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  1. Default California Christmas Roadtrip from Minnesota

    Howdy y'all!

    I'm currently planning a trip out to Sacramento, California from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I would like to take the quickest and easiest way possible. However being it's December...SNOW is a major factor! So mountain travel is nerve racking to say the least! Anyone out there have any suggestions on routes to take...I realize I won't be able to avoid the mountains all together unless I drive, say South to Oklahoma City, and then jet West to Los Angeles, then head North, but that's some serious miles!

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I'm planning on leaving the 15th of December, to make the trek out there!

    Thanks Again & Drive Safe this Holiday Season!

    Happy Holidays,

    -Matt
    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-05-2013 at 09:26 AM. Reason: Formatting

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    It's impossible to forecast weather and road conditions in advance, so it's generally best to plan on taking the most direct Interstate route, which is I-35 to I-80. The priority for all state highway departments is to keep the Interstates open. You will need to have extra time available if a storm does hit, the best thing to do is find a hotel and give them time to get the roads cleared.

    You can't drive far enough south to avoid mountains. I-40 crosses mountains just as high as I-80, and I've personally been on it with terrible driving conditions. If anything, the northern states are better at clearing roads than the southern states.

    I would travel with a laptop and a smartphone if possible, and keep a daily watch on weather and road conditions. A site that has links to all state DOT road condition reports is safetravelusa.com. Be prepared on a daily basis to delay or detour if you have to.

  3. #3

    Default

    I would agree with glc that your best bet would be I-35 to I-80 even though it adds roughly 80 miles to your trip. If you start wathcing the Weather Channel prior to your trip, the 5 and 10 day forecasts will allow you to see what you might be facing in terms of weather and you could then decide on a route accordingly.

    Further south via OK City does not eliminate the possibility of winter weather in the higher elevations of New Mexico and Arizona and you would also face the possibility of freezing rain or ice in Oklahoma.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Charlie, my software does in fact show I-35 to I-80 as being faster than any other way to get to I-80. Now, if you were going to I-90 instead, then there's an advantage to cutting the corner on other roads in good weather.

  5. #5

    Default

    Mine, which is Streets & Trips, shows it being further but quicker by about 40 minutes. If I was guaranteed the weather would be good, I'd probably opt for I-90 to Rapid City and then down to I-80 on non-Interstates because I'm a big fan of South Dakota. But if there is a chance of bad weather, I'd rather be on the Interstate than in Wyoming in the middle of nowhere.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I agree with the previous posters. I-35 to I-80 really is your best bet for quickest, easiest, and safest likely option for winter travel.

    Going down to I-40 would actually increase your risk of seeing bad weather, as you'd have to be on the road for at least one more full day.

    I see googlemaps suggests a route on I-90 across South Dakota. Unless there is a storm in Nebraska you can avoid by staying farther north, I don't think that would be a good choice because of all the 2 lane roads you'd have to take in Wyoming.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If I was guaranteed the weather would be good, I'd probably opt for I-90 to Rapid City and then down to I-80 on non-Interstates because I'm a big fan of South Dakota.
    If this were a sightseeing trip, I'd totally agree. However, the original poster asked for the quickest and easiest way possible. With the threat of bad weather, I'd do all I could to avoid any 2 lane roads, period.

    I also use Streets & Trips.

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