doing a search for "interstate xx". you can also get information on road construction as well since summertime is when they like to do that kind of major road work. don't ask me why, maybe because i drove i-70 a lot, but ohio always had major backups on it because of construction during the summer. you also might want to use alternate routes through some of the major cities (the "wheels" that go around them). try to keep out of the major cities during rush hours.

just some advice. . .stop at the big truck stops to gas up. most have convenience stores and restaurants. a lot of the truckers are very friendly and some will take the time to tell you what the good routes are to drive. the ones who drive the country know the highways like you and i know our local neighborhood streets. also, you won't get many radio stations when you are driving out in the boondocks, so have cds. when i drove across country i used to rent an unabridged version of a book from books on tape to listen to while i was driving. in many parts of the west, the highways take you through areas where there is absolutely nothing. depending on who your cell phone company is, it may not work in all states. it won't work in certain physical conditions (like mountains and hills) either. our t-mobile phone won't get a signal anywhere in arizona, but our verizon phone will. a good thing to do before you start is have your car serviced, have all the hoses under the hood checked for leaks and that all the fluids are at their proper levels.

have a safe and great trip. see you soon at the golden gates!

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206 Posts; 2,350 Profile Views

We drove from Sacramento to Dayton, OH several years ago. I think we did it in 3 and a half days. There were 2 of us and we took turns driving. We did no sightseeing, but it was fun for me because I hadn't been out of CA much before. We did bring snacks and bought several books on CD. :)

Good luck and welcome to California!

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My husband and I drove from NC to Oregon back in 1996. We took the southern route and stopped a few times to stay with friends along the way. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the drive. I always recommend to people to take a couple of weeks to drive across the country if you ever have the opportunity.

We stopped in Columbus GA first to see some friends, then we spend two nights in New Orleans (incredible, beautiful city), next drove to San Antonio to see a friend (neat city with the whole Riverwalk area), then to Galveston TX to camp and sea kayak for a couple days (careful, poisonous snakes at the campgrounds!).

We then went through New Mexico, where we camped one night and stayed in Taos another night. Then we were on our way to Boulder CO to see my sister. We stayed in Salt Lake City and Boise before finishing up in Portland.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll have a great trip no matter which route you choose to go. My personal tip: Bring LOTS of music, including both old favorites and new stuff you've been wanting to check out. I suggest lots of variety as far as genres because long hours on the road can get tedious and you will get bored with the same old music. I personally need to mix up my music frequently to keep myself alert and interested.

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31 Posts; 1,322 Profile Views

Again, thanks to everyone who relied. I am still over joyed about my move and I think I will take route that goes through Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. I plan to give myself plenty of time to site see. I will be traveling with two boys age 9 and 6 so I am sure they would need some time to unwind everyday (or maybe I need them to unwind everyday). Again I thank each and every one of you for your input and anyone else can chime in and let me know how their trip was and some cool things that you saw.

Blue Skies!!

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