NYC to LA in July
I'm relocating to LA and plan to drive out the first week of July. I have two questions. Is it better to try a more northern route (like Rt 80) than a southern route (like Rt 40) to avoid the hotter weather? And is the traffic a lot worse during the week of the 4th of July than the week after, or is it all about the same? I appreciate any advice.
Warm weather and traffic
If the days are sunny, I doubt you'd notice much difference on either route, temperature-wise, with one exception -- I-40 in the Mohave Desert of California will be hot.
Both routes have significant higher-altitude stretches where temps can be cooler, relatively, than the hotter parts of the nation. If you have refrigeration in the vehicle, you won't be uncomfortable anyway. If you don't, you can still manage the journey -- 65 mph with the windows open and you'll stay cool enough, except between Needles and Barstow!
One other option, if you use I-80 to Big Springs, NE, then I-76 to Denver and I-70 to I-15 in Utah, the route west of Denver is Rocky Mountain cool!
Summer is the vacation time of year anyway, so the traffic won't be light on any of the major highways. Traffic on a holiday weekend will typically be heaviest at the beginning when people are leaving, and then at the end when they are returning home. In between, the roads can often be deserted (relatively speaking). My guess is that this July 4th weekend, you'll find heavier traffic on Friday evening and Saturday morning, then again on Monday afternoon & evening, maybe even Tuesday morning.
Thanks for your sharing your insight and for the suggestions. I may just stay on 70 straight through from Pittsburgh to 15 in Utah. Since 80 seems a little more out of the way, unnecessarily.
I love this forum!
You won't be disappointed. I-70 west of Denver is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway anywhere!
One more suggestion -- just west of Georgetown, Colorado, take the US-6 bypass around the Eisenhower Tunnel and over the pass. You can look down on the interstate and the tunnel from high above -- and get some GREAT photographs. It's the route trucks carrying hazardous materials must take as they are not allowed IN the tunnel -- and it is spectacular. You'll rejoin the interstate at Dillon.
thanks again Bob... I love the US-6 suggestion!
NYC to LA
We are making this trek as well, but leaving from upstate and going to Northern Nevada. We are planning the southern route out, there seems like alot to see to keep the kids happy. We also plan to "rush" through PA and the eastern states. We plan to see Nashville, New Mexico and Arizona, with an excursion to the Grand Canyon. Up through Vegas and up to Northern Nevada. Anyone have "must sees" to keep us sane? We plan to return via the northern routes and so far only have Mt. Rushmore on the agenda. Thanks. Tracy
Be forewarned about "...and up to Northern Nevada." I'm a geologist and did this trip (Las Vegas to Owyhee by way of Ely and Elko) a few years ago specifically to experience the Basin and Range Province. It is a whole lot of nothing. The scenery is starkly beautiful but it doesn't change for hour after hour, and there are very few places to stop. I don't recommend that trek for kids. Consider instead heading up I-15 out of Vegas, visiting some of the National Parks in southern Utah, and then backtracking from Salt Lake City to your final destination in northern Nevada.
On the northern route, check out Dinosaur National Park outside Vernal, UT. The main attraction here is a solid rock wall of dinosaur bones. They built the exhibit hall around it. Also think about first hitting Devil's Tower in Wyoming, not too far west of Rushmore. Look into Badlands National Park for sure, and consider a quick stop at one of my favorite oddities, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD.
As a resident of Las Vegas, who chose living here BECAUSE of the scenery found in Nevada and the proximity to the somewhat "wild" lands, I can say that a drive through any section of Nevada can be pretty darn wonderful. What areas in Northern Nevada are you headed for?
Originally Posted by tracyinnewyork
AZBuck is one of our most knowlegable contributors, so I found his comments a little surprising -- there are many, many "hidden" places to stop and explore as you head north.