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  1. Default Christmas Trip from Southern Va to Madison WI

    My wife and I are planning a Christmas trip from South Boston, Va to Madison, WI. The mapquest route takes us through West Va to Dayton Ohio,Indianapolis, Indiana, to Chicago and then north into Madison. We are both concerned about the winter weather, road condition etc., along they way. We both would like to take the trip by auto, but sometime wonder if taking a train would be a better way to go to insure getting there for Christmas. We plan to leaving on Tuesday, Dec 22, around noon.

    I welcome your thoughts

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    If you leave on the 22nd at noon, the earliest you can reasonably expect to arrive is the 24th around noon, barring bad weather. This is a 900+ mile drive, not all on Interstate highways. If you leave early in the morning on the 22nd, you should be able to make it by the evening of the 23rd, eliminating 1 extra night on the road in a hotel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Mapquest vs. Reality

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    One of the recurring themes here is that you can't simply turn your RoadTrip planning over to some piece of software and blindly follow its instructions and expect to get to your destination in the timeframe it says. This is a good example. Sending you through Chicago over the Christmas holidays (or any time, really) is not something that a rational trip planner would do. Instead, I'd strongly suggest that you avoid Chicago all together and instead take I-74 west out of Indianapolis to Bloomington IL and then follow I-39 north from there to Madison. That's a much 'saner' drive and avoids the tolls in the Chicago area, although there is a short section of toll road on I-39 between Rockford IL and the Wisconsin state line.

    Either way you go, this is a two day trip under good conditions. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the weather this far in advance. You'll need to check the forecast just a couple of days in advance of your departure and, now this is important, be ready to leave a day early if it appears that there's going to be any significant snow/sleet/ice activity over the two days that you plan to drive. If bad weather is in the offing then leaving a day early will either let you get to Madison before it arrives or, at worst, give you a day to wait out the weather en route and let the road crews plow and salt the roads before you continue on your way.

    In any event, Columbus OH is roughly your halfway point and you should plan on spending the night there. Remember that if you make a reservation and can't get to Columbus that evening, call ahead but do not cancel your reservation - you'll be charged for canceling on less than 24 hours notice. Instead, 'postpone' your reservation by a few days, then call back the next day and cancel the new reservation, now more than 24 hours in the future.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    As far as weather is concerned, it's hard to predict what the weather will be like, over 5 months from now. Winter is what it is! All you can do is be prepared to take some extra time if you have to do so. Trains and planes could also be held up by weather.

    I'm thinking along glc's lines: I'd leave a bit earlier and drive 450-500 miles each day, to make it in two days and have a third day in case the weather is not cooperative.


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