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  1. Default PA to San Francisco in the Winter

    My Mom & I will be driving from the Philadelphia area to San Francisco at end of January/beginning of February. We'd like to make it out there in about 9 days. I know that I definitely want to drive the coastal route once we get to California (LA to SF) instead of taking 5 straight to SF, but I'm having a little trouble deciding the best route to California considering: a. road conditions in the winter b. we want it to be as enjoyable as possible and see some sites along the way.

    Because of weather conditions we're thinking a more southern route, so one option is 70 to 44 to 40. The other option is cutting down south initially towards Tennessee 81 to 40, (maybe an initial detour in Asheville), then passing through Nashville, Arkansas & meeting up with the above route in Oklahoma City.
    -Does anyone have any suggestions for the best route at this time of year? An interesting route, but a route that won't be too badly affected by bad road conditions?
    -Should we shift it even more south (avoiding Northern Texas, Northern Arizona, Northern New Mexico)?
    -Any must see stops or detours worth taking along the way?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    *ALL* cross-country Interstates are subject to bad weather in the winter, and the farther south you go, the less equipped they are to handle it. So - if you want to go to LA, I'd take I-81 to I-40. This is considerably more scenic than I-70/I-44 and involves less tolls.

    With 9 days, you have some wiggle room, but not a lot if you want to drive the PCH. Of course, you will need a couple more days available "just in case" you have to get off the road and wait out a storm. I'd recommend you visit the Grand Canyon as your major sightseeing stop, with no delays or other major sightseeing stops you can make it there in 4.5 days - overnights in Wytheville VA, Memphis, OKC, and Albuquerque. If you can find more time, you can spend some time in Nashville and/or Memphis and/or OKC.

    If you want to drive the PCH but have no real desire to spend any time in LA, you can take CA-58 at Barstow to Bakersfield, then go north on CA-99 to CA-46 and take that to Cambria. I would allow 2 days to drive the PCH from there to SF.

    There is no inexpensive lodging in or real near the Grand Canyon - Tusayan is notoriously expensive. To get budget lodgings you have to go to Flagstaff or Williams.

    If you just want to get to SF quickly, the only realistic way is I-80 all the way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Peskey weather will do what it wants.

    I think first and foremost you should look at a good paper map / Atlas and see what appeals to you along the way and work out how you can fit them into your plans. You are not tied to 2 or 3 route numbers as a mapping program would have you believe. Creating your own route is what a road trip is all about. Now the second thing is is that it is just too early to consider what the 'best' route is with regards to weather. I would simply have a plan 'A' and a plan 'B', [knowing me I would have a plan C as well] and check the weather forecasts nearer to your time of travel and decide from there. If the weather co-operated I would consider taking I70 west from Denver, one of the most scenic of major highways, through the Rockies and into Utah. You could go all the way to I15 through Vegas or take 191 through Moab and drive through Monument valley to the Grand canyon.

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