Category Archives: Road Trip

Peoria, Illinois to Spartanburg, South Carolina

Are you ready to press for one long day of driving? That’s what we’re in for, headed southeast from northern Illinois to the upstate of South Carolina. The route will cover 739 miles at a pace of 65mph, slowed in large part to the course through Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington, and Knoxville. There aren’t many stretches of unpopulated regions, and those stretches that are will be through the high terrain of the Smokey Mountains. We will have a travel companion – Tropical Storm Alberto. So let’s see if he will make the drive terribly uncomfortable.


When we get going, the center of whatever is left of Alberto will be centered near Evansville, Indiana, but will be fully dissipated into a system moving through the Plains. All that rain pulled in by Alberto needs to go somewhere, though, and without the organizing pull of a tropical feature, it will instead go everywhere. Scattered showers and storms are expected across the extend of our route, but the heaviest activity will be between Indianapolis and Louisville, thanks to the now diminished Alberto. There might be a few more robust downpours during the final stages of our trip, thanks to flow off the Atlantic attempting to climb the Smokey Mountains. You know, I said it was going to be a long drive, but all this rain is only going to make it seem longer. Hopefully there is a good time awaiting in Spartanburg.

Holland, Michigan to Lincoln, Nebraska

Hello dear friends. I say it’s time to take a road trip, don’t you? Today’s trek will cover 656 miles, and we’ll be able to do it in one long day. Expect a pace of 66mph, slowed considerably by midday traffic in Chicago, but maybe we’ll make up time on I-80 in Iowa?


There is a trough moving through the Great Lakes, draping a cold front through Iowa this evening, bringing some rain and embedded thunderstorms to most of the locations on our route. Of course, our route starts tomorrow. By the time we get going Thursday morning, the route from Holland through Indiana, Illinois and eastern Iowa will be pretty favorable. Unfortunately, a lee trough is going to organize within a prevailing westerly regime ad start causing trouble later in the day on Thursday. West of Des Moines, that warm front may become a bit more lively, with scattered showers and storms as it lifts north. It will be fairly warm between the rain drops, so between that and the threat of a thundershower, maybe roll up the windows and use the AC through Omaha. The threat for rain may actually dissipate every so slightly as we plunge into the warm sector just before we arrive in Lincoln.

Owensboro, Kentucky to Holland, Michigan.

It’s time to hit the road through my old stomping grounds – Indiana. Most of our 7ish hours in the car will be in the Hoosier State, as we slice through the middle of the state. Bloomington and Indianapolis are both worth stops, but the northern half of the state, admittedly, is a little dry. It’s going to be a 427 mile journey, and our off-interstate adventuring will require a slower speed of 62.2mph. Indiana wants me and we CAN go back (through) there.

The weather in Indiana looks pretty darn good today, but that may not be the case tomorrow. We should depart Owensboro in dry conditions, with the sun to our east. Unfortunately, there will be clouds to the west, and by the time we reach Bloomington, we will get splashed with rain intermittently. The chances increase north of Indianapolis, with a cold front over lake Michigan as we arrive in South Bend. Showers will probably be highlighted by thunderstorms as we continue north into Michigan. Brisk winds may be possible on the way into Holland, so keep your hands on the wheel!

Jackson, Tennessee to New Haven, Connecticut

Hey gang, let’s hit the road, shall we? We’re going to take a 2 day trip through the Appalachians and on to southern New England. The distance between the towns of Jackson and New Haven is about 1,100 miles, which we will cover at a pace of about 65mph. We’ll make day one a slightly shorter day, calling it good after about 519 miles, which might actually get us through the entire state of Tennessee!


DAY ONE (Wednesday)

High pressure is wedged into the southeastern part of the country, and will be very good to us for our drive on Wednesday, with sunshine dotting our entire journey. We will hit the Smokeys late enough in the day that the typical fog that gives the mountains their name will not be present. Wei’ll just bounce into Radford, Virginia, nary a care in the world and call it a day after a pretty nice day of travel.

DAY TWO (Thursday)
An area of low pressure moving through the Canadian Maritimes is draping a cold front through the Great Lakes, and it will weaken and drift south towards New York City and Connecticut by Thursday. We’ll run into some wet weather, perhaps around Allentown, with the threat lingering for the rest of the drive into New Haven. By that point, it will be much weaker with storms more widely scattered. An advancing system in the Plains will force the boundary to act more as a warm front, which will lead to precipitation to fall more as generalized high base shower activity. What I’m saying is, if it has to rain, it could be way worse. Enjoy steam New Haven!

Manchester, New Hampshire to Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Tomorrow’s road trip is going to be a pretty quick one, only 150 miles from Southern NH to Western MA. It’s over 50% shorter than the road trip I’m actually taking to IL tomorrow to see family. Odd how that works out sometimes.

It will be a relatively short road trip, but unfortunately, it’s going to be a wet one as low pressure is lifting over the Northeast and New England tomorrow. Rain showers will spread into Southern NH overnight and will continue to linger throughout the region tomorrow as we head westward into far southern VT before turning south on I-91 into MA. It’ll be a soggy day as we pull into Pittsfield around noon, and showers will continue throughout the rest of the day.

Nashville, Tennessee to Charleston, West Virginia

Today we travel between state capitals that are almost exactly the same distance from Frankfort, KY (another state captial) as one another. That’s right, Nashville and Charleston are both pretty much right at ~180 miles away as the crow flies from the capital of Kentucky. Fun fact right? Today’s one-day trip won’t go through Frankfort, but will spend plenty of time in the Bluegrass State.

It’s a fairly dry but chilly start to the day as we head northwards out of Nashville on I-65 towards Bowling Green. There might be a few spotty rain showers as we hit Elizabethtown and head eastwards on I-64, but shouldn’t be anything to be really worried about hazard-wise. As we cruise past Lexington around noon, showers should be mostly dried up and the rest of the day will be cloudy but dry as we head into Charleston.

Sacramento, California to Wichita, Kansas

OK, we get it. It’s cold out east. There will be record breaking cold temperatures this weekend in the wake of strong thunderstorms yesterday. Not only that, there is snow expected as far south as the Tennessee Valley and Washington DC. That part of the world is already getting headlines. What of the rest of the country? We’ll figure that out on a three day trek from northern California to Kansas. The drive will cover 1678 miles, which will be evenly divided at 559 miles a day, or the briskly paced 70mph. We’re going to find out what’s going on out west rather quickly.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

The weather out west is significantly more seasonable than it is in the eastern part of the country, though a not insignificant part of the reason for that is an area of low pressure over the Gulf of Alaska that is generating some nice warm flow out of the Mexican deserts. There may be some mid layer clouds to mottle the sun, but otherwise, the landscape will be stark, and our drive easy. We’ll end the day in the Bonneville Salt Flats of northwestern Utah, which is perhaps the most desolate seeming place on the planet.

DAY TWO (Friday)
Clouds will be building over Bonneville overnight, threatening some rain along the Idaho border, but the warm front associated with that low in the Gulf of Alaska will snake its way southeast to the northern Rockies and High Plains, where the baroclinic set up will feed off the descending air of the Rockies and start to churn into its own separate system. For our purposes, a big slug of moisture is going to make a hard charge through Wyoming, threatening our route with some very heavy snowfall, particularly from Rock Springs to Laramie. The good news is, the snow won’t be as intense as we are driving, but the bad news is that it will have recently fallen, and throughout the day, our expedience will rely on Wyoming DOT clearing the roads. Assuming we can maintain our pace, the best chance for snow continuing to fall as we drive through will be around Laramie, though when we are on the dry side of the Rockies, I think the snow showers will be a memory. A very visible one, because we will likely be able to see the snow falling in the Colorado Rockies. Wyoming will see the heaviest snow, we might not see any in Colorado, and I haven’t mentioned Utah, where we will begin our day. From Salt Lake City to Rock Springs, Wyoming, the higher passes may see some snow showers, but it will be cloudy and driveable beforehand. We’ll end the day in Berthoud, Colorado, west-southwest of Greeley.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
Behind our newly developed system, the same that brought snow to Wyoming on Friday, cold high pressure will build into the Plains. Very cold high pressure. Many locations will break records for lows, as well as low maximums. For April. Not just the day, for the entire month. But it won’t be snowing! That can be your solace in the ice box of Wichita.

Aerial of the Downtown Skyline of Wichita, Kansas with the Arkansas River and the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in the Foreground

Lima, Ohio to Great Falls, Montana

Today we embark on a lengthy 3-day trip, which covers 1,681 miles from Ohio to Montana. Got a long weekend drive ahead of us, so we don’t have a minute to waste!

DAY ONE

A system is pushing its’ way out of the Eastern Great Lakes, with the backend of the system still kicking up a few showers over Western OH. The windshield will be wet as we head northwest towards Ft. Wayne, but with high pressure moving into the Midwest, some sun should peek out during the day. As we push through Chicago midday, we should have partly cloudy skies and overall pleasant conditions. We head up along I-90 towards Rockford then north into Wisconsin, following I-90 past Madison and the Wisconsin Dells before finishing the day in La Crosse.

DAY TWO

Today is going to be a long day, but it’s all westward on I-90! An area of low pressure is swinging through the Northern Plains during the night last night and we could see some light snow on our car as we head out in the morning. A rain/snow mix is expected as we start the day, which then changes over to some light snow, but only briefly. We shouldn’t have many road issues since it was rain as it moved through the rest of Southern MN overnight. A slightly faster route would have been to head up I-94 into ND, but with this storm expected to bring 6-12″ right along I-94 throughout ND, I-90 is the much safer play. Clouds will dissipate throughout the day as the cold front pushes off to the east and our main weather issue of the day will be gusty northwest winds coming in behind the front. That’ll probably sap our gas mileage, but otherwise, a fairly uneventful day as we cruise on by Sioux Falls and all the west westward to Rapid City, where we end the day. Thankfully the speed limit is 80 in SD!

DAY THREE

A bit of energy kicking up snow is found over Nebraska as we start our final day of the trip, but some snow showers could sneak into Rapid City as we start the day. This activity will continue pushing towards the south, which means its impact on us will be minimal as the main axis of high pressure is found over Eastern Montana into the Central Dakotas. Even though the morning and midday hours should be okay, an area of low pressure is pushing through the Pacific Northwest today, and looks like it’ll start producing snow in the lee of the Rockies once we get to the late afternoon hours. We should be okay to make it northwestward to Hwy 87 then continue westward, but the last 50-100 miles could be a bit of slow-going as the snow showers get going as we make our way into Great Falls.

Terre Haute, Indiana to Bakersfield, California

The most challenging part of a cross country drive, if you ask me, is the well traveled roads along the east coast, so therefore, we’re going to cut that part of the journey out, and simply trek from Indiana to the west coast. It will be a nearly 4 day drive, though the last day won’t be nearly as challenging. We will cover 2009 miles on our trek at a pace of about 67mph, with those first three days netting, we hope, nearly 536 miles a day.

 
DAY ONE (Tuesday)

Our big area of low pressure headed towards New England will be leaving a tail in the mid-Mississippi Valley that we will enjoy the fruits of throughout our first day of driving. Fortunately, the fact that it will be the day time, and the early hours of spring, temperatures should be warm enough to prevent flurries. A light drizzle will be possible for a good chunk of the morning. The clouds will be cloudy one way or another, with a threat of a break over eastern Missouri, including around St. Louis. Towards the end of the day, a finger of snow is possible over western Missouri, and we could see a flake around Springfield and Joplin, but we’ll make it back to dry weather in Claremore, Oklahoma, just to the northeast of Tulsa.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
High pressure and a sometimes brisk south wind will be our companion on Wednesday. We’ll move through the Panhandle of Texas and into New Mexico as part of the journey, stopping for the night in Cuervo, New Mexico. It sounds like there should be some tequila there, or something.

DAY THREE (Thursday)
Hoo boy, there is a strong area of low pressure looming off the west coast. Get ready for news stories about massive snow storms in the coastal ranges, thunderstorms and torrential rain at the coast. Fortunately, we will be in New Mexico and Arizona on Thursday, so we can appreciate some sunny skies and pleasantly cool air, thanks to wind coming off the chilly Pacific. We’ll make it to Seligman, Arizona, which is kind of a touristy, stop for the night kind of town.

DAY FOUR (Friday)
The heavy weather is expected to lift north away from our route, but don’t be surprised if there is a little bit of rain and even thunder in the high terrain of northern Arizona as we get going. Light rain showers are going to be possible closer to Fresno, and some fog will continue around Los Angeles, but Bakersfield will be in a nice little dome of dry weather. Boy, Google really steered us away from the rough stuff on this one. Thanks Google!