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  1. Default New York to Southern California in early December...

    Hey all. I found this forum doing research for my upcoming trip in about a week and a half. I'm packing my essentials and going to California to start living my life on my own. I just finished school a year ago and I wanted to move out of my parent's house anyway so I decided to save up and make the move I've always wanted.

    My biggest concern is driving in the snow. I drive a Honda S2000 and I refuse to drive through snow (rear wheel drive and summer tires = not a good combo). So my idea was to shoot down south and drive around that way. If you guys could fill me in on what my best route would be, that would be much appreciated. I'm giving myself and indefinite amount of time to get there so although sightseeing isn't really my main concern (I would like to visit the Grand Canyon if possible), if you could suggest some places not far off from the highways I'd consider them. I'm sorry for my vagueness, if I need to be more detailed please let me know. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default looking for the impossible

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Probably the biggest myth that's out there - and frequently comes up here - is the idea that you can avoid winter weather by driving south. The simple fact is every single cross country route can and does see snow, ice, or other poor conditions at some point during the year. Its really quite common for you to see better weather - or at least better road conditions - on a more northern route. No matter which route you go, if you refuse to drive in snow, then you'll simply need to be prepared to potentially wait a day or two for a storm to pass and the roads cleared.

    If you want to see the Grand Canyon, then that would generally involve following I-40 as you make your way west. This involves the chance of ice across the southern plains and snow across the high elevation areas and mountain passes in NM and AZ. Even the Grand Canyon itself is at an elevation of about 7000 feet, and sees snow.

  3. Default

    Hmmm....good to know. So Grand Canyon out the window, what would you suggest would be my best bet. I don't mind waiting out a storm if it happens but I would want to avoid any high elevations at all cost (I know this may be impossible). I just wanna be safe...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    If you are really that adamant, take I-95 to Jacksonville then I-10 all the way across. You will still have to go above 4000 feet though. This will add about 600 miles and at least 1 more driving day to the trip. Even I-10 is not completely immune to snow and ice in west TX, NM, and AZ.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    It is impossible - even if you go down to I-10, you're still crossing elevations high enough that they see snow, and West Texas has been known to get monster ice storms. Going down to I-10 also means adding a signficant number of miles, so that's that much more time you'll be on the road, and that much more time you could potentially see bad weather. A direct route is nearly always the best route generically speaking.

    Of course, what really matters is the actual weather forecast. While all of these places see snow - it doesn't mean that the roads are always snow covered or dangerous all the time. The vast majority of the time all of these roads are perfectly fine - you just need to be aware of the conditions and the possibilities.

  6. Default

    Damn this is such a hard decision. I'm just very nervous cause my car is terrible in the snow. That's one of the reasons I'm moving to the west coast. I'd need two cars here, now I can use my Honda year-round :/

    What would you guys do in my shoes?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Wait and see.

    All weather events mentioned could happen, but nothing is a 'given'. As Michael stated, it's the forecast [and actual conditions] that really matters, you could see blue sky's all the way.

    Interstates are a priority to keep clear and the country on the move, so other than sticking to Interstate when possible, choosing your route with up to the minute forecasts before departing, plus you have the advantage of "having an indefinite amount of time" to make the journey, there is not much else you can do, if you want to drive your car across country that is.

    Drive as much as you can in daylight hours, where the temps are a little higher and the traffic heavier to reduce the odds of black ice, and during a storm, simply pull off the road and let the road crews do their job of clearing it.
    I wouldn't dismiss any route untill you get closer to your departure time, not even a visit to the Grand canyon !

  8. Default

    I was just looking at the map. 95 to 10 doesn't look too bad. I just got off the phone with a family member in Phoenix too and she said if I take 10 across it's prob the warmest route. Any other tips you guys can give me? I never really took a road trip longer than like 9 hours so I'm fairly new to this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    I would recommend that you only drive between sunrise and sunset, and try not to drive more than about 550 miles a day. I always try to be off the road by dinnertime so I can have a good meal and some relax time in a hotel room rather than check in, go to bed, wake up, and hurry out the door. If you take 95 to 10, this would be a 6 day drive without detours or sightseeing, add days as necessary for diversions.

  10. Default

    Yeah, I'm giving myself a 10-day window so I don't wear myself out. I'm also a photographer so I can see myself stopping at things on the way. I don't want this to feel like a chore. I want it to be an adventure to my new home/life, and this road trip is something I always wanted to do anyway. I wish it wasn't the winter, but things just worked out this way. The second I take off the top on my car through the desert will be a sweet moment.

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