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  1. #1

    Default December trip from Bay area, CA to Edmon, Oklahoma

    Hi All,

    This is my first post.

    I, along with my family are planning to drive to Oklahoma from Santa Clara, CA in a weeks time (19/20 Dec). I have seen the maps and plan to take I40. I have never been on a road trip before. The family is me, my wife and out 7 year old daughter. I plan to drive for 450-500 miles a day and stop along the road. I was thinking on CA -> Las Vegas -> Albuquerque -> OK.

    I am a little apprehensive because it will be our first road trip and that too in December amongst a bad winter. Hence I would like to get all the information and if possible info on whether the places I have chosen are good or there is a better itinerary. Basically safety is of great concern and I am OK with missing places on the trip. We plan to be back in Jan 1st week.


  2. #2


    With the overnite stops you have thought about, you're going to have to do about 550 miles a day to make it in three days. Las Vegas is going to add about 50 miles to your trip and with the long driving days you're looking at, it might not be worth the extra miles and time because you would not have time to see to much of Vegas. You might consider Needles for your first night's stop.

    If at all possible, I would urge you to try to find another day and make this a four day journey.

    Unfortunately, there is no route that would eliminate the chance of encountering winter weather. I would suggest watching the Weather Channel's five and ten day forecasts before starting your trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Pretty long in the saddle for three days!

    Quote Originally Posted by jay1324 View Post
    I plan to drive for 450-500 miles a day and stop along the road. I was thinking on CA -> Las Vegas -> Albuquerque -> OK. .
    Jay, welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum. Your route might be especially gorgeous this year -- partly because of all of the snow! The three legs of the trip shown above might be stretching reality a bit -- because of the heavy winter storms we've seen thus far.

    The first day will be long at about 523 miles -- but the roads will probably be reasonably dry and clear -- but having made this exact journey dozens of times over the years -- you will need to allow for a full 9 hours on the road -- especially since you will need to stop and give your daughter some play-time.

    Las Vegas to Albuquerque is the trickiest leg at nearly 575 miles because of the somewhat mountainous driving -- especially on the grades around Flagstaff. If the roads are clear and dry -- you can probably cover this distance in about 10 hours -- but if you encounter winter storms -- this could easily require 12+ hours -- which is too long for all but the most experienced of road trippers.

    The third day also tips the scales at a bit too long (for winter driving conditions) at 554 miles. Is it essential that you make this journey in three days?

    Here are some helpful tips about winter driving.

    Here are some family-tested tips for planning family road trips.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Budget Your Time as Carefully as Your Money

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    At an upper limit of 500 miles a day this trip would, if everything goes well and you don't make any time-consuming side trips or stops, take just over three days. If you can take four days, you'll have tome to deal with any adverse weather over the higher elevations of I-40 (7,000 feet or so in northern Arizona). If you can take five days, then you'll also have time to show your daughter some of the iconic natural wonders of the southwest such as the Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon, as well as some historic Native American sites such as Petroglyph National Monument and Walnut Canyon National Monument. By the way, be sure to sign your daughter up for the Junior Ranger Program at each national park or monument you visit, she'll love it.

    The best thing you can do as far as safety goes is to hold a day in reserve on each leg, out and back, so that if the weather does turn against you, you can just lay up in a comfortable, warm, safe motel room while the weather does its thing and the road crews do theirs. Then only after the highways are clear and dry and the sun comes back out, only then get back to driving.

    Las Vegas is a bit off the direct route for you. True it only adds about 50 miles, but then you'll also have to account for the time spent visiting that city as well.

    So, you see that worrying about weather is rather futile, there's nothing you can do about it. But if you plan your trip's time out well you should have time for everything you want to see and do as well as have a day or two in margin should the weather turn against you.


  5. #5


    Thank you all for giving me a lot of useful information. I now really understand the trip and thanks Mark, for the informational links. We have decided not to go to Oklahoma in december and are planning to go there in Summer time. I will have more time and plan to do a 4 day trip and see some sites on the way too.

    Tahoe is inviting and that seems a better road trip for a December vacation.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you are going to Tahoe in the winter, you may need tire chains.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Junior Ranger

    As AZBuck mentioned -- be sure to sign your daughter up for the Junior Ranger Program. It is a very worthwhile program. And there is no age limit -- one of our newly retired members just did the program and absolutely loved it!


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