Athens, Georgia to Merced, California

Let’s close this weekend out with a long excursion. It’s a 2431 miles and will take us an entire work week. We’re going to be on a pace of 64.5mph, which will gain ourselves 516 miles a day, with Friday being a shorter drive. This is a long drive, certainly, but a cross country trek could certainly be longer. It’s a long trip. Let’s get going.

DAY ONE (Monday)
Athens, GA
It’s an unusual stretch of summer time weather across the southern US. There isn’t much by way of showers and thunderstorms, despite what you would typically see this time of year in terms of nearly constant convection. There is a broad system in eastern Canada that is steering in stable air. It doesn’t happen often in the southern US, but we should drive through Dixie in August with nary a thunderstorm in the forecast. We will reach Wheatley, Arkansas which is east of Little Rock by the end of the day.

DAY TWO (Tuesday)
Western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma will be relatively bland on Tuesday. All I-40 and no precipitation to speak of. By the time we reach Oklahoma City, though, we will run into a complex of showers and storms, generally on the west side of town. They will actually be fading with the afternoon heat of the southern Plains leading to a developing cap. By the time we reach Weatherford west of town, we’ll be through the shower activity. We’re going to stop for the night in Elk City, where it should be dry.

DAY THREE (Wednesday)
It will be another dry day as we head west. There will be some mid level clouds throughout western Oklahoma when we get going, but in the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico, it will be sunny, dusty and breezy. Maybe keep the windows up so dust doesn’t get in our eyes. The day will end in Bluewater Village, New Mexico. They have a Dairy Queen!

DAY FOUR (Thursday)
OK, so we’re going to be driving through the desert. Arizona will be a little cooler, since we’re driving at elevation, but the Mojave will be very warm. The funny thing is, though, the monsoon is going to be switched off until very late. We’re not going to see any thunderstorm activity through the drive into southern California. We’ll stop at Kelbaker Road right into the Mojave Preserve. Hot.

DAY FIvE (Friday)
Thunderstorms will be cropping up in the higher terrain, thanks to a resurgent monsoon over the west. Fortunately, the drive from Barstow to Merced will be right in the middle the San Joaquin Valley. Expect a partly cloudy sky in Merced. A weak wave moving through northern California will bring some cooler temperatures to Merced. That’s going to be nice after our dusty trek until this point.
Merced