Category Archives: Road Trip

Fresno, California to Bridgeport, Connecticut

As if to send our California sojourn into the sunset officially, we’re going to mark the occasion with an 5 1/2 day trip that covers 14 states and 2,975 miles. The pace is surprisingly slow, given all the interstate, at 67.6,, but it sounds better when you say we will encounter about 541 miles every day.

DAY ONE (Tuesday)
There aren’t many roads that slice right through the Sierras, so our first day on the road will sweep south before curving back north .We’ll pass through Las Vegas, a part of the world that has recently seen snow, as we shoot to the northeast. Low pressure will be conglomerating east of the Rockies, and clear skies will be settling into the southwest. We wont see any fresh precipitation on our first day, which will end in New Harmony, a town in southwestern Utah.

DAY TWO (Wednesday)
Our luck will continue on Wednesday, with low pressure shifting away from the Rockies just as we are shifting into the Rockies. We will be out of Utah before the next round – considerably weaker than previous incursions – of low pressure moves in from the Pacific Northwest, and we will delve into the Colorado Rockies after snow falls there. We will make it to Herman Gulch, which is just past the Loveland Ski Area, and home to a trailhead into some of the tall peaks of the central Rockies.

DAY THREE (Thursday)
Weather is going to flare up behind us in the Great Basin, while low pressure rockets off to the east. We will once again enjoy dry weather, but it couldn’t be more different. After a day of driving through the mountains of Colorado and Utah on Wednesday, we’ll spend out day in some of the flattest terrain anywhere. The day will end in Lincoln, Nebraska, where we will be able to see as far as we want, from horizon to horizon.

DAY FOUR (Friday)
There might actually be a little bit of light precipitation as we get started in Lincoln on Friday morning, but it’s more likely that we will be contending with some early morning clouds between Lincoln and Omaha. Careful either way, as any precipitation that does fall is liable to do so as light freezing rain or sleet. Regardless, we will be in clear air after we pass into Iowa, and will remain there through Chicago and into northwest Indiana. We’ll stop in Portage, before the Toll Road takes effect.

DAY FIVE (Saturday)
We’re going to be right on the edge on Saturday, with low pressure developing in the Plains and beginning to accelerate. We will still remain dry on Saturday, the way it looks right now, but clouds will build through the Appalachians, and temperatures will take a turn for the warmer as a warm front develops in the Tennessee Valley. We’ll stop near Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, though Mill Hall is closer to the interstate.

DAY SIX (Sunday)
Fortunately, the warm front associated with this wave will arrive in Pennsylvania with lot of warm air. After 5 days of pretty good conditions, the only luck we will have for our last 4 hour drive is “at least it’s not snowing!” A chilly rain, often heavy, will fall from Lock Haven, through the New York exurbs and into Connecticut. In fact, the heaviest rain will probably be as we drive through downstate New York, which is definitely not optimal. Hard to complain after the drive we have otherwise, though.

Bakersfield, California to Fresno, California

It’s time for a nice short trip through the agricultural heartland of California. It’s only an hour and a half drive to head from Bakersfield to Fresno, which are 109 miles apart. That means our trip on the Golden State Highway will be at a pace of 66mph. Not too bad. Let’s see how it goes!

As you may have surmised by recent forecasts for the area, the weather looks like it is going to be on the upswing. In fact, the center of the state is already clearing up, so the drive up CA-99 will actually be even better than I would have thought this morning. The sun will be shining, and any precipitation will be in the form of snow already fallen on the peaks straddling our route.

Columbus, Georgia to Bakersfield, California

Make no mistake, we are about to undertake a pretty long road trip, but if I’m being completely honest, this trip isn’t quite as long as I thought it would be. It will take 4 days to trek from Georgia to California, a trip of 2175 miles. The daily drive will be a nice 544 miles, at a pace of 68mph. It’s an active pattern in the northern part of the country, so let’s see if we can expect any trouble to the south as well.

DAY ONE (Monday)

The Southeast is enjoying a pretty nice start to their weekend, but as it often happens, things are going to fall apart on Sunday. Low pressure will develop in the Plains and will start to scoot through the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, A weak cold front will slice through Mississippi and Alabama as we head west. There won’t be a great deal of moisture, but there will be a threat for a spot of showers or thunderstorm activity between about Selma, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. The post frontal wind will make things cooler and force us to keep both hands on the wheel as we drive to Bossier City, Louisiana.

DAY TWO (Monday)
Clear skies will move in behind the front, weak though it may be, with cold air moving into Texas. The next system isn’t far behind, so the cold air will get replaced fairly swiftly as well. There might be some brisk winds, but the drive through north Texas should be pretty manageable. We’re going to make it to Amarillo before our first day of travel concludes.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
The back end of low pressure developing late on Monday will be what we are left with by Tuesday morning as we depart. Most of the rain will shuttle through central Texas as cold air sinks into west Texas, meaning a chance for flurries in the Panhandle as we get going. The snow will clear up a bit in eastern New Mexico, but flurries are a possibility to return in the higher terrain in the western part of the state Arizona looks like it will be in good shape by Tuesday afternoon, however, and our stop near Winslow will be just fine.

DAY FOUR (Wednesday)
This is the type of day I’m sure we would all expect driving through the southwest. There isn’t much threat for any precipitation, and though it will be cooler than normal, the recent rain and snow will also mean that dust will be at a minimum, while any plants in the area will probably be in bloom. The day looks good in Bakersfield on Wednesday, though Thursday might be a bit dicier.

Ithaca, New York to Olympia, Washington

After a couple of short trips around the Great Lakes, we’re headed on a long trip through the northern US. It’s going to take us 5 days to cover 2,776 miles, which is a pace of 67.7mph, which will allow us to cover 541.6 a day. The weather looks like it will be pretty messy, which might make 5 days seems like 10. Route.

DAY ONE (Monday)

There is a tendril of moisture weaving through the Great Lakes today, bringing snow and colder air to the Eastern Great Lakes. It’s a cold front sinewing its way through the region from an area of low pressure moving into Eastern Canada, and meeting with a warm front attached to a low at the base of a trough in the Southern Plains. That boundary is going to start to back up tomorrow, and warm fronts and slow moving, nearly stationary fronts are bastions of ice and freezing rain. What I’m saying is, if they clear out the snow tonight in northern Ohio, it will pave the way to chemically treat the Ohio Turnpike ahead of a nasty bit of ice. It will snow everywhere on our route today and tonight, so it may make things a bit difficult in the early going, but life will turn miserable somewhere around Elyria, west of Cleveland, as snow will restart, joining rain, sleet and graupel to make for a terrific remainder of the day. We’ll make it to Hoyt, Indiana in the northeastern part of the state, befoe we call it a day.

DAY TWO (Tuesdsay)
If you thought it would get better on Tuesday, I am sad to say that you are mistaken. Enough warm air may infiltrate that we will leave Hoyt in the rain, but the center of low pressure itself is going to make a hard charge through Chicago, which means that cold air is going to wrap in, marking a quick change to snow, likely somewhere between South Bend and Chicago. We plan for 8 hour days, but I can assure you that driving through the Windy City in the grips of a nasty snow storm will take an extra couple hours on its own. What makes matters worse for us, after driving through the windy, snowy mess in Chicago, we will follow an inverted trough extending to the northwest. Not just follow it a little bit, but be under the gun for snow nearly all the way to the Twin Cities. Heavy to moderate snow will fall between Chicago and Madison, with light to moderate snow continuing through western Wisconsin. Fortunately, the demographics and the fact that the wind won’t be up will alleviate the traffic bugaboos of Chicago, but driving in the snow is a pain, even in a city familiar with it, like St. Paul. We will stop in Vadnais Heights, north of St. Paul, and it will probably be very late, if we persevere through the whole drive. Sleep well, it’s got to get better, right?

DAY THREE (Wednesday)
There will be quite a bit of churning in the atmosphere as we go through the Upper Midwest, but there won’t be a notable reflection at the surface. Thankfully, we are on the interstate the whole time, which means it will be totally plowed, and roads will get better and better with the drive. The day will end in Fryburg, North Dakota, which is right by Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

DAY FOUR (Thursday)
We are going to grow to hate the term “inverted trough”. One such feature angled northwest from a lee trough in Colorado will make things snowy across eastern Montana. Even through there isn’t much of a pressure gradient, and thereby likely not much wind, but the topography of the aea means that even with the slightest bit of wind, visibilities will be difficult. Guidance suggests that this is going to be a flatland type of feature, so when we start hitting the terrain in western Montana, we should be in the clear. Bozeman to our day four destination of Galen, Montana.

DAY FIVE (Friday)
Do you know what we need? A nice, clear driving day. We will get a nice clear morning and early afternoon. Is that good? Another tail attached to the snow we see on Thursday will bring a little bit of flurry activity, which will lay south of the Snake River. Yet another strong feature moving off the Gulf of Alaska will be moving into western Washington through the day. Snow on the western exposures of the Cascades will eventually turn to rain as we get closer to Puget Sound. Finally, we made it to Olympia.

Muskegon, Michigan to Ithaca, New York

We’re going to turn around and quickly depart Muskegon on the very rare trek that takes us through Canada. bring your passport for this 9 hour trip, covering 574 miles (924km). we’ll cover ground at a pace of 63.7mph (101km/h). No telling if that includes time waiting at customs. (embedding issues continue)

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Muskegon,+Michigan/Ithaca,+New+York/@42.2634889,-83.6181527,7z/am=t/data=!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x88197cc3a93d9ed9:0x247e359134f72540!2m2!1d-86.2483921!2d43.2341813!1m5!1m1!1s0x89d08182e0af88f7:0xae52768a56ece74!2m2!1d-76.5018807!2d42.4439614

While high pressure is moving into the Great Lakes all the same as it has moved into the Upper Midwest, that high pressure is chasing out a strong area of low pressure moving through the Canadian Maritimes and northern Quebec. Resultant westerly flow will exacerbate some lake effect snows between Rochester and Syracuse, but they will likely be winding down by the time we arrive back in the US. Still, if the roads aren’t cleared completely by the late afternoon tomorrow, that will slow us down. There won’t be many problems in the Finger Lakes, and Ithaca promises to be a Winter Wonderland, but an easily managed one.

Iowa City, Iowa to Muskegon, Michigan

I consider myself someone who is pretty good at geography. It turns out I’m not as good with Michigan as I thought, as I had envisioned the town in the Saginaw Bay area, but its actually on the shore of Lake Michigan. That makes our drive a little bit easier, actually, and we can look forward to a drive slightly longer than 6 hours, and covering 390 miles. Expect a pace of about 64mph, delayed significantly by Chicago, though fortunately probably not by fresh snow. (Map embedding is currently not cooperating. Feel free to follow the link below for our route)

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Iowa+city,+Iowa/Muskegon,+Michigan/@42.4039332,-89.7411553,7.25z/am=t/data=!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x87e441c16a208817:0x6d711867870582b0!2m2!1d-91.5301683!2d41.6611277!1m5!1m1!1s0x88197cc3a93d9ed9:0x247e359134f72540!2m2!1d-86.2483921!2d43.2341813

After a week that saw the Upper Midwest get pummeled by a couple of successive snow storms, this weekend looks to be extremely drivable. Of course, there is the cold to contend with. It might actually be cold enough that lingering latent moisture could refreeze on I-80 in eastern Iowa, but temperatures will gradually warm with increasing southwesterly flow in the area. The flow will also be more apparent aloft, rather than at the surface, which nips another concern in the bud. There isn’t likely to be any lake effect snow for the drive up the lakefront.

Virginia Beach, Virginia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania

This is neat one day route, primarily because it starts with a trip on the Bay Bridge/Tunnel at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, followed by a drive up the Delmarva, Oeninsula. How often do we get road trips through Delaware? It will cover 294 miles and last about 5 1/2 hours, which suggests a pace of 59.6mph. Almost interminable! We don’t drive through Delaware often, so we might a well milk it, I guess.

If you are returning to southeastern Pennsylvania as you depart from your Super Bowl party, the last thing you will want in your recovery is an additional headache from the weather. I’m happy to say, the headaches will be at a minimum. A developing off shore low might bring a little bit of rain and clouds right around Virginia Beach, but who needs that much sunlight after perhaps too many adult beverages the night before? The sun will likely emerge, however, after we arrive on the Delmarva, but we’ll probably buy some time, with the sky not clearing until we hit Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The weather will be warming in Lancaster, but be aware that more rain will be coming by Tuesday.

Cincinnati, Ohio to Pascagoula, Mississippi

This is an interesting route. I like I-65 because it passes through so many large cities that would otherwise be out of the way, like Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham and Montgomery. Also, the interstate leads to a quick drive, as we can expect to cover 756 miles in about 11 hours. It’s a long day, but definitely manageable in one sitting, cruising at a pace of 67.3mph.

Strong thunderstorms have strafed the southeastern United States today, including the first tornado watches of the year in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, as well as some confirmed tornadoes and strong wind incidents. The storm is shifting out, though, with unbearably cold air billowing in, stretching from the Great Lakes straight down 65 to the Gulf. Some flurries at the back end of the wave are possible during the early part of the drive, from Cincinnati over to Louisville, but snow is possible overnight as far south as Nashville, so who know how bad traffic will be because of that. South of Nashville, the roads will probably be devoid of traffic,, as Alabamians will not want to be out when temperatures are below 4. Pascagoula won’t be warm by many standards, but it will be warmer than Cincinnati, and the sun should be out.


Lawrence, Kansas to Waco, Texas

Just to give some scale to the size of Texas, this drive is mostly a reverse of the trip we took a couple days ago, but it is a 5 hour shorter drive. It covers a mere 600 miles and we can do it all in one day, which couldn’t be said about the Corpus Christi to Lawrence drive. Expect a pace of 66mph, as we won’t be able to build speed on I-35, and slowdowns in Dallas and OKC will carry more weight. Reverse course!

First off, great timing taking this trip on Friday. A weak, miserable wave is moving out today, and a monster of a system is in pursuit, threatening to make eastern Kansas a snowy travel nightmare by the end of the day. Warm air will surge north from east Texas to east Kansas, and while skies will clear, they will be dotted by puffy cumulus clouds that signify some sort of updraft. Those clouds will grow and become more ominous in the mid to late afternoon, with winds becoming more brisk across the prairies. We should be south of Oklahoma City by the time some of those clouds turn to rain or thunderstorms, but fortunately, the front will be almost through DFW by the time things start up, meaning a dry arrival in Waco. Surprise! It might actually be as cold in Waco as it was in Lawrence when we left. If not colder. Thanks, cold front!

Springfield, Massachusetts to Columbus, Indiana

Today we embark on a 2-day, 876-mile trip from Western MA to central IN. There’s been a lot of talk about a storm system hitting the region, can we get the trip in before it stops us in our tracks?

Day 1

It will be a fairly nice start to the day and mostly sunny skies greet us as we embark southward out of Springfield into CT then eventually heading west on I-84. Clouds will increase throughout the day as we trek through southeastern NY and into PA. There’s a slight chance a few flurries could linger in the air as we pass by State College and into western PA, but the system responsible for that will have mostly passed on to the north, leaving some overcast skies in its wake. Fairly quiet conditions are expected for the evening as we pull into Youngstown, OH for the night

Day 2

An area of weak low pressure will be making its way through the OH Valley today. While the start of the day will just be cloudy, we can expected to see some light snow start to fall by the time we make it past Mansfield into the Columbus, OH area. While we may be happy to see THAT Columbus, we must trudge onwards on I-71 since we have a little ways to go yet. Luckily for us, snow showers will changeover to rain midday, making the rest of the drive wet, but not as treacherous as the start of the day was. Rain showers should start to taper off as we pass by Cincinnati and eventually into Columbus, IN!