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  1. Default Traveling from Memphis To San Francisco

    What roads should I take? I took I-40 East all the way to Memphis, but on the way I saw chain areas and what not.

    I will be driving back in January, worried about the snow and ice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    11,052

    Default I-80 is what I would recommend to San Francisco

    Traveling in January, especially this year, you are going to see snow as you make your way eastward.

    I-40 will have snow and ice and so will parts of 1-10. There are no roads in the USA that will avoid snow and ice.

    I misread the original post. So you are going westbound.

    I would avoid I-40 -- especially this year, because of the possibility of record snowfall. I would go north on I-49 and then west on I-79 to Omaha and then go westward on I-80

    keep an eye on weather conditions. If the roads are too icy -- find a motel and hunker down. Best to start driving after 11 am on those icier days to give the sun a chance to warm the road.

    You could get some ground blizzards in Western Wyoming, along I-80, but the highway department will keep the roads open to the extent they can.

    Mark

  3. Default

    Interesting, why north? I would imagine going South would be better?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,300

    Default Wrong Question, Wrong Time

    It is simply too early to give you any precise information about which roads to take in January of next year if weather is a major, or even minor, concern. The fact is that weather forecasts even a few days out are nothing more than educated guesses (WAGs). Both the I-40 and the I-80 route are going to require a minimum of four days to drive so you will have no reliable information on the weather on the western part of your trip when you set out. The lack of knowledge is exacerbated by the fact that you will be traveling west with little knowledge of what is brewing out in the Pacific that will be heading towards you.

    So in the end you've really only got one option and that is to keep your options open. As Mark noted in his response to your initial question you'll need to keep your eye on the weather and be ready, able and willing to simply shelter in place if the weather turns against you. I don't know exactly what Mark's reasoning was to suggest I-80, but I can guess. Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California expect severe winter weather every year along I-80, and are equipped to deal with it. Not so much Texas, New Mexico and Arizona which are responsible for I-10 and I-40.

    Again, just to emphasize... You should not make decisions on routing now - you simply don't have enough information. Even on the day you depart you will not know with any surety what the weather will be once you get even into the Mountain Time Zone, let alone the Pacific. Make your best call, based on the most reliable forecast (National Weather Service) available to you. But then be ready to change those plans even en route as conditions change. Perhaps most importantly, plan on the drive taking five days rather than four. Be pleasantly surprised rather than having to press on regardless.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 11-20-2023 at 07:19 PM.

  5. Default

    Whats a good way to figure out if I can be on the road? Do I need to be looking at something specifically?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,300

    Default Look to Yourself

    As with the weather, I can't answer that. You're looking for hard and fast answers to very nebulous questions with way too many parameters. The best advice I can give you is to get off the road as soon as (if not before) you become uncomfortable with conditions. For some that might be a few flakes, for others a full white-out. If YOU think it's becoming unsafe to drive then it IS unsafe to drive. Pull up at the nearest available opportunity. Note that in the sparsely populated Rockies and/or desert Southwest, that might require a U-turn and returning to the last sizeable town you passed.

    AZBuick

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,275

    Default

    Mark, I-79 doesn't go anywhere near Omaha, you maybe mean I-29?

    I would not take I-80 across Wyoming. I personally would plan on I-40 and have a few extra days available to get off the road if necessary.

    Safetravelusa.com has links to each state's real time road conditions.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Mark, I-79 doesn't go anywhere near Omaha, you maybe mean I-29?

    I would not take I-80 across Wyoming. I personally would plan on I-40 and have a few extra days available to get off the road if necessary.

    Safetravelusa.com has links to each state's real time road conditions.
    I-40 requires chains right?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    11,052

    Default more snow and more ice on the southern routes this year

    Quote Originally Posted by kgonzal View Post
    Interesting, why north? I would imagine going South would be better?
    Because going south will expose you to more snow and more ice, if the weather predictions are accurate this year.

    January along I-80 will actually have less snow than either I-10 or I-40.

    Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    5,880

    Default

    It has long been a fallacy that going south will avoid ice and snow. Sad to say, our most southern east-west interstates, both I-10 and I-8, see some ice and snow. But the road crews in those areas are not fully equipped to deal with those conditions, so it takes longer to get the equipment in to do so. Favorite family story has to do with getting snowed in at Van Horn, TX, in April!

    The best protection you have to make is TIME. It's a 4 day drive, so allow 6 days "just in case". That gives you the time you need to wait it out or "go around".


    Donna

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