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Texas to San Diego

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by cfrith5, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. cfrith5

    cfrith5 Mouseketeer

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    Does anyone have any tips for us? Making the drive from Austin to San Diego next month (then to Anaheim of course!). It's 19 hrs so we'll drive about half way and stay the night in Las Cruces, NM. We've done a 19-20 hr drive from Austin to Michigan, but never to CA. TIA!
     
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  3. sonnyjane

    sonnyjane DIS Veteran

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    Are you going to be doing stuff here in San Diego, or did you just not want to drive directly to Anaheim?

    My husband and I have moved around a LOT and have done many long drives (the longest being Key West, FL to Seattle, WA in 3.5 days) and I do have some advice for you. Las Cruces, NM is LESS than halfway between Austin and San Diego, and in my experience, if I'm doing a long two-day drive like that, I'd want to get AT LEAST more than halfway on the first day to make the second day easier. I'd try to drive to at least the NM/AZ border.
     
  4. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    If I didn't stop in Las Cruces, the place I would stop is Tucson. Not much around the AZ/NM border.

    Plus, when I have to drive the portion of I-10 between Lordsburg and the AZ border, I try to travel as early as I can. This is a stretch where dust storms are a real possibility and have caused highway closures. I think there is a higher chance of dust storms in the heat of the day, particularly in our summer monsoon season.
     
  5. cfrith5

    cfrith5 Mouseketeer

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    I'm so glad I asked here so I can get some input. Las Cruces seemed like the best/safest/nicest place given our circumstances. I wish I could make it to Tucson, but don't think I can. I'm driving with 3 kids by myself (DH is flying out and then driving back with us). From past drives to MI I know I can't handle much more than 10 maybe 11 hours in a day by myself. I don't know the area at all between here and SD...other than having flown into Tucson (love it there).
     
  6. cfrith5

    cfrith5 Mouseketeer

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    We're going to stay in San Diego for a few days. My best friend lives there. You're right, Las Cruces is 9 hours, leaving 10 hours to San Diego.
     
  7. cfrith5

    cfrith5 Mouseketeer

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  8. sonnyjane

    sonnyjane DIS Veteran

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    It's a longggggggggggg boring drive lol. I couldn't believe how many exits Texas had lol! Luckily I have a husband that loves driving and will frequently do 18 hour stretches while I sleep in the passenger seat lol.

    I also agree with the PP's recommendation of leaving very early in the morning. I can do long drives so long as the sun is out, but it gets rough for me after it starts getting dark, so the more hours of daylight I have, the better.
     
  9. cfrith5

    cfrith5 Mouseketeer

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    Very true...once the sun goes down I get sleepy. Which I guess I'll have in my favor driving to the west with the time change. I had planned on leaving around 7am, but maybe I should try to leave around 5am.
     
  10. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    Then I would stop in Cruces. Get a good night's sleep and start out as early as you can, get through as much as AZ as you can before the heat of the day. Have lots of water with you.

    There is a portion of I-8 after the California border where you drive thru a mountain pass with a steep grade. The signs say "No air conditioner for the next 10 miles to avoid engine over-heating." Turn off the air, open the windows and get a drink from your cooler. Never had a problem there, just wanted to warn you. And after the pass the temperature starts to drop. My favorite part of the drive. Watching the car thermometer drop from 110 to 72. :)
     
  11. cfrith5

    cfrith5 Mouseketeer

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    I agree! I've always lived in Michigan until moving here 3 years ago. This state is huge.
     
  12. cfrith5

    cfrith5 Mouseketeer

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    Great info. Thanks!
     
  13. clm10308

    clm10308 DIS Veteran

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    Las Cruces probably will be your best best at this point.

    There's is a very large wild fire burning right now on the NM/AZ border. If it is still burning by the time of your trIp, most of the hotels closer to the boarder could be full up with emergency personel.
     
  14. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    I'd forgotten about the fire. Family in Alamogordo are feeling effects of the smoke. Let's hope it's better contained by next month. We need some humidity.
     
  15. MommaMouseketeer

    MommaMouseketeer Earning My Ears

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    It's about 9.5hrs of driving time to get to Las Cruces, then about 11 to San Diego or 12 to Anaheim, and to all those times you have to add in the breaks. To have your second day when you're tired and more irritable also be a longer day is going to be hard on the kids and therefore more so on you. You'll need to stop more on the second day and won't have any time to spare in order to do it.

    If you could leave between 3 and 4AM on the first day, you'd hopefully have about 3 hours straight of the kids being quiet sleeping or resting. That would put you around Junction where you could stop for a bathroom break if needed. If you left closer to 3 and had good sleepers, you could get to Fort Stockton before needing a breakfast break.

    You'd be able to get all the way to Tucson by about 5PM, would be able to wind down and get a really good night's sleep in the hotel, then you would have the freedom to get up and going whenever you were ready on the second day, whether that was 4AM or 8AM, because you'd only have a 7hrs drive ahead of you the next day (9-10 with stops).

    I like to drive as much at night as possible when we have kids with us because we get a lot better drive to stop time ratio. During the day you have to stop for bickering and eating and drinking and walking and potties. That's hard when you have a 1:3 ratio of adult to kids! Driving at night, you have to stop for gas. But of course, you can't drive when it is unsafe for you. So I recommend leaving as early as you possibly and safely can do so, but no earlier.

    In order to facilitate that, I recommend having the car travel-ready the week before (windshield wiper fluid, oil, all that) and the luggage packed and in the car that's fueled up the night before. The kids can wear comfy clothes to bed like yoga pants or gym shorts and a t-shirt so they can go straight from bed to traveling without stopping to change. And I have an overnight bag that has everyone's essentials for one night and a bathroom bag so only those two bags need to be taken into the hotel. It makes things much easier overnight.
     
  16. Desert Dwellers

    Desert Dwellers Mouseketeer

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    If you decide to stop in Las Cruces the first day, and then drive into SD the second day, I would just see how you feel in Yuma. Since you're staying with a friend, it's not like you're committed to a room reservation. If you feel good and the kids are all right, continue. But if you're getting tired, Yuma is big enough to give you some good hotel choices. The next day, you can breeze into San Diego.
     
  17. cfrith5

    cfrith5 Mouseketeer

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    Wonderful input everyone! Things I wouldn't have thought of. Thank you so much! :goodvibes
     
  18. ahutton

    ahutton WDW Bride Dec 6, 1996

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    A couple things... We've made that drive many times and frequently with small kids.

    If you want to get past Las Cruces and don't like Lordsburg, Deming is an option. If you want to get into Arizona but not all the way to Tucson check out Wilcox. Because that is the road towards Tombstone it has nice hotels compared to what you usually see on the roadside.

    Someone mentioned Yuma, we love that as a summer stop so you cross the dunes very early in the morning and are through the mountain pass before it gets too warm. We stayed in Yuma last time (holiday inn express) and we were at Mission Beach for an early lunch time.
     

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