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  1. Default NY to LA Road Trip Please advice! New job starts on 2/27

    Dear All;
    I just got a new job in LA so I must move out NY on 2/21 or 2/22 and get into LA on 2/26. My car is VW (2002) 19500 miles, it's small yet dependable.

    According to some map websites, Freeway 80 is the road to go. My concern is SNOW at Colorado/Utah area. Should I get off 80 and drive down to St. Luise-Oklahoma toward to Freeway 40?

    Which plan should I follow?
    1.) Plan exactly how I drive and plan which city/hotel I stay in advance.
    2.) Drive as much as I can then whenver I get over the remit, I walk into a motel near by? (This could be faster but do you suggest? )

    Any advice will be very helpful for me. Thank you for your attention. TT2

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default A 53 Hour Tour

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    NYC to LA is about a 2800 Mile Journey. That works out to around 53 hours on the road. If you are doing this trip yourself, I would strongly advice to give yourself at least 5 days. Mulitple 13 Hour driving days aren't fun, and driving fatigue is seriously dangerous.

    For your route, you can take your pick from I-80, I-70, or I-40. The distances are about the same and you can run into now or ice on any of those choices. There's certainly a good chance of hitting winter weather in Wyoming, Colorado, or Utah, but snow and ice are also fairly common through the Southern Plains. In fact, I'd say you're probably most likely to see snow from Cleveland to Chicago because of the Lake Effect. However, you might find that all 3 routes are perfectly fine during your trip. Keep watching the weather, and be flexible.

    In terms of planning stops, personally on this kind of trip, I prefer to find motels when I'm tired. You have more flexibility, particurlarly if the weather does get bad and you want to change routes. I also don't like the feeling of being limited to a certain destination at the end of the night. However, there are some downsides, it can be more expensive to try and find rooms on the fly (although Truck Stop/Rest Area motel coupon books are great for this kind of travel), you could get stuck in an area with little to no vacancy, and sometimes you end up spending far more time than you'd like simply searching for a place to sleep.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-11-2006 at 01:39 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Snow & Motels

    Hi TT2 and welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    My concern is SNOW at Colorado/Utah area. Should I get off 80 and drive down to St. Luise-Oklahoma toward to Freeway 40?
    Usually major interstates are very well maintained during the cold season so my answer is no, I don't think you should necessarily get off I-80 because you could encounter as much snow falls on I-40, you never know! Going further south doesn't prevent bad weather. Plus, with the strange weather the world has been facing over the last few months, even if you used I-10, you could techically hit snowstorms. However, it doesn't prevent you from changing roads (I-70, I-40, US50), a different kind of scenery is certainly enjoyable from time to time on a road trip.

    Which plan should I follow?
    1.) Plan exactly how I drive and plan which city/hotel I stay in advance.
    2.) Drive as much as I can then whenver I get over the remit, I walk into a motel near by? (This could be faster but do you suggest? )
    It's up to you, I cannot answer that question for you, it's a matter of personality. I'd definitely opt for the second choice since I like to be free to do whatever I want whenever I want without time constraint, but everone's different and each trip is unique. It can be risky from time to time, but unless it's high season or there's a special event held in the area you're in, I can tell you from experience that it is usually more pleasant to be able to see the different options available (not always featured on the net) and most importantly, visit the room (bargain if you're good at it) before you pick the place. Plus, if you're stuck in traffic or in a storm and can't manage to get to the hotel, if you used booking, you most likely will be charged for the night. On the other hand, if you reserved a room and get there pretty late, it is a comfort to know you won't be stuck with the few overpriced rooms left...if there are any rooms left!

    Have a great trip and congrats on the new job!
    Gen

  4. #4
    travel_monkeys Guest

    Default Ny-la

    I agree that if you're staying on the interstates you shouldn't have a problem, as they clear snow/ice off quickly. But the fastest route from NY to LA isn't through Colorado, so here's my advice:
    Don't take 80 at all. Take I-78 from NYC to Harrisburg, then take the PA Turnpike and follow I-70 to St. Louis. Then take I-44 to Oklahoma City, then I-40 to Barstow, CA and I-15 south to I-10 west into downtown LA.
    Going through Colorado might look faster but it's really not because of all the curves and elevation changes. Of course going through the mountains might be more fun but it takes longer.
    My advice is wing it. Don't make hotel reservations because you don't really know when you're going to get tired, or if you get a second wind and want to cover some more ground.
    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by travel_monkeys
    Going through Colorado might look faster but it's really not because of all the curves and elevation changes. Of course going through the mountains might be more fun but it takes longer.
    I concur with this part of the advice. I-70 is not a high-speed road because of some serious high-altitude grades plus winding road along the Colorado River thru Glenwood Canyon. It's pretty but in winter it can be prone to delays. (and then there are the skiers going to/from the best snow in a decade on weekends.....)

    In some respects I'd point toward I-80 rather than a more southern route for the reason that the more northerly routes don't get the evil ice-storms where everything gets coated with clear ice. Instead, the northern routes get white-out blizzards and high winds. After the high winds abate the snowplows scrape the snow away and you're on your way. After an ice storm you are simply waiting for it to melt. Pick your poison :-)

    If I were doing the trip I wouldn't positively settle on the route until I was leaving. I'd be watching the Weather Channel and figuring out where the best weather will be and then picking my route to try to drive in it.

    Be sure and carry the emergency supplies for winter driving and pay attention to where fuel and shelter is on your route in case you need to hole up.

    I personally always have a police/weather scanner in the car for road trips. The real-time weather info would be the primary thing to have for someone who isn't into scanning. (I refer to NOAA weather radio)

    noFanofCB

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