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  1. #1

    Default Calgary to Florida! in the winter... Are you crazy?

    I'm not crazy (yet), but could be convinced otherwise..

    Departing approx. December 19/20 by SUV. Need to be at DFW on the 25th in the afternoon to pick up partner where we will travel from Dallas to New Orleans (few days there) and then leisurely along the Gulf of Mexico through LA, MS, and FL to Cedar Key, Florida (3 days there). And then off to Orlando for a few days before heading up to Atlanta where I drop partner off for her flight home. I will then make a bee-line back to Calgary. My return plan is I-24 from Atlanta-Nashville up to I-64/70 into Kansas City. From there up I-29 to I-80 and then west into Cheyenne and then straight up I-25/90 - criss cross to Great Falls, MT and then I-15 into Alberta.

    I won't have much time to get back to Calgary from Atlanta (about 4-5 days).

    But, I do have some flexibility and time to get from Calgary to Dallas. I have driven I-15 many times from Calgary to Las Vegas/Los Angeles, even in the winter. So I have no real desire to drive on I-15 and my feeling is that I would like to drive through eastern Montana, eastern Wyoming, SD, NE, KS, etc... So, my "draft" plan is to do the following route:


    Billings-Sheridan-Gillette-Rapid City-Murdo (I-90)

    Murdo-Chidress (along US 83) (which includes my stop in Holcomb, Kansas to satisfy my morbid curiosity of Capote's In Cold Blood)

    Childress - Dallas (along US 287)

    and then on to New Orleans.

    A few notes:

    I have done a fair amount of long distance winter road travel (i.e. Toronto to Winnipeg; Windsor/Detroit to Calgary) and several Calgary - Vegas/Los Angeles).

    I enjoy the long distances and the solitude.

    Never driven in SD, NE, KS, OK (in winter).

    I was wondering if anyone has any comments on my Calgary to Dallas route?
    - what's the driving like in winter
    - any "must see" places/stops ( I think there should be lots of interesting places on US 83)
    - what will weather be like in mid-late December in NE, KS, OK? SUV camping possible...or just hotels/motels?
    - haven't yet decided where I will over night...may just play it by ear

    Also, if anyone has any suggestions (must do's) for the Gulf of Mexico portion of the trip in Florida that would be great. This is what I understand to be the "real florida".

    Thanks for reading...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Not too bad


    Driving through the plains states in late December is unpredictable, but shouldn't be too bad - unless there is a winter storm. I've been across I-80 and I-70 many times at that time of year and it is usually pretty easy driving, but it can be glare ice with blowing/drifting snow.

    My guess is that the plains of Alberta are much worse, on average.

    As far as the distance/time ratio, the trip from Calgary to Dallas looks like about 550 miles per day for 6 days. That seems like a lot when the weather could easily be bad, and you have a plane to meet. If you can add a day as a buffer, and to get your hours per day under 10, you are more likely to make it there in one piece.

    Camping is not likely to be available until at least Dallas, and maybe not until further south.

    South of Cedar Key, FL is Homosassa Springs where there is a very nice wild life park.

    Slow down the first part a little and enjoy yourself in New Orleans and sunny Forida,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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