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  1. Default First Road trip to Washington DC from Sacramento

    Hi guys,
    Me and my friends are planning a road trip from Sacramento to Washington DC on Dec 23rd to January 6 , round trip . We plan to leave on 23rd and have to be in DC by noon 28th for the International studentsí conference. We plan to take high way 40 routes on the way there across by Phoenix (to pick up a friend), then go to Oklahoma City, Nashville then D.C.
    On the way back we plan to go down south to South Carolina, San Antonio, and Sacramento.
    We have been hearing a lot about weather disadvantages from others likes storms, and snows. Across America road trip in winter is seem impossible but this is the only chance we can make it. I heard some very bad stories about Flagstaff traffic in winter. Is it virtually impossible to drive in Snow around this time of the year? This really worry us , cause we are all international student and this is our first road trip, so we donít know much about stuffs.
    Does anyone have any ideas or tips of taking road trip in winter? Any tips for driving in snow? Any special precaution we need to take, we have a 2010 Ford Expedition, and we have 8 people in the van.
    Thank you very much for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    You do not have any spare time to play with - Sacramento to DC via Phoenix is over 3000 miles and is a 5.5 day drive. Leaving on the 23rd will leave you NO time for contingencies, such as a storm delay.

    You have 2 decent options from Phoenix - I-17 to Flagstaff, then I-40/I-81/I-66 - or I-10/I-20/I-30 to Little Rock, then I-40/I-81/I-66. Just before leaving Phoenix, check on road conditions and forecasts and make your decision.

    Have you considered flying or taking Amtrak?

  3. Default

    thank you very much for your routes suggestion Glc :)) . Yes ! it is a big conference for international students from all of the nation . A lots of people are flying because it's safe,but me and my friends would love to take a little adventure :) . And the only thing that worry us is the weather , though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Best heed the advice above.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimvop View Post
    And the only thing that worry us is the weather, though.
    In that case I would take the advice above, and fly. With your time frame, all it needs is one big storm, and you will be off the road for a day, or the best part of it, leaving you short on time to get to the conference. If time does not allow you to sit out a storm, and you choose to continue on your way, you may end up missing all of the conference.

    Sometimes flying is the wiser option.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I really think if you want to have an adventure that is memorable for the right reasons, you really do have to find more time. As has been stated, you are already on the razors edge time-wise, and really when you are talking about a trip of this size at this time of year, you need really to expect to see at least some bad weather, and then be pleasantly surprised if everything stays clear.

    Also don't forget that with a group of your size, the trip is going to take quite a bit longer, as every stop will be extended, every meal break will need more time, etc. Also a huge vehicle that's fully loaded is going to require a little extra skill to drive, and that will be magnified if you do see bad weather.

    If you can't add at least a couple days to your plan, I'd have to agree that flying or rail are really your only viable choices.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Will it end up 'fun' ?

    We have been hearing a lot about weather disadvantages from others likes storms, and snows. Across America road trip in winter is seem impossible
    It's nowhere near impossible, the Interstates are a priority to keep open and the country on the move, it's vital to the economy. Having said that and as already mentioned, you need to ensure you have enough spare time to make it there safely. With the time you have and the need to be there on a specific day, could mean you put yourself in harms way by attempting it. You could also end up arriving at the big event worse for wear and not be able to get any pleasure from it.

    How long does the conference go on for ? Have you enough time for the journey home ? Can you start out earlier than planned or arrive home any later if need be?

    If not I agree with what has been said, it'll be risky. To give yourselves a better chance of arriving safely and on time [safety first] I would try and arrange for your friend in Phoenix to fly up to Sacramento and take the more direct route [I80] from there. Having said that, you could leave it until a day or two before travelling and get the most up to date forecasts and road conditions. It would be a shame if your mate flew up, only to find going via I40 would miss a big storm further north ! lol.

    but this is the only chance we can make it.
    Most of us think like this when we are younger, well I did anyway ! It's not so. You will have many chances in the future to plan a roadtrip together, if you really want it to happen. With no pressure, it'll be a lot more fun too ! That's not to say you can't make this trip happen with a few 'tweaks', but it will be a bit of a 'slog' with long hours crammed in the car together. Personally I don't mind this kind of 'slog', but some do and if one of the group starts to get the 'grumps,' it can spread real quick !

    Good luck !

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