So, on my birthday (January 15th), I'm heading out and moving back East to attend college at Adelphi University and Columbia University. Sacramento, California, to Garden City, New York.
I'll be making this trip alone, and have spent the last week preparing my car, which is a 2000 Mercury Cougar. Mechanically, it's as sound as can be, and gets good mileage! Always a plus :)
I've done my best to prepare for any mishaps along the way. Could I add anything else to this list?
-2 quarts of 10-40 oil
-2 quarts of ATF
-Spare tire, jack
However, the weather on Interstate 80 (the highway I'd ideally take, I would think) is shaky at best. I'd appreciate it greatly if anyone could offer me some advice for my journey. Has anyone driven this route before? What should I be aware of? Are there any alternate routes that wouldn't be too horrible of an inconvenience to take?
I'd like to get there in about 7 days at the most. I'm not interested in seeing sights or admiring the country, unfortunately... I just want to get there as quickly as I can.
Thanks a lot. I really appreciate it. I really don't know where to turn for advice!
I live 10 miles off of I-80 near Chicago. As long as you are not driving on 80 during, or 1-2 days after a snowstorm, the road should be fine. Saturday night into sunday we got a snowstorm, and it took the state until today to clear it properly. I assume this holds true with other snow states along this route.
My advice is to have an alternate route and watch the weather. If the possiblity of snow exists take the alt route. You dont want to drive on this road in bad conditions -- espically if you are not used to driving in snow. It will be slow moving and alot of the people around here are not used to driving in snow so they dont drive the safest.
In addition driving through Chicago area on this route is HORRIBLE almost any time except midnight through 4 am. 3 major highways meet up south of the lake and it causes major delays on the IL/Indiana border. Expect to lost 1-2 hours.. maybe more if you hit rush hour.
Whoa, thanks. The snow's cleared up since it's been pretty clear, and hopefully the weather'll hold up so I don't have to go way out of my way. As far as I know, I-80's basically the only realistic route to take (any other deviation would result in going WAY out of my way).
However, thanks for telling me about the Chicago traffic. I'll definitely try and map out another way, since I'm sure I'll have more options available to me then. Thanks a lot.
Anyone else? I'd love to hear more.
Congratulations on Columbia
Sounds like a fun roadtrip.
I-80 is the best shot as far as quickest time across the country goes. As Laura pointed out -- lake effect snow storms can drop a huge amount of snow on all points east of Chicago.
The ten day outlook looks pretty good for a cross country dash, but I would watch the the plains weather outlook when you reach Cheyenne, WY and consider dropping down to Denver and picking up I-70 and then eastward. I-70 is susceptible to winter weather too, of course, but it tends to be less hammered than I-80.
Winter driving kits should always include: first aid kits, 1-gal fresh water, blankets, gloves, beach towel, candle, reading material (in case you are stopped waiting for the road to re-open) canned food (we always carry corned hash and fruit cocktail), Flares, ice-scaper, small hand broom (sweeping top of car of snow -- not good form to let it smack into the car behind you) anti-freezing window-washer solution, de-icer for door locks. CB RADIO!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have driven I-80 between Cheyenne and NY a couple of times in the winter, just have to be patient with the weather. Keep moving, at a reasonable speed. Talk to the truckers with your CB Radio -- they will pass along icy conditions & other useful info.
It also would be worthwhile checking mappoint.msn.com or other on-line mapping tool shortly before you depart -- because construction areas are updated into the reports and can give you some ideas about possible delay areas.
It should be a fun drive.
Thank you for your advice. The weather's really looking a lot better since we had a few storms dump snow on I-80 a bit ago, but that could quickly change! I certainly hope not :)
I'll definitely consider altering course in Cheyenne, though. I'll end up making a decision when I get to Wyoming. Denver's only about 100 miles south, and if it gives me a clearer shot east, that'd be perfect! Thanks a lot! I like to have as many options as I can open to me.
And thank you for listing a few more things to pack. I certainly wouldn't have thought of a CB Radio! Thanks again for replying.
Sadly there is really not a better alternative route to the I80/94/65 thoroughfare near Chicago. If you look at a map, a whole ton of interstates meet up just south of the lake. And although it would be nice if there was a highway 30-40 miles south of the lake, there is not. So your only alternatives are to do local roads, and unless you go outside of the city, they will take just as long, if not longer. You are probably just going to have to suck it up and take the interstate, you may get lucky. However definitely avoid it during the rush hours.
Check out the IL department of transportation page (IDOT) and see if there is any construction (IL is notorious for a lot of road construction). There are 2 highway paths to take into Indiana. I thought one had construction at one point. Someone who travels this route regularly might be able to answer that more intelligently.
Although the weather report looks good now, I'd check it daily. The winter weather changes so rapidly, and it is very hard to accurately predict it more than a day or two in advance.
AM 780 is a good station to listen to for weather reports and traffic conditions when you are in Chicago.
Careful if you have to stop in Gary, IN for gas at night.
...stop in Gary, Indiana for any reason.
It is one of the most dangerous places in the country.
Type "highest murder rate" into Google if you think I'm kidding.
Don't sweat the weather too much until you see a problem upcoming. You're likely to have a nice smooth sail back East. Say hello to Nassau Coliseum for me, a lifelong New York Islander fan.
Good luck and safe driving.
Gary gets a bad rap
I agree that Gary has a tough reputation -- but we have some long-term RTA readers/contributors who live in Gary, IN. We have driven around the town a bit. There are plenty of good, decent, friendly folks who live there.
Just have to keep some road wits about you.
Thanks for the tip. I really have no idea where I should stay away from, so that's really great to know. I'll make sure I cruise on by :)
Better safe than sorry, right?
> CB RADIO!!!!!!!!!!!!<BR>
My favorite part!
Good luck Jer!