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  1. Default January LA to DC; southern route?

    Help needed from experienced road trippers! We are driving in early Jan from LA to DC and would like to see some small town sites, perhaps visit factories and otherwise experience our USA. We (recent college grad and parent and "stuff") do not have much time and then there is the weather (1.5 feet here in DC before Xmas, so snow could really be an issue anywhere along the route). Our car is a 2002 Honda Accord in good shape. We expect to stay in motels so camping is also not an issue. "Road Trip USA" by Jensen suggests a route across way southern AZ, NM, then mid TX, LA, MS, AL and GA. It looks like they recommend both state and interstate routes with numbers like 10 and 20. "Watch it Made in the USA" describes various factories that have tours and hopefully one or two of those are on this "southern" route. We are thinking southern to avoid snow and otherwise improve our chances of clear weather, but maybe this is wishful thinking??? Any help with the 1) route to avoid bad weather and prove interesting and 2) amount of time for such a trip. We are very green road trippers!! Thanks to all who reply. Cam now in DC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default this and that

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've stumbled onto a few common problems and misconceptions.

    First, it simply is not possible to recommend a route to avoid bad weather, because every single route across the country has the chance of seeing snow. Even I-10 through Texas and NM can see snow and ice (and has already seen a couple of brief closures this year because of those issues.) Other than watching specific forecasts for the time when you will be on the road, there really isn't much that we can recommend.

    Roadtrip USA" by Jensen suggests a route across way southern AZ, NM, then mid TX, LA, MS, AL and GA. It looks like they recommend both state and interstate routes with numbers like 10 and 20. "Watch it Made in the USA" describes various factories that have tours and hopefully one or two of those are on this "southern" route.
    The other issue is one getting the idea that there are only a couple of "roadtrip routes." Jenson's books, while providing some good information, really tend to push this rather mistaken idea. The very thing that separates a roadtrip from most other forms of travel is that you can pick your own route and not just follow a path that someone else picked out. I am a much bigger fan of going where you want to go and building the route to match your trip, so if there are some factory tours that look interesting to you (and I think that's a fantastic thing to add into a roadtrip, they are usually cheap, informational, and a lot of fun) I would plan to go to them, and build your route to match.

    The most direct and fastest routes for your trip would involve following either I-70 or I-40, and come to about 2650 miles. However, if you would like to go farther south through the southern states via I-20/I-10, that would really only add a couple hundred miles - not a big difference on a trip of this size. In any case, you're looking at a 5-6 day trip if you mostly stick to the interstates. That will give you time for some brief stops and take a few tours, but not time for long extended visits in any one place. If you want to really explore a few area, or plan to get off the interstates and take some 2 lane highways through small towns and the like, you'll need to add a little more time.

  3. Default January LA to DC; southern route

    Thanks so much for your detailed and helpful reply. We agree about the snow/ice, and the time necessary for the trip. We will add time if work allows here in DC. Do you have any personal favorites of places to see on either I 40 or the other I-10? You are right that book authors tend to send you on a specific route, so trying to be thoughtful and go to "interesting" sites is an option, and a hundred miles here or there is also easy enough if one has the time. And, thanks for your help and experience. Cam in DC

  4. #4

    Default

    For a nice meat and potatoes off-interstate route from Tennessee up to D.C., consider cutting in at Chattanooga, throwing into the mountains at the Cherohala Skyway, dipping into the Smokies, then swinging up to Virginia using the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive through Shenandoah.

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