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  1. Default Philly to LA Early October - Need Fastest/Easiest Route

    Hi,

    Just stumbled on this community, what a great place! I'm going to be driving from Philadelphia to Los Angeles starting either October 1st or 4th, and I need to make the trip in as quick a time as possible. I plan to drive during daylight hours, most likely 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., stopping only for lunch and gas, so hopefully about 10.5 - 11 hours of driving per day. I'll be splitting the driving with one other person. I would very much like to make it in four days if at all possible. Can anyone recommend the fastest/easiest route to take?

    Thanks so much in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You're not going to be able to make this trip in 4 days driving only during daylight hours. You'd have to be driving 700 miles a day to make it in that timespan, which is more like 13 hours on the road, and really more than we recommend even with 2 drivers. Sticking with your very reasonable plan of driving from about 7a-7p, 600 miles a day is about what you should expect, and really is about the maximum we recommend for a multi-day trip. However, that means you'll need to extend your trip into a 5th day.

    For routes, I'd take I-70 to St. Louis, then I-44 to OK City, and I-40 all the way to Southern California. Your "best case" overnight stopping points would be Indianapolis, Tulsa OK, Santa Rosa NM, and Kingman, AZ. All of those drives are at or slightly above 600 miles, except for your final day, which would really be only a half day. You may find even those could be a bit much for your taste, and I wouldn't try to push hard than that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Hear, here....I totally agree with Michael. It's really a 5 day drive!!! You'll find I-70 is quite comfortable to St Louis. I can't comment on I-44 because I haven't used that in years and years. But I-40 between Oklahoma City and Barstow is good highway as well.

    Santa Rosa's Quality Inn was decent this past July 5th when we stayed there. It has an indoor pool and a hot tub, which after a day on the highway that hot tub felt wonderful. The Santa Fe Grill in that town was also pretty good that day ... at least when we were there, and the food we chose.



    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Note that in October, you will have less than 12 hours of daylight per day.

    I-44 is a good road, but it's toll in Oklahoma and your EZ-Pass won't work.

    Take the south bypasses around Columbus and Indy, take the north bypass around STL unless it's rush hour, then take the south bypass. Take the Creek Turnpike around Tulsa and the Kilpatrick Turnpike around OKC. If you are going to spend a night in or near a city, try to stay on the west side to avoid morning rush hour traffic on the way out. I prefer staying in the smaller towns in between the cities.

    Being that you really shouldn't try to do it in 4 days, take 5 full days and get off the road a bit earlier and keep rested. I'd look at overnights in Richmond IN, Springfield MO, Amarillo TX, and Flagstaff AZ. All of those towns/small cities have a good selection of affordable hotels and no significant rush hour traffic issues.

    Note - I'd recommend you spend the 2nd night here in Joplin, but since the tornado, the hotels are pretty booked up and price gouging is happening. There are cheap rooms available here, but the cheap hotels are pretty run down. The only hotel I can really recommend is the Drury Inn, and it's $100+ a night now.

  5. Default

    Thanks very much for the suggestions everyone! So, someone i was talking to about this had suggested taking I80 West all the way to Utah, then pick up I15 south. Their reasoning was that that route avoided most major cities, and might be faster. Any thoughts on this?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Going I-80 to I-15 adds about 100 miles. On a trip that covers more than 2700 miles, that's a very small percentage, and in the scope of things wouldn't be much different in terms of overall travel time. If you had a specific reason for wanting to go that way, you absolutely should, but its very unlikely that the added 100 miles would save any time vs what you'd sit in traffic with any other route.

    However, I'd disagree with the traffic/major city theory outright. I-80 is going to take you past Cleveland, through the Southern Suburbs (and traffic bottleneck) of Chicago, Des Moines, Omaha, and eventually Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. The I-70/44/40 route takes you through Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Albuquerque. I'd like my odds of no traffic on the Southern route far more than the northern option, if for no other reason than the northern route includes Chicago. That's really the only city where you'd have a high likelihood of traffic issues no matter when you reach it. Every other place will have rush hour related slowdowns, but should be pretty clear during the rest of the day (assuming normal conditions/no major construction issues).

  7. Default

    Okay, fair enough. How about for avoiding snow over the Rockies as much as possible - would the 70/44/40 route still probably be the best bet? Again, I'm trying to go as fast as possible, avoiding as much delay as can be anticipated.

    I am planning for 4/5 - 5 days now thanks to everyone's input.

    Thanks again for the great help and suggestions.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Weather is always going to be a crapshoot. Any of the direct routes you are talking about see snow over the course of winter, and the only thing that will matter is the forecast for the specific time where you are traveling - which isn't accurate until just days before you leave.

    However, traveling in early October, it would be fairly unlikely for you to see a storm that would cause a major problem.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'm trying to go as fast as possible, avoiding as much delay as can be anticipated.
    Then, take the *shortest* route - which is PA Turnpike/I-70/I-44/I-40/I-15. If you use the bypasses as indicated, there shouldn't be any significant traffic slowdowns and the only place where you might encounter snow is around Flagstaff. They are used to it up there and AZDOT does a good job keeping things clear.

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