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Old 12-09-2014, 12:26 PM   #1
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Road trip from MA to CA, needs input

Has been planning to do this for several years. This will be our longest trip 3,000 miles each way.
Any advice from thoose AI folks who has done this before.
Which route will be the safest and most practical way to travel -- leaving Massachusetts Dec 19th.

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Old 12-09-2014, 12:34 PM   #2
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Now long do you plan to be on the road?

Leaving in December you might want to take a southern route. Maybe I-10

Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:32 PM   #3
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I wholeheartedly agree with Lumatic, definitely stay off the I-70 over the Rockies.
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:51 PM   #4
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We're leaving about 10 days after you, heading to Texas. Our preferred route is : 90-84-81-40-75-59-20 -- depending on traffic and weather. Watch for snow in the elevated portions of 84 and 81. This route avoids the Berkshires in western MA and also NYC, NJ and DC. Our alternate is 95, but only if absolutely necessary. We'll jump over to this route once we get far enough south.

We'll head south to 10 as soon as weather forces us.

I would avoid NYC like the plague, unless you're going through by 4:00 AM.


Watch out as you go through New Mexico and Arizona. It's surprising how far south you have to go to avoid the elevation of the southern Rockies.
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:40 PM   #5
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84 to 81 is a given IMHO

Also , there some interstates going southwesterly where you could keep skipping down to the interstates going west.

How much time do you have? There or a few popular historic routes, like 30, 50, and 66. and the very northern rte 6 Small towns and stop lights

Just a heads up, I have had really bad icy conditions as far south as Texas. I once got snowed in at a bar in Sante Fe.( yeah it wasn't the worse thing that could happen) Elevation is a key factor. Once at 1200 feet there was 7 inches of snow, and no snow at 1000 feet. If I were to take a road trip in the winter, I would want a smart phone to keep track of the weather. Also before you leave, you could do a Google Earth test drive. In some modes, the elevation is displayed when you move the cursor over a location. I would be prepared to make adjustments and or just sit tight. Bring a shovel
Have a safe adventure. Maybe you can let know about your journey
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:24 PM   #6
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Planning for about 3-4 weeks road trip. Worried getting stuck in snow in midwest so we will avoid going that route. Shovel and sand ready just in case
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:30 PM   #7
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Better carry snow chains for your tow vehicle.
Shovel and sand wont help much.
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:36 PM   #8
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Funny you should ask this question here today...We are planning a trip around the USA next fall starting out from RI (hopefully before December) and when I woke up today I found this site in an internet search.
Maybe it will help??

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Old 12-09-2014, 03:39 PM   #9
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Moflash I don't agree about the shovel

It started snowing in Wyoming, I pulled off and stayed at a motel. In the morning, the roads and parking lot were plowed, but I still had to shovel myself out of the parking spot.

One time in July, on flat ground, I got stuck on wet grass. Kitty litter got me out
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:12 PM   #10
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We did this trip in reverse last year almost to the day you are leaving. There are three main ways but in winter they can be quite treacherous. We constantly looked at before and during our trip.

Last year we took the 40 out and 70 on the return. On the return we had mostly good luck although it was really rough through Kansas and Colorado.

Check out and select in the map section commuter forecast.

Have fun, it is a great trip!
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Moflash View Post
Better carry snow chains for your tow vehicle.
Shovel and sand wont help much.
Wouldn't hurt to also throw some carpet scraps in your vehicle if snow driving is unfamiliar to you. In certain situations, they can be inserted between the tires and the snow- or ice-covered surface to provide enough traction for building a bit of forward momentum from a stopped position. They also weigh a hell of a lot less than sand!
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:06 AM   #12
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Where in CA will you be going?

I ran into a severe storm in Amarillo, TX on I-40 in January one year. Over 2 feet of snow and then black ice. The further south you go the better. I would probably go I-10 or I-20 to I-10 in West Texas and then either I-10 or I-8 into CA. The southern desert in New Mexico, Arizona and California are nice in the winter (daytime high temps in the 60's and 70's), but lots of snowbirds from Northern US and Canada.

California is the land of micro-climates, but generally speaking and with a few exceptions, once you get into CA, pretty much anywhere West of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is snow-free in all but the highest elevations, although the further North you go, the more rain you can expect. Northern CA can get a LOT of rain in the winter.

Have an safe trip, keep a close eye on the weather, and be prepared to adjust your itinerary accordingly. Also be prepared to stop and ride out a storm if necessary and carry chains or cables!
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Old 12-10-2014, 12:24 PM   #13
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OhthePlaces had it right...the most sensible approach would be to wait till a couple of days before starting your trip and get the 10 day weather forecast for various waypoints....if the weather stays like it is right now I'd bypass NYC, but would get on I-70 to Indianapolis, take the I-74 northwest to I-80, and follow I-80 to CA. That way you bypass much of the current Chicago area snowfall as well as the steep inclines on I-70 west of Denver. Drive that route 3 times a year and found it the easiest to tow my 20ft Daisy. Have a safe trip. Jon
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:24 PM   #14
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I've done a lot of XC driving since I was a kid in the early 1960s & driving myself since the 1970's - not usually trailering though - but weather is weather - so a far southerly route would be the best weather-wise in Dec/Jan.

Our son was posted at Ft. Drum NY up until this past August, and when he'd drive to/from there or SoCal/OC for his Holiday Block Leave - he'd take I-8 to I-10 & across to FL & then north (usually I-95 & I-81). If you want more scenery &/or side trips, then you can modify to other freeways, highways & even 2-Laners from there. Once in San Diego, you can take !-5, I-15/215, etc. north to your final destination(s).

While on the AL portion of I-10, treat yourselves to a meal at Lambert's Cafe "Home of the Throwed Rolls" - you won't be disappointed, nor leave hungry - but a nap may be required!

Safe Travels!

Tom T (janabanana48's other half )
Orange CA
1960 Avion T20, #2 made, Hensley Cub, TV tbd- looking for 08-14 Cayenne S
1988 VW Vanagon Westfalia CamperGL (Orig Owner)
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