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Old 06-24-2012, 06:20 PM   #1
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Long drive from Missouri to California

Hello Fellow ASers,

I will be pulling my 25' AS, using a 2011 Toyota Tundra (V8) from Kansas City, MO to San Francisco, CA this summer. I will be driving on I-70 from MO to Colorado, then going north via I-25 to I-80 all the way to CA. I've been reading that Wyoming is really windy and that I-80 has more semi trucks than I-70. I'm particularly worried about safety and driving down steep inclines.
Is I-70 a safer route than I-80?

Thanks in advance for your advice,
Worried in MO
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:48 PM   #2
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I-70 is so UGLY to travel upon. Drop South a bit....come the old route 66 thru Oklahoma and New Mexico, Arizona. This way you can be a Tourist too. A nice safe drive and no bad weather...other than hot....I guess you are set on a Summer drive. No steep incline here either.
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:03 PM   #3
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+1 to I-70 being ugly! Much better choice on the southern route!
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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A lot of this depends on your timetable. Doing a leisurely drive with lots of scenery and culture is quite a bit different from driving practically any interstate, which were not designed around leisure, scenery or culture. For leisure, scenery and culture, choose one of the US highways and follow it: Highway 50, Highway 64, Highway 60 (probably too far south), or others. For speed and all the stress that comes with it, choose an interstate and follow it.


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Old 06-24-2012, 09:04 PM   #5
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We used to drive I-70 frequently, travelling from Ontario, Canada, to Utah. Except for having to shift over from I-76 to I-70 around the city-traffic Denver area, we really liked the stretches through Colorado and Utah. You go over Vail Pass, past Glenwood Springs (a hot springs resort town, not far from Aspen), Fruita (near the Colorado National Monument) and then through some really spectacular slick-rock scenery in Utah.

The one thing about the Utah portion is that it has extensive stretches with no services, so I suggest gassing up around Fruita, C0 (where there is a nice visitor center offering free coffee, a big grassy area with picnic tables, and a sani-dump.) The next gas would be a lone station at Crescent Junction, UT, but with ample tourist services around Green River, Utah, where there is a nice state park campground along the river. We've stayed there a few times. There are also commercial RV parks in town, but we haven't stayed there. Then you hit something like 105 miles of I-70 with no services, but some spectacular scenic overlooks of the slick rock country of the San Rafael Swell. Salina, Utah, on the west side, has some gas stations right along the Interstate, which can be a bit of a rip-off, so we usually drive a bit north into town if we need to gas up there.

If you have time to explore some of the National Parks of Utah, they would be well worth your time, but I would suggest some campground reservations. One loop might be getting off I-70 at HY 128 to Moab, along the Colorado River, and returning to I-70 via Arches National Park (drop your trailer at the park visitor centre or a local campground) and HY 191. You can camp anywhere in the National Forests and BLM lands for free unless they are posted otherwise, but it would be well to scout them out in advance, as many stretches either do not have good camping or are on dirt roads where you might not want to drag your Airstream.

This might be a bad idea mileage-wise-- I can't say. Of course, you would be taking 1-15 in Utah north over to I-80 in Salt Lake City (instead of I-25) to continue to SF.

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:12 PM   #6
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(continued) We've done I-80 through Wyoming, as well, with no problems. Again, there are some long distances between towns. We didn't encounter wind problems, although it is "high, wide, and lonesome;" but I think the scenery is less interesting than I-70. Salt Lake City traffic is pretty much of a mess, regardless, but once you are west of the urban congestion, you are kind of out on the salt flats till you hit Wendover, NV/UT.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:27 PM   #7
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Sorry, us again.. but I just did a Mapquest. The fast route to SF if you take I-70 into Utah would be to leave I-70 just east of Green River, take a decent two-lane HY 6 up through Price, UT, then over Soldier Summit to the southern Utah Valley, where you get on I-15 north to I-80 west. Good luck with rush hour and the construction around Provo and SLC. But-- you would miss the really cool part of I-70. This I-70 route isn't that much longer than the I-80 route through Wyoming.

Plan B, however, might be to take HY 50 west from I-70 at Salina, UT, which goes through Nevada. Called "the loneliest highway in America," it is that! No rush hour! But you hook up with I-80 again east of Reno (HY 50 itself goes to Lake Tahoe.)

In terms of safety, I don't think the steepness should give you that much trouble. I-80 in Wyoming mostly avoids the mountains, but I-70 safely transports millions of RVers. I think the only hardship would be if you were to break down on a long stretch of empty road, which could happen on any of these routes.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:47 AM   #8
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This is the perfect thread! We’re doing the trip from Northern California back to KCMO this fall after our Lewis & Clark Caravan disbands in Oregon. So we really appreciate everyone's comments here. I'm cutting and pasting like a second grader over here, building a file to help me with our trip planning. Thank you all.
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