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  1. Default Need help plotting best route from Oklahoma City to New Jersey

    My fiance and I are planning a cross-country trip this winter. We have it pretty well figured out to Oklahoma City but are stumped after that. Google maps and a friend that just did the trip both suggest going up through St. Louis and Indianapolis through Pennsylvania. We also looked at staying more southern and going through Nashville, Knoxville and up that way. I really want to avoid the most snowy mountain driving possible! Which would be the best route? My fiance seems to think the more southern route will be better driving but I'm nervous about the Smoky Mountains. Any advice would be so appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The reality is that it is too difficult to tell far in advance what the weather is going to be like. My advice would have a couple of routes planned, and to keep abreast of the weather reports for those routes. That way, should the weather turn bad on one route or the other, you can choose the alternative.

  3. #3

    Default No Smokies

    Hello LLL24,

    If you're route planning for the "southern route" involves I-40 from OKC through Nashville and Knoxville to I-81 east of Knoxville, you'll be able to see the Smokies in the distance southeast of K-town but you will not drive through them. From Knoxville all the way to Virginia, and all the way through Virginia on I-81, you're in the Great Valley, with the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east and the Alleghanies on the west. There is a bit of elevation between approximately Wytheville, VA and Lexington, VA, but I-81 stays in between the higher mountains all the way.

    If your "southern route" plans involve staying on I-40 to Hillsborough, NC and then going up I-85 to I-95, I'd suggest most any other reasonable route. The mountain segment between the TN-NC state line isn't bad and isn't long (around 50 miles), but the urbanized areas of Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Durham, NC can get congested, and I-95 from Richmond, VA all the way to Jersey is absurdly congested. I'd much rather run I-81 up through VA and MD into PA and work my way over to a Jersey destination that way. I-81 has its own issues with truck traffic, but that's mostly due to the rolly-polly terrain and absence of 3 lane uphill segments, where the trucks try to pass one another and end up in a 42 mph drag race up the hills, side-by-side.


  4. Default

    That's very helpful Foy, exactly the info we were looking for. I think we are going to stick with the other route on the way to NJ as we are on a time constraint but we will probably have to take I-81 on the way back because that's when our actual "tour" will mostly happen - we want to visite New Orleans and Texas on the way back. Thanks for the info!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The FASTEST route from OKC to NJ is I-44/I-70/PA Turnpike. I-40/I-81 is about 2 hours longer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Foy and glc have good advice. I personally have done the I-40/I-81/I-80 from Arizona to NJ, then I-80/I-76/I-71/I-70 through PA, Akron, Springfield OH, Indianapolis, and St Louis, then I-70 all the way to UT ... just this summer. No high elevations to speak of between OKC and TN on I-40, and you're pretty well in the valleys in VA along I-81.

    Of course....we're westerners (now) and think nothing of "elevation" until it gets to be 7000 ft or more!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    It also depends on exactly where in NJ you are going - it's a pretty small state but there are several ways to get in.

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