These trips through the northern US are so much better in the summer than they are in the winter. It will take us 3 1/2 days to get from Billings to Winchester, covering 1893 miles of ground. When the speed limit was no longer federally regulated, it was, for a time, open season in Montana, though that has since changed. Still, expect a pace of 67.6mph, significantly slowed down by the traffic around the Great Lakes. That will put us on a pace of 540.9 miles a day Let’s cruise.
DAY ONE (Wednesday)
Tomorrow will be mostly dry across the country, but a weak wave moving out of the Rockies will start to churn up some showers in the front range in Montana. The activity will be more widespread in the afternoon, but anywhere from Billings to the North Dakota border, there is a chance we see some wet weather. Thunderstorm activity will hold off until after we are out of the state, I believe. The drive through North Dakota will be pretty quiet as well, and very dull. The day will end on the outskirts of Berea, North Dakota.
DAY TWO (Thursday)
A mostly stationary boundary will set up through the Upper Midwest as the low in Montana shifts towards Canada. The boundary will run right along our route, but thanks to a band of showers over the Gulf, remaining from Tropical Storm Collin, moist flow back into the Plains won’t be terribly robust. We should stay dry until about St. Cloud, Minnesota, which will give way to some light rain. That light rain will turn to heavier weather and maybe even a thunderstorm by Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The day will conclude amid a few isolated storms in Lodi, Wisconsin, just north of Madison.
DAY THREE (Friday)
It looks like there will be a bit of a break in the action to get us through Chicago and northern Indiana, but the blob of showers and storms will return as we try to pass through northern Ohio. The storms will be there, even if they aren’t terribly widespread, and it’s worth considering an umbrella if we want to go out on the town in Avery, Ohio, south of Sandusky. South of the rainy storms, temperatures will be in the 90s, so maybe a bit of rain isn’t so bad.
DAY FOUR (Saturday)
As low pressure continues to shift east, shower and thunderstorm activity will become more focused in the Eastern Great Lakes, which will make the final half day of driving a bit stormy. Persistent rain is possible all the way through Pittsburgh, but by then, we will start to shift to the other side of the highest ridgelines in the Appalachians. From Breezewood through the narrow slivers of Maryland and West Virginia, and ultimately to Winchester, it will be dry.