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  1. #1

    Default Spring Trip Washington, DC - San Diego March - April

    Would love some insight.

    I am setting off from DC and would like to take a southern route, obviously. I will have two kids with me and may be towing a pop up. We will be stopping in Las Vegas and picking up my oldest at the airport. If weather is looking good I will take 81 through the mountains. If not then I'm thinking of traveling down 95 to 20 to avoid the mountains. I don't hear great things about I-10, thoughts on that??

    Questions -

    What type of weather can I expect?
    Will I hit tornadoes?

    I am going to take my time. If traveling 81, I want to stop in Chattanooga, Birmingham then pick up 20. If traveling 95, I want to stop in Savannah and then Huntsville and then continue on 20. I will skirt Dallas, at this point would it be safe to head north a bit. I think Texas is a trip by itself so will save that as a college trip.

    Once we hit California, I would like to camp at Joshua Tree. Any great tips for that?

    Thanks in advance, you folks are always great with help.

    Brigid and the gang

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Misconceptions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I think you've gotten some bad advice. First of all, I-81 really isn't a mountain road. It follows the Great Valley in between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Mountains and is about as flat and scenic a major highway as you'll find in the mid-Atlantic region. Secondly, there is no need to head all the way down to I-10 or even I-20. In April weather really shouldn't be a factor and there's no reason to add miles needlessly. I-40 through Tennessee, Oklahoma and the Greater Southwest offers a better route that takes you near a number of great national Parks including Great Smoky Mountains, Hot Springs, Petroglyph (NM), Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon. Once you've picked up number one child in Las Vegas, I-15 provides the direct link down to San Diego.

    You'll need five full days just for the driving to get to Las Vegas if you're going to be finding campgrounds and setting up each night. Add another day for the drive down to San Diego and a few days to stop and see a few of the many sights you'll be driving past and you really should have eight or nine days at least to make this an enjoyable trip.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Weather can be iffy at ANY time of the year, not just April. If you have a smart-phone, keep track of the weather as you travel and remain flexible. If you need to pull off the road because of weather, or change routing, have maps available.

    From experience with a tent-camper (pop-up) in April, the area around Joshua Tree has a lot of windmills, and for good reason. Be warned! But yet it was a beautiful time for camping. We stayed outside of the park, but if we had it to do again, I think we'd stay in one of the campsites inside the park. (Check, though, and make reservations if its possible. April is prime-time for spring break trips around California as well.)


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