Santa Barbara, California to Champaign, Illinois

4 days from the California Coast to the Plains. That should be interesting. Wall, it will be be a pretty stark change in scenery at least. The drive is 2096 miles, which, as I said, we will cover in 4 days. Those days will be 538.7 miles apiece (save for a shorter final day, though not by much) at 67.3mph. That’s a swift pace for some mountain driving! Let’s go ahead and take this show on the road, shall we?


The main feature across the country this weekend will be a broad area of low pressure over the Pacific Northwest that is going to bring a bit of a nastiness for the middle of the month up in the Cascades. But that’s the Pacific NORTHwest. We will be driving in the southwest. No problems for us as we sidle on up to Parks, Arizona, west of Flagstaff.

A lee trough will begin developing over the Front Range in southern Colorado, and there will be some showers and storms developing in southern New Mexico in the late afternoon. This won’t be a problem for us in northern Arizona and New Mexico, but is likely a sign of things to come. The day will end in San Jon, New Mexico. San Jon? Awesome. We will be between Tucumcari and the Texas border.

A cold front will really take shape across Oklahoma as we try to make our way through the Sooner State. The early part of the day should be pretty good, and we will make it through the Texas Panhandle unscathed, simply collecting dust. The front will be a stalled boundary that lies essentially along I-44. We will need to take I-44. The threat for thunderstorms will begin around Elk City, but will really pick up as we approach Oklahoma City. As we head north for the last few hours of the day, we will be in prime severe weather territory. It’s not going to be a solid squall, I don’t think, but when we hit those massive storms, our ground speed may be matched only by the crosswinds created by the thunderstorm downdrafts. It might be time to pull off the road around Fairland in northeastern Oklahoma. This part of the world has had an awful track record for severe weather of late, so be aware, if you are a believer in karma, or bad vibes.

The system, at least where it stands as a severe threat, will be short lived. Latent moisture and a little bit of a disturbed flow will make Missouri and southern Illinois cloudy. There is a chance for showers through the day, with that threat picking up the closer we get to Champaign, though even then, the threat won’t be very high, as another system rears it’s ugly head in the upper Midwest, introducing a clearing, warming flow over the Plains.