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  1. Default CA to NC (one-way) drive during last week of Dec2014

    Hi All,

    This is my first post. Excuse me, if anything wrong in my questions!

    Me and my wife (32 and 30 age) relocating to Cary, NC from Pleasanton, CA. We are thinking of driving my Nissan Altima 2003 (120K miles) with around 300LB luggage in trunk/backseat. Since it's winter time, we like to avoid snow as much as possible. Kindly suggest the better route to avoid as much as possible. Google maps shows the route through Flagstaff, Oklahoma city (around 41Hrs).

    I am staying in US since last 4 years and dont have much knowledge on US routes. Hence looking for valuable suggestions.
    We are ready to drive couple of hours more, if you suggest better route with less risk!
    We are planning to reach Cary in 6 days (by driving in sunlight only).

    The reason I am trying to avoid snow is, age of my car (2003). My main aim is to avoid any issues in driving the car in bad weather.

    Thanks in advance....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,992

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    We've got a lot of people planning cross country moves today - as this has been a very popular topic. As with the other trips, there is just no way of knowing which route will have the best weather until you can see the weather forecasts just days before your trip. I-40 is the most direct route, but if there is a storm there, you could look to go down to I-10, which only adds about 150 miles to the 3000 mile trip. However, I-10 also sees snow and ice, so don't assume that would be clear either. If an storm is hitting the southern US, you could also look at using I-80, which is also very similar in distance to I-40.

    A car's age has almost no impact on how it deals with the snow, and a front wheel drive car like an Altima should be fine. The most important factor is really the tires, so your tires are all-season tires and are in good shape before you leave.

    Driving only during daylight hours, you are right this trip will take you at least 6 days (ignore the hour predictions from any online mapping program.) However, it would be a good idea to have an extra day available, just in case the weather doesn't cooperate and you need to slow down or even stop for a bit and wait for conditions to improve.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    The reality is - there is NO cross country route that has no risk of snow and ice in the winter. I-40 is no worse or no better than any alternative. It's a major Interstate highway and the various states' road departments place a high priority on keeping it open and as safe as they can. The age of the car will make no difference as long as it's well maintained and has a good set of tires on it.

    We always recommend that you take the shortest and fastest route - which is 580/205/120 to 99, then 58 out of Bakersfield, then I-40 all the rest of the way. This drive is not measured in hours, it's measured in DAYS, and you will need 6 days to make this drive if you do not want to drive when it's dark, more if bad weather slows you up or forces you to get off the road into a hotel till the roads are cleared.

    You should keep an eye on the weather and road conditions on a daily basis and be prepared to make a detour or stop for a while if things look really bad out in front of you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    First off, it's not the age of the car, it's how you've taken care of it. We regularly drive a 1999 pickup on our long trips, or a 2002 Pontiac. Whatever one we take, we make sure it has a fresh oil change, and get our mechanic to check out things like the brakes, hoses, belts, before we leave. If your tires haven't been changed for awhile, it might be a good time to see if they have decent wear left in them, or pick up some all-seasons. We also never leave home without some sort of Emergency Road Service plan -- either AAA, or (when we were RV'ers) Good Sam ERS.

    Best route -- well, we don't really do "best route" here at RTA. The weather is going to determine which route you take. Normally, for a trip like this, I'd go with the shortest route. I'm in agreement with Google that I-5/CA-46/CA-99/CA-58/I-15/I-40 is about the shortest, and as long as the weather holds, that would be my first choice. Bear in mind, though, that northern Arizona and New Mexico, along I-40, is up higher in elevation and is therefore subject to snow and wind. If you should be traveling and the weather gets really bad, it wouldn't matter the age of your car: get off the road and hole up at either a truck stop or at a motel until the weather blows over. The powers-that-be would close the interstate in that case, anyway.

    With 6 days, you'll have to do at least 450 miles most days, perhaps even 500 miles, to get to your destination. If this were me, I'd make my stops in Needles CA (525 mi), Grants NM (456 mi), Elk City OK (508 mi), Little Rock AR (447 mi) and Cookeville TN (426 mi). The reason I chose Needles (though it's more than 500 miles) is that the weather will probably be great through California, AND there's really nothing between Barstow and Needles, as far as accommodations are concerned, right on the highway. Needles has about 10 choices for motels, in all budgets.

    My suggestion, because of the shortness of the days, is to get on the highway each day just after sun-up. Then you won't be worried about getting to your destination that day before the sun goes down. 450 miles is 9 hours, including gasoline, pit, and a fast food stop. 500 miles is about 10 hours, including the same. Don't count on the "41 hours" bit that Google estimates -- Google doesn't need food, gasoline, or pit stops, but you do. Do treat this as a marathon -- steady travel, no sprints. :-)

    Donna

  5. Default

    Hi All,
    Thanks for your valuable suggestions. Thanks Donna for the list of places where I can stop by every night.
    What is your suggestion regarding Hotel booking? I need to book in advance or just walkin?
    If my schedule disturbed because of any weather issues, then I may loose Hotel reservation (and money). I am trying my best to book free cancellation hotels. Just thought of check your opinion!

    Thank you...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,992

    Default

    Personally, I wouldn't make reservations for this trip. It would be extremely unlikely that you'd have any difficulty finding an available room really anywhere along your route. If you like knowing exactly where you'll be spending the night at the end of the day, then perhaps just wait until the night before to book your room.

    Otherwise, I'd keep with your plan to try to find rooms with liberal cancellation policies - many places should let you cancel without penalty as long as you let them know by the afternoon of your reservation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    When I'm driving point to point just to get there, I very seldom make reservations. However, if it's coming up on 6pm and if you plan on driving a few more hours, it would be worth it to pull over (or get your passenger to do it) and call ahead to where you are planning on stopping. The hotels.com smartphone app would be helpful, if you join them as a member and give them your CC and personal info, you can book right through the app.

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