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  1. Default Los Angeles to Grand Rapids in the dead of winter

    yep.... i am moving to michigan RIGHT before xmas.....

    i thought i had to all figured out..... take the southern route to avoid harsh weather. but thanks to your forum, i am reading that the direct route may be a better option (snowy vs. icy and better road cleanup). i would love to get there within 4 days and think that is pretty doable (2 drivers).

    any tips?? should i just almost plan on BOTH routes and then check the weather conditions right before i leave??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Bird in the Hand and One in the Bush

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The good news is that there are two possible routes between Los Angeles and Grand Rapids that while only about a hundred miles different in total length are as much as 400 miles apart as they cross the Rockies and plains. That let's you pick either one at the last minute depending on the weather forecast. The 'central' route would be I-15 up into Utah, I-70 to Denver, I-76 up into western Nebraska, and then I-80 to Chicago. The 'southern' route would be I-15 to Barstow, then I-40 to Oklahoma city, I-44 to St. Louis and I-55 to Chicago. Note that the 'southern' route sees elevations of 7,000-8,000 feet across Arizona and New Mexico and is almost as prone to snow as the central route. So the only definitive way to choose between them is on the basis of the actual forecast just a day or two before you leave.

    Note that this drive, either way you go, is at the long end of what's safe and pleasant for a 4 day drive and will leave no spare time should you get caught in hazardous conditions. Having two drivers really does not help as much as people think since it doesn't make the car go any faster, help you avoid traffic, cut down on the number or length of stops (quite the opposite), or even let you go on much longer - you still both need to get a full night's sleep.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-03-2010 at 06:19 PM. Reason: Route number fixed as per glc's note below

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The 'central' route would be I-15 up into Utah, I-70 to Denver, I-76 up into western Nebraska, and then I-80 to Chicago.
    Fixed it for you, Buck - you have your home territory on your mind!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'll just mention that a very viable 3rd option would be to take I-15 all the way to the Salt Lake City area, and then take I-80 across. It's not much different in terms of distance, and simply provides one more possibility in case I-70 and I-40 are both seeing poor weather.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Two things you have to look out for if you take I-15 to I-80 - I-80 going east of SLC goes over Parleys Summit which is notorious for bad conditions. It can be bypassed by staying on I-15 to I-84 and then going east. The other thing is I-80 through Wyoming can have high winds, drifting snow, and black ice. Check on weather and road conditions just before you leave, and keep abreast of them as you go across. All the states have DOT websites that will have current conditions, a laptop with wifi and/or a smartphone with a 3G data plan can be very helpful.

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