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  1. #1

    Default California- Wisconsin

    Hey everyone,

    I'm trying to put together a big roadtrip for the end of the year. I've got 11-1/2 days to play with. My dad and I wanna drive out to Green Bay for the last Packer game of the season on Dec. 30th. On the way back, we wanna do some pheasant hunting in eastern Nebraska, and I wanna try to hit all the Jesse James historical stuff in Missouri. Unfortunately I have a lot of long driving days planned and am kind of worried about the weather we might encounter, especially along 80 going through the mountains in Utah and across Southern Wyoming. On the way home I was gonna try to take 70 across Kansas but wasn't sure what to do when we hit Denver. Drive north to hit Highway 80 or head over the rockies on 70.
    Here is our tentative plan:

    Dec. 26:
    Lodi, CA - Elko, NV
    Dec. 27
    Elko, NV - Laramie, WY
    Dec. 28
    Laramie, WY - Des Moines, IA
    Dec. 29
    Des Moines, IA - Green Bay, WI
    Dec. 30
    Packer game
    Dec. 31
    Either stay in Green Bay area or was tossing idea around of Minneapolis
    Jan. 1
    Green Bay or Minneapolis - Omaha, NE area
    Jan. 2
    Pheasant Hunt
    Jan. 3
    Omaha, NE - Topeka or Salina, KS see the Jesse James stuff in St, Joseph and Kearney
    Jan. 4
    Topeka or Salina, KS - Denver, CO
    Jan. 5
    Dever, CO - Wendover, UT
    Jan. 6
    Wendover, UT - Lodi, CA

    I'm thinking I might have to cut out the Missouri and Kansas leg and just come back 80, maybe just spend a day in somewhere in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated, especially from anyone that has attempted a similar trip in the winter.

    Thanks,
    Brett

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Have to choose on the fly

    Quote Originally Posted by packman View Post
    ...and I wanna try to hit all the Jesse James historical stuff in Missouri.
    This does sound like a cool focus for a road trip -- I don't have much expertise in this though.
    On the way home I was gonna try to take 70 across Kansas but wasn't sure what to do when we hit Denver. Drive north to hit Highway 80 or head over the rockies on 70.
    You pretty much have to keep this flexible and watch the weather reports. As a general rule, it is easier to drive I-80 in winter storms because there is less accumulation of snow -- the downside is that ground blizzards (wind-blown snow that seems to fall horizontally) can be much more common on I-80. If the roads and dry and clear, I would always choose I-70 -- it is so much more gorgeous in the winter months. The other thing to remember is that in most years -- Denver doesn't start to see anything serious in terms of snowfall until mid-January.

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default

    The road crews here in Wisconsin are most excellent at removing snowfalls. However, that being said, they can only do the job provided travellers give them plenty of room to work. If at all possible plan an off day or two into your trip to allow for snowfalls.

    One of the best road trip memories that I have was getting stranded in Northern Minnesota for two days during a snowfall. After it was over, there was sleds everywhere, snowmen, and generally a warm feeling of friendship everywhere. Sometimes the best things on roadtrips are those that are not planned for.

  4. #4

    Default Another idea

    Thanks for the tips. Maybe I should try to cut out some stuff and plan for shorter driving distances in a day. six-hundred miles a day during the winter months may be pushin it a bit. The thing I'm most worried about is gettin delayed on the way out and missing the game. I know that 80 closes out here in California and I know there is a pass out near Battle Mountain, NV I think that closes down from snow. Then Utah and Wyoming.
    What about an idea of going a southern route like interstate 40? According to Mapquest it would be only 300 miles longer going from Lodi-Needles-Albuquerque-Wichita-Des Moines-Green Bay. I'm not familiar with this route after Flagstaff so I'm not sure if this is a good road or if I'll have the same probability of hitting bad weather. The other thing is I can't find stopping points that are under 600 miles of each other. If I leave on Wednesday Dec. 26th I need to average 600 miles a day to get there by Saturday night.
    Any other ideas?

    Thanks,
    Brett

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Fly and Drive!

    Quote Originally Posted by packman View Post
    What about an idea of going a southern route like interstate 40?
    Brett, the question about I-80 & I-70 versus I-40 comes up each winter. The biggest problem with I-40 in the winter months is ICE STORMS IN TEXAS. I have been stuck in some really bad ice storms in November and February in western Texas along I-40. For that reason alone, I always choose I-80 or I-70 over I-40 if there is even a hint of a winter storm hitting New Mexico and Texas during a planned trip. The winter road conditions are just more manageable in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming than in Texas....

    You are correct -- needing to cover 600 miles per day in winter driving conditions is too much. You might be lucky and have nice dry weather and dry pavement -- but the prospect of driving 10 hours and only covering 150 miles is very real in early January!

    What about a fly and drive trip? I am actually working on such an article today (to be published here on the 26th of August). You could purchase inexpensive air tickets now to Kansas City or St. Louis, or even Chicago and use that airport as a hub city to explore Missouri and Wisconsin (and the rest of the region) and then fly home.

    That is what I would do.

    Mark

  6. #6

    Default Didn't think of that

    Hey Mark,

    I never thought of ice storms, I've never been through one of those, not sure if I really want to either. A fly and drive trip is what I would of planned, but my dad doesn't fly. Scared to death of it since he once had an emergency landing. I wish I had one more day at the start to play with.
    I'd hate to have to wait till a week before hand to make a decision (since I gotta buy game tickets), but that might be my only option.

    Brett

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