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  1. Default Cross Country Road Trip CA to VA 3/14 - 3/20

    We are in our final week of getting ready to travel across country from Southern CA to Northern VA. We plan to stop after approximately 7-9 driving hrs/day and would like to make hotel reservations at their respective locations.

    Our question is, which route is the best and most direct? We would like to take major highways, but more specifically, either 40 or 70. We haven't quite decided which route we want to take due to the unpredictable weather but in terms of which way is safer and/or more scenic is probably the one we'd like to chose.

    Does anyone have any advice or experience from traveling on either of those highways during the month of March?? We are mostly concerned with weather and driving conditions on the road. Please help us decide!

    We truly appreciate any feedback and thank you in advance!!
    Last edited by davidandbecca; 03-07-2009 at 12:52 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Right On

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your attitudes about the time/distance to cover each day and having multiple route possibilities to respond to weather conditions are spot on for RoadTrip planning. Actually, there are three nearly equivalent routes from Washington to Los Angeles: I-70 all the way through to Utah and then I-15 down to L.A.; I-70 to St. Louis and then I-44 and I-40 through Oklahoma City; I-81 south to Knoxville and then I-40 the rest of the way (with a little bit of I-15 at the end, of course!). Those three routes differ by only 50 miles out of a total of around 2,700 so any of them will work just as well for you. You can pick one the night before you leave based on the weather forecast, and even change between them on the fly if conditions change en route. There is no need for reservations as you will be deciding where to stop each night depending on timing and your comfort, and there are more than adequate motel accommodations everywhere along the U.S. Interstate system. If you prefer certain chains, then go on-line or stop at a local franchise before the trip and get a listing or brochure with their locations.


  3. Default

    I agree with Buck that if the weather is for some reason harsh you may want to wait until the last minute.

    I've actually done the exact drive you're contemplating twice and am planning a third time. I've done both I-70/80 to I-15 back home and the "southern route" along I-40.

    I strongly preferred the "northern route" along I-70 through Denver. It was prettier, many of the towns felt safer, and the hotels I experienced were cleaner and nicer. The drive through Utah and Colorado is a sight to behold and driving through states like Iowa with green in all directions is really something.

    My biggest three problems with I-40 were:
    1) dirty hotels, even in reputable chains (e.g., Comfort Inns are usually quite nice, but I had 3 poor experiences). It's worth pointing out that when we travelled along I-80 we also stayed at Comfort Inns and had very good experiences.

    2) the majority of towns we saw along the way were poorer, smaller, and felt much less safe. Obviously this is purely anecdotal and it could be the case that there is no meaningful statistical difference. Nevertheless, that's the impression I got and combined with the hotels I think there's at least some merit there.

    3) It's just not as pretty as I-80/70 because you miss out on some amazing geography. You'll still have some green as you get more east, though.

    full disclosure: I've found hotels along I-40 to be ~$10-$50/night less expensive than along I-70/80. Going by I-40 allows to to come up to NoVA from the south. Driving through that part of Virginia is really nice and pretty, and probably not something you'll do again once you're in NoVA. I-40 also does give you a chance to stop in Memphis and Nashville, although Nashville was a little underwhelming.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-08-2009 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Good Neighbor Rules

  4. Default

    hey guys sorry i missed you, just saw your PM. I hope your trip goes smoothly. write back and let us know how it went!

  5. Default

    Please let me know how it goes, my boyfriend and I are planning the trip in early August from NoVA to Southern, CA. We are driving both ways and may take the Southern route there and the Northern route home. Let me know which way you chose and how it went!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by GMU1019 View Post
    Please let me know how it goes, my boyfriend and I are planning the trip in early August from NoVA to Southern, CA. We are driving both ways and may take the Southern route there and the Northern route home. Let me know which way you chose and how it went!
    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A. forums GMU !

    Have a good look around the forums and road trip planning pages for more info and if you have any questions or need any tips regarding your trip you can start your own thread to gather usefull info.

    Enjoy the forums !

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