Is I-40 E the best route?
Driving to MD from So. Cal - small car - looking at weather conditions for late Feb - is the I-40 E the best route? I only want to drive during the day and stay in main cities along the route (too chicken to stay in small towns, small hotels - too many scary movies!)
Any advise would be great - Thanks
If weather is dicey, I-70 might be a better choice, BUT, chances are I-40 will be fine. (Take a look at the weather just before you go and decide then (I-40/I-44/I-70 or I-15 and I-70).
If you do decide on I-40, you can do this in 4 days with 700-800 mile days (10-12 hours each) or 500-550 mile days (8-9 hours each). Are you an iron-person that loves to drive? Or would you rather take it a bit easier. SANE persons would do the shorter days -- but you may be entirely able to do the marathon if you like that sort of thing (I do).
On I-40, your five-day itinerary would place stops at Holbrook, AZ, Amarillo, TX, Springfield, MO, Richmond, IN, and finally Baltimore. If you want to do it in four, plan on Gallup, NM, Oklahoma City, Terre Haute, IN, and into Balitimore on the 4th day (I don't know your actual destination, but Baltimore gives you an idea).
All of these are at least modest-sized cities, and you will find secure national chains (hotels) in each one of them. You COULD make reservations ahead of time, but I'd recommend staying flexible -- you'll find excellent accommodations all along the entire length of this route (or I-70, should you choose that one), and this time of year you won't need reservations. That way, you can do what's comfortable and safe that day, given the conditions and circumstances, and NOT be locked into having to get someplace according to a pre-set plan. Make sense?
the route I have mapped is I-15 to I-40 to I-44 to I-70 to Baltimore. I was looking at either stopping Flagstaff or ABQ (my brother lives there) stay a night in ABQ and then off and away to drive until dusk to an actual city.
I check interstate weather daily - hoping to be leaving mid month February - I don't want to hit ice storms or heavy snow -
I read about de-icing brakes - I'll have to either get a book or print out a bunch of stuff
I've lived all over the world and have only driven in the snow once - so I'm a bit edgey about driving in extremely cold weather
Embarking in a trip like this is unlike anything I've ever done - I want to make it something to remember for the kids - knowing that taking two kids and a dog along we'll be stopping two or three times during the day
With kids and pets
With the kids and pets, you may need to stretch it out even a bit more. Like I said, there are enough choices for lodging along these routes that you don't really need to preplan too much. Take your time and enjoy it. Flagstaff has plenty of rooms in all price ranges -- coming from the west there will be several nationals right near the I-17/I-40 interchange, and if you miss those, get off I-40 at Butler (farther east) -- there's another cluster of them there. Both areas have plenty of restaurants to choose from. If you want dirt cheap motels (I doubt you do, based on your original post), then follow Old Rt 66 through town -- there are dozens of them.
Search on this site for "winter driving" and other winter weather key words like ice and snow, etc, and you should come up with plenty of threads that have offered advice on the topic. You have a good chance for good weather, and even if it is stormy in a few places, the road-closing varieties are maybe not rare, but at least intermittant. The road crews will make things clear again fairly quickly. In the worst case scenario, you usually only have to wait for a few hours. So my point is, don't stress about it!
I did just that, stopped stressing over it. Actually this was supposed to be a work transfer from CA to MD - when I was stressing just way too much and over the top I threw up my hands and said forget it - I wasn't going to stress and if it happens it happens. Soooo, I stopped looking for houses, stopped checking road and weather conditions and now guess what - it looks like they want to send me....and I have job interviews somewhere else!!!! Sooooo, I'm back on the weather and road condition look - but my options are still to find another job -
Tho a road trip across the states is such an adventure, fun and educational on top of it - it would be a fantastic adventure for myself and kids - And it's sooooo inviting to relocate to the east coast!!!!
The decisions we must make and now I'll have to think priority over the weekend.........
They're never easy when they involve such massive changes, I guess. One comfort may be that things are not usually black and white in terms of right/wrong when it comes to choosing a path -- many paths can be the right one, it's all in how you look at it. So... TRY to enjoy the ride!
I agree that the road trip could be a great adventure for you and your kids -- I'm certain one of the main reasons I have such a case of wanderlust is that my folks introduced me to cross-country trips starting at about 1 month old -- and I've never stopped going since! Of course I don't remember the first couple of them (1953 and 1955 or 56), but I KNOW about them! :)