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  1. Default Help, last minute trip going from DC to SAn Fran

    Good day,

    So im in the military and got some sudden orders to head to california. I will be leaving on Saturay morning and need to be in San Fran by Friday morning. I have a friend that will be coming along with me. What routes are fastest and what route would be safest to go this time of year. I know the midwest is getting a lot of snow thats headed my way. Wouldnt mind seeing some cool spots along the way. Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Straight and True (Almost)

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The most direct route (the way mapping programs will send you) is just to take I-270/I-70/I-76 up to join I-80 at Youngstown OH and then follow I-80 all the way to San Francisco. I would think that there are a couple of reasons, tolls and traffic, to modify that route a bit. Instead, leave I-70 at Hancock MD, take I-68 to Morgantown WV and then use I-79 to jog north to I-70 west to Indianapolis. On the west side of Indianapolis pick up I-74 to the Quad Cities and join I-80 there. Technically, that will had about 50 miles and 45 minutes to your drive, but I think it's a more than fair trade-off for missing all the tolls through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois as well as Cleveland and Chicago traffic.

    Even as a solo driver you could make that drive in about five days, leaving you a day to spare should you run into bad weather and need to get off the roads for a bit. Trying to beat weather by going 'south' just adds more miles, cuts down your time margin in the event of unforeseen difficulties, and doesn't guarantee good weather anyway. I-68 through the Appalachians is a nice bit of road and I-80 offers some great scenic sections including along the Platte River in Nebraska (where it follows the old Oregon Trail), across the Laramie Mountains and Great Divide Basin in Wyoming, along the southern shore of Great Salt Lake, and over the Sierra Nevada into San Francisco.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Buck's recommendation is the way I would normally go. However, in this case leave your options open till the last minute and keep checking the weather and road conditions. You may be better served by going south to I-40, but you won't know till the time is closer. There would be 2 main ways to get to I-40 - take I-66 out of DC to I-81, or take I-70 out of Indy to STL, then I-44 to OKC. To get to SF from I-40, take CA-58 out of Barstow to Bakersfield, then CA-99 to CA-46 to I-5. If you are going to downtown SF, take CA-152 to US-101 and go in that way to avoid the east bay mess.

  4. Default

    Thank you for the help!! i believe i will be taking the I-40 option, have family in OKC that i will stay with.

    Thanks for the tips, following winds and fair seas to all

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Nowhere better.

    Who knows, you may have time for a detour off I40 to the Grand canyon NP for a quick visit !

    Safe travels.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    My mapping program says that the fastest route from DC to SF via OKC is the I-70/I-68/I-79/I-70/I-44 option. It's over 1300 miles from DC to OKC, but with good weather, good roads, and multiple drivers could possibly be done in 2 long days. It would really be better to take 2.5 days, this may give you some time to spend with your family.

    OKC to SF is over 1600 miles, and this will take you 3 full days.

    I-44 through OK is toll - you will have two $4.00 tolls, one between the MO line and Tulsa, the other between Tulsa and OKC.

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