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  1. Default leaving pittsburgh in mid october, destination orlando by january

    we'll have approximately ten weeks to drive from the pittsburgh area to points west and south and hope to avoid the major routes as much as possible.
    our final destination is orlando right around new years and we'd like to visit los angelas and vegas but otherwise stay out of the cities.

    how far north and on what roads should we be thinking for decent driving conditions? we have a well insulated fifth wheel with heat, but i am leaving vermont so i don't have to drive in snow any longer!

    ideally we'd like to mix it up by dry camping in federal or army corps of engineer sites for a few nights and then hit up an rv resort for full hook ups and amenities for another night or three.

    thanks in advance, this forum does seem to have the best information and people who've 'been there and done that'.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Unpredictable.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You will find endless info just digging around the forums and planning pages above to help you with your planning. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter where you go during Fall and Winter, you run the risk of seeing snow and ice, it's totally unpredictable. We travel a lot during October for example and in Colorado we have gone from sunny sky's and mild temps to snow and freezing conditions within hours. Of course if things turned a little nasty, the lower elevations and Interstates usually add a little more 'comfort' and are not normally that far away. Yellowstone and Glacier NP's are closing down by this time and snow and sub zero temps are a real possibility, Utah and Arizona are normally still warm in October and if you were planning on visiting Yosemite [amazing] you would have to check the status of the Tioga Pass [CA120] coming from the east as it crosses the Sierra Nevada and can close anytime from October onwards due to snow. The Valley is still accessable from the west though.

    Unless you really want to plan your trip out in detail long before travelling, then it's advisable to keep up to date with weather and road conditions as you go and plan from there. In the meantime researching and finding places of interest to you and making notes is time well spent and a lot of fun !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default East to West to East to South to North

    You seem to have already made the major decision on your basic route, first crossing the US to Los Angeles, then heading back across the southern US to Orlando, and then up the east coast more or less back to Vermont (presumably). And you certainly have enough time for such an endeavor with ten weeks at your disposal.

    Now it's true, as Dave states, that October can be a very 'iffy' time in the northern Rockies in terms of weather, and even though I have run into great 'crisp' fall weather in Yellowstone in late September, it's simply not necessary to be that far north to experience the Rockies in full splendor. I think you could have a really enjoyable time by crossing the Rockies in Colorado and hitting the Red Rock marvels of Utah (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion) on your way to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Then as you work even further into fall return eastward through Arizona and New Mexico (Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Petroglyph NM).

    Now for avoiding major routes as much as possible. That's relatively simple in the East and Midwest, and next to impossible in the Rocky Mountain West. Westbound from Pittsburgh you should be looking for four-lane non-Interstate highways such as US-30 through Ohio, US-24 through Indiana, US-34 through Iowa, US-30 (again) through Nebraska, and US-138 in northeastern CO to get you to the Denver area. For the actual crossing of the Rockies, I would strongly suggest that you stick to I-70 with it's lower grades (6% or less) and extra climbing lanes, but then in western Utah you can return to US-89 down to Bryce and Zion, then I-15 into Las Vegas. I-15 also links Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

    In the western mountains and deserts, there simply was not the need to retain the old US highway roadbeds to connect local towns which were few and far between, so they simply plowed them under the newer Interstates. Heading east from Los Angeles, you'll again be on I-15 then I-40 to Williams. One possible excursion from that major route would be to take the longest remaining stretch of the old Route 66 from Kingman through Peach Springs and on to Seligman. From Williams it's a relatively simple matter to use AZ-64/US-89 through Grand Canyon National Park and back to Flagstaff.

    About 30 miles east of Moriarity NM you can return to non-major highways such as US-285 down through Roswell and Carlsbad, US-187/US-87/US-290 through west Texas and LBJ's Hill Country to Austin, and then US-90 and US-98 through the South and along the Gulf Coast into Florida. Finally, if you plan to return to Vermont, look at the coastal route described here.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you choose to head west out of Denver on I-70, be aware that the initial grade is 6%, but it goes for awhile. As long as you've got a good tow vehicle, you'll be fine. If you think you'll be slow, stick to the right lane with all the trucks. As Buck says, there are climbing lanes. There are some really beautiful rest areas between Vail and Glenwood Springs.

    Lifemagician just took that section of old 66 from Kingman and on to Seligman -- she will probably link her description of it.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Anyone can link that.

    Donna, you could have linked that description too. Just copy the url into the little box.

    However, most of my description was of the section west of Kingman, and that section, beautiful and interesting as it is, is not suitable for vehicles towing anything. You could leave the trailer in Kingman, take I-40 to Topock and head back east to Kingman via the Mother Road.

    In my book it's worth it.


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