San Francisco to Atlanta Georgia--Efficiently?
I have been on the road since May 5th traveling from Florida north to Canada, then west all the way thru Canada, and am now in San Francisco. The route thru Canada was easy, as there is really only one main route, however, I am struggling w/ planning the drive from Frisco to Atlanta, Georgia. I would like to see some nice highlights along the way, (maybe Grand Canyon) and possibly visit family in Colorado Springs area. As I have already been on the road for weeks, I'm not planning to do the "tourist" thing along the way back east. Does anyone know if there is a nice, but time efficient route this way, or would it be best to head south from San Francisco and bypass Colorado all together. Please help w/ suggestions, ASAP, I'm planning to leave in the next 2 days! Thanks!!!
It would be quickest to bypass Colorado - just head south down I-5 and pick up I-40 all the way east, then cut off toward Atlanta somewhere east of Arkansas (I don't have a map in front of me at the moment). Grand Canyon is an easy side trip north from Williams AZ (about 60 miles, maybe).
Then, if you still want to visit Colorado Springs, you could do it one or two different ways. You could either go northeast across the Navajo Reservation in AZ, through Kayenta and into Colorado on US160 (very pretty and includes Rocky Mountain passes), or get back on I-40 to Albuquerque and go north from there on I-25 (also beautiful and you go right by Santa Fe). Either way you do it, it would cost you an extra day each way plus your visiting time.
If you want to skip Grand Canyon and just go home, I'd use I-80 to Cheyenne, then south to Denver and Colorado Springs for a visit), then I-70 to St Louis, and then SE to Atlanta from there using the interstates. That would be the fastest route, I suspect, all things considered.
I think I have decided upon the last route you suggest. However, I was wondering if it is ok to take hwy 50 across Nevada (looks like it's a straight route accross). Does that save time since it heads north, or add time since it's not a major interstate? Also wondering, if I skip the Grand Canyon and Colorado altogether and take I-5 to I-40, will that save a substantial amount of time? If so do you know how much time? Thank you so much for your advice!!!
Six of one, half dozen of the other.
Here's a breakdown of your three choices. I added a 20 min break every two hours, which is skinny if you consider fuel stops, rest stops, quick meals, etc. If I were figuring on this trip, I always add an extra amount of time to these estimates, as I find you can RARELY ever achieve the "book" time on any route.
Fastest route I found was the I-5 to I-40, US78 SE from Memphis to I-20, and into Atlanta. It is 2484 miles, and driving at the fastest speed allowable most places, would get you there in 34+ hours driving time.
Next is the I-80 route to Cheyenne, Denver and I-70 to St Louis, I-24 and I-75 to Atlanta. This one is 2740 miles and 37 hours of driving time, and does not allow for visiting in CO SPGS.
The US50 route between Reno and I-70 in Utah -- then I-70 to St Louis and the direct route through Nashville to Atlanta from there, is 2621 miles and 38+ hours. You can see these are all pretty close in terms of driving time.
Last, just for kicks, we'll add the Grand Canyon and the visit to Colorado Spgs. You would use I-5 to get to I-40, then that to Williams, AZ, SR64 north to Grand Canyon, then out through Four Corners to Durango, CO and Colorado Springs. From there, get on I-70 again and take the direct route home. This one isn't appreciably longer -- it's 2864 miles and 41.5 hours driving time. You could get your visit, and the Grand Canyon, and it only adds a bit over 7 hours driving time to your trip. Would seem a shame to miss it! Bob