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  1. Default San Diego to Omaha

    Hello, first time posting. Been reading up on the site for a while, just now decided to reach out for help. Lots of it on here, looks great.

    So, I am going to attempt a trip from San Diego to Omaha for Christmas. I have the crazy notion of doing it in 3 uneven days, and probably going to avoid the 70 due to weather. The first day, I've looked at is here to Holbrook, AZ. Looks to be 8-9 hours. I've done the Phoenix run lots of time, but never to the east of there. Assuming I do that, I was looking at a long haul on day 2. Maybe trying to make North Platte, NE. I figure 14-15 hours. I drive a lot for work, so not overly worried about that. The last day I finish up the last day with a 4-5 hour drive into Omaha.

    Now, assuming I can hold close to that, and the southern route has good weather, is this totally unreasonable? The one main issue I have, which i am also looking for help with, is we will be bringing a dog. So I am looking for advice for pet friendly hotels and also dog parks along the way. The parks dont need to be anything crazy, just some place to give her a 15 minute run around for some exercise. Also wondering what to expect for weather over the southern end of the Rockies.

    Anyway, hoping it'll work out. Thanks for any advice you may all have.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    What you're proposing IS do-able in 3 days, BUT you are looking at 3 days of about 10-12 hours in the vehicle. This is also weather-dependent. A spot of bad weather somewhere along your route may delay you for a day or so, so build that one into your schedule.

    My husband and I have driven from our San Diego County home to Holbrook on several occasions, usually going I-8 to AZ-85 to I-10 to Loop 303 (to avoid much of Phoenix) to I-17 to I-40. It took us about 10-1/2 hours the last time we did that, which was just about 2 weeks ago. If you're believing electronic mapping program "driving times", don't. Add 20% to their times, which do not include the human needs of food, fuel, and pit stops, much less the need to stretch your legs and get the blood flowing!

    I agree that you're best off avoiding I-70. As much as I love that route, in the winter it is often closed or, if open, congested with all the skiiers coming through there. Also, on Dec. 18th, the road will be closed for a few hours while CODOT makes some repairs to the damage from a rock fall that happened last week.

    Also, you may want to avoid the "Payson cutoff" that Google Maps is recommending. First off, it's under a lot of construction. Secondly, it doesn't cut off enough miles (IMHO) to warrant the so-called savings of time, and this is especially true if there's a lot of traffic. Instead, just take I-17 to I-40 east.

    Another thing.....keep an eye on weather starting about a week before your departure date. Before we left on our T-Day weeklong trip, I bookmarked major points along the way on my Weather Channel app. I also bookmarked three sites on my computer:

    AZ Roads
    Note: Arizona uses 511.

    New Mexico Roads

    CO DOT

    We only went as far as the Denver suburbs, but I include this one for you:

    Nebraska Road Conditions
    Note: Nebraska also has 511.

    If you are traveling with a pet, you can decide ahead of time where to stop for the night, and research facilities that accept pets in that city. I've noticed that more and more places are getting "pet friendly", but some only keep a room or three available. You can find those that will allow a cancellation up to 4 pm of the day of arrival, in case weather makes you go another route.

    Most rest areas have a dedicated pet area these days, another thing I've noticed more and more. In the winter, so many city parks aren't used as much. I will say that we were slowed down when we WERE pet owners, for the need to walk and run the dog. It takes more time.

    Two other things: Make your days rather even. Don't do that Holbrook to North Platte day!!!! That's almost 900 miles, which can be a killer! This is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself by doing fairly even days. Also, if the weather is looking "iffy", remember that interstates are usually the last to close and the first to reopen, followed by US highways or any highway that is utilized by our commercial trucking industry.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, you may not like to hear this, but yes, I do believe your plan is unreasonable, and more importantly unsafe. I'd also note that there may be some problems with your routing and ideas of what to expect with winter weather.

    First, lets start with your plan to drive from Holbrook to North Platte - that's 950 miles on the interstates or 900 miles if you use 2 lane roads as short cut. Despite what online maps might tell you, that will take at least 16-17 hours, in good conditions. That's more than 50% more than professional drivers are allowed to travel in a single day due to safety laws, and professional drivers don't have to also worry about stopping for their pet.

    The reality is that this is a trip that requires 3 full days to safely cover the miles, and that's in good conditions. Trying to cut this down to 2.5 days is a recipe for problems.

    As far as your routing, I'm not certain exactly what you're planning. I would recommend sticking to the Interstates - which will be first to be maintained when there is bad weather, and will have the most available services, including pet friendly hotels. I will say that the idea that you'll see better weather by taking a southern route is often a dangerous myth. I-40 can see weather that's just as bad as I-70. They key is to watch the forecasts and make adjustments to your route as needed based on the conditions expected on your specific days of travel.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    There is a Motel 6 in Holbrook - rooms are dirt cheap and they are pet-friendly. I stayed there several years ago, it was one of the better Motel 6's I've stayed at.

    Speaking of the "Payson cutoff" - I just recommended it to my nephew's wife who is driving from LA to Michigan starting this afternoon. Reason being, she will be going through the area tonight, the weather in Flagstaff is not going to be good, snow and ice. However, from Phoenix to Holbrook through Payson, it's only going to be raining, temperatures around 40.

    You will need 2 VERY FULL days to get from Holbrook to Omaha. Being it's winter, I'd recommend I-40 to I-25 to I-76 to I-80. Spend the night around Colorado Springs.

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