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Old 05-01-2015, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Olympia WA
3 posts, read 2,615 times
Reputation: 10

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Hey everyone my girlfriend and I just bought an old RV for fulltime adventure and our first order of business just happens to be going back to our home state of IL for a family engagement. We are in Phoenix AZ now and are leaving May 9th and will only be driving about 300 miles a day so it will take around 10-12 days. BUT! I need your help to decide which route. I have never driven through the mid-west at high storm/tornado season and I really don't want to. I am also concerned about something stupid like the fuel pump going out and being stuck in the middle of Nebraska on some practically abandoned highway because I took a route to avoid the storms. So I have a google recommended route (through Oklahoma or Kansas) and I have MY tornado avoidance route up through Colorado and Nebraska. All opinions or other options are welcome!

P.S. Our RV is only 8' high by 21' long, but I heard the KS cross-winds can be severe all by themselves this time of year.

Thanks everyone feel free to ask any questions!

http://i.imgur.com/mfLLXva.png?1 (Google route)


http://i.imgur.com/CZRJkzh.png?1 (My Route)
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Old 05-01-2015, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,367,851 times
Reputation: 36094
Pick up a cheap copy of Rand McNally Road Atlas at Walmart, and spend a little time at the kitchen table looking at what is in between. Do a little dreaming, and then go and see what it's like. Any road that is a solid line will be paved and safe to drive on.

I can assure you, if you break down on a back road in Nebraska, you'll be a thousand times better off than if you break down on any Interstate anywhere. It might be a few minutes, or an hour, before somebody comes by,but the first car that comes along, he'll go home and get his tractor and tow you to his barn, put you to bed in a spare room, and see that a reliable and honest mechanic is found.

Don't worry about the weather, thunderstoms blow over in a few minutes, and 90% of all summer days have no tornadoes at all anywhere, and the average number of wandering tourists who get blown away by them is probably about one per year, a whole number because of rounding..
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Old 05-01-2015, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,351 posts, read 7,530,097 times
Reputation: 15955
Once you pick up I-40 (formerly US 66) in Northern Arizona, the rest of the trip, via I40, 44,and 57 should be easy. You can take I-15 directly north to Flagstaff if you're only comfortable on the Interstates, but why anyone would pass up a more senic trip via Payson and Holbrook (AZ Routes 87 & 260) is hard for me to understand.

As for breakdowns, just invest $75 or so in an AAA membership. I worked as a road service dispatcher (in Nebraska, BTW) for them, and can attest to their professionalism and competence. I helped many a traveler get out of small problem at odd hours, and not all of them were on the Interstates. And an AAA-recommended mechanic is not likely to pull any funny business and damage his reputation.

If you're worried about winds, and see a severe storm coming, best advice I can give would be to find a highway overpass and use it as a windbreak if you can. But don't park too close to the shoulder, or if (and where) visibility is poor. That would increase your chances of being rear-ended by somebody else.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Michigan
4,571 posts, read 7,045,608 times
Reputation: 3599
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd trick op View Post
If you're worried about winds, and see a severe storm coming, best advice I can give would be to find a highway overpass and use it as a windbreak if you can. But don't park too close to the shoulder, or if (and where) visibility is poor. That would increase your chances of being rear-ended by somebody else.
That's probably the worst advice you can give. Highway overpasses accelerate wind speeds.

Severe storms, most of the time, are travelling east. OP will be travelling east as well in this case. Depending on upper-level wind speeds at the time, all OP would have to do is slow down in order to not catch up to the storm. Plus, radio stations will tell you when a storm nearby is severe or expected to become severe so you'll always have a heads up.

Also, it doesn't make a difference if you're going through Kansas or Nebraska or even Colorado as most of the states east of the Rockies have the potential for severe weather (Western states have that potential too, but they're just less common). Not only that, but Nebraska and Kansas usually have the same weather going on at the same time. That said, the chances of you running into a tornado are pretty low, as tornadoes cover a pretty small area of a storm (which severe storms themselves only cover a small area), they only form when certain conditions are met, and there's very little information on what the conditions will look like that far out from today. All of the possible routes you could take show sunny weather for that week as of right now and generally not severe or windy.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:47 PM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,336,188 times
Reputation: 62070
Quote:
Originally Posted by Highwaychile View Post
Hey everyone my girlfriend and I just bought an old RV for fulltime adventure and our first order of business just happens to be going back to our home state of IL for a family engagement. We are in Phoenix AZ now and are leaving May 9th and will only be driving about 300 miles a day so it will take around 10-12 days. BUT! I need your help to decide which route. I have never driven through the mid-west at high storm/tornado season and I really don't want to. I am also concerned about something stupid like the fuel pump going out and being stuck in the middle of Nebraska on some practically abandoned highway because I took a route to avoid the storms. So I have a google recommended route (through Oklahoma or Kansas) and I have MY tornado avoidance route up through Colorado and Nebraska. All opinions or other options are welcome!

P.S. Our RV is only 8' high by 21' long, but I heard the KS cross-winds can be severe all by themselves this time of year.

Thanks everyone feel free to ask any questions!

http://i.imgur.com/mfLLXva.png?1 (Google route)


http://i.imgur.com/CZRJkzh.png?1 (My Route)

Go to the local AAA office and get a good atlas from them, then plan your routes accordingly.
Why are you only going 300 miles daily? Do you have a motor home, travel trailer or 5th wheel?

Route from Phoenix, AZ to Illinois:
Route 60 to Arizona state highway 61, to the town of St. John, take US 191 North to Sanders, AZ, get on I40 East to Oklahoma City, OK and get on I44 to St. Louis, MO.

If you take the route you posted in your original post you are going 800 miles out of your way and you cannot avoid tornados in Colorado or Nebraska.

You do not go anywhere near Nebraska going from Phoenix to Illinois
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,367,851 times
Reputation: 36094
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
you cannot avoid tornados in Colorado or Nebraska.
That's funny, I lived in Kansas and Missouri for 15 years, and drove all over Colorado and Nebraska dozens of times, and had no trouble whatsoever avoiding tornadoes. In fact, I never even saw one.

This poor guy labors under the impression that if you want to commit suicide, all you have to do is sit in a car in Nebraska and wait for the next tornado coming by, and then you come along and whip him into a terror-stricken frenzy. Don't forget to warn him that he also can't avoid the monsters under his mattress in the back of his camper, and he better look under there every night.

Last edited by jtur88; 05-01-2015 at 10:17 PM..
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:12 PM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,336,188 times
Reputation: 62070
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
That's funny, I lived in Kansas and Missouri for 15 years, and drove all over Colorado and Nebraska dozens of times, and had no trouble whatsoever avoiding tornadoes. In fact, I never even saw one.

Just because you never saw one does not mean they do not exist in those States.

I'll be sure and tell Mr. CSD the good luck you have had, he and many other Over the road truckers have seen them and been in them, in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Nebraska.
Most of these men have been over the road truckers for more than 30 years.
Maybe I should just tell all these guys they were hallucinating and the damage to some of their trucks was not from a tornado.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:40 PM
 
Location: Michigan
4,571 posts, read 7,045,608 times
Reputation: 3599
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
Just because you never saw one does not mean they do not exist in those States.

I'll be sure and tell Mr. CSD the good luck you have had, he and many other Over the road truckers have seen them and been in them, in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Nebraska.
Most of these men have been over the road truckers for more than 30 years.
Maybe I should just tell all these guys they were hallucinating and the damage to some of their trucks was not from a tornado.
Tornadoes can occur anywhere within the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. The average diameter of a tornado is something like several hundred feet. It is nearly impossible to drive directly into a tornado unless you find out which way it's going and stand directly in front of it (and in fact there are people who are paid to track down tornadoes for scientific research).

However, the winds in a thunderstorm that are sometimes accompanied with a tornado can be more widespread and usually do some sizable damage. It's more likely that these truckers you speak of were more affected by the straight-line winds of a storm rather than directly from a tornado itself. Otherwise, they wouldn't be alive right now to say that they did.
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Old 05-02-2015, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,351 posts, read 7,530,097 times
Reputation: 15955
Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
That's probably the worst advice you can give. Highway overpasses accelerate wind speeds.
Read a bit more carefully, I probably should have gone into a bit more detail, but what I meant was to park beyond the overpass (assuming you're driving in the direction of the wind). or before it if driving against the wind, Crosswinds might call for either approach, and you don't want to create a "squeeze" for other drivers, especially if visibility is poor due to fog, dust, etc. That makes conditions ripe for the "chain reaction" interstate crashes which can be a real disaster. So (except in case of a tornado) don't park under the structure itself.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 05-02-2015 at 07:43 AM..
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Old 05-02-2015, 07:38 AM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,336,188 times
Reputation: 62070
Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
Tornadoes can occur anywhere within the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. The average diameter of a tornado is something like several hundred feet. It is nearly impossible to drive directly into a tornado unless you find out which way it's going and stand directly in front of it (and in fact there are people who are paid to track down tornadoes for scientific research).

However, the winds in a thunderstorm that are sometimes accompanied with a tornado can be more widespread and usually do some sizable damage. It's more likely that these truckers you speak of were more affected by the straight-line winds of a storm rather than directly from a tornado itself. Otherwise, they wouldn't be alive right now to say that they did.

No, it is more likely they had to pull over because they actually saw with their own eyes the tornado, you know, that dark, looming, huge funnel cloud.
Most of them also happen to live in an area that has at times 120MPH straight line winds so they do actually know the difference between wind and tornado.

I happen to know these truckers I speak of personally and one of them is my Husband so I am fairly certain they know more about what they encountered than you or I do since they are the ones who were actually participating in the encounter and lived to say that they did.

PS ~~ A few of them have photos of these events as well and the photos lived to tell the story in addition to the trucker.
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