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  1. Default March Roadtrip NYC to SF

    My boyfriend and I are moving from NYC to the Bay Area in early March.
    We've decided to purge our belongings & rent a minivan to make the move, so just our "necessities" will make the move with us. We're on a tight budget, and would like to make the trip about a week, squeeze in some nature & if possible no more than 8 - 9 hours of driving per day.

    I realize great weather the whole way is impossible, but we're thinking of a southern route so as to avoid any inclement late winter weather through Ohio, Illinois & Missouri, Kansas, etc.

    Can anyone give us suggestions of a possible route, highlights, must-sees & great (cheap too) campgrounds?

    Things We'd like to see along the way: Grand Canyon, neither of us have been to SW before.

    Thanks & happy trails!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Standard Advice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    That general question regarding routes between the west and east coasts in the winter has been coming up quite frequently lately. In general, you are better off planning on taking the shortest route, in your 'case all the way on I-80. Trying to add more miles to avoid bad weather just makes it more likely that you will hit bad weather because you'll be on the road longer. But, on a true cross-country drive, you usually have 2 or 3 options that aren't that much different in length. In your case, Taking I-78/I-81/I-76/O-70 to St. Louis and then I-44 to Oklahoma city and I-40/I-5 to California and then up to San Francisco adds 'only' about 180 miles. There is even a third route, I-95 to DC, I-66 to Front Royal, VA and I-81 down to around Knoxville, TN where you'd pick up I-40 for the trip west. That adds 290 miles to the direct I-80 route. The problem with all three route is that if you are only on the road for 8-9 hours a day and only have 7 days, each route will use up most if not all of that time, so you won't have a lot of margin in the event of unforeseen delays. So my first bit of advice would be to watch the weather forecasts very carefully for the last few days before your departure, and only then pick the route that seems to give you the best chance of clear sailing. Then try to go a little bit farther than you're thinking about now for the first 2-3 days and see if you can't build up some cushion that would allow you to sit out any weather or traffic delays which you haven't counted on. One way, strange as it may seem, to drive farther in a day is to take frequent short breaks for some scenic hikes, breaking the day up into a series of moderate drives rather than one long effort.


  3. Default

    thanks for the advice & for the links to great parks!

  4. Default

    Driving through unfamiliar territory in a rented minivan containing our life's "necessities" (some valuables) how worried do we have to be about security camping & stopping in parks & possible motels along the way? What steps should we make to ensure our stuff is safe & secure?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Common Sense

    The best thing you can really do safety wise is usually just common sense type stuff. Make sure you lock your doors, try to keep valuables out of site as much as you can and/or bring the most important things inside the motel room with you, and try to park in a well lit part of the parking lot, ideally either close to your room or the front desk.

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