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  1. Default Los Angeles CA to WI in March

    Hello. We are hoping to move in March. It will be a round trip going from Covina, CA to LaCrosse WI. and back. Neither of us has traveled by car that far or in those areas before, and any info at all would be great. We are not too sure what to expect when going through Utah and Colorado in March along 70. We are hoping to be able to do the trip in 2-3 days, sleeping in campgrounds possibly. Is March too cold for that? How is the driving? Steep? How much of the trip will be challenging and gas guzzling? Those are the kinds of questions we have. Mostly we are looking for whatever route is the most economical, but sites to see are something we are interested in, too...especially parks, and natural types of things.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas.

    - Dave and Sherri

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default realities

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first thing you do need to understand is that you certainly can't do this trip in 2 days, and even 3 days (each way) would not be recommended. Your trip is nearly 2000 miles and you really are looking at 3.5 days minimum to do this safely - and even that is being on the road for 10-12 hours each of the first 3 days, with really no time for any extra stops at parks and natural sites. If you see bad weather, you would need even more time.

    Camping will also be a bit of a challenge too. March can be a very fickle month for weather, and even in areas where it may be comfortable during the day, it still often gets quite cold at night. At the very least, you'd need winter camping gear. You should also expect that some campgrounds will still be closed for the season.

    The drive itself shouldn't be too difficult. Interstates are designed to be driven year round by long haul truckers, meaning that grades and curves are limited as much as possible. Gas miles may change a bit in the mountains, but you're talking about a difference of just a few miles per gallon.

    The most straightforward route would be I-15 to I-70 to I-76 to I-80 to I-35 to I-90. The logical stopping points on a 3.5 day trip would be around Richfield/Salina, UT, Sterling CO, and Des Moines IA.

  3. #3

    Default About that camping..........

    Hello Sherri2012,

    Some internet research and some phone calls are in order it you contemplate camping in the areas of logical overnight stops as enumerated by Midwest Michael. March is very much still winter in the Rockies and the areas adjacent to them on each side. Many, if not most, campgrounds close up entirely, or at least have very limited availability of water, during winter, in order to avoid freeze damage to their utility systems. I would not expect any public-sector campgrounds to be open (BLM, Nat Forest, State parks, local govt parks).

    Coming from the LA Basin, traffic probably doesn't phase you. Still, if you can avoid coming through Denver at rush hour, you'll probably profit from that decision in terms of time of travel.


  4. Default

    Thank you very much for your advice. Hmmm. Well, if we stretched it out to 4 rather than 3.5, do you have any idea what the best places to stop would be for 4 nights? Are their certain hotels or motels which would be budget friendly that you are aware of? How much would you suggest we budget for the round trip if we are bringing our own food and water? For gas, then a place to sleep?

    We appreciate your time, thanks again.

    Dave and Sherri

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


    At 4 full days, you've got much more time to do a little exploring, and that will have some impact on where the best places to stop would be.

    For example, I'd consider spending your extra time at Arches or Canyonlands National Parks. So you'd still go to Richfield UT the first night, but have a shorter day to perhaps Grand Junction CO on day two, and then make your final night in Kearney NE.

    That's not to say that's the best choice, its just one of many options. You'll have to decide on where you want to spend that extra time. There are lots of other parks and places, with Utah and Colorado having some of my favorites. You also wouldn't be limited to having to go to the most direct route. For example, you could also reasonably detour up to South Dakota and see Mt. Rushmore/the Black Hills, or the Badlands. When you are planning, figure you can reasonably drive up to about 600 miles in one day, and if you are going much beyond that point, you could be in trouble.

    Mind you, you don't have a ton of extra time, just time enough to give you options. The weather also could be a big factor which could delay you and take away any extra time you have.

    Fuel costs will depend upon your vehicle, but RTA's Fuel Cost Calculator can help you figure out those costs. You can generally find a motel for about $50 a night, but RTA can also help you there too through our booking service. You'll find links to both up on the upper right side of this screen (next to the forum text, below the green title bar.)

  6. Default

    Alright. :) Thanks a lot! We will use the information you shared to help us get started planning our trip.

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