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  1. Default San Diego, CA to Omaha, NE

    I am new to the forum and would like some advice for my upcoming road trip. I am active duty military and am transferring from San Diego to Omaha, NE and need to move my family up there this December. My current plan is to drive one vehicle up myself immediately after Thanksgiving, fly back, and then take the family up the second week in December. The first trip would be a straight shot just to get there (I've planned for three days of driving). The family trip will be slightly more leisurely, but with 4 kids all under the age of 7.

    One of my concerns is winter driving. I am originally from Florida and have driven in the snow once and I own a 4WD pick-up and a minivan. Do I need to stay on a more southern route during the first trip (pick-up), or should all the major roads that I would be traveling on be relatively clear of snow and ice?

    With the second/family trip, we are trying to plan some fun stops for the kids. Our initial thoughts were a day at the Grand Canyon and maybe the four corner states, but that is just based on me looking at the map and drawing a line from point a to point b. Any advice/guidance for a couple of neat stops in this area of the country so the kids can experience more than the inside of a car? We are planning for about a 7 day trip (maybe more); we just need to make it there when our furniture does.

    Thanks for the help,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Nitty Gritty

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Three days for the first, solo run is sufficient if you have good weather.The chances of this are helped by the fact that you have two possible routes that are only about 20 miles different in length (out of a total length of just over 1600 miles.) So that you can choose a route at the last minute based on what the weather will be during your drive time. The northern route is I-15 up into Utah and then I-70 across the Rockies to Denver and then I-76/I-80 over the Plains to Omaha. The southern route (It's less complicated than it sounds. Check it out on a good map.) is I-8 to Gila Bend, AZ-85 up to I-10 and Phoenix, Loop-202 through Phoenix, AZ-87 up to Payson, AZ-260 to Heber, AZ-377 to Winslow, I-40 to Tucumcari. US-54 to Minneola, US-283 to Dodge City, US-50 to Kinsley, US-183/US-56 to Great Bend, KS-156 to I-70 and Salina, and finally US-81 to I-80 and Omaha. Other than the last bit on I-80 into Omaha, those two routes are completely different.

    For the trip with your family, I would worry less about the weather than picking a route that has the attractions that you, your spouse, and your children want to see. Omaha won't have gotten any farther away, but you'll have twice as much time to get there, leaving plenty of time to stop and see things as well as to sit out out a day if the weather turns against you, The roads, especially the Interstates, are seldom closed or treacherous for more than a day at a time, so use your extra time to let the road crews do their thing, while you stay safe and warm. The Interstates are the road of choice under such long-term conditions. Note that while you can get a pretty good idea of the weather all along whatever route you choose for your three-day trip, your longer trip will be beyond the scope of even the best reliable forecast. So, I'd recommend that you use the northern route as described above. While you'll miss the Grand Canyon, you will be driving by Mojave National Preserve, Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Arches National Park, Colorado National Monument, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the sites of the Old Oregon Trail. At each national park or monument you visit, be sure to inquire about their Junior Ranger program so that your kids get the most out of the visit. And if it looks like you're going to be stopping at 4 or more national lands that charge an entrance fee, buy an "America the Beautiful" annual pass at the first one you come to. It gets you, your car, and all its occupants into every park for one fee ($80, I think).


  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck. That is exactly the help i needed.

    One more question - what websites have you found that give the best weather/driving conditions?

    Also, being active military, I actually get a free annual pass to all National Parks for myself and my dependents.

    I am still leaning towards the Grand Canyon, but will have to research the other National Parks that you mentioned.

    Thanks again,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO

    Default has links to each state's road conditions websites. and would have weather conditions and forecasts.

    If you go to the Grand Canyon, you can go from there up through Monument Valley then up to Moab to see Canyonlands and Arches - then join I-70 for the rest of the way.

  5. #5

    Default Real time webcams

    Quote Originally Posted by MattL View Post

    Also, being active military, I actually get a free annual pass to all National Parks for myself and my dependents.


    Thank you for your service and safe travels for you and your family. I only recently learned of the pass being available to A/D servicemembers and that seems to be a well-received benefit among those I've personally communicated with.

    I like the "compilation" provided by, and in the case of both WY and CO, links from safetravelusa go to the state's DOT live webcam sites. Not so in the case of MT, or if so, I did not easily find it. The point being it seems a good backup plan to make yourself aware of each state's live webcam arrays and how to get to them online, and be prepared for a "look ahead" whenever you connectivity allows, particularly if you are generally aware of weather ahead.


  6. Default

    Thanks everybody, i really appreciate the advice and help. Now I just need to nail down the details of the family trip.

  7. Default

    Alright, here is the current big picture plan:
    Starting out in Coronado, the I-15 to I-40 and work my way over to the Grand Canyon. Then continue east through Monument Valley and over to the 4 corner states. Then north to Arches and Conyonlands, and all the way up to Dinosaur National Park. Then east again through Rocky Mountain National Park and on to Omaha. I still need to get more in depth on what I want to do in each park, but since it will be a week in the minivan with 4 kids under 7, I am thinking it will be more scenic drives with some time out of the vehicle than long hikes. I am a little concerned about making my way through Rocky Mountain National Park in December with closed roads, etc.

    Any additional advice or can't miss opportunities?

    Thanks again,

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    RMNP would not be a good winter choice. The whole park is at a very high altitude and will only be partially accessible.

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