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  1. Default Which Route best San Diego to Chicago in Wintertime

    Hey There,

    Can anyone give me advice on which route is better this time of year heading from San Diego to Chicago?
    Im not hauling anything, it's just a car trip and when I do google Maps, it doesnt seem much difference between taking I-80 or I-40.
    Is there one that is less stressful on car due to altitudes? Does that even matter?

    I appreciate any advice
    Thanks

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

    Default 'Best'.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Stress on the car doesn't really come into it, not if it's in good shape to start with [which it needs to be] and particularly if you are staying mainly on Interstate, as they all have gradual gradients. As for which route is best, well there is no one single answer. If your main goal is to get there then there is little in 140, I70 , or I70/80 with regards to time. There is no "best route for this time of year," other than perhaps the one that may have preferable weather over the other options at the exact time you travel, and that will only be known as you get within a day or two for accurate weather forecasts and road conditions.

    With all things equal it will then be down to which route appeals to you and your tastes, or if there is anywhere in particular you might want to see. Interstate 70 across Utah and Colorado is one of the finest for scenery and the one I would opt for, then take I76 to I80 , as it's also the quickest by the looks of things. Depending on weather that is. You should allow for at least 3 overnight stops for the journey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Really, what matters most is the weather forecast. That means there isn't a best all-purpose route in winter, you have to look at what the conditions will be when you are traveling.

    The shortest route is I-15 to I-70 to I-76 to I-80. The biggest downside is that it is the highest elevation crossing, going through the heart of the rockies, before heading into the plains which can see snow and high winds.

    I-40 sees its share of bad weather, with high elevations across Arizona and New Mexico that can see snow, and then ice storms become more common as you head into Texas and the southern plains. Biggest downside here is that ice is much worse to deal with than snow, and if there is bad weather, road crews usually aren't as good at dealing with it as more northern states.

    I-80 stays relatively flat, after going up a significant grade leaving Salt Lake City. The biggest problem is that it is flat at a high elevation, which means most storms also have high winds, which can make travel tricky.

    Your car should be able to deal with any altitude easily (if it can't, then its likely got other problems that need to be fixed before a major trip) but weather is the biggest variable. Watch the forecast, try to plan the best routes based on that forecast, and even then, be prepared to wait if a storm catches you by surprise. Even in the worst storms, the interstates are usually good to go again within a day.

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

    Default

    I would second the suggestion that I-15/I-70/I-76/I-80 is probably your best bet, for both scenery and the shortest. However, that said ... check the forecasts starting a week before you are to leave. If Colorado is due for a major storm and Albuquerque is not, then I'd take I-15 to I-40, I-44, to I-55.


    Donna

  5. Default Best maps for planning when to stop on cross country trips

    Is there a site somewhere online or can anyone give me suggestion if there is a map that makes estimates about where youll be , lets say if I drove 10 hours. In the google Maps going from san diego to chicago, Im on a long strectch of I-70 E after about 12 hours, but from the map, I really cant tell where I would be. Can anyone help me with that?

    Merged threads. Please keep all questions about this trip here. Thank-you.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-28-2012 at 03:44 AM. Reason: Merged threads.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default RTA Map centre.

    To be on the road for 10 hours a day with appropriate stops for food, bathroom and rest breaks and to fill with gas etc you will average about 550-600 miles per day and as mentioned previously you will need 3 overnight stops. You can use the RTA Map centre and it's many features to help plot your route. I just opted for the 'draw circles' option set at a radius of 500 miles along your route to use as a guide, and then split the journey into 3 almost equal days and a slightly shorter run in to Chicago. I came up with the following. Beaver UT [552 miles] Henderson CO [540 miles] and Omaha NE [523 miles] Chicago [471 miles].

    I chose Henderson as it puts you just east of Denver so that you will miss the worst of the morning rush that will be heading into Denver while you are heading out. You can tweak these places as it suits you, but it's a good place to start from.

  7. Default

    Thanks Dave, thats quite helpful. Ive tried to do something like that myself but struggling a bit the the whole circle radius thing. Isnt there a way to just break down the trip and have it show me where I'd be every 200 miles? Or, is there some type of Map website that can do that. Please let me know if thats possible. With the long routes I take on I-15, I-70 and I-80, its hard to tell approzimately where Id be at a certain time. Thanks again for your assistance, I just hope the weather cooperates late next week.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Maps.

    You'd be a lot quicker, and it would be much clearer, if you were to do that on a paper map. You are going to need them for your trip, anyway. Don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics.

    Lifey

  9. Default

    Good call, I do have Paper Maps too. Thanks so much

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    The only program I know of off hand that will plot stops on the map for you every "x" number of miles and/or hours may be Microsoft Streets and Trips, which is software you have to purchase. I don't own it or use it, but I believe it has that feature.

    It is pretty easy to do the exact same thing with a little trial and error using the drag and drop feature of Google, and several other online map programs. Simply add in a few intermediate stops, and move them until you've got segments that are the length you are looking for. Just remember the travel time estimates they'll provide do not reflect real world conditions. As Dave mentioned, 600 miles is going to be about 10-12 hours on the road once you factor in the basic stops and slowdowns you can expect over the course of a day.

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