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Old 11-12-2015, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Liminal Space
1,018 posts, read 1,234,362 times
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My mom is planning to drive from Wisconsin to California (San Francisco Bay Area) this January, and was asking me if there is a reasonable way to minimize the chances for bad weather.

The fastest way is to take I-80 straight across, but you are in cold winter states for most of the trip, and also have to cross the Sierras towards the end. This is 2,143 miles and takes 31 hours, according to Google Maps.

Another route would be to head south on I-39, I-55 and I-44 to meet up with I-40 in Oklahoma City and head west from there. This adds 300 miles and five hours of driving, per Google Maps. The Sierra crossing is easier but I'm not sure you gain much else in terms of reducing the chances of inclement winter weather along this route.

You could also head all the way down to I-10 but that seems pretty excessive to me.

Anyone done this drive in the winter and have any advice? I have been the Midwest many times, but only driven there in the summer.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:24 PM
 
3,957 posts, read 3,489,082 times
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Either plan to start the trip by watching the weather and leaving when it feels safest to not experience the bad weather. Or cut all the way down to 10. If neither of those are an option the only option you have left would be to fly.
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Old 11-12-2015, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Westminster/Huntington Beach, CA
1,780 posts, read 1,242,969 times
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Even if we were not in a major El Niño year, going through the Sierras in January might result in driving through mountain passes during a major snowstorm. Waiting it out would just add more time to her overall trip anyway. The Sierra's can get snowstorms upwards of 5 feet.

The southern route has the better chances of avoiding bad weather.
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Old 11-12-2015, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Midwest
4,628 posts, read 3,970,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentobox34 View Post
My mom is planning to drive from Wisconsin to California (San Francisco Bay Area) this January, and was asking me if there is a reasonable way to minimize the chances for bad weather.

The fastest way is to take I-80 straight across, but you are in cold winter states for most of the trip, and also have to cross the Sierras towards the end. This is 2,143 miles and takes 31 hours, according to Google Maps.

Another route would be to head south on I-39, I-55 and I-44 to meet up with I-40 in Oklahoma City and head west from there. This adds 300 miles and five hours of driving, per Google Maps. The Sierra crossing is easier but I'm not sure you gain much else in terms of reducing the chances of inclement winter weather along this route.

You could also head all the way down to I-10 but that seems pretty excessive to me.

Anyone done this drive in the winter and have any advice? I have been the Midwest many times, but only driven there in the summer.
I don't disagree with her if the weather report is bad. I would wait 4 or 5 days before going to make a decision i.e. wait until there is a weather report for the entire drive.
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