Category Archives: Road Trip

Anniston, Alabama to Weirton, West Virginia

As Florence continues to bear down on the Eastern Seaboard, we’re taking a 2-day road trip from northern Alabama to extremely northern West Virginia. Why are we driving into the possible future path of Florence? Heck if we know.

DAY ONE

High pressure controls the Great Lakes down into the Deep South, keeping scattered shower activity mainly east of the Appalachians. We can expect increasing clouds throughout the day as we head north to Chattanooga then to Knoxville before continuing northward to Lexington, where we finish up the day.

DAY TWO

High pressure loses its’ grip a bit on the region, leading to mostly cloudy to overcast skies throughout the day. While we should see dry conditions on our route through southern Ohio, there’s still a chance a couple stray afternoon showers could dot our windshields. It really shouldn’t be an issue though, so an easy jaunt into Weirton is expected.

Peoria, Illinois to Gadsden, Alabama

Labor Day isn’t usually a holiday that people travel for, but you might. It’s a three day weekend, so even though the one day trip is a long one, it doesn’t necessarily take up the whole weekend, giving us some time in Gadsden, even if we leave tomorrow. The drive will take 9 hours or so, and cover 641 miles, putting us on a pace of 68.8mph, which will certainly get us to Gadsden in plenty of time. 

A cold front is stalling across northern Illinois, with high pressure sitting over the eastern US, sticking its butt end right into our route. The best threat for thunderstorms through the day will be very early on, but through midday there could be a stray shower as the heating of the day actually burns off most of the cloud cover through Southern Illinois. The rest of the drive on into Alabama looks to be quite delightful, if a little steamy for any stops for gas. Gadsden, likewise, will be hot and stuffy for our Labor Day. 

Laredo, Texas to Washington, D.C.

Today we embark on a lengthy road trip, from the Mexico border to the nation’s capital! 1,723 miles separate Laredo and Washington DC, so it’s going to take 4 days to cover it all.

DAY ONE

High pressure is found over the Central Plains pushing into the Mid-MS River Valley. However, its’ effects are widely felt throughout the Central US and will keep much of East TX quiet throughout the day. The lone hiccup in the day may be some isolated shower/thunderstorm activity along the Central TX Gulf Coast, as the tail end of a weak boundary is lingering over the region and kicked up some thunderstorms in the Houston area today. This activity should be fairly isolated however so any impact should be minimal if we run into them between Victoria and Houston. The rest of the day should be smooth sailing as we finish the day in Lake Charles, LA.

DAY TWO

High pressure continues shifting eastward, and lucky for us, it’s sitting right over the route for the second day! No precip is expected as we head eastward out of Lake Charles along I-10 to Baton Rouge, then we continue on I-12 north of Lake Ponchartrain before heading north on I-59 out of Slidell. We continue along I-59 through MS before ending our day in Livingston, AL, just inside the border.

DAY THREE

Another enjoyable day thanks to high pressure! There’s a slight chance of an isolated shower or two over central AL during the late morning hours. But as we shift into far northeastern AL and make our way into TN, mostly sunny skies should continue to greet us as our northeastward trek proceeds. Partly cloudy skies are expected over eastern TN as we go past Knoxville and end our day in Bristol, TN, right on the TN/VA border.

DAY FOUR

Our last day! Will our luck finally run out when it comes to rain? Even though clouds will be on the increase today, and some scattered shower activity may dot the landscape, much of this activity looks to be caught up on the west side of the Appalachians, leaving our trip through VA fairly uneventful once again! We finish our day up cruising into DC under partly cloudy skies!

Monroe, Louisiana to Boulder, Colorado

We embark on a 2-day, 1,103-mile trip from the rural lands of northern Louisiana to right up again the Rocky Mountains. Will be quite the change of scenery from one day to the next, so let’s see what the weather will be like on this excursion!

DAY ONE

As a system works into the Mid-MS River Valley, scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected from IA down into AR. Luckily, we’ll just be greeted with some morning clouds as we depart Monroe as the morning precip stays off to the north. Activity will continue lingering off to the north as we push into northern Texas, with just partly cloudy skies anticipated as we cruise past the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the midday hours and Wichita Falls in the late afternoon. We end our fairly uneventful day in Childress, TX.

DAY TWO

It’s going to be a bit of a long day, but the scenery will be worth it once we make it to the end! While the region looks to be dry at dawn, there could be an isolated shower or two lingering in the area due to overnight activity festering over Oklahoma. Whatever there is should be short-lived and eventually shift towards the northeast as we head towards Amarillo to start the day. Dry weather continues into the midday hours as we push into far northeastern New Mexico and eventually into southern Colorado on I-25 by the afternoon. As the afternoon progresses, shower and thunderstorm activity looks to pop off over the mountains and make their way eastward. The further north we get before activity develops, the better it will be for us to avoid encountering these storms, but we’ll probably see a couple of them regardless into the evening. With the worst of the storms off to the south, we make our way into Boulder to finish our long day!

Ann Arbor, Michigan to Tulsa, Oklahoma

Michigan to Oklahoma doesn’t seem quite as long a journey as some of our treks have been, but this will still cost us a day and a half to navigate the heart of the Mississippi Valley. We have 902 miles to cover, which we will do at a pace of 68mph, despite a slog through Chicago. We will thus cover 545 miles of our journey on Saturday, leaving that last meat on the bone for Sunday.

DAY ONE (Saturday)

An area of low pressure in the Mid-Atlantic is bringing all sorts of showers and embedded thunderstorms from the Upper Ohio Valley east towards southern New England. Of course, this is south of our route, but the circulation associated with this feature will sneak a bit of moisture back over the Great Lakes. A small perturbation over southern Lake Michigan will kick up a few clouds and maybe a stray shower in the Chicago region in the afternoon. We will likely make it through there by the time showers pick up, but surely, there will be some mostly cloudy skies in the Land of Lincoln regardless of whether or not we see sprinkles. Our Saturday drive will take us to Gray Summitt, Missouri, just west of St. Louis.

DAY TWO (Sunday)
An upper level trough over the southern Plains is going to churn up some southerly flow, destabilizing the atmosphere across Oklahoma. Storms will probably be erupting fairly early in the afternoon, anywhere over our last couple of hours of driving, between Springfield and Tulsa. Most of it will be rain, but don’t be surprised by an embedded thunderstorm, either.

Missoula, Montana to Sherman, Texas

I know we didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Missoula, but now, it’s time to check out and make our way down towards Texas. This is going to be a shorter trip, covering 1729 miles and lasting 3 days, with the third day lasting a bit longer than the first two. Per hour, we will cover 69 miles, which means the first days will be complete after 553 miles. Speed limits are mere suggestions in High Plains.

DAY ONE (Thursday)

We’re driving from Montana through Wyoming, but the weather attention on Thursday will be directed at the Northwest Territories. Low pressure near Yellowknife will hook up with a developing surface trough over the Rockies and begin dragging it eastward. This will open up the monsoon into the Wyoming Rockies, and will exasperate the threat for wildfires in Montana, with hot dry air being drawn north from the Plains. Hopefully, we can steer clear of any infernos, but that’s out of our control. Day One will end in Kaycee, Wyoming, north of Casper.

DAY TWO (Friday)
The trough over the Rockies will shift into the High Plains through the day on Friday. This will help destabilize eastern Colorado, and as we pass through the region, there might be some isolated strong thunderstorms between Denver and the Kansas border. Hot, sunny skies will likely follow as we reach Kansas, but the thunderstorms will follow us to Baxter, Kansas, as we sleep off a long day of travel.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
All of that convection is going to drift northeast with the Rocky Mountain low, which is passing into the Upper Midwest. High pressure with a dry south wind will sweep the prairies, and we should have no problem getting though Kansas and Oklahoma, right on in to Sherman.

Valdosta, Georgia to Missoula, Montana

We’re going to be running  across the country for the rest of the week and right up into the weekend. We’ll be taking a 4 day trip, taking on 2390 miles, though the last day of the drive will be extra long. We’ll be working at a pace of about 68mph, covering 546 miles on the first three travel days, finishing it off on a very long Sunday. The kids are back in school soon, so let’s enjoy the time on the rod while we can.

 

DAY ONE (Thursday)

I’ve been looking forward to firing up one of these bad boys for a very long time, so here we are. Of course, the first impression of this journey will say “hey, maybe we should turn around and stay in Georgia.” A weakish area of low pressure is going to be translating through the Great Lakes and turning northeast to the Canadian Maritimes. For our purposes, that will mean a plume of moisture draped across the southeast. Bands of rain and thunderstorms will batter Georgia and keep Chattanooga damp for at least the time we are travelling through those regions. Life will improve by the time we hit Monteagle, Tennessee, with clearing, crisper skies continuing through Nashville, with the sun peeking through when we arrive in Cadiz, Kentucky, our destination for night one.

DAY TWO (Friday)
As we head both westward and towards the weekend, life will be greatly improved. High pressure is struggling to backfill behind that wide ranging area of precipitation on the East Coast. A weak boundary moving through the Upper Midwest will try to press into Missouri, but it will be absent the necessary moisture to help fuel showers and storms. We might see some cumulus near Columbia, Missouri, but it’s more likely that we skate through Friday completely dry before arriving in Amazonia, north of Kansas City. Sounds exotic.

DAY THREE (Saturday)
The north-south leg of our journey will mean a need to focus on weather moving west to east, and for the most part, there won’t be any. Expect a dry day, heading north on I-29 towards Sioux Falls, with only a few clouds north of Omaha. A trough will be elongating from the central Rockies towards the northern Canadian Prairies, and by the time we get to Sioux Falls, there will be some rumbles of thunder in southeastern South Dakota.. We should be clear of the really heavy stuff by the time we reach Mitchell, but fog and clouds will fill back in through Kadoka over night. Kadoka, by the way, is where we are stopping on Saturday evening.

DAY FOUR
Low pressure will begin to spiral up again in the Rockies, recycling moisture into western South Dakota. A dreary start to the day and to our drive will turn right around before we get to Billings. Around Crow Agency, we’ll say, the skies will clear and we’ll leave the rain in the Black Hills and head west through Montana, unencumbered by showers or thunderstorms. Expect wonderful weather by the time we reach Missoula.

Jonesboro, Arkansas to Athens, Georgia

As a Midwesterner, I love driving through the southeast. The weather is warmer, the drivers are faster and the roadside attractions are different. This one day trek seems fairly ordinary at first glance, but I can tell you that I would enjoy it. We’ll move through our route at a clip of 61.9mph, but I bet you we could go faster because slow drivers will stay in the right lane!


The weather in the southeastern US has been quite stormy over the last several days, and while that is going to continue tomorrow as we drive through Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, it will be considerably less active. High pressure is going to shift further to the east, opening up the back end and the Plains for showers and storms. This means that our best threat for rain and thunderstorms will be in northern Mississippi early Iin the day, but by the time we pass Hamilton, MS, the threat for persistent, heavy storms will have been lessened. In fact, I would say that after we have passed through Atlanta, the threat for showers and storms will be virtually nonexistent. Hotter than the dickens, though.

Lexington, Kentucky to Lansing, Michigan

All right, gang, let’s talk about a road trip. This time, we’re going to head from Kentucky to Michigan, which is only the length of Indiana apart (or Ohio, depending on your travel pleasure). The cities in question, Lexington and Lansing are only about 6 hours apart, so long as we take that Ohio route since Lexington is in eastern Kentucky. The mileage is 397mi, so our rate of speed will be nearly 68 miles per hour, which only leads me to believe that traffic laws in Cincinnati are loosely enforced.


There are two competing forces in the eastern third of the country. There is Tropical Storm Chris off the coast of North Carolina, generating a northerly flow through, and then there is a cold front ready to sweep through Michigan late this evening, attempting to draw moisture north. Instead of adding any convergence or convection, it’s just taking a lot of the moisture out of the atmosphere that would otherwise be available for the front. It will be getting a bit warmer in the afternoon on Monday, but the showers and storms that would otherwise be triggered by an open Gulf will be shunted west. We’ll get to Lansing before the front does, so that swift pace through Ohio will probably hold up just fine.

Ogden, Utah, to Lexington, Kentucky

We’re off for a fun little road trip today. The drive from Utah to Kentucky takes the familiar route along I-80 through most of Nebraska, but then swings us further south, toward I-70 for the second half of the trip. We’re going to forecast for the whole dang thing, one way or another. It’s a 3 day trek, covering 1650 miles. This means that the daily goal will be 550 miles, right on the nose. I think we can do it.

 

DAY ONE (Friday)

The beginning of July is one of the best times of year to drive through the mountains. You won’t have to worry about snow, for one thing, but also, wherever trees grow, they will be at their greenest of the year, before the daily sunshine scorches any available sun. There are some smoky forest fires in Colorado, which may provide a haze to the drive, however high pressure over the Plains is receding from the Rockies, and the air will begin moving and the haze might dissipate. The additional bonus of ridge pulling away will limit the convergence at the surface, and thunderstorms will likely be non existent from Ogden to Lodgepole, in the Nebraska Panhandle.

DAY TWO (Saturday)
While high pressure is moving away from the Rockies, it isn’t moving much further than that, remaining in the Plains and Mississippi Valley. This means the rest of the drive through Nebraska, and we’ll be able to sneak south towards Kansas City in comfortable weather for this time of year. We’ll make it to Odessa, Missouri, east of KC, for our daily stop.

DAY THREE (Sunday)
As the high pressure begins to break down later in the weekend, Gulf moisture will begin to filter north through Mississippi towards the tail end of our route. We’ll make it to St. Louis with no problems, and there won’t REALLY be a problem for the rest of the route, just a few isolated spits of rain through southern Illinois and into western Kentucky. If any really heavy rain falls, it would likely be right as we cross the Mississippi River, but we will probably slip past there before that is a real threat. Lexington will be returning to hot, sticky conditions as we arrive in town.