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  1. Default San Francisco, CA to Columbus, OH - Road choice?

    Hey all,

    This is my first long trip, and also my first time on these forums. I am going to be driving from Santa Rosa, CA (45 min north of San Francisco) to Columbus, Ohio. (I'm a college student starting a 6 month internship at Honda R&D, woohoo!). I need to get to Columbus on March 29th, so I was thinking of leaving CA on the 24th or 25th.

    I have a few different route possibilities:

    #1) I-80 all the way. Through Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Chicago, then down to Columbus.

    #2) I-80 out of CA and through Nevada, then take 15 south from Salt Lake City, then I-70 East for the rest of the way.

    #3) Rte 50 out of CA and through Nevada, then meet up with I-70 in Utah. I-70 for the rest of the way.

    I'm shying away from #1 because I have heard that I-70 is a more scenic drive. Is that true? I'm also a little wary of taking Rte 50 because Wikipedia tells me that it deservedly earns its nickname of "loneliest road in the US". So, it looks like #2 might be my best bet. I would love all of your input!

    Some things to consider:
    I'll be driving a Miata, packed to the brim.
    I'd like to avoid as much bad weather as possible (another reason I'm thinking I-70 might be better, as it is further south. True?)
    I won't be doing much sightseeing along the way.
    I much prefer smaller, twistier roads than major interstates (again, a Miata).

    I am reading "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck right now, so that has inspired me to take back roads if at all possible, at least part of the time. I know that the routes I planned out don't include any back roads, but if you guys have any suggestions of good "driver's" roads along the way, let me know.

    Thanks so much!
    -Max

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Option 4

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Another option that you didn't list is to take I-80 to Utah and then use US-6 to cut down to I-70. That would give you the scenery of I-70 through Colorado, while still taking the Interstate through Nevada.

    Its an options worth considering, although you've got some contradictions in what you say you want (prefering I-80 to US-50, yet wanting to take curvy non-interstate routes).

    Going south is also never a sure way to avoid weather, and in this case you'd be traveling through much higher elevations through Colorado compared to Wyoming. The only way to know about your specific trip is to look at the weather forecasts for the time you are traveling.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Congrats! on the Internship!

    Quote Originally Posted by maxm50 View Post
    This is my first long trip,
    Congratulations on landing the Honda gig and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    I need to get to Columbus on March 29th, so I was thinking of leaving CA on the 24th or 25th.
    By the fastest possible route, (which would be I-80) it is ~ 2500 miles and you need to allow four full driving days to reach it. This would be 10 hours a day, on the road, to reach the destination. Here are some speedy road trip tips you ought to think about!
    #2) I-80 out of CA and through Nevada, then take 15 south from Salt Lake City, then I-70 East for the rest of the way.
    I-70 is always a perennial favorite around here. Here is a field report about the viewpoints along this highway in eastern Utah.
    #3) Rte 50 out of CA and through Nevada, then meet up with I-70 in Utah. I-70 for the rest of the way.
    It really isn't that lonely, although here is a viewpoint that would tend to agree with your comments.... And might I suggest some audio CDs for your solo adventure?

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Soldier Summit

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Another option that you didn't list is to take I-80 to Utah and then use US-6 to cut down to I-70.
    Michael's suggestion of US-6, is a beautiful route, (and one I recommend in the summer months) but don't attempt this route now unless you are skilled in ice-driving. The back side of Soldier Summit can be a little dicey this time of year -- On the other hand, if the roads are dry, it can be gorgeous in early Spring! US-6 is the "local's route" for skiers heading to the Utah play areas from points east.

    Mark

  5. Default

    Thanks for the excellent replies! Route 6 looks like it would be a good way to go, but your snow warning definitely has me thinking that perhaps it would be better to stay on 15 south, then use 28 to hook up with I-70. Would that be a better idea?

    I will definitely be checking the weather reports before I go, thanks for the tip.

    I'm excited :) 2500 miles in a Miata is going to be "an experience".
    -Max

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