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  1. Default Best route from Upstate NY to Scottsdale AZ - at end of December?

    Starting west of Syracuse, the std Bing map puts me driving Rt 90 thru Buffalo, picking up 70 in Columbus, Dayton, Ohio, Indianapolis, St Louis, Rt 44 Springfield, Tulsa, Rt 40 OK City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff....
    Is this direct route preferred? Or should I plan for bad weather by dropping immediately south on 81 down to Tennesee then going west, as some of your members have suggested? I'm driving an AWD Audi wagon, alone. I can take as much time as I need to get there. I'm a female in my 60's....plan to join AAA. Thanks for any suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default "Best" Depends

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The question of the 'best' route for any trip comes up as often as any other on these forums, but it's the one question we can simply never answer with any definitiveness. There are just too many variables including, but not limited to, your interests and the weather, which we just don't know. I will tell you though, as a general rule, bad weather can occur anywhere and anytime, so that adding miles and time on the road in an attempt to avoid it usually just increases your chances of running into it. Since you have plenty of time for the drive, I would suggest that you plan on taking the shortest, most efficient route possible. If you run into bad weather along the way, just take a day off from driving, let the road crews do their job, and then resume when the highways are clear and dry again. In that sense you are better off staying on northerly routes where they have experience with such things as well as the equipment to handle it. There is nothing worse than getting caught in a snow storm in Alabama (say) where all they can do is look at it and crash their cars as they try to learn how to drive in it.


  3. #3

    Default Goin' South

    Hello Sandy_bee,

    In the event you're not already aware, I-81 between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA crosses the Pocono Mountains. While not the Rockies, the Poconos bring I-81 some modest elevations, and with it some opportunities for weather-related problems.

    Ditto I-81 between about Lexington, VA and Marion, VA, where a bit of elevation sometimes affects travel.

    From just west of Knoxville, TN to Lebanon, TN, just east of Nashville, I-40 climbs atop of and traverses the Cumberland Plateau, yet another opportunity for elevation to affect weather and travel.

    As AZ Buck so appropriately noted, it's generally best to take the most direct route. You'll have a very good forecast for weather conditions on that route and for that predicted for alternate routes within a day or two prior to departure, and you can then consider how best to avoid any real "stinker" snow or ice storms. I'd pay particular attention to the possibilities of ice storms across the southern tier of the country, where it's not uncommon for December/January to bring loads of sleet and freezing rain. You'll pray for snow to improve the driving surface should that occur. Best bet is to avoid it with up to the minute weather watching, an Atlas of the US, and common sense.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Buck's and Foy's advice is excellent, however this can be somewhat of an exception in this particular case. I-90 from Syracuse to Cleveland is famous for lake effect snow and I think I'd plan on staying away from the lakes. However, do keep in mind that taking I-81 to I-40 adds 250 miles. Make your decision at the last minute based on current conditions and the forecast.

    As an aside, I would think that living where you do, you would be experienced in driving in bad conditions, and you certainly have a very suitable vehicle for doing so.

  5. Default

    I have driven to Erie several times, and that sounds ok provided I have my Blizzaks on -but then would have to bring along my other set of 4 wheels that have my GY Assurant rain tires? Thats cutting into my space for my stuff for my 3 months stay. My car is a compact station wagon...small.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd put the Blizzaks on and leave the summer tires at home. I have a set of Michelin X-Ice tires which I run all winter, they handle just as well as my all-season highway tires on dry and wet pavement.

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