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  1. Default Toronto - Santa Cruz, CA - Jan 2011


    I'm planning a solo trip down to Santa Cruz, CA in Jan 2011 for school. When I look on mapquest, it gives me a northern route on I80, but i'm thinking a Southern Route on I69, I70, I40 (down through Flint, Lansing, St. Louis, Oklaholma, Amarillo, Flagstaff, etc then up to Santa Cruz).

    What are your thoughts? I have time, so i'm in no rush to complete this trip. I'm worried about weather in the northern area -the I80 route, hence the reason i'm looking at the Southern route. I'd like to also enjoy the drive and stop at the places that shouldn't be missed!

    (I did the solo drive from Banff, AB to Toronto a few years ago and it rained the entire that was no fun!)

    Thanks in advance for your help:)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If the only reason you are looking to go south is to avoid weather, then you've fallen victim to a very common misconception. I-40 can and does see plenty of snow and ice, and since you add 200 miles of driving, that's actually another half day where you have the chance of seeing a storm. In this case, if you do I-80, you could make the trip in 5 days if you see good weather the whole way, if you took I-40, you'd really need to extend the trip into a 6th day, again assuming good weather.

    Now 200 miles isn't that big of a deal, and if there are thing you want to see on a more southern route, that's great. If there is a storm forecast on I-80, and you can avoid it by going I-40, that's ok too. Just don't do it on the assumption that you'll see good weather by going south - because you could easily find yourself in far worse conditions than staying north.

  3. Default

    Ahhh, thank you! (And there is the reason we don't 'assume' things!) My luck, i'd take the I-40 and have a big storm...


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Just to let you know - the worst ice storm I've ever driven through in my 40+ years of driving was on I-40 in Oklahoma, and they don't have a CLUE how to handle it. No salt, no sand.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Wait 'n see.

    I guess you got it by now, but your best bet is too keep your options open and get the most up to date forecasts/road conditions prior to leaving, and then make an informed decision.

    Being in no rush is a big advantage travelling this time of year, if the weather turns nasty, pull off the road into a services or Motel and let it pass through while the road crews do their job.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    To add to the comments, generally the farther north you go, the better the snow removal crews are. This balances off the higher likelihood of significant freezing precip.

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