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  1. #1

    Default San Francisco -> Los Angeles -> Chicago in December

    Hello. So I am planning a trip that will be taking me from San Francisco, CA to Los Angeles to Milwaukee. I'm planning on leaving the last week of November and being on the road for no more than a week. With that said, I would like to avoid as much snow as possible for as long as possible.

    I am thinking of doing the Route 66 drive from Los Angeles to Chicago and then go from Chicago to Milwaukee via I-94.
    Otherwise I was thinking of staying on I-40 East into Oklahoma City and then I-44 into the Chicagoland area OR I could stay on I-40 until Memphis and then take I-55 into Chicago.

    Have any of you feller posters made this trip before?
    I have lengthy experience driving in the snow, but I will admit it has been a few years. I am going to be driving a 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan (rental).

    Looking forward to replies.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    8,413

    Default 'Wait and see'.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    In reality the only way to possibly avoid "as much snow as possible" will be to wait and see what the up to date weather forecast is telling you prior to leaving. I don't see any point in adding 190 miles to your trip and continuing to Memphis unless you want to go there for a reason, then that is entirely your choice. The quickest route would be up I15 to I70/76/80 and if weather permits, is the route I would choose.

    Either way, it is a full 5 day drive, so with a couple to spare, you can simply pull off the road for a few hours and let the road crews do their job in the event of a storm. Interstates are a priority to keep clear and the country on the move so such an eventshouldn't cause too much of a problem with the time you have.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,951

    Default

    I suppose it should be noted that neither Los Angeles nor Chicago are on the most direct route from San Francisco to Milwaukee, and with just a week to make this trip your time to stop in either place is somewhat limited.

    If Chicago is not a must stop, you could save yourself some time, traffic, and tolls by getting to Milwaukee by getting off I-55 at Bloomington IL and taking I-39 to I-43.

    Otherwise, Dave is certainly right that trying to pick a route that would avoid snow, without looking at the forecast is a fools errand. Blindly taking I-40 could easily dump you right in the middle of a snow or ice storm that you could potentially avoid by taking a more northern route. Even more important, taking the "Route 66" style option from LA to Milwaukee you've listed is already 200 miles longer than going via I-70/I-76/I-80, and going to Memphis adds another 200 miles on top of that, which means your drive would add up to an extra full day on the road. That's all time that often can be better used as a backup in case you do hit bad weather and need some extra time for roads to be cleared.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,401

    Default

    The fastest way from LA to Chicago is I-15/I-70/I-76/I-80. You will need to allow 4 days. I-15/I-40/I-44/I-55 adds just over 100 miles and about 2 hours, still doable in 4 days. Make your decision at the last minute, checking conditions and forecasts.

    I also highly recommend the I-39/I-43 route to Milwaukee if you don't have a specific reason to go to Chicago. If you come in on I-80, you will save some time by taking I-88 out of the Quad Cities to I-39. The cash toll is $1.90 on I-88. There is a $1.00 toll on I-39/I-90 between Rockford and Beloit.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thank you all for the advice.

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