View Full Version : Drive Time Per Day

06-24-2009, 10:26 AM
I'm curious to hear from you more experienced TMer's on your average miles per day driving/towing on a cross country type of trip.
We've always tried to take a nice vacation every few years. For many of these years we used my car, and now use my van.
My wife and I usually try to make good time when traveling...not by going 90mph, but by trying to make few stops, eating in the car, etc. This was usually due to the fact that the ending destination was were the fun was.
In the days of the car, we have been known to do 1000 miles in a day (the car is very comfortable), and now in the van we just did 800, but it was rough, as the van is a bit more tedious to drive.

With the TM I understand that the mentality would change since the traveling becomes part of the adventure... and that towing would mean slower speeds, more stops, etc. I would also assume the "tedious" level would go way up when towing so the hours per day would need to be less than normal trip via car.

On average, when planning say a 2000 mile trip towing a TM, how many miles per day do you shoot for? Just thinking out loud, I would say that you would average 60mph for say 8hrs for about 450 miles per day. Sounds about right, or am I assuming too much?

06-24-2009, 10:56 AM
For us it isn't so much a matter of miles as it is hours. 8 hours would be max for us.

That said, we typically try to plot out things to see on the way rather than just focusing on the end destination.


06-24-2009, 11:25 AM
We've found that the twins don't like more than 4 hours. 3-3.5 is much better for us.

So, for now we're sticking closer to home. Maybe when they're a little older we can venture farther afield.

When I used to drive for a teen backpacking group, a caravan of 3 vans with trailers for backpacks, gear, etc. between backcountry areas, we figured 500 miles as about the max limit for a driving day, and we tried to limit the number of those long days because they were very tiring on everyone.

06-24-2009, 11:29 AM
We have to schedule everything with our company so we really try not to be on a strict schedule while vacationing. We sometimes even extend our vacations while we are still there. We also like the idea of seeing more things so our future camping trips will most likely be planned out with stop overs along the way to be more adventures. If finance get better than they are now we may plan a long trip to a Vegas convention for our industry this year if not this year we will go next year.

As for drive time we have driven straight thru to most destinations in past by taking turns driving & only stopping for fuel which makes us very tired once we get there.

06-24-2009, 11:45 AM
We find that tolerance for time behind the wheel gets shorter as we get older.

When we were younger, 1000 miles per day was normal and 1500 miles was doable (one driving, one sleeping 24, hours a day driving).

We did a 1100 miles from Richland, Wa to LA, Ca in one day when we bought our TM about 2 years ago. It was far from fun or vacation like and it was 24 hours, non-stop (except meals and potty stops).

Last weekend, we drove 350 to visit our kids. It was a 6 hour drive (without the TM) and we were done-in when we arrived. We determined then, that 6 hours was the max that we would want to tow the TM in any one day (keeping in mind tear down and set-up at the end of the drive). The # of miles traveled will depend largely on terrain and speed limits.

Were are in our mid 60's now. We are planning on towing our TM to Alaska in 2013. I'm wondering if that 6 hours will still hold when we get closer to 70 :confused:.

06-24-2009, 02:47 PM
We typically average 350 to 450 miles per day and we're ready to stop at that time. Usually, driving that distance, we put in 6-7 hours time. That includes potty breaks for us and the dogs, and a stop at lunch.

We can leave here (northeast TN) and be most places we want to go in 3-1/2 to 4 days traveling as stated above. We usually go to the southwest when on vacation.



06-24-2009, 04:26 PM
My main criterion is that I don't like to arrive after dark. Trying to back in, set up, etc, in a strange place in the dark is not cool to me. So, I try to get an early start and drive till dusk. This means how far I can go varies with the seasons. I will also drive after dark if I'm heading home, since I am familiar with that destination :)

06-24-2009, 05:08 PM
We usually shoot for about 500 miles a day... but it is not etched in stone...;)

06-24-2009, 05:13 PM
Most people would not like to ride with me.

DW and I never stop until it is time to get gas. That is approximately 300 miels when towing.

I have never towed that far.

Our longest trip was Fall 2002. After working all day we go in the Dodge Dakota truck, not towing and only limited luggage.

I drove from San Jose at 4:00 pm to Mojave where we got gas and a burger.
Then I drove to Flagstaff where we got gas.
Then I drove to Albuquerque, where we got gas. It was now 6:30 AM.

DW drove the rest of the way to Angelfire.

Coming home we left at noon. I drove to the AZ state line. DW drove across AZ. I drove from the CA line home, slept for 2 hours and then worked a full day.

7 years older now, I think I have finally left those days behind me. I think I would stop for the day after emptying the second tank of gas, however far that is. Probably 600 miles or so.

btw. I really enjoy long distance driving. I even enjoy the scenery across I80 in the Nevada desert or I5 between the bay area and Los Angeles.

06-24-2009, 05:38 PM
. . .On average, when planning say a 2000 mile trip towing a TM, how many miles per day do you shoot for? Just thinking out loud, I would say that you would average 60mph for say 8hrs for about 450 miles per day. Sounds about right, or am I assuming too much?

Shortly after Christmas we head for Tucson, AZ and stay in the area through early to mid March. The trip is close to 2700 miles and takes us 6 days, traveling at 60 to 65 mph. Generally we spend 7 to 8 hours on the road and drive 400 to 450 miles per day. Your estimates of travel times and distances are quite accurate.


06-24-2009, 08:04 PM
I'm repeating a trip I did last year to northwestern Pennsylvania, from Denver, CO. It's going to take us four days:

Day 1: Denver to east Nebraska
Day 2: East Nebraska to East Illinois
Day 3: East Illinois to East Ohio
Day 4: East Ohio to West Pennsylvania

We'll probably spend 8-10 hours driving each day except the last one. We try to arrive while there is still some sunlight out, as it sucks to back in after dark (and we don't like to disturb other campers with our setup activities once they are asleep!).

This is an hard two day trip for me in a car without the TM, but I can do it. With the TM, 4 days is hard and a lot of driving. Remember, you're doing a lot more setup/teardown then you would without the TM. You'll also stop for gas more.

06-24-2009, 08:19 PM
When Rving... it's all about stopping to smell the roses... so we always plot our stops around 300 miles and try to spend a least one day at each stop to see America... this always makes the setup and tear down more bearable... When driving in those parts of the US where there isn't anything interesting to stop and see we will drive up to 450 miles... This has proven to be very enjoyable in our Rv travels...

06-26-2009, 07:33 PM
Thank you everyone for your comments. They are very much appreciated.

Hopefully there will be many times when “smelling the roses” will be the main mission of the trip, but then there will also be times when the end destination is still priority one.
DW and I are still working, and will be for some time, so we still must fit trips in a designated period of vacation time for now.
My initial question was based on a theoretical trip to Yellowstone. This is a 2000 mile, one way trip for us. I fully understand the concept of “nothing concrete”, but the bottom line is if you have a fixed amount of vacation days, and you want to fit as much time in at this great park as you can, priority one would be to get there as soon as you can.
Another example of this are planned trips to sports car racing events. The event is a fixed day and time so you need to be there on time or miss what you going for. If the race is 900 miles away, we could easily make this now in 1 day in the van, but with the TM this would become a 2 day drive, meaning we would need to leave a day earlier.

As for Yellowstone, it would be sometime before we could devote 8 days of drive time just to go and come back, not to mention the much needed time to enjoy the park. This info alone may make us do a “fly in”, or “car only” trip soon, and possibly follow up later with a TM trip.

My thinking is when planning a longer trip, I would try to plan daily drive time around state parks. Shooting to make a park that is in the 400 mile range every day.
The comments about arriving before dark and “pick-up/setup” time are invaluable as it makes me realized that all of this needs to fit into your daylight hours of driving.

For now, the TM would be primarily used within 1-4 hrs away from home for several reasons…
1) to first fully learn all there is to know about the TM
2) so friends and family could possibly meet us, spend the day, and then drive back home for the night
3) quick getaways for long weekends
4) we have family obligations that require us to be relatively close
5) limitations of my TV (I wouldn’t attempt mountainous terrain with the Astro, at least until I know how it performs with the TM.)

06-27-2009, 08:37 PM
We rarely drive from point A to point B to simply get somewhere. When we do I do not drive more than 60mph and then make as much distance as the body can endure. Our preferred method is to take long trips of a month or so and travel two lane highways as much as possible. We look for small towns and locally owned cafes to explore and sample. I use the interstate only if in a real hurry to get to a particular point (this isn't often).

In fairness, I should explain that we are retired and time is not as critical to us as it might be to others.


06-28-2009, 01:21 AM
We also work full time, and must get to point A to point B as quickly as possible sometimes, so I like to stretch it if I'm driving with just the kids. However, I don't like to pull in so late at night that we disturb our camping neighbors. We're usually pretty quiet though, and the TM doesn't make much noise as we set it up. We don't shout directions at each other or have a diesel truck. If we're just stopping for the night, I don't unhitch or hook up water or sewer, just the electricity and cable tv :new_popco, if there is any. We just eat whatever's in the frig, take a shower in the campground facilities in the morning, and get on our way again.

06-29-2009, 07:04 AM
We just got back from the big Yellowstone trip. We live on the Virginia east coast and planned several stops on the way towing the TM 3124. We drove 650 miles the first day because we already have seen most bigs things between Virginia and the Mississippi. The second day, we wanted to stop and see the arch at St Louis so we drove around 450 miles. We then stopped at the Badlands and Mt Rushmore and spent 4 days in this area! (ONly planned to spend 2 but there was so much to do and see here we spend the extra days). We then went the long way to Yellowstone so we could visit the Little Bighorn National Battlefield (MOntana) and then Cody, WY (a very interesting little town) before going the extra 100 miles to Yellowstone. We spent 6 days in Yellowstone before getting the emergency call to return home (wife's father died). We drove 500 miles the first day, 650 the second and over 900 the last day to make the funeral.
The bottom line, the TM is such a great towing vehicle that you hardly notice it is there. It really does not restrict you (I do tow with a full size pickup, this may not be true with a smaller vehicle). The trailer is not the restriction, it is what you want to do and see. I will caution you that I had 2 trailer flats on this trip, I didn't check the rated speed of the Marathon tires and was travelling in excess of 70 MPH for most of the trip (expcept the mountain areas of course). Don't exceed the rated speed (65 in my case). I don't know if that would have helped or not. I didn't join this forum until I got back!

Have fun and plan the comfortable route. ON flat roads, 500 miles is actually pretty easy. Yellowstone is absolutely fantastic.


06-29-2009, 10:17 AM
I had an Astro and took it on a trip from SC to Yellowstone tent camping/ moteling with a schedule. It was a comfortable vehicle for hours at a time. I wouldn't even try it pulling a Trailmanor in my opinion while trying to do long distances. You can see what I have now. We did take a trip to Alaska last summer, and there are things you can do to make more miles in a day if that is your goal. Your idea to make local trips first is good to see if you still want to try a distant trip. There are some things we discovered.
1. Trailmanors pull so well that neither my wife nor I were nervous or tense pulling the trailer for long hours.
2. Traveling at 65 instead of 75 only cost us 100 miles in 10 hours and was more relaxing, so we could drive longer.
3. Having cereal for breakfast, a picnic lunch at a rest stop, and a quick preplanned supper in the Trailmanor gave us back time that we would have spent in restaurants.
4. You have to check in at a motel and bring stuff in to your room. Not much different at a campground except your stuff is already there.
5. If your TV and TM are set up level while traveling, then a few leveling blocks under the TV or TM tires will let you stay hooked up over night, or if you are lucky you may be already level.
6. You don't have to put down the stabilizers, but we always did. A battery drill makes this much quicker.
7. Although it isn't fun, we have had days that we were up at 6 AM and on the road at 7 AM and traveled to 8:30 pm. We showered at the camp ground, and were in bed by 10 PM. About 700 miles was our longest day, but we could have left earlier in the day.
8. At Yellowstone ( for example ) if you go with the Trailmanor, you are already in the park when you start your touring which saves time. You can move from one camp area to another within the park to save time. It is about 80 miles from north to south and many miles to go outside the park to a motel. You can compare costs of lodges within the park, outside the park, to campsites within the park. Money in your case might not be as important as time.
9. Something that we have never done but others do to save time, money, and allow long hours on the road is to pull into Walmart parking lots, where allowed, for a few hours of sleep.
10. Flying may be best for you. Be sure to factor in the time waiting at airports and finding places to eat once you get to Yellowstone.
I bet you can't guess how we would go. We are prejudiced, but we understand that all situations are different. We hope the above might be helpful.