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  1. Default Sacramento CA to Fort Bragg NC

    Hello all!

    I am an Army wife getting ready for our first move. I have never been out of California at all, let alone cross country. My husband hasn't really been anywhere either. So we are a bit lost.

    Or plan is to take 5 or 6 days to drive to NC. We will have our children ages 2 & 10. We would like to drive 8 - 8.5 hours a day and then stop for the night. I was wondering if anyone knows of a website that will break down a trip this way? I am having a hard time knowing where we should stop each night and which highways are the best to take. We want to make this a memorable experience but I am so lost. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default up or down

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your timeframe is quite good, and right along the lines of what we recommend, so you've gotten a good start. We recommend keeping things to about 500 miles a day, which will put you on the road for about 8 hours a day - giving you time to take frequent breaks and stops. Since this trip is about 2800 miles, you are looking at right around 5-6 days, so you're good there.

    There is no tool that will plot your stops for you, but Google maps can be a good tool to help you with your planning.

    There are a few different routes that will all get you to your destination, the main choice will be do you want to go north or south?

    A northern route would take I-80 to Nebraska, NE-2 and I-29 to KC, I-70 and I-64 to West Virginia, and then I-77 down to North Carolina. That would put your stops around West Wendover, NV; Laramie, WY; Lincoln, NE; St. Louis; and Charleston, WV.

    All of those stops would have several lodging choices, all be right about 500 miles, except for St. Louis - which is a little shorter and would give you a little more time to explore Kansas City or St. Louis, and be a little bit of a break after several long days on the road. Your last day would also be shorter, at around 6-7 hours.

    You could also go farther south taking I-5/CA-99 to CA-58 to I-40 to Memphis, US-78 to Birmingham, I-20 and I-95 to Ft. Bragg. Here your stops could be Needles CA; Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Memphis, and Atlanta or Augusta GA.

    Now those are just two options, and there are a lot of ways you can adjust them to see things along the way. One thing to note if you take a more southern route, I-40 is closed at the TN/NC line because of a rock slide, so that's something you have to avoid (the above route does). You could also work in a trip through Colorado, or most anything else in between, it just depends what you want to get out of this trip.

  3. #3

    Default Are you traveling in early Spring or late Spring?

    Hello lady sandoval, and welcome to North Carolina,

    First, my personal thanks to your husband for his service, and to you, who also serves. I hope you'll like Fort Bragg and North Carolina. After all, 60,000 paratroopers can't be all wrong, right?

    As he always does, Midwest Michael has provided sound, on-point advice concerning routing. I have just a few comments to add:

    The southern route (I-40) is often thought of as a relative snow and ice-free route. That's often not the case. Look ahead at weather conditions and forecasts before you set depart. It is entirely possible to encounter snow and ice on I-40 and not I-80 at any particular point in time.

    That said, and with regards to your family, it seems likely your 10 year-old might enjoy some of the sights along the southern route: Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and the Meteor Crater. Each are a reasonably short drive off of I-40. You can drive across the Hoover Dam on US 93 as long as you're not in a moving van (which are subject to detailed and lengthy searches for security reasons) and there is a park + parking areas at the dam allowing access to the large museum there. You can invest a half-day in turning north at Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon National Park, then turn east on AZ 64 along the South Rim and through the Park to Cameron, AZ, thence US 89 back down to I-40 at Flagstaff, AZ. A leisurely drive along the South Rim, stopping at most or all of the major viewpoints, will take about 1/2 day.

    While the sights and attractions are a bit fewer and farther between east of the NM-TX state line, many are attracted to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, the birthplaces of many country music stars across OK, the Clinton Presidential Museum in Little Rock, and Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis.

    If you take that route, do keep track of the I-40 closing at the NC/TN state line. The projected re-opening date was recently pushed back from early March to late April. Given the routing of the detour, you're much better off with Midwest Michael's routing through Birmingham, Atlanta, Florence SC, then up I-95 to Fayetteville.

    I further favor the southern route because the last time I experienced the I-64 and I-77 segments in Kentucky and West Virginia, the roadway was in terrible shape and the number of long grades in the Cumberland Plateau was extreme. Although you've still got to cross the entire Appalachian Mountain Range between west of Birmingham and Atlanta, you're crossing it at a much gentler section of the mountains. And, although you'll have to go through Atlanta and its legendary traffic, you'll avoid locally congested parts of NC such as Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and the Research Triangle Park (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill), any of which can be a pain in the neck. By contrast, once you clear Atlanta on I-20 east, it's wide open clear sailing to Florence, and I-95 is usually decent traveling from Florence to Fayetteville.

    Travel safe and enjoy seeing the country you each work so hard to support!


  4. Default

    Midwest Michael- Thank you sooo much! I am going to use the southern route you have mapped out. :) I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your mapping it out like that.. And also extremely relieved! I had no idea what I was doing. Thank you!

    Foy- Thank you for your suggestions and information on road conditions. I think you're right and my son will love all the sights. Thank you!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default adjustments

    Just remember, those maps and stops are just a rough guide to get you going. Obviously, if you start taking detours to the Grand Canyon or stopping at other places, you'll likely need to adjust those stopping points to better fit your trip and your schedule.

    A nice thing is that traveling at this time of year and on this route right near major freeways, you really shouldn't have too make reservations, and you can stop for the night wherever you are ending up at the end of the day.

  6. #6

    Default And one more thing...... attract you to Hoover Dam is the massive and awe-inspiring construction project building a bridge over the canyon immediately downstream of the dam, and within plain sight of it. You can find webcam images of the project online quite readily. It that and the dam doesn't light up a 10 year-old boy, I don't know what will.

    Do adjust your timetable to account for some side-trips. In a US Navy PCS move such as yours, lots of time is allowed for the RoadTrip. Hopefully that's the case for your Army move.

    Safe travels.


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