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  1. Default Western USA in Mar/Apr/May

    I've got two months off from mid-March to mid-May this coming spring for a road trip. I'm driving down from Alaska and heading for warmer weather (trust me, no matter how cold it may be in the lower 48 it will still be warmer weather to me). But I'm having trouble figuring out what weather will be like around then on average in, well everywhere, but specifically California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado where I am loosely planning on spending the majority of my time. I can play with my departure dates as much as I want but I must be back in Fairbanks by the 25th of May at the absolute latest. Mostly I'll be sleeping in my car (not in AK or Canada when I head down to the states). That is what I did when I road tripped through Canada and northern USA last Sept/Oct/Nov so I'm used to sleeping out in the cold, but . . . Any suggestions on where to go, weather concerns, if I can find me some spring happening along the way and where.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default There are Five Climate Zones Within Twenty-Five Miles of My House

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The area of the country you plan on driving through not only entails north-south changes in weather and climate, but up-down changes as well. The weather here on the desert floor in Tucson is distinctly different from that in the nearby Catalina Mountains, which house a ski resort. So trying to give you a weather report for a 6 state area 6 months in advance is impossible. Where I can direct you is to the Weather Channel. If you enter a city in the box at the top of their home page and the search for the 'average' or 'record' temperatures, you will get to a plot of average highs and lows and another of average monthly rainfall. That's the best anyone is going to be able to do for you this far out. As for traveling cheaply, be sure to have a read through these suggestions.


  3. #3

    Default Utah and Colorado

    Hello Scuttlebug,

    As to the first month of your trip, you'll probably want to think "low, and South" when Utah and Colorado come to mind. You can experience anything from bluebird Spring days to a 3' of snow blizzard at any elevation above approximately 5,000' from mid- March to mid- April. I would expect most campgrounds to be closed there and then, too. If experiencing warmer weather is one of the purposes of your trip, I'd start in the CA, AZ, and NM end of things and "follow the Spring" back north from there.

    Have a great time planning and taking your Road Trip.


  4. Default maping it out

    Thanks, AZBuck, for the link to the $ saving suggestions - I've used some of those methods but others are new ideas to me.

    I clearly need to get a map w/ a better view of elevations for thinking through my first month of travel at least. My grasp of geography leaves much to be desired but is being vastly improved by these trips. Any recommendations for a good map?

    Trying to get way south fastish and then working my way north was my idea, but it makes for some difficult planning of logical routes. Then again I was VERY bad at staying on my suppsedly planned route last time so I suspect I'll wander off any planned route before long.

  5. #5

    Default Simplistic mapping


    I would think any highway atlas from one of the 2 or 3 top publishers would be as good as anything for a basic resource. For closer-scale details, the DeLorme Publishing and Benchmark series of state-by-state map books are my "bibles" when it comes to planning and executing travel to new places. My first and only experience with Benchmark was the CA volume, and for the states Benchmark covers, it's now my much-preferred resource.

    Generalized planning with respect to elevation can be simplified somewhat with the highway atlases. Most will show National Forests as green or shaded areas. These are the mountain ranges for the most part. You'll often see peaks and passes marked even on the atlases. The major highways, for the most part, lie lower, down in the valleys. Sure, highways of all sorts must cross ranges from place to place, but for the most part the roads cross at the lowest practical place.

    The issue could become access to open campgrounds. Nat Forest, Nat Parks, Nat Monuments, and state and local parks tend to be in the mountains or hills, where forest provides shade, and where streams and lakes attract visitors. I would imagine few would be open in March/early April in CO and UT. There aren't a lot of facilities developed in the flats between ranges, at least in CO and UT. There's so much desert in southern CA, AZ, and NM I suppose the opposite is true there.

    Bottom line is I believe a good atlas can get you started, and the likes of Benchmark and DeLorme can zero you in close.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-06-2008 at 01:00 PM. Reason: typo

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