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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Detroit Metro Area, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default 5-6 Day trip from WI to Cali? Southern route

    Hello All,

    I am still not sure if I am leaving from Wisconsin to the central coast area of California, on Monday or Tuesday. I am driving my daughter's car there, as she is relocating, flying out with the kids on Tuesday. I am driving solo, with the car loaded up, and planning on taking the less weather-influenced southern route. I am changing my mind every day, it seems, but looks like I will be on the road on Thankgiving, and probably in New Mexico. I will try to remain flexible and hone my trip to weather conditions, if possible, avoiding extremes. I also plan on driving 6-8 hours a day, depending on my comfort level.

    My first overnight stop will be either DesMoines or St. Louis, and the last before I push for her new abode will be... VEGAS, BABY!!! Unfortunately, I will most likely land on the Thankgiving holiday, and not get a free or cheap room.
    If any of you have done the southern route or any variation of, instead of the more direct Iowa, Colorado, Utah route, I would appreciate a few tips of any type; food,lodging, sights, detours, traffic issues, etc.

    I posted on another site about eating in Gallup on Thankgiving, and was advised to re-think my timing, and possible land in Albuquerque, instead.
    Turkey day tips are appreciated, and I would not mind a diner with formica tabletops and coffee generously poured, at all. I am willing to treat myself to candlelight and linens, too, but my last choice would be Slim Jim's and a 3 Musketeers. BUT, at least I wouldn't be eating alone!LOL!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,961

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Where in WI are you starting out from?

    5-6 days should be very easy to make this trip, although I think you'll need to still be covering about 8 hours a day to make the trip on this timeline (again, big difference if you are starting in Kenosha or if you are starting in Superior)

    I will point out that its really not accurate to say that a southern route is less weather-influenced, at least not in a generic sense. You need to take a look at the actual forecasts, as there are many times I-40 can see storms, while I-70 or I-80 are clear. You're getting to the point where the forecasts should be fairly accurate, but really take a close look this weekend.

    I don't think you'll have many problems finding a place to get a meal on Thanksgiving. There should be plenty of places open in most cities that are offering Turkey Dinners for people who don't want to cook. Some cities also have "community dinners" that actually are for everyone in the community, not just aimed at the hungry. Plus, as "Black Friday" becomes "Black Thursday" you'll have places open to cater to those shoppers.

    If you were traveling on Christmas Eve or Day, then you'd have a problem. Chinese food is often about the only thing that's still open on those two days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,963

    Default Your Results May Vary (Considerably!)

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    "Wisconsin" and "central coast area of California" are VERY large targets, so no one is going to be able to give you terribly precise advice. But in general, there is simply no point on going very far south at this time of year. Your chances of encountering bad weather along I-40 are only minimally less that your already low chances of finding untoward weather on I-80/I-70. Far more helpful than chewing up more time and gas by adding extra miles is to take the shortest route and if worse comes to worst using the time you've saved to simply sit out any bad weather. Again, without knowing your precise starting and ending points, I can't give you anything more specific than that you look at something like I-80/I-76 to Denver, then I-70 over the Colorado Rockies to I-15 in Utah and on to Las Vegas. From there to the coast, you're probably looking at something like I-15 to Barstow and then CA-58/? to the coast.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,423

    Default

    The national chain buffets generally put out a decent Thanksgiving dinner - such as Hometown/Old Country.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Detroit Metro Area, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default Specifics

    I will be leaving from Richfield, WI and driving to San Luis Obispo. I didn't include those starting and ending points because I am able to take as much time as I want, and switch routes at the drop of a hat. So, the total of days of travel and the amount of travel per day are not issues.

    On of the reasons I was thinking southern route was MAINLY due to curves, high roads, and in general, scarier road conditions. I am a seasoned driver, but I am also a little bit white-knuckled on elevated curves and this includes bridges. Having said that, those would be really awesome to drive if they were dry pavement, and only a BIT of a hurdle for me.

    I just did north of Detroit to Brooklyn four times recently, and that was some all-night driving, wet driving conditions, and the mountainous areas of eastern PA, NJ, and lots and lots of bridges. I also went up into Connecticut and Upstate NY. I had no real issues.

    I inform you of this so that nobody need think I can't tolerate a high elevation, a curve, wet pavement and bridges. I am adept on all counts. But this northern route I am having a hard time getting a feel for, from my computer, as far as the 'scare factor'. This is where the option of the southern route reared it's head, as well as a suggestion from my daughter.

    I will definitely be looking at the weather, and I am very used to driving in ice and snow on the Detroit freeways, so no problem. But since I have no real agenda, other than a safe and relaxing journey, I want to capitalize on that.

    So I guess the question is ... how high and curvy are the roads thru Colorado and Utah?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,963

    Default Ground Level and Not Very

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The fact is that no matter which way you cross the continental divide, I-80, I-70 or even I-40, you will get to elevations considerably above a "mile high" - more on the order of 7,000-8,000 feet. But as far as you're concerned, they'll all be at ground level. Because it costs more to build highways any higher than necessary, and costs drivers more in terms of gas and time, there is absolutely no incentive to build roads any higher than absolutely necessary. That means they will follow valleys rather than ridge tops, there will be tunnels through mountains rather than bridges across canyons. Interstate Highways, in particular, are built to standards that limit both the grade (steepness) and degree of curvature so that tractor-trailer combinations (the big 18 wheelers) can presumably maintain 70 mph. So as long as the main portions of your drive are on these modern highways, I don't think you should encounter anything you can't handle.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Detroit Metro Area, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks!!!
    I can handle it!!! AND...I think I have cemented my trip and have shortened it up, a bit. I was feeling like a slacker, SO it looks like St. Louis, Oklahoma City, OK, Albuquerque and Laughlin are my stops. I will push on or slow up, as I feel the need, and not concerned about the road conditions or weather, as there is nothing I can do about either.
    Thanks for the help.
    Jill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,423

    Default

    Very good overnight planning - you could consider Kingman or Needles instead of Laughlin unless you are going to Laughlin to get some casino time.

    You can avoid the LA congestion by taking CA-58 from Barstow to Bakersfield, then CA-99 to CA-46 over to Paso Robles and US-101.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Detroit Metro Area, Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Yes, I wanted to get in some Casino time and was going to get a free room, though we know there is no such thing. And since Las Vegas was my original last stop, regardless of the choice of the northern or southern route, Laughlin makes more sense, I can get my kicks, and move along, l'il doggy.
    Good tips on LA congestion avoidance. I can't remember what my route dictates, so I will note this. I have been playing around on mapquest, google maps, yahoo, AAA, Motel 6, etc. , as well as leaning sideways over my trusty road atlas. I love paper, tangible maps.
    Thanks!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    los angeles,ca
    Posts
    10

    Default

    If you want to stay in Vegas overnight try the Orleans casino!!
    It's about a mile off the strip and on Tropicana which is almost the end of the strip towards LA!! I have stayed here many, many times and it is affordable, clean and safe!!
    Here is their link! http://www.orleanscasino.com/ I have been many times over Thanksgiving and it is usually still affordable!
    It is more of a 'local' hotel so the slots may be looser too!! LOL
    Another great site for good rates is i4vegas.com
    Good luck

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