I'm looking for advice on traveling from Providence, RI to St. George, UT during the winter on a budget. I'll be by myself and, although I would probably need a few exercise breaks along the way, would like to get to my destination as quickly as possible. Because this will be in early January, I expect that car camping will be uncomfortable, but am open to rustic options. I also expect that weather conditions may cause delays, or re-routing. This is travel to a new job, not for vacation. However, I'm an avid winter hiker and wouldn't mind throwing in a couple of good hikes along the way.
So, I'm looking for...
1. Winter route advice (I was looking at US-50. Good/bad/alternatives?)
2. Hiking/running suggestions close to my route
3. Housing locations and advice for reservations: can these be made en-route, or should they be made ahead of time? How to account for delays when setting up lodging reservations
4. How to manage long stretches of empty road, with safety during inclement weather being the main concern
Thanks for your help!