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  1. Default January Road Trip on I-40

    Hi Everyone,

    My family and I are planning a road trip from Tennessee to Nevada on I-40, and are tentatively planning it for January. I have few questions.

    First, I understand that weather is unpredictable, and can change in a hurry, but do any of you know the likelihood of good vs bad weather in January? Or do you have any good internet sources for weather history?

    Second, what are the recommended "must-sees" along this route? I'm thinking an overnight stay in Oklahoma City, one in Albuquerque, and ending in Las Vegas.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Weather is, at best, unpredictable. I-40 is probably the most direct and best route to go from TN through to just past Flagstaff before turning north to Las Vegas.

    Among thoughts of "sees" (we don't do must sees, but we do have our favorites -- all of us do) would be, of course, the Grand Canyon in Arizona and the Petrified Forest National Park. Between Abq and Oklahoma City is the Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo. Many folks stop and pay tribute in OKC to the federal building memorial there. The Fed memorial and the Cadillac Ranch are short stops. Petrified Forest will take 2-3 hours depending on how much you stop. Grand Canyon could take anywhere from a half day to two full days, depending on what you want to do there.

    Albuquerque also has a few interesting places -- Rio Grande Nature State Park, the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and of course the trip up the mountain on the tram.

    How long do you have to travel?


  3. Default

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for the quick reply! Those are great tips.

    We are still in the planning stages. I probably will have more time than money, as I've been banking up a lot of vacation leave. I would say a minimum of 9 days, but may go up to 12 days. We're looking at 3-5 days in Vegas, and I'm expecting 6 days of traveling on the road (3 there and 3 back). Does that seem a reasonable driving time? We're actually in Northern Alabama, close to Huntsville.

    So, how best should we plan around the weather? Are there certain cities we should pay attention to the most in terms of watching out for bad storms, etc.?

    Also, do you have recommendations on a good car rental company? Or tips for car rentals?

    And, thanks for the warm welcome!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Nothing in reserve.

    You can find climate data and historic weather records on weather sites like and the Weather channel, but even then it will have no effect on the conditions at the time you travel and in January you should be prepared for anything. The best thing you can have is up to date weather info and road conditions and some time in reserve to sit out any bad storm, something you do not have at present. Three days in each direction is the bare minimum you will need for this trip and it will allow you no time for sight seeing. You will already be on the road for a minimum of 11 hours per day with the minimum of stops for food, bathroom and rest breaks, which is pretty much all your daylight hours this time of year.

    I would allow at least an extra day for travel each way [8 in total] which will allow you time to sit out a storm if the weather turns nasty and if not, you will be able to do a little sight seeing, but even then you still won't have a lot of free time.

  5. #5


    The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in OK City is an interesting stop.

    Assuming you take US 93 from Kingman to Vegas, the Hoover Dam and the new bridge over the Colorado River are great stops. At the junction of I-40 and US 285, Clines Corners is perhaps the best of the remaining Route 66 "Tourist Traps." You can get a bite to eat and they have a wonderful gift shop with everything from the junkiest souveneirs to fine western clothing.

    From OK City on, you will be in the Route 66 corridor and the old road from Seligman to Kingman is a fun drive that won't really add much distance to your trip.

    In Albuquerque, an evening drive down Central Avenue will treat you to what is perhaps the best remaining display of Route 66 neon. The Sandia Peak Inn is a nice place to stay and because it is on the west side of Albuquerque, you can avoid morning rush hour when leaving the next day.

    If Route 66 interests you, you might check out
    Last edited by Charlie H; 11-11-2013 at 10:36 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Weather is not predictable in the sense of being able to say that on Jan 15 it will be warm and sunny all day with a high of 50 degrees.

    But it IS January. And it IS Winter. And you are crossing the midwest. Put those things together and you can state that sometime during January there will be bad weather.

    Be aware that Kansas City (for instance) gets snowstorms and ice storms and blizzards.

    And that far south on the continent the weather systems kind of "sag" to the south as they move from west to east so it's possible to have to cross thru two frontal boundaries for the same storm.
    Note also that travelling to the west you are going against the direction of the incoming storms much like trying to walk from the shore thru the surf to the ocean. Of course going teh other way you might be able to surf a bubble of good weather for a long ways.

    Watching the Weather Channel on TV at every opportunity, listening to NOAA weather radio at every opportunity and watching local forecasts is necessary to try to make a plan for dealing with what's coming.
    Forecasts are pretty good 24 hrs out, useful at 48 hrs out, and 'suggestive' at 72 hrs out.

    If you can be flexible in timing your departure/return dates you can try to work in the better weather windows or make plans for where to hunker down as the next front rolls over you. (ideally you get to a hotel just as it hits and it storms awhile then clears and when you get up the highway department will have cleaned it all up and you go sailing along)

    Early in my driving experience we did a family trip from Virginia to Kansas City and back during December. Lots of snow and ice experience. But we didn't have any time flexibility.

    Good luck!

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