Lakeland, Florida to Racine, Wisconsin

Another trip home for the holidays. Lakeland is a new enough town that there aren’t likely to be many people FROM Lakeland, so this trip rationale seems right to me. It’s a 1,248 mile journey that will last two days, including a particularly long day on Wednesday to finish things off. Expect a pace of 66.4mph and a Tuesday covering 531.2 miles.

DAY ONE (Tuesday)

Lakeland, Florida

High pressure is taking care of the southeastern United States, and really, most of the rest of the country as well. Everything, except, ironically, the Sunshine State. A baroclinic flow is streaming across the Peninsula, and scattered showers and probably some embedded thunderstorms are going to be possible until Gainesville, with isolated spots of precipitation as far north as Macon. Fortunately, the drive through Atlanta will be nice and dry. We’ll get into Dalton, just south of Chattanooga, for the night.

DAY TWO (Tuesday)
There will be a bit of a return flow through the middle of the country, which will bring temperature and humidity up a little bit. It won’t be an exquisitely sunny day but the whole way to Racine will be dry and pretty easy to navigate. You might even enjoy a trip to the lakeshore after reaching Racine.

Racine, Wisconsin

Jefferson City, Missouri to Casper, Wyoming

I love absolutely nothing more than mostly rural road trips through the middle of nowhere. Imagine how big Casper is going to seem after this 2 day voyage! It’s a 921 mile journey between these two towns, which we will pace at 64.5mph, ending the first day at the 516 mile mark. Let’s go on this windswept journey!

DAY ONE (Wednesday)

Jefferson City, Missouri

A broad, disorganized area of low pressure has been bringing fairly steady light snow to much of the Northern Plains for the last couple of days. It’s a nuisance, but it hasn’t yet drifted so far south to impact Missouri, and the drive through the Show Me State and Kansas City will be fine. We will pop north and cut through Lincoln (the last sizeable town for the rest of the drive) and head west, where a lobe of that mass of light snow will start digging to the south. The feature won’t reach Nebraska until the overnight, and we should reach Lexington, in south central Nebraska without much fuss. Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security.

DAY TWO (Thursday)
Windy conditions with light snow can make for some terrible visibility, and that is what we can expect west of North Platte. The precipitation, but not the wind, will taper by noon, with the snow becoming more likely in the mountains off Wyoming by the end of the day. Snow or no snow, conditions will be challenging in Nebraska, and only a little bit better in Wyoming. If the roads are clear, that will be good news. Casper certainly sounds like a friendly destination, doesn’t it? It will have a faint dusting of snow when we arrive.

Casper, Wyoming

Columbia, Missouri to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

If you know any thing about me, know that I love it that we take road trips that are a bit different The trip, just shy of 8 hours, makes it’s biggest turn at Cedar Rapids. Has that ever happened? I don’t think so! It’s a 491 mile trek, covering 3 states at a pace of about 62mph. And we get to see Cedar Rapids!

Columbia, Missouri

Low pressure spinning over the mountains is going to sink deeper to the southern Plains. The light rain showers that are threatening the Upper Midwest are going to be drawn south to the more organized region of instability in Texas by the time we would depart tomorrow. The weather will get less cloudy and potentially a few degrees warmer as we head to eastern Wisconsin.

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Huntsville, Alabama to Wilmington, North Carolina

I am writing up this road trip forecast in the midst of a road trip that has gone awry. I got a flat tire and bent a rim after taking a mountain corner a little too wide, and am stuck until I can get my car fixed. I’m kind of along this route, though, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, so maybe that will help with the forecast. We will be able to cover the ground in one long day, and the route — south of Spartanburg — will be 599 miles long. Maybe it’s just me without a car, but it does seem like the pace here is slow, so 63.5mph, even when using interstates, sounds about right. Keep your eyes on the road!

Huntsville, Alabama

Late this weekend, rain really started to pick up along a stretch from western North Carolina to north Georgia, clearly induced by the ocean sided exposures of the Appalachians. The surface trough helping to enhance the onshore flow and subsequent rain is going to consolidate and shift off the mid-Atlantic coast towards Hurricane Earl. This will bring a slight reprieve in the showers from Huntsville to about Madison, Georgia. The threat for rain has continued to be minimal for much of South Carolina and central Georgia, though with the trough in place, the stretch from Columbia eastward stayed drier anyways. Mostly cloudy skies are likely, and after the threat for spotty showers ends around Madison, we should see dry pavement on to Wilmington.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Battle Creek, Michigan to Omaha, Nebraska

This road trip will be a little bit longer than our intra-Michigan trek yesterday, but it will still take only a day. We’ll cover 619 miles in just over 9 hours, as we skirt Chicago and pass through Des Moines into an underrated town. I think sometimes cities compensate for being in “boring” areas by being extremely interesting. Omaha is certainly interesting, and I would recommend a visit some day.

Battle Creek, Michigan

While today in Michigan is pretty nice (even though I got the road trip backwards! It was supposed to be Jackson to Battle Creek! I digress) there is a weak perturbation moving through the Upper Midwest that will change all that. Excepect some scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms to roll in to the area tomorrow evening, which means we will intercept on the way to Omaha. There will be a chance of these pop up showers – very few and far between – on the south side of Chicago, with the tail of the boundary stationary through southern Iowa. leading to scattered showers mostly south of I-80. Again, even if we see any rainshowers among the corn and Chicago traffic, they will be short lived. Potentially heavy, but short lived. Omaha is great, though, and shouild be drier than points eas.t.

Omaha, Nebraska

Battle Creek, Michigan to Jackson, Michigan

It is not a long drive that we intend to take tomorrow through Lower Michigan. It’s less than an hour and 53 miles from Battle Creek to Jackson. The Google Maps pace is 60mph, but I’ve driven I-94 in Michigan. We’ll be going faster than 60mph.

Battle Creek, Michigan

There really isn’t a lot to say here, honestly. Michigan is a nice enough state, and there are a surprising number of wineries. Not a lot of weather coming through, though. There is high pressure over the Great Lakes, with some mid layered overcast in the northern part of the lakes, but we are on the south side of Michigan, so just enjoy Jackson, I guess!

Jackson, Michigan

Grand Forks, North Dakota to Corvallis, Oregon

This is an interesting trip to me, one that will cover 3 days and 1,639 miles. We’re hitting a lot of open territory. Big Sky Country, as some have called it. We’ll carry a pace of 65.6mph and break the trip into 524.5 mile segments, with a little extra for day three. Drive fast, the speed limit allows it!

DAY ONE (Saturday)

(May 17, 2006 Grand Forks, ND) Ð Aerial view of Grand Forks mitigation project building new levee walls, burns and pumping stations protecting the city from the Red River. Photo by Brenda Riskey/UND

A surface wave centered over Minnesota is kicking up light rain all throughout Minnesota, encroaching on the Red River. High pressure is going to strengthen and squash the disturbed weather to the southeast. It’s going to be a little chilly, relatively speaking, to start the day, but it should warm quickly in western North Dakota. Eastern Montana will be sunny and warm, and in honor of the drive on Saturday, and the rest of the journey to come, we will stop in Miles City, Montana.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
Eastern Montana is wide open pastures and prairies, and becomes mountainous around Butte and Helena. We’ll run into showers and thunderstorms right here, where the prairies run into the Rocky Mountains. The storms will be widely scattered and may even be dry, and when we start getting to western exposures around Missoula and westward, the threat will significantly lessen. We’ll make it to the Clark Fork River Crossing near Tarkio for the end of the night.

DAY THREE (Monday)
Another shorth wave is moving ashore Sunday night, and some more of those spotty, potentially dry storms in the chimney of Idaho. It’s going to be dry after that in the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, the Gulf of Alaska gyre is reforming, but for the time being, sit’s still hot in the Pacific Northwest

New Haven, Connecticut to Baltimore, Maryland

It takes merely one day to travel from New Haven, to Baltimore. In fact, it’s only 5 hours between the cities by car (even faster by train!) and covers 5 states. That’s a state an hour! At most times, it is a 5 hour and 7 minute drive (though significantly longer in the morning ore early evening) at a pace of only 52 miles an hour. That is CRAZY slow. This is the first time I can remember passing through Delaware on a trip, so I will blame the First State. We have 267 miles to cover, so let’s start coverin’

New haven, Connecticut

It’s the same story everywhere, man. Hot, hot, hot. Make sure that AC is working, especially in the midst of cutting across the Bronx on I-95 early in the day. Being at a standstill just makes things seem so much worse. The best chance for rain tomorrow is before we wake in the New York City area, but I suspect the green showing on the models will manifest as some ground fog thanks to high dew points in the area. The sun will get brighter and angrier as we slide through New Jersey and Delaware, before we begin our final steamy approach to Baltimore.

Baltimore, Maryland

Saginaw, Michigan to Dubuque, Iowa

We’re off on… what’s this, a single day road trip? Well, this journey will take the better part of the day, covering 469 miles of pure Midwest. The pace in the end will be 62.3mph, slowed, as you might expect, by the city of Chicago.

Saginaw, Michigan

Man, it is hot in the Upper Midwest, and some of that heat is going to spread eastward. And don’t even get me started on the humidity. Air conditioners will be needed, particularly after we get away from the westerly flow off of Lake Michigan. Chicago westward through Illinois and into Deubuque will be blazing hot. The moisture is currently penned west of the Mississippi and north into Wisconsin, and there isn’t really a great reason to expect it to get unleashed terribly far from where it is right now. It will probably bleed south and east a bit, precariously close to our route, but all that will mean is an even more uncomfortable walk to the rest rooms at pit stops. Dubuque is going to be extremely sweaty tomorrow afternoon.

Dubuque, Iowa

Napa, California to Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Cross country road tripping is the name of the game today, as we start on a 5 day journey. It is a 2,607 mile voyage which we will cover at a pace of 68.6mph, which is indicative of all the freeway time we are spending. That means a 549 mile a day pace for days 1-4, with a shorter drive to finish things off thanks to our blistering pace.

DAY ONE (Friday)

Napa, California

Low pressure over the Gulf of Alaska is pretty much just hanging out in place, and a cold front is becoming mostly stationary in the Pacific Northwest. This is all good news for people chugging along I-80, as we will be on Friday. It will make it hard to leave Napa, though, but driving through Sacramento and Reno will be a bit easier. Our drive will take us to Death Star Valley. Ope, sorry, Star Wars fan. That should be the Deeth/Starr Valley exit in northeastern Nevada.

DAY TWO (Saturday)
The drive through the west will take its typical winding path through Salt Lake City then continue on into Wyoming. There isn’t a lot going on… BUT WAIT! There is a hint that the monsoon might be getting organized by this weekend. If that happens, there is an extremely remote chance at an isolated storm popping up over south central Wyoming by the end of the day. We’ll end the day at Cooper Cove, north of Laramie for our Saturday night stop.

DAY THREE (Sunday)
Lee troughing is going to be fast in developing over central Nebraska, ready to turn towards the Upper Midwest, but it won’t tap into much moisture until it is closer to the Great Lakes. Surface high pressure will be in rapid pursuit, with some convergence and resultant thunderstorms over the Panhandle late in the day. We will already be in Ashland, about 30 miles before Omaha, when the day is through.

DAY FOUR (Monday)
The next big storm is going to be brewing in the northern High Plains by the beginning of next week. A warm front may be expressed with a few spotty showers from Omaha to Cedar Rapids, but it certainly won’t be a cumbersome delay or terribly heavy precipitation. Dry air — well, rain free air — will be the name of the game for the rest of the drive to the Granger/Mishawaka area on the east side of South Bend, Indiana. It’s going to be hot and humid, so finding a place with a pool, or at least functioning air conditioning, will be a priority.

DAY FIVE (Tuesday)
Expect to finish strong, especially through Ohio, where it should be mostly cloudless. There will be a line pretty near the border with Pennsylvania where clouds will become more likely. Pittsburgh and Johnstown look to be in a bit of a damming situation, which means temperatures are going to be noticeably cooler than those that we will arrive from.

Johnstown, Pennsylvania