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Old 01-07-2012, 10:34 PM
 
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I got a job in K.C. and will be moving at the beginning of Feb. I was hoping for some advice regarding the trip (I plan to drive my car with my two cats and all my stuff), especially since it will be winter and a few people have warned me about the "Northern route". When I googled directions I wasn't clear if I was seeing a route that would avoid harsh winter weather. I've never been out of CA, so forgive my ignorance with this one!
And thank you in advance for any help!!
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericad View Post
I got a job in K.C. and will be moving at the beginning of Feb. I was hoping for some advice regarding the trip (I plan to drive my car with my two cats and all my stuff), especially since it will be winter and a few people have warned me about the "Northern route". When I googled directions I wasn't clear if I was seeing a route that would avoid harsh winter weather. I've never been out of CA, so forgive my ignorance with this one!
And thank you in advance for any help!!
I have made the drive from KC to CA many times. I take it you are from southern CA like LA or San Diego as the Bay area really only has one route.

The "northern route" is quite scenic and takes you through Utah, Colorado etc and into KC via I-70. You would use I-70 most of the way actually. In the winter, I would avoid this like the plague or you really do take a serious risk of getting stranded someplace if the weather turns bad. They actually close I-70 so often along that stretch in the winter that there are permanent gates on many on ramps. I love to drive and love to drive in the mountains, but if you are not used to that, then it would not be fun, especially in the winter or if you have to drive at night.

So take the southern route through Arizona, New Mexico and into KC via I-35 from Wichita. There still a slight chance you could hit some snow and ice in northern Arizona and Kansas though. We got caught in an ice/snow storm on the way from KC to LA once near Flagstaff, AZ and ended up diverting to Phoenix and skipping LA all together one time. So it's not totally risk free, but it's much better than going through the mountains and northern plains where you could really get into a mess.

The time difference between the northern and southern routes is actually quite minimal.

Here are the two routes:

Northern Route:
http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Lo...mra=ls&t=m&z=6

Southern Route:
http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Lo...&t=m&z=6&via=1

Depending on the weather, you may even want to take I-40 all the way to Oklahoma City and then catch I-35 into KC or you can take 44 from OKC to US-71 near Joplin, MO and head up to KC. That won't add much time and would be a great way to avoid any winter weather that may develop in Kansas. I personally prefer sticking to the bigger interstates than taking US-56 so I usually go to through OKC when going from SoCal or Arizona to KC via the "southern route", but that is a low traffic, stress free route if you prefer that.

This is the route I would typically take. It's actually faster because people drive faster on interstates and there are no small towns to drive through with stop lights and speed traps.

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Lo...&via=1&t=m&z=5

If you are coming from San Diego, then I would take this route through AZ, NM and TX rather than the UT, CO route. The further south the better this time of year.

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Sa...&via=1&t=m&z=6


Good luck in KC, once it warms up, the city will green up and will be lovely!

Last edited by kcmo; 01-07-2012 at 11:20 PM..
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:19 PM
 
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I'm actually in Northern CA which might be why I was confused about the Northern/Southern route choices.

Thank you for all the good info!!
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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Originally Posted by ericad View Post
I'm actually in Northern CA which might be why I was confused about the Northern/Southern route choices.

Thank you for all the good info!!
San Francisco, CA to Kansas City, MO - Google Maps

Well, then the extra 4-5 hours to go around the high country and western Kansas may be worth it

edit: I now see you did say northern CA in the title. My bad.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:18 AM
 
Location: SW MO
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Get your kicks on Route 66!
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Cleverly concealed
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New Mexico has had a lot of snow this winter. I-40 is prone to closures as well. But the southern route is less likely to experience problems. The temperature warms up more quickly, so the snow melts more quickly.

Unless you're driving at the peak of the storm, driving I-70 in the mountains of Colorado is not bad. CDOT does a decent job of keeping the road clear. In the mountains, snow just falls. On the plains, the snow blows. Nothing can stop the wind on the plains (Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska), so if a storm is winding itself up, the snow flies all over the place, and you can't see a thing. Kansas has permanent gates to close I-70 from Hays to the Colorado state line if such conditions occur.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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Originally Posted by RadioSilence View Post
New Mexico has had a lot of snow this winter. I-40 is prone to closures as well. But the southern route is less likely to experience problems. The temperature warms up more quickly, so the snow melts more quickly.

Unless you're driving at the peak of the storm, driving I-70 in the mountains of Colorado is not bad. CDOT does a decent job of keeping the road clear. In the mountains, snow just falls. On the plains, the snow blows. Nothing can stop the wind on the plains (Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska), so if a storm is winding itself up, the snow flies all over the place, and you can't see a thing. Kansas has permanent gates to close I-70 from Hays to the Colorado state line if such conditions occur.
I have always wondered how places like colby were able to accommodate so many people when they close I-70 and wonder if they do it just to fill their hotels haha.
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:35 PM
 
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Why are you leaving NoCal? I'm a 44-year California native now in Seattle and moving to KCMO at the end of March (finally). Just curious. If you're in the far, far north (the Emerald Triangle), then I don't wonder. The economy there has pretty much been reduced to pot, pot and more pot.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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If you are in Nor-Cal you probably have experience driving in mountains in that you don't need snow to run into slick spots in the canyons late at night or early in the morning this time of year. You could drive to Needles, then to Alburqureque and from there pick up 54 to wichita. I usualy take three days to make the trip.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pacificwhim View Post
Why are you leaving NoCal? I'm a 44-year California native now in Seattle and moving to KCMO at the end of March (finally). Just curious. If you're in the far, far north (the Emerald Triangle), then I don't wonder. The economy there has pretty much been reduced to pot, pot and more pot.
I just graduated from Sacramento State and am having a hard time finding entry level positions here in Cali. Plus, I have family in KC so I figured it was the perfect time for an adventurous move. What's taking you from the west (finally)?
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