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  1. Default First cross country road trip

    Hi - I am driving from Shafter, CA to Rochester, NY and I was hoping to get some help/advice on the best route to take - I need to get to Rochester in 4-5 days. I am not interested in sightseeing and do not mind driving for a long time. I was reading that I-80 was very winding and has a lot of semis - I am thinking of going I-40 to I-44 to I-70 to I-71 to I-90 is this a good route? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!

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

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The route you've listed is a perfectly good choice, it's about as direct of a route as you can take. I would add one note, however, because this is a fall/winter trip, that you should be mindful of the weather forecasts during your exact time of travel. Depending on the conditions at the time you travel, you might be better off with a different route - including one that might take you farther north.

    Yes, there are a lot of trucks on I-80, but there are also a lot of trucks on I-40 and the other interstates you'll be taking. The Interstates are the backbone of the American economy, and really are designed for truck traffic.

    I will say you do need to plan to spend at least 4 nights on the road. Professional drivers (truckers) are limited by safety laws to about 600 miles a day (which works out to about 10-12 hours of actual time behind the wheel.) Any more than that, and you can quickly become a danger to yourself or others.

    As a speed run, taking 4.5 days, you'd be looking at stops around Holbrook AZ, Shamrock TX, St. Louis, and Cleveland. Those are all 600 mile days, and are the maximum you should try to drive in a single day, and if you see traffic, bad weather, etc, you may need to even cut those back and take a full 5 days, or even a 6th day if you see a winter storm.

  3. Default

    Thank you very much for the reply - I am taking the trip next week - would it be better to take I-80 based on weather being a factor - I really cannot take longer than 5 days...

  4. Default

    Hi thank you for your reply - would you recommend I-80 over the route I mentioned?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Next week? I'd take the fastest, most direct route, which is CA-58 to I-15 to I-70 to I-76 to I-80 to I-90. This is 5 full days, plan overnights around:

    Richfield UT
    Denver
    Des Moines
    Toledo

    Plan on about $25 worth of tolls. Stay on the EAST side of each city, so you won't be fighting morning rush hour through the city.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    If you're traveling next week, then your chance of seeing any winter weather is very slim, so I'd go any route you feel like.

    The route you've listed via I-40 and up is a good choice, and does have some advantages over going up to I-80, specifically it avoids the potential traffic trouble spot of Chicago as well as avoiding the tolls roads in IL, IN, and OH - although you will have a bit of toll road in OK to deal with on I-44.

    On the other hand, the I-70 to I-80 route GLC suggested is a bit shorter, and I-70 across Utah and Colorado is one of the world's most scenic superhighways...

  7. Default

    Thanks so much for the suggestions! I don't mind the tolls - I was just worried about I-80 being very twisty - also if there is a lot of traffic in Chicago would it still be the faster route?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I really don't know where you'd get the idea of I-80 being twisty. If anything, it has a reputation as being windy - because it is so straight and relatively flat across much of the west. But there are no interstates that can really be called Twisty - as they are designed with so there are no sharp turns that allow for trucks to stay close to full speed all the time.

    The total travel times for the two routes should be very close to identical. The I-40 route is only 30 miles longer, or about 1% of your total 2700 mile trip. Something as simple as a busy gas station where you have to wait a little extra could be the difference as to which one actually ends up being fastest. Go the route that looks most interesting to you - that's really the best advice I can give you.

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

    Default

    If you spend the night in Des Moines, you will be going past Chicago midday, and the traffic isn't too bad then. You would have an issue getting through Denver in the late afternoon to find a hotel.

    If you go the other way, I show overnights would be best near Winslow/Holbrook, Amarillo, Springfield MO, and Dayton. You also wouldn't have any rush hour issues anywhere and the tolls would be closer to $15.

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