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  1. #1

    Default Driving from Virginia to San Diego

    Im in the Navy & I am looking for any assistance or past experience in driving from Virginia to San Diego. Driving East coast to West coast during winter is tough I can assume . Avoiding the north area because of ice and snow seems like a good idea. Highway 70, 80, 50 what is the best path?
    Thanks!
    Last edited by Flexcapacitr; 07-22-2012 at 12:40 AM. Reason: edit

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Nope. Totally unpredictable right now.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forum !

    Assuming that avoiding the North will mean avoiding bad weather is a bit of a misconception. The fact is that during the winter you should expect winter type conditions just about anywhere you go, but it also doesn't mean you will see poor conditions when you travel. You will need to keep an eye on conditions/forecasts prior to leaving and go from there. You can see ice storms in the south and the northern road crews are better equipped to deal with bad weather.

    You dont say where in Virginia you are setting out from, but unless you have a reason for wanting to take a northerly route to get to San Diego then I40 to Flagstaff and cutting down to I8 via I17 through Glendale, or I40 to Little Rock then I30/120/I10/18 are the quickest on my mapping prgram. You could also cut a path to I20, or I70/I15 as alternatives.

    As I mentioned heading south will not guarantee good weather, so check the forecasts prior to leaving and decide what's best for you then. The single most important thing is to allow yourself enough time to do the journey safely. With a little 'wiggle' room to pull off the road for a few hours in the event of a storm, this would be a minimum of 5 days, if you have a day, or more that you can spare if needed, it would help and you might have time for some sight seeing. If you plan on sight seeing along the way, then the 'best' route will also include things that interest you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I would take I-40 all the way to Barstow, then I-15 to SD. Reason? I-8 between El Centro and the eastern SD suburbs can be very nasty in the winter. It's almost always windy up there and is prone to icy conditions. If you are moving and towing a trailer or driving a rental truck, you may be restricted through there, they close it to "high profile" vehicles during these conditions. Staying on I-40 only adds about 40 miles to the trip and avoids the Phoenix metro area. This is a tradeoff - I-15 does go through the eastern LA basin.

    What you could do is check on conditions when you are in Flagstaff, here is the Caltrans real-time road conditions website.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default More Importantly

    Given that you're almost guaranteed to be talking about going from the Hampton Roads area to San Diego, there are several possibilities for routes, as Dave has noted. There's not much difference between them in terms of distance:

    I-64/I-70/I-15: 2830 mi (St. Louis, Denver, Las Vegas)
    I-64/I-81/I-40/I-15: 2680 mi (Nashville, OKC, Albuquerque)
    US-58/I-85/I-65/I-10/I-8: 2835 mi (Atlanta, Houston, El Paso)

    and other combinations as well. As you can see, the difference is a max of about 150 miles out of nearly 3000. Hardly worth mentioning. Each will take about 5 days at a steady 550-600 miles/day pace. No matter which way you go, you should add a sixth 'weather day' into your plans should you need it. Even here in Tucson, I-10 occasionally gets shut down, not so much due to the weather itself, but due to the accidents caused when they don't shut it down when we get freezing rain.

    Probably more important, is that you choose a route that interests you, with places along the way that will entice you off the road for an hour or two each day so that you stay fresh, alert, and (most of all) safe.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Be aware of I-70 if you are towing anything! In Denver, that gets to about 5,280 ft elevation. Though most modern vehicles have no problem getting around at that elevation, adding a U-Haul trailer to the mix can make that trip especially slow.

    I agree with the advice about the I-40 to I-15 route. At Flagstaff, find out how the weather is around Pine Valley, CA (the mountains east of San Diego). If they are clear, head south on I-17 at Flagstaff, take the 202 Loop west of Phoenix to I-10, go west to the AZ-85 (?) that goes from I-10 down to I-8, then west on I-8.

    (I do not have my atlas with me at the moment, so I am not sure if that is AZ-85 or AZ-86. It's a good route, I've been on it many times, just can't remember which number it is!)


    Donna
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-04-2012 at 07:19 AM. Reason: fixed Denver's elevation -- it's not the Two Mile High City!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I-17/Loop-101/I-10/AZ-85/I-8.

    By 2015, Loop-303 will be completely upgraded to freeway standards between I-17 and I-10 and will become the recommendation. 202 isn't a loop, that's a freeway that runs from downtown Phoenix out through Tempe and Mesa.

  7. #7

    Default

    I am not towing anything thankfully. Just driving a good car with all wheel drive in case of tough road conditions, I am not sure if I should be bringing along chains as a precausion. But I plan on leaving from Norfolk VA heading to Coronado San Diego. So it sounds like N or South the near same hazards roughly? Appreciate all the responses for far thanks!Has anyone planned or ever hit some of the Man Vs Food eating challenges along the way? I was considering that as a fun option or good food to stop by as a must try along the way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If you are taking I-40, you may be interested in the Big Texan steakhouse in Amarillo.

    If the roads are bad enough where chain restrictions are posted, you should probably go find a hotel and wait it out.

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