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  1. #1

    Default Need tips on winter roadtrip: Boston to San Francisco

    Me and my wife will be moving from Boston to San Francisco in mid January (about Jan 10 - Jan 15).
    We are planning to drive down cross country instead of shipping the car. This is the first long road trip for both of us :) We have about 7 days total for the trip and not too keen on sight seeing.
    We will be driving a 2006 Toyota Corolla.

    Looking for some advice and tips on which is the best route to take (The direct I-90, I-80 or a more southern route?), what tools to bring along, how much time we should drive in a day and other precautions.

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by srinivasang87; 12-25-2013 at 10:14 AM. Reason: first road trip

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    When it comes to winter travel, the best route is generally the shortest/quickest route. In this case it is I-90 to I-80, all the way across the country. There is simply no route you can take to go coast to coast in the US where you don't have a chance of seeing winter weather, so "going south" typically just adds more miles and in many was increases the risk of having weather related problems. Of course, also keep an eye on the weather forecasts, if there is a major storm that is directly in your path, you might then look for an alternate route - for example going down to I-40 - just keep in mind, that would add about a half day of extra driving, and I-40 can and still does see snow and ice, so you can't assume it will be better just because it is farther south.

    A full day on the road is 500-600 miles a day, which requires about 10 hours a day on the road once you factor in basic stops for food/fuel/etc. At that pace, you'll need 5-6 days to cover the 3000 miles, which is good, because it means you'll have at least 1 to 2 days available in case you do run into some bad weather that forces you to slow down, or even stop to wait for conditions to improve, and plow crews to do their jobs.

    Here are some more tips for safe winter travel.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you @Midwest Michael. We will do the direct route and cover as many precautions as possible from the link you have shared :)
    Thanks again and Happy Holidays! :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I would recommend a modified northern route - I would avoid I-90 across NY State due to possible heavy lake effect snow at any time. Another small benefit is less tolls. I would take the Mass Pike to Sturbridge, then I-84 to Scranton, PA. Then take I-81 to I-80, take that the rest of the way to SFO. If you have an EZ-Pass, don't cancel it till you get there, you can use it all the way across till you get past Chicago.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Keep your options open.

    Quote Originally Posted by srinivasang87 View Post
    Thank you @Midwest Michael. We will do the direct route and cover as many precautions as possible from the link you have shared :)
    Thanks again and Happy Holidays! :)
    I think you may have overlooked the main point Michael was making and that's to keep an eye on weather forecasts and road conditions prior to setting out and actually decide on which route would work best at that particular time. All things being equal on a trip when getting from A to B is a priority the direct route is the most convenient and it's not worth adding a day and a half to your drive just to avoid a weather system that might only delay you for a few hours, but keep your options open and weigh up the situation before leaving as there are always options.

    Safe Travels.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-27-2013 at 08:10 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Assuming weather co-operates, I would endorse the route laid out by glc. I have followed that advice a couple of times this year, and it is a good run (weather permitting). Just watch that little strech onto I-380 north, which links I-84 to I-81, and into Scranton.

    Lifey

  7. #7

    Default

    Thank you @glc, @Southwest Dave and @Lifemagician..
    I will look into the weather reports of the entire route and change routes as required.
    Will take the modified northern route - again after checking weather conditions.

    I will turn to this page if I need any directions close to our departure :)

  8. #8

    Default

    We're starting out tomorrow from Boston. Here is the final route we have planned
    Boston --> Sturbridge --> Scranton --> Grove City, PA --> Chicago --> Iowa --> Hastings, NE --> 76 to Rifle, CO (and 70) --> Utah --> 15-S thru AZ --> Vegas --> Union City

    Weather looks OK for the most part except for some typical winter weather surrounding Chicago.

    The good news is that we have about 3-4 more days if we need it. So hoping it should be fine. Thanks again to everyone for sharing valuable knouys :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I'm guessing the Colorado/Vegas detour is simply because those are places you want to visit?

    Being that this is now your plan, you might consider using I-76/I-71 in Ohio and pick up I-70 at Columbus. That will save you some tolls and could avoid some potential traffic issues around Chicago.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I'm guessing the Colorado/Vegas detour is simply because those are places you want to visit?

    Being that this is now your plan, you might consider using I-76/I-71 in Ohio and pick up I-70 at Columbus. That will save you some tolls and could avoid some potential traffic issues around Chicago.
    Yes, it is to see those places. We also want to visit Chicago and have a hotel booked there for the night.

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