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Old 05-22-2021, 12:40 AM   #1
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2018 16' Sport
Livermore , California
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 20
How many miles to drive in a day - yes, been asked I know

So, I'm going to say I know it's been asked. I've read many answers but am a bit in shock with 200-300 miles a day.. I actually need to be somewhere and that would be fine for the way home.

I have driven across country before becoming disabled on the job from chemicals and could stay in motels.. Bay area ca to MN in 2 days.. I can no longer stay in hotels due to a chemical lung condition and disability from it so our new little 16' airstream is awesome... already off gassed and only 2 years old..

Now traveling to MN from CA.. Our last trip N. CA to S. CA should have taken 6 hours driving time, so gave myself extra time to 7 with 2 gas stops and snacks... it still took over 9 hours - yeah, LA traffic. I know we should stop longer since my 83 yo mom is along, but my boys (twins 11) and I just love to get there... we are trying to adjust to laid back travel...

We are going back to the big fly in at Oshkosh WI and have our family in MN we want to see.. I need to know if I'm crazy or if we can make this trip work with my 83 yo Mom.. normally my boys pitch a tent and mom and I stay in Bambi, but RV parks don't allow this and its super tight...

Current plan is from Bay area CA (Livermore)

Day 1 Battle Mountain, NV
436 miles - 7 hours

Day 2 Fort Bridger Wyoming
410 miles 7 hours

Day 3 Black Hills - Custerís Gulch
210 miles - Staying extra night - Day 4

Day 5 Apple Valley MN
631 miles 10 hours - probably crazy right?

My boys and I would love the adventure.. but need to get my Mom to a relatives house and then we are off to our Oshkosh adventure.. and if anyone here has been camping at Oshkosh I'd love insight!
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Old 05-22-2021, 02:48 AM   #2
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
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Thumbs up

Of all the thoughts that come to mind, there is really only one which rises to the top, in my personal opinion:


[click on URL at the top to open up Full Screen etc. options -- well worth it IMO]

This video is one of many by Jeff Fujita, a member who recently announced that health issues would affect his and wife Coffee's ability to continue these travels:

Life is short.

Go for it!

Happy trails,

Let the music lift you up . . .
[Robert Frost reading live -- 2 minutes]

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Old 05-22-2021, 05:02 AM   #3
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2019 30' International
Pennsylvania , Pennsylvania
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In my opinion, the answer to the daily distance question is contingent on each person's personal ability and perspective.

I think your itinerary is doable, though will likely be tiring. I also think your drive times may be on the lower side of reality.

For our trips we normally divide mileage by 50 to arrive at the hours needed to drive a distance. This includes stops for gas, bathroom breaks, traffic tie ups, food, etc. Some times we arrive earlier, and some times later.

I'm very in tune with my ability. When towing, I am sharp as a tack up to 250 miles or so. At 300 miles I can tell I'm at the point I need to focus more on driving. At 350 to 400 I'm tired, and in that zone where I really need to concentrate. Above 400 it's no longer fun, it's work. That's how it is for me.

I drove 650 miles in one day, twice I think. I don't recommend it, but it's doable.

All that being said, surely others can likely drive 400 miles daily, for a stretch of days without issue. I'm just not one of them.
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Old 05-22-2021, 05:45 AM   #4
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Berlin , Maryland
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I now think it is age dependent as the older I become the less likely I am going to drive very long distances. I also agree with the other post the longer the distance the more tiring it becomes.
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:10 AM   #5
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2021 25' Globetrotter
Cranberry Township , Pennsylvania
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I've done almost 1,000 miles in a day, but I also find driving therapeutic. The most important thing is to know what you can do and when you need a break. If I'm doing a long day like that, I need to take an extended late lunch since that's when I start to lose focus.
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:14 AM   #6
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If you are going to Oshkosh during the big air show, I hope you already have reservations.

If it's at some other time, I've stayed at, and while it's nothing much more than a glorified parking lot with full hook ups, it is very reasonably priced (especially with Passport America) and it's directly across the highway from the EAA grounds where you can take the boys to the museum and for a plane ride.

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Old 05-22-2021, 06:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by urnmor View Post
I now think it is age dependent as the older I become the less likely I am going to drive very long distances. I also agree with the other post the longer the distance the more tiring it becomes.
Totally agree with this one, long driving days when towing are much more taxing on me (probably on all of us). We’re still pretty new at this, got our 25’ FC less than a year ago, so I can’t offer direct experience but I do it more by driving hrs than driving distance, and I’m willing to drive 8 to 10hrs towing if I’m rested and feeling good. Too many other unknowns like accidents, lane closures, and traffic in general, to plan it precisely in miles. Approx, miles sure ... but be prepared to deviate from your plan if/when fatigue or highway hypnosis become a concern. Your goals look doable, but also probably depend on a bit of good fortune (good weather, light traffic, etc). I no longer have the driving stamina I had a few years ago ... be safe
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:24 AM   #8
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2021 33FB Classic
Cumming , Georgia
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My wife and I have been together over 36 years and used to do 10-12 hour trips all the time. We lived in South Fla and her family was in WV and mine in KY.

Now - we live by the 300 miles or 4:00pm thought. Unless we have short days and donít want to burn a night going & coming back - weíll break that. This Summer we have a spot 400 miles away & plan to drive straight there.

I find anything over 400 and I get tired.

Safe travels!
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:27 AM   #9
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Hilltop Lakes , Texas
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Oshkosh during the airshow is boon docking with lots and lots of neighbors. Go in with a plan for adding fresh water to your tank and disposing of black/gray water waste. There are trucks that will handle this for you, but they are expensive.

Water/electric sites are available, but must be reserved early and paid for from the date the reservation is made to the end of the show. This makes them prohibitively expensive in my opinion.

On the good side of things, the crowd is friendly and the atmosphere feels very safe. There is a tradition that no one drops litter on the ground at Oshkosh. There are plenty of dumpsters, and you're expected to use them. The crowd will enforce this, not just Security, so think clean.
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:27 AM   #10
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2020 23' Flying Cloud
Sebastian , Florida
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You have answered your own question a couple of limes, especially about the last day’s drive.
We can’t know your mom’s limitations (or yours), but plan on enough stops where you can walk around a few minutes to reduce the physical strain. Every hour to hour and a half works for my wife. Have the boys bring along different ways to amuse themselves.
A rest day is invaluable, even if you are tromping around a park. But if it were me, I’d save the sightseeing at Custer Gorge for the return trip and split up the 800 miles over three days.
I assume mom can’t / doesn’t want to fly solo? On one trip, I took off from Illinois with the kids and picked up the wife from the Tampa airport two days later (school schedule).
Happy travels.
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(Same man, Bigger can)
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Old 05-22-2021, 06:30 AM   #11
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Wenatchee , Washington
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Originally Posted by dah605 View Post
I've done almost 1,000 miles in a day...

Iíve done this several times over the years, to include while towing our AS. The thing is, it kinda defeats the whole purpose of bringing your home with you.

Weíre retired now, so we just drive until weíre ready to call it a day. (Being a slave to a schedule most of my life, I really enjoy RVing.)
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Old 05-22-2021, 07:43 AM   #12
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billings , Montana
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Some days...200 others 500 no hurry
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Old 05-22-2021, 07:56 AM   #13
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You don't mention how many drivers but I assume just yourself? You don't say what the tow vehicle is either which could make a difference on the stresses of towing and the speed, also you have to take into account the weather. My experience has been if you schedule too much in too short a time the vacation becomes work instead. Some people really enjoy driving and I am one of them, in my 30's I could drive 1,000 miles but now I am hard pressed to do 400 or 500 and for me 250-300 is a better fit. In a small vehicle even less, I get uncomfortable quick if I can't stretch out.
Another thought, scheduling yourself that tight might tempt you to push your speed beyond what is safe for your rig and road conditions.
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Old 05-22-2021, 08:35 AM   #14
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Evergreen , Colorado
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We did a couple of legs that were just over 400 miles on our last trip. Those are certainly not my favorite days, but if you leave early and the weather isn’t bad, then the driving isn’t bad. I prefer driving days of less than 250 miles when towing the Airstream.

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Old 05-22-2021, 08:47 AM   #15
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Vintage Kin Owner
Somewhere , Colorado
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Agree that you may have under estimated the hours of driving in your plan. We have found that hours of driving is more significant than miles covered.

Our common experience towing at 60-65 mph is that we actually average 50 mph over the course of the day. This allows for bathroom stops, eating, stretching your legs, and a bit of traffic. To achieve your timing goals we would have to tow at 75 mph which is way too risky.

Depending on your personal ability to drive long days the overall plan may still work — but I think you should anticipate longer driving times.
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Old 05-22-2021, 08:56 AM   #16
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I see no reason this cannot be done.
Driving in the West and Midwest is fairly easy. Roads are wide open and in good condition.
Fewer large cities to slow you down.

We have traveled from Kansas City to points West every year.

I use this formula: Miles / average speed of 55 MPH = how long it will take to cover that distance, assumes a gas stop/bathroom break every 200 miles, and eating meals at the table in the airstream. Assumes Driving at a speed of about 63.

To this--add 45 minutes for a smaller city like Kansas City or Omaha. Add 1.5 hours for a larger city like Denver.

Look up both where you cross time zones, and also the time of sunrise and sunset.

Better to leave early morning vs drive later in the day.

Always get gas at the end of the day before you go to your campground. Gas stations are a circus in the mornings.

By leaving early (dawn/pre-dawn) you are driving with rested drivers and "morning people". This kind of traffic is safer and more rested. You avoid any rush hour crazy late-to-work drivers, and fewer impaired drivers at that time of day.

By leaving early, you also give yourself more "cushion" should anything delay your plan throughout the day, to still arrive to your destination by dinner time.

Having your camper with you makes potty stops easier, especially if your mom needs to go pretty often.

That Day 5/over 600 mile day. That seems to be pushing it in my opinion. Unless you are not camping that night in Apple Valley. If you are staying at family in a house in a bed that might make it better. But it will be really long and grueling day if you drive that in one day. It is doable, but will be a battle. If you decide to do this I would advise being hitched up and ready to roll the night before, and leave at 5 am.

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Old 05-22-2021, 09:22 AM   #17
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Tampa , Florida
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It's hard for me to be 'wheels up' before 9am.
Since campgrounds seem more crowded (even big trailers for construction workers) I try to find a spot by 5 pm.
That's 8 hours of drive time. Averaging 50 (cruising 63) that puts about 400 miles behind me and that seems about right.
Gone are the days when I arrived in a strange campground at 10 pm and got a spot.

I once drove from Little Rock to Tampa straight through (1,000 mi.) then backed into a bush parking in my driveway and broke the taillight. No more.
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Old 05-22-2021, 09:30 AM   #18
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2007 20' Safari
Old Orchard Beach , Maine
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300 miles a day or limit your hours.
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Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Trailer name: Quarantina
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Old 05-22-2021, 09:30 AM   #19
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2016 30' International
Quartz Hill , California
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I agree with majorairhead. I use the 50 divided into distance to plan my trips. Six or seven hours a day is enough. I have done a 600+ mile day just once. That was traversing the loneliest rode in America US Hwy 50 in Nevada. Now that We are older and retired. our cap is 350 miles with 250-300 being normal. It is much easier on the back and knee joints.
Welcome to the Airstream family. Stay safe
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Old 05-22-2021, 09:31 AM   #20
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2016 28' Flying Cloud
Colorado Springs , Colorado
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We have one long leg planned this summer, Colorado Springs to Devil's Tower. 470 miles and it will be an 8 hr drive. We usually like to keep it to 5 hrs or less so there is more time to enjoy the scenery, but this one is a last minute plan. From there on to friends in Dubois WY and then back to the Springs. Our KOA site in Devil's Tower is pull thru so I can hit that with ease even after a long drive. Most of this trip is flatland and easy driving, no mountain passes like in Colorado where we usually cross one or two each trip here. So that will make driving easier.
So go for it, relax and enjoy the trip.
Don & Karen
2016 AS Flying Cloud 28'
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