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  1. Default Kansas City to San Francisco

    I am new to this forum and really enjoy the information shared here. I am from Kansas City and I am moving to San Francisco.
    I am planning a road trip from Kansas City to San Francisco in the first week of February. My car is a Toyota Camry, 1998 with 142K on it. I can spend up to 3-4 days in the trip. Can you please suggest me a reasonable route? My only concern is driving I-70W through the Rockies in the winter.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Rockies in the Winter

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First off, there's no way to drive from Kansas City to San Francisco in just a few days without crossing the Rockies. Secondly, I-70 is not the most direct route between those two cities. That would be I-29 up to Nebraska City, NE-2 over to Lincoln, and I-80 the rest of the way. That would take just a shade over three days at a reasonable pace, leaving you your fourth day as a reserve in case you hit bad weather. In that case you would simply pull up and settle into a warm motel before the roads got too bad and wait for the storm to pass and the road crews to do their excellent job at returning the highways to a safe state. Note that the Interstates get first priority for such resources and that the farther north you are the more experience and better equipment those crews have.

    Conversely, if you try to go south to avoid any possible bad weather, say I-35/US-400/US-54 down to I-40 and then back up through the Central Valley to the Bay Area, you have by no means assured yourself of a snow-free drive. I-40, while relatively flat, does climb to over 7,000 feet in elevation in northern Arizona and can and does see significant snowfall. What you assuredly will do by going that way is to chew up almost all of your extra time, meaning that if you do see snow you won't be able to just sit it out.

    Your car is probably up to the trek, but only you know what kind of shape it's actually in. The days when an odometer turning 100,000 miles was a noteworthy event are long past, with many now even having an additional tumbler to keep track of multiples of that number. So if your car has been well maintained and is in good shape, it should be no cause for concern. You should have it checked out by a mechanic you trust, have the fluids topped or changed, have the tires checked and replaced if necessary, that sort of thing.

    All in all, with just a modicum of preparation and a reasonable margin in case of unforeseen events, this should be a great adventure.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    This is an example of how the online electronic mapping programs don't even suggest I-70. Both Google Maps and Mapquest recommend the route given by AZBuck above - up I-29, NE-2, and I-80.

    While I-70 seems logical, it does just END in the middle of Utah. You'd have to use US-50 from I-70 to head north to I-80 in Salt Lake City, then head west again. Going that way adds 130 miles to your trip, too.


  4. Default

    Thanks AZBuck and Donna.
    I will stick with I29/NE2/I80 route. I am just curious about the driving conditions in 1st week of Feb. Along with that can anyone please suggest some good places to stay and eat? I can spend 3 nights 4 days for this trip.
    Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I will stick with I29/NE2/I80 route. I am just curious about the driving conditions in 1st week of Feb.
    There is just no way of predicting what road and weather conditions will be until you can get the forecasts a day or two prior to leaving. Even historical data is of no real use, as it has no bearing on what will happen at the exact time you travel. It's then that you could decide on your best route option.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you hit clear weather, you could do the trip in 3 days, stopping in Kimball, Nebraska and Wendover, Nevada. Those would be pretty long days (10-12 hours), but the upper end of what you could do.

    If I were you, and you see good weather to start, I would try to get through Nebraska as quickly as possible to take advantage of that good weather. If things are still good on the second day, you might look at stopping a bit short in Salt Lake City. You could then shoot for Reno for your third night, having a relatively easy 4th day into SF.

    Of course, if there is bad weather, you might have to throw those stops out the window. The good thing is that on the interstate, every city of any size at all has motels, restaurants and other traveler services, and it is pretty rare to go more than 50 miles between cities where you can stop and wait for things to improve.

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