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  1. Default NJ to Monterey, CA in Winter

    I am planning to drive from East Brunswick, NJ to Monterey, CA probably towards the end of January. What route should I take to avoid snow? How many days am I looking at? Completing the trip within estimated time is the key focus. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default No Guarantees

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There simply is no way to predict the weather more than a few days in advance, and so in looking for a 'best' plan of action, two words are paramount: Be Flexible. The normal advice when planning long cross-country trips in winter and early spring is to keep the route as short as possible (the fewer miles and hours you're on the road, the less chance of running into bad weather), stay on the Interstates (they get first priority on sand/salt/plow crews besides having shallower grades and gentler curves than other roads), and be prepared with an alternate route or two if the weather is predicted to turn bad along your primary route. In your case the most direct route is just to take I-80 all the way to the San Francisco area and then I-680/US-101 down to Salinas and Monterey. That's right around 3000 miles and would take 5 very solid days of driving - six would be preferable and leave you time to take some short sanity breaks from just driving, driving, driving each day.

    A couple of alternatives, depending on the weather forecast just before you leave would be the Jersey and Pennsy Turnpikes to I-70 west to St. Louis, then I-44 to Oklahoma City and I-40 to southern California. You'd then hook up into the Monterey area using CA-58/I-5/CA-46/US-101. That's just a shade over 3000 miles and maybe an hour or two longer, and again 6 days would be the recommended travel time. A final option, to avoid any unpleasantness in the upper Midwest would be to take I-95 all the way down to Washington, use I-66 to cut over to I-81 south and take that to I-40 west near Knoxville TN. That's a shade over 3100 miles and pushing you towards a full six day drive with not much time left for either short breaks from driving or spare time to sit out any untoward weather you do run into.


  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck for the detailed response. I will probably go with the second or the third option. It will be me and my son doing the driving. Will try to do at least 600 miles daily. So 5-6 days would be a reasonable estimate. I will take a full week off from work.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would not take I-95 to DC - I'd take I-78 to I-81. Much less congestion and less tolls.

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