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  1. Default Family Road Trip! Nashville TN to California in the Winter

    Hello :)

    My husband, kids and I are planning to hit the road in December and head to California from Nashville TN. However I was told it could be dangerous driving through mountains in the snow. We really want to go but do not want to but our family in danger. We have never driven this far before. Please tell me if this road trip is doable or is recommended.

    Thanks and God bless,


    Planned Route (Via GPS):

    Merge onto 1-40 W toward Memphis

    195 miles
    Take exit 10B to merge onto 1-40 W toward Little Rock

    11.2 Miles
    Keep left on I-40W

    10.5 miles
    Keep left on I-40 W toward Forrest City, Little Rock

    455 miles
    Continue onto I-35 S

    0.8 miles
    Keep right on 1-40W toward Amarillo. Okla Health Ctr

    1,220 miles
    Continue onto I-15 S

    58.6 miles
    Keep right on I-15 S toward Los Angeles, San Diego

    Is this a good route? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    First off, put that GPS away and get some paper maps. Rand McNally Road Atlas and/or AAA maps recommended. You don't have to know turn by turn directions, just stay on I-40 to I-15, everything will be well marked. Use the GPS to find specific places and addresses.

    I-40 to I-15 is as good as any in the winter. Just keep your eye on conditions and forecasts, be prepared to get off the road, find a hotel, and wait out any storms.

    With no weather delays, this is a 4 day trip with overnights around Fort Smith AR, Santa Rosa NM, and Kingman AZ.

    However, if you are going directly to San Diego, I think I'd take I-40/I-30/I-20/I-10/I-8. It's shorter and faster. Overnights would be Mt. Pleasant TX, Van Horn TX, and Casa Grande AZ.

  3. Default

    Thank you!

    Haha "put that GPS away" I'm just so used to it but I will get a map as well thanks for the recommendations and your reply. People in my family have made the drive without spending the night and say it will only take a day and a half. However we are considering going to Kansas to visit my grandmother and staying over night but it's not set in stone. Would you recommend driving straight through? Do you think going to Kansas is a smart idea?

    Thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it. :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default What ??

    No no no !! Your family are risking lives and not just there own, those that share the road with them and those that they tell it's OK to drive for 2000 miles without a break. This trip will require at least 3 overnight stops to make safely and reasonably comfortably, and that's if the weather co-operates. Trying to do it in any less time will be far more dangerous than anything the weather can throw at you.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I too want you all to be safe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    We did this route going the opposite direction, in summer 2011. I-40 and I-15 is fine, but so is the one GLC suggested. With the I-10 route, your top elevation will be around 3500, whereas I-40 will get to around 7000 ft. For the suggested overnights, I have ideas for Santa Rosa (I-40 route), Van Horn (I-10) and Casa Grande area (I-10/I-8 intersection). Santa Rosa has a decent Quality Inn with an indoor pool. Van Horn has several choices, we liked the Ramada Inn but the pool is an outdoor one and only seasonal. Not a lot of food choices for Van Horn, but there is a Denny's. Casa Grande -- well, you're best off in Toltec, exit 203 or exit 200 which come just before the intersection with I-8. Once you're on I-8, there are no lodging places right on the side of the freeway until Gila Bend. Even Francisco Grande (locals call it the "Franny Granny") is a few miles off the speed slab.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    We have never driven this far before.
    All the more reason to use good maps, and be sure you know how to read them. GPS is fine locally, to find addresses and such, but on a cross country trip, you need your maps to visualise all the time exactly where you are.


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