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  1. Default Driving from CA to NC (pretty much non-stop)

    Hello there. I am moving from CA to NC and I am planning on leaving on Christmas day, 2010. I have never done this before (driven cross country or driven in snow/ice conditions) and I am kinda nervous. My brother is going with me so at least I will have someone to help with navigation and to take over for several hours.

    My plan is to head south on 99 from Sacramento and connect to I40. Take I40 until Amarillo then head south and connect with I20 and drive to Atlanta, then connect with I85 and head to Charlotte. I decided on departing from I40 because I did not want to drive through the mountains once I got to the TN/NC border. But with the recent storms that have been blowing through Atlanta, I am starting to wonder if I should drive I10 all the way to Florida then north to Charlotte.

    I have planned on stops around every 150 miles so that we can stretch and take a break. I would like to make it to Shreveport before we really stop and spend the night in a hotel. My brother needs to be in Charlotte by Dec 30 so he can make a flight the next morning.

    I realize that I will have to go through snow/ice at some point, seeing as how it's winter. If anyone has any thoughts on what would be a better alternative, that would be great.

    I have read through the other postings under Fall and Winter Road Trips but I decided to create this new thread so that I could lay out my plan.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default If All Goes Right

    It is just possible to make it from Sacramento to Charlotte in the time you have available, IF the weather cooperates. Unfortunately, your current plan almost guarantees that you won't make it. Let me put this as bluntly as I can. Trying to drive 2,000 miles without real sleep is suicidal if you're lucky, and homicidal if you're not. Trying to avoid weather by adding miles to a trip that is already at the limit of what is possible is foolish.

    Instead of trying to bull your way through on sheer obstinacy, you should plan to bend with the wind, go with the flow, do what needs to be done. And none of that entails trying to do the impossible. First, set out several different routes that you could take. These include the one you have outlined, but also staying on I-40 after Amarillo and just continuing straight through to the Charlotte area, using I-77 for the final leg south. Another, very different route would be I-80 to Lincoln, NE, I-29 to Kansas City, I-70 to St.Louis, and I-64/I-57/I-24 to Nashville and I-40. Look carefully at each route and see where 600 miles a day gets you. For example, on the I-80 route that would be Wendover, UT; Cheyenne, WY; St. Joseph, MO; and Nashville, TN. Those should be your targets on each successive day. And no farther! Yes, you might feel like you can get farther the first day when you are fresh. But make no mistake, this is a hard job you are setting out on and will require that you pace yourselves. Otherwise, you will simply run out of adrenaline somewhere on the plains, hit the wall and crash, possibly quite literally. Note that the above plan gets you to Charlotte in 4½ days, well within your time limit, AND leaves time to just sit out any untoward weather. Similar plans are easily arranged for the other routes you work out.

    Only a day or two before you leave, when you have a relatively accurate weather forecast for the time of your drive, decide which route offers the best chance of clear sailing. Take that route and plan to stop at least four times for a good night's sleep. Otherwise, you are only decreasing your chances of making your flight.


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