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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Rohnert Park, California, United States

    Default Help planning route, please, Indiana to San Francisco

    I need to plan the shortest, safest route from Terre Haute, Indiana, to San Francisco, CA. leaving January 4th or 5th. This is a sudden last minute thing, and the car is well, older. I want to take the southern route, to avoid snow, ice and dangerous roads. I need to be able to stop for rest, in affordable yet safe locations. This is not a vacation, needs to be efficient, but not completely miserable!

    Can anyone help me? and suggest also where to make stops?

    thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not so.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    This a general misconception in thinking that taking a Southern route will automatically keep you away from ice and snow, nowhere in the Country is immune from winter weather. However those that see it on a more regular basis [those to the North] are better equipped to deal with it.

    Interstate is obviously the most efficient way to cross the country and they are a priority to keep open and the country moving. You will have to allow a minimum of 4 days for the trip which will put your nightly stops at around 550 miles, the equivalent of 10 hours a day on the road. As a precaution I would keep an extra day in hand in case of poor weather and that will allow you the time to pull off the road in the event of a bad storm and let the road crews do their job.

    Lodgings like Motel 6 near to Interstate will be your best bet for reasonable rooms and for keeping things efficient try and stop to the West of any City's so that you are already through them when the early morning rush hour begins.

    Keep an eye on weather and road conditions prior to leaving and then make an informed decision of the route that will be best. According to my mapping program that will be I 80 while heading South to I 40 will only add a couple of hours.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Watch the weather

    Sticking to the Interstates will be your best option, essentially I-70 to I-44 to I-40 to I-5. As far as your time frame and budget - how many days - any less than 4 would be pushing it - do you have? Are you planning on staying in hotels/motels? In that case, you should be fine there as well. Any route you take can see severe weather. Parts of I-40, for example, are at significant elevations.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Being Prepared

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Taking a 'southern route' does not by itself mean that you will see better weather. Going farther south than I-40 simply adds many more miles and increases the time you will need to be on the road regardless of the weather thereby limiting your options in dealing with anything out of the ordinary. Climate (general conditions averaged over many years) matters not a whit. What does matter is the weather that you will encounter in the 4 days or so of your drive, and you can't know that, particularly the forecast for the western portions, until just very shortly before your departure. So at this point you should prepare two alternate routes so that you are free to make that last minute decision.

    Fortunately, there are two routes that differ by only about 80 miles or so out of a total of around 2260 (more or less). One is basically the old US-66 route. Get to St; Louis via I-70 then follow I-44 to Oklahoma City, I-40 to Barstow (CA), then CA-58/I-5 up to San Francisco. For the other You'd stay on I-70 through Missouri and then use I-29 from Kansas City up to Nebraska City and make the short jog over to I-80 on NE-2. I-80 would take you all the way in to San Francisco. For the first route, overnight stops on a four day drive would be roughly Tulsa (OK), Albuquerque (NM), and Ludlow (CA). For the second route they would be and Nebraska City (NE), Laramie (WY), and Elko(NV).


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