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  1. Default best route chicago to Los angeles to avoid bad weather in late December

    Was thinking of heading south to Memphis from chicago then into Texas, through Arizona, into Ca. I know it takes longer, safety is my main concern. We have to drive -- moving there -- because of our dog, who can't fly. Thanks for any input, or alternate ideas.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Will have to wait and see.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The truth is that it's impossible to predict the weather this far in advance and just about anywhere can see winter storms in December and places you might expect to see them could be clear. The best thing to do to stay safe is to keep an eye on up to date weather forecasts prior to and during travel and allow plenty of time for the journey so that in the event of a storm you can simply pull of the road somewhere safe and let it pass. Planning to put miles on your journey without the correct info means all you are doing is increasing the chances of seeing bad weather because of being on the road for longer. Even historic weather data stands for nothing, it's when you are actually travelling is what matters so you will have to wait and see.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If I were making this trip, I'd plan on a compromise - via STL, OKC, and ABQ. I've done the southern route through Texas and don't really recommend it. This is only about 100 miles longer than the shortest northern route. The northern route can get very iffy across I-70 west of Denver.

    Now - if you get to OKC and find that the conditions on I-40 west are bad, you can do this:

    I-44 to Wichita Falls
    US-277 to Abilene

    Note that this adds 200 more miles.

    The absolute best you can do is 4 days if conditions are perfect with overnights in Springfield MO, Amarillo, and Flagstaff, I'd allow 6 days if there is any doubt about the weather.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    A number of years ago, I had to drive from Missouri to California at the end of December. We were bringing a car back from there. I planned on the most direct route -- I-70/I-35/I-40/Phoenix and then I-8 to San Diego. My alternative would have been to continue on south on I-35, if the weather turned, and head for I-20 and then I-10. I knew that would take longer and add more miles, so I hoped I wouldn't have to take it. As it turned out, the snowstorm was always one day behind us through Flagstaff.

    I-40 is up in elevation -- between 5000 and 7000 ft in some places. However, this is a major thoroughfare for our nation's commercial trucks, so they are quick to sand it and plow it. There are plenty of places to pull off and wait out a storm. We saw a lot of wind between the east part of the Texas panhandle and Albuquerque, but that's common at any time of the year. I-10 is a bit lower in elevation, at 3000 and 4000 ft at times, but it isn't nearly as equipped for quick sanding and plowing since snow is a lot more unusual there. Still, my folks remember holding up in a truck stop in Van Horn, one year, waiting for a snowstorm to pass over.


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