Augusta, Georgia to Decatur, Illinois

The Masters start tomorrow in Augusta, and if you are a local, I bet it’s not your favorite time of year. So why not get out of town, say, by driving as far as you can in one long day. It will take almost 12 hours to get from Augusta to Decatur, covering about 744 miles at a pace of about 64.5mph. It’s definitely going to be an adventure!

Augusta, Georgia

Low pressure in the mid-Mississippi Valley is rapidly occluding, which means it is slowing down and weakening. As a result, it’s not going to clear the route by the time we get moving, but it’s also not going to provide a lot of heavy weather as we drive on Thursday. There will be some rain and isolated thunder with the tail of the front in the high terrain northwest of Atlanta to about Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At that point, we will get into a dry slot, which will be cloudy and glum, but OK for driving. The dry slot will last for the rest of the day, though the further north, and closer to Decatur we get in while driving in southern Illinois, some light rain becomes more and more likely. So don’t go any further north than Decatur, I guess, is what I’m saying.

Decatur, Illinois

Rapid City, South Dakota to Topeka, Kansas

They are only two states away, but at opposite ends of those big Prairie states. What I am trying to say, is that the distance between Rapid City and Topeka is a little bit longer than I expected. Most of it is on an interstate, so the 686 miles will pass at a pace of 67.3mph. I will spare you the math, that’s a 10 hour drive.

Rapid City, South Dakota

I don’t want to sound too overdramatic, but this drive will be a race against time. An area of low pressure moving out of the southern Rockies is headed right toward Topeka. Our route will go north of the northern most fringe of the rain and then east of the easternmost fringe of rain on Thursday. The rain will finally reach Topeka after midnight on Thursday, which means our drive will be dry, but our day in Topeka will not be.

Topeka, Kansas

Lubbock, Texas to Cumberland, Maryland

West Texas to Western Maryland. I’m not sure there is a whole lot in common between the two locales, but maybe more than one would initially suspect. It’s a three hour drive, covering 1526 miles. We’ll move at a pace of about 67mph. The first two days will be the longer of the two at 536 miles, with the last day coming at only about a 7 hours drive. Barely anything to worry about.

Day One (Sunday)

Lubbock, Texas

Texas and Oklahoma, along with much of the rest of the middle of the country, are going to see a cold front move through overnight tonight. It’s going to really slow down south and west of St. Louis, and throughout a lot of the day, particularly after we cross the Red River north of Wichita Falls, we will be traveling in the wake of the front. There will be some wind and a little bit of rain on the back end of the feature, and I’m not fully confident we will ever get out of it on Sunday. Fortunately, after we arrive in Big Cabin, in northeastern Oklahoma, things will trend drier, and we won’t have to worry about it on the window all night. Boy, Big Cabin… I hope there is some sort of place to stay in Big Cabin.

DAY TWO (Monday)
High pressure will build over the Great Lakes behind the system moving through overnight tonight, bringing cooler temperatures back to the area. Nothing extraordinary, mind you, but perhas back down to normal through Missouri and Illinois, before we pull in for the night in Monrovia, Indiana, the last exit before the Indianapolis metro.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
The cooler weather will rotate back up towards the North Pole, where it belongs, but the clear skies will remain. Some westerly wind may lead to a few clouds over the higher terrain in West Virginia, but it will be pretty more than impactful on our drive. Cumberland will be dry when we pull into town.

Cumberland, Maryland

Ocean City, New Jersey to Lubbock, Texas

It’s been a long time since we put together a road trip. It’s for the best, as the world hasn’t been quite so navigable of late. Our drive this week will cover three days, with the third day lasting quite a bit longer than the first two. It’s 1794 miles from the New Jersey coast to west Texas, and we will cover that at an aspirational speed of about 66mph. Hopefully, we can get 532 miles out of the first two days of the trip.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

Ocean City, New Jersey

A quick little feature is shifting out of te Great Lakes today, and will pass the mid-Atlantic coast overnight tonight. By the time we start rolling on Thursday, high pressure will be strengthening over the Ohio Valley and upper Appalachians. Sunny skies, though entirely too cool for much windows down driving, will be on the order throughout our drive from the coast to our day one waypoint, Columbus, Ohio.

DAY TWO (Friday)
The next area of low pressure is going to move from the southern Plains and pass nearly entirely south of our route on Friday, rendering the better part of the drive dry. Towards the very tail of the day, though, an inverted trough will phase with an upper level wave from the Upper Midwest. This will produce clouds and a bit of light precipitation across a large tract of the mid and upper Mississippi Valley. This will include Missouri, and we might see a few flakes west of Rolla. We’ll stop for the night on County Road J south of Powellville, Missouri on Friday night. Don’t expect a wild nightlife.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
Any precipitation we see overnight will be insignificant to grassy areas, but it may make for some slick spots early on. Temperatures and sunshine will lead to wet and eventually dry roads pretty quickly. Expect good conditions through Oklahoma City, before it might get a little bit dicier. A bit of development is expected along a boundary in east Texas and Oklahoma, and some light rain showers are possible from there to about Wichita Falls. It will get dry again, I suspect, as we turn westward again, and on to Lubock.

Lubbock, Texas

Lincoln, Nebraska to Kansas City, Missouri

You can’t get much ore “middle of the country” than this, can you? Lincoln and Kansas City are less than 3 1/12 hours apart by car, and 195 miles if you check the odometer. The drive will drill down to a nice, tidy 60mph for a pretty brief Wednesday drive.

Lincoln, Nebraska

The real show in the country is an area of low pressure moving through the southeastern US, but a slow moving inverted trough will dangle north into Missouri through most of Wednesday morning. Guidance universally hangs on to a batch of snow between Nebraska City, Nebraska and St. Joseph, Missouri, which accounts for a sizeable chunk of our route. The day will start clear and will end on a positive note, but the middle of the drive will be slower than I’m sure we would prefer.

Kansas City, Missouri

Fresno, California to Tucson, Arizona

I think the southwestern US is fascinating, geographically. It’s so different than where almost everyone in the country lives, especially when you have to pass from one population hub to another. It will take one long day to cover the 703 miles this drive will take. Our pace will be at 68mph, which is perfect for driving through the desert.

Fresno, California

Almost the entire country is sitting within an upper level trough. One part that isn’t is the west coast, where a sharp ridge is working to keep the Gulf of Alaska low at bay. Skies will be mostly sunny through southern California and western Arizona, but not completely clear. Valley fog will take a while to burn off initially, but should be out of the picture by the time we reach Bakersfield. With northerly jet flow particularly strong in the region, expect Arizona to be seasonably cool, if not a bit chillier, with cloudy skies possible, particularly west of Phoenix. Tucson is going to be a nice place to be this time of year, but may be a bit cooler than expected upon our arrival.

Tucson, Arizona

Atlanta, Georgia to Tucson, Arizona

Some drives are pretty easy to navigate, like this one, which will take us entirely via interstate from Georgia to Arizona. It will take us three days to cover the ground, specifically 1,733 miles of ground. The final day will last 10 hours, with the first two covering 533 miles, all at a pace of about 66.5mph. Thanks a lot, traffic.

DAY ONE (Wednesday)

Atlanta, Georgia

The weather in the south is looking brilliant. High pressure is rising from the south, not one of those Arctic domes of high pressure, so it won’t be terribly cold, either. We’ll slice through the south, from Atlanta to Grambling, Louisiana with ease. Just a terrific day for driving.

DAY TWO (Thursday)
The drive will continue to be fairly pleasant on Thursday, but it will be warmer than the drive on Friday. This is because of southerly flow caused by an area of low pressure charging from northern Mexico into the southern Rockies. It’s going to be a big deal for a lot of people late this week, but let’s not worry about that now. We will get to Big Springs and the Permian Basin after a long drive through more than half of Texs.

DAY THREE (Friday)
It’s going to be a bit different as we get going on Friday. After a night of rain and a few embedded thunderstorms, the last vestiges of precipitation will nearly be past Big Springs as we get going, and we should be out of it soon if it’s not done already. Cold air will be rushing in through eastern New Mexico into Texas. There will be plenty of sunshine, however, so getting out of the car for gas will be a real shock to the system. Snow will be falling in the mountains along the New Mexico-Arizona border, north of our route. We should make it into a surprisingly pleasant Tucson (temperatures, I mean, the people are always nice, I’m sure) late in the afternoon, just in time for dinner.

Tucson, Arizona

Yuba City, California to Abilene, Texas

Hi! Happy Saturday! We are heading into what is usually one of the busiest travel times of the year. This year will obviously be a little bit different, but the weather will still carry on, so let’s drop this three day forecast for the southwestern part of the country. Our drive will cover 1,606 mile at a pace of 67.6mph, which will indicate a pace of 541 miles on those first two days, and a shorter day on Tuesday. Let’s hit the old dusty trail.

DAY ONE (Sunday)

Yuba City, California

There is a bit of a system moving into the west coast this weekend, but in the part of the coast that you would expect it, not the Mojave desert or San Joaquin Valley. In fact, a thermal ridge suggesting pretty warm temperatures will be in place as we drive through the Golden State. We won’t make it out, stopping at the dusty oasis of Ludlow.

DAY TWO (Monday)
Low pressure dives in from the Pacific Northwest to the central Rockies on Monday, and by the end of the day, may start causing some issues in the higher terrain. We will drive from Ludlow through Arizona without any concerns, buy in the last couple of moments, some rain and elevation snow may be possible in New Mexico. We will still remain mostly dry, stopping for the night in Mesita, west of Albuquerque.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
The low in the center of the country will deepen fairly quickly as it descends into the Plains. Not a lot of wet weather will move into eastern New Mexico and west Texas, but a healthy rush of cold air will run into the region. There will be a few storms ahead of us, but they will be out of Abilene before we get there. Bundle up, furnaces aren’t as efficient in this part of the world.

Abilene, Texas By Atownbman – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74638447

Buffalo, New York to Florence, South Carolina

Sometimes, but not very often, a road trip comes along, and the route that Google comes up with a route that I was not expecting. This is one of those times! Instead of a route down the coast, we’re going to be headed through the mountains of Appalachia for a day and a half. The drive will cover 767 miles at a pace of a mere 61.5mph. Thanks, mountains! We’ll leave ourselves with a half day after driving 492 miles on the first day.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

Buffalo, New York

High pressure will be the name of the game on Thursday, keeping any inclement weather at bay. The drive is one in which we will appreciate the dry weather, as moving through the mountains is difficult enough as it is. There isn’t a single straight road in central Pennsylvania or the entire state of West Virginia, which is fun because of the scenery, but less enjoyable when the weather gets a little sideways. It might start to get a bit breezy by the end of the day, and we’ll pull off for the night in Bluefield, West Virginia, which is on the border with Virginia, right before a long tunnel that goes under the state line.

DAY TWO (Friday)
The big difference between Thursday and Friday for our little drive will be the terrain. Friday will be a much flatter day. Weatherwise, the big change will be a reduction in the wind. It will be still and pleasant for the duration of our drive, should you be so inclined to pull off at a random road side Waffle House. Or just wait, and get lunch in Florence, it’s only a 4 1/2 hour drive on Friday.

Florence, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina

Champaign, Illinois to Hanford, California

Let’s do an Election Day forecast, shall we? In the parlance of politics, we’ll head from one blue state to another, but we’ll travel through some red states along the way. It will take 4 days, or about as long as it will take to count all the votes, to cover 2107 miles. The fourth day will be slightly shorter than the first three, with those first three days concluding after 544 miles of driving at around 68mph. Most cars can stream audio now, so maybe avoid the AM radio and just enjoy the open road for this trip.

DAY ONE (Wednesday)

Champaign, Illinois

As the jet has drifted back a bit to the north, things have started to warm up for the middle of the country, and our drive on Wednesday can likely be done with the windows down if the car gets too stuffy. There won’t be much weather to remark on, save for breezes that could gust to 15mph at times. Noting treacherous. We’ll arrive in suburban Tulsa for the night.

DAY TWO (Thursday)
Thursday will be similar to Wednesday, though with a diminished chance of a prevailing wind. We will drive through central and western Oklahoma, still cleaning up after a calamitous ice storm, and pass through the Texas Panhandle into New Mexico under sunny skies. We will stop at the San Ignacio exit west of Santa Rosa and completely be out of touch with the rest of civilization.

DAY THREE (Friday)
As we approach California, we will do it through the desertified parts of the Southwest. New Mexico and Arizona will remain clear and dry, but a system moving into the West Coast will stir some winds inland. Watch for tumbleweeds in this part of the world. The drive will end at Silver Spring Road between Kingman and Seligman in Arizona.

DAY FOUR (Saturday)
As is often the cast, the feature moving into the West Coast will lose a lot of structure as it gets into the mountains, but that doesn’t mean it will be completely obliterated. In fact, well defined fronts will still exist, including a cold front we will drive though in southern California. That’s not to say it will be particularly rainy, if at all, as the frontal passage will be between Barstow and Mojave, right in the heart of the desert. When we descend into the central Valley at Bakersfield, we’ll probably get into some soupy overcast with drizzle. Expect that right on down to Hanford. Strange, right? The only part of the trip with rain will be the part in California.

Hanford, California By Armona at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17978087