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  1. #1

    Default From Champaign, IL to Santa Barbara, CA in late October

    My wife and I are moving to Santa Barbara from Champaign (130 miles south of Chicago) and we are looking for advice on which route to take. We are planning to leave within the last week of October.

    First of all, our main priority is to arrive there safely and easily in 5 or 6 days (i.e. 4 or 5 nights). We have a 2007 Honda Accord and we won't be hauling any trailers. We very much like to see natural attractions/sights along the route. I had a look at the threads in this forum and saw that I-80/I-15 pass through the rocky mountains and there are beautiful scenery along the road. But since I-80 is up north, we thought the weather (in late October / early November) might not be friendly, it might snow. Actually we don't know how snow will affect the driving experience but we assume it would have a negative effect. An alternative route is through I-40, which is what google maps suggest by default. Is there natural beauties to see along I-40?

    We plan to drive during daylight time only, like between 9am-6pm. Mostly I will be driving. My wife is not a very experienced driver, so she might do at most 1/3 of a day's trip. That means 420 miles/day and 280 miles of it is on me. I guess this is a feasible drive.

    Any advice/information is much appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    My mapping program shows the fastest route to be I-57/I-70/I-44/I-40/I-15/I-210/CA-134/US-101. This is 2100 miles,which would be 4 full days, driving about 10 hours including basic stops (food, fuel, bathroom). If you have 6 days, you certainly have time to do some sightseeing. The most noteworthy attraction along this route would be the Grand Canyon.

    Now - if you take I-70 all the way across to I-15, this only adds 30 miles and in my opinion, this is MUCH more scenic without having to get off the Interstate. You will have to keep tabs on the weather and road conditions, and be flexible. There is an excellent chance you could take this route in October/November without any problems, I've done it in December with only a little slush in the left lane over Vail Pass.

    What you could do is this - make the first 2 days somewhat long, spend the first 2 nights in Topeka and Denver. Take Exit 212 on I-70 in Utah and take UT-128 into Moab and spend a night. Visit Arches and/or Canyonlands National Park, then take US-191 south to US-163 and go through Monument Valley. You can than take US-160 to US-89 to get to I-40. All you would have to plan on is getting as far as Flagstaff for your last night on the road, you can make it on into Santa Barbara in 1 long day from there. If possible, you may want to get to Kingman, then make an early start, so you can get through the LA basin before afternoon rush hour hits hard. You would be going right by the Grand Canyon, but this may be best left for a 3 day weekend trip in the future.

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