Category Archives: Road Trip

Billings, Montana to Little Rock, Arkansas

Today we kick off a 3-day road trip from Billings to Little Rock. We’re going to be visiting a lot of the Great Plains during this trip, will Mother Nature make it an easy southward jaunt? Let’s find out!

DAY ONE

High pressure is found extending from the Northern High Plains southward all the way into the Southern Plains. This is gonna keep skies clear from our departure out of Billings down I-90 into northeast WY, then continue south on I-25 past Casper and Cheyenne before finishing the day in Ft. Collins, CO.

DAY TWO

Today we leave the scenic foothills of the Rockies and head Eastward on I-70 out of Denver into Kansas. Continued high pressure over the Central Plains will keep skies clear for another day, making for easy driving when we finish the night in Salina, KS.

DAY THREE

High pressure shifts off to the east as an area of low pressure attempts to get established over the Central Plains. It’ll be a dry start to the day, although clouds move into southern KS and Oklahoma overnight as southerly flow returns to the region. Clouds will break up some as we head past Tulsa towards Ft. Smith. Some late evening showers could pop up over southern Missouri/far northern Arkansas, but should remain off to the north of our route as we pull into Little Rock for the evening!

Bridgeport, Connecticut to Lake Havasu City, Arizona

This trip will cover 2,578 miles over 5 days, from Coast to Desert Southwest. Looks like there’s some weather we’ll have to push through to get there, so let’s get a move on!

DAY ONE

Cloudy skies and perhaps a light rain shower greet us as we head west from Bridgeport and eventually past New York City. As a storm system works through the Northeast, we’ll luck out and stay just on the warm side of this system as we head past Allentown and through southern PA. It’ll be a soggy day though as we meander down I-76 and I-70 to Wheeling, WV, where we end our day.

DAY TWO

Another storm system is shifting through the Midwest as we head into Ohio to start the day. Once again, we’ll be on the warm side of things so we just have to deal with rain as we head past Columbus on I-70. We’ll be spending all day on I-70, so navigating will be a piece of cake as we eventually pass Indianapolis, and by this time the precip will be behind us. We continue through IL and finish the night in St. Louis.

DAY THREE

Conditions go downhill overnight as yet another system shifts into the Central US (man we just can’t catch a break can wek?!). We wake up to rain showers as today we take a tour of I-44 towards Lebanon and Springfield. Rain will continue to plague our trip, first as we head out of St. Louis and a 2nd wave midday as we head through Joplin, with some thunderstorms possibly mixed in there as well. As we head past Tulsa though, we’re in the clear as the system pushes east, and we end our day in Oklahoma City.

DAY FOUR

Finally! An easy day today just heading west on I-40 as high pressure of sorts settles into the Southern Plains. More of just a period between systems than high pressure really. Easy sailing as we push into Albuquerque for the night.

DAY FIVE

Another day of all I-40 fun! And another easy day! Calm weather settles over the Desert Southwest and it’ll be a pretty smooth drive through the rest of western NM and AZ to Lake Havasu!

Carson City, Nevada to Minneapolis, Minnesota

Classic road trips need to head through South Dakota. That’s just the rule. This three day trip will do just that, so you know it’s a good one. We’re going to cover 3 days, with the third day lasting a little bit longer than the first two. Our drive will be 1,778 miles, done at a pace of 68.4mph, so our first two days will allow us coverage of 547 miles. The Rockies can be sketchy this time of year, but perhaps the rest of the drive will be a bit more manageable.


DAY ONE (Monday)

My fears of sketchiness in the higher terrain of the intermountain West will be confirmed on Monday. A sharp trough angled from the Canadian Prairies towards the Mojave will slice right across the Great Basin. The angle won’t allow the absorption of much moisture into the feature, and high pressure will prevent it from moving terribly quickly. Instead, expect gusty winds with some light flurries, particularly around the Elko area in northeastern Nevada. Accumulations won’t stack up, but in this part of the world, the breeze will make it difficult to see. There is a chance that the flurry activity will continue into the Bonneville Flats which provides an interesting conundrum. How can you tell if the snow is accumulating. or if it’s just the salt? We’ll make it to a slightly snowy Salt Lake City to call it a day.

DAY TWO (Tuesday)
Our trough will attempt to bring moisture in from the chilly eastern Pacific over the Wasatch, and it will largely be unsuccessful. There might be a few snow showers at the beginning of our day as we travel through the far northern end of the Wasatch range in northeastern Utah, but after that, the day will be pretty easy. Wyoming is going to stay clear of the snowy conditions, and we will end the day in the least populous county in the least populous state, north of Lusk at the Mule Creek junction in Niobara County.

DAY THREE (Wednesday)
Chilly upper level troughing is going to recede from the Upper Midwest on Wednesday, just in time for us to arrive. The sun will be out in full force, which is going to be great, because it will make a long day tolerable. IF the day wasn’t already 10 hours long, I would say stop at Mount Rushmore, but instead, I will just say get to Minneapolis, where you will actually get to experience a comfortable day.

Rockford, Illinois to Punta Gorda, Florida

Hey, it’s time to get road trippin’! We’re headed from Northern Illinois to South Florida in a road trip most Rockfordians can only dream of. We’ll take 2 1/2 days to cover the miles that need to be covered, which are all told 1,352. Our first two days will be pretty intense, covering 541.25 miles, but that’s thanks to some pretty stark terrain in Illinois and a speed of 67.7mph.

DAY ONE (Friday)

Sunset in Rockford, Illinois, USA.


Thanks to the fact that a route straight south of Rockford to the very bottom of the state takes a big jaunt to the east, towards Champaign, we will stay in the Land of Lincoln for at least 3/4ths of the day Friday, and then blow right through western Kentucky. There will be snow falling in northern Illinois thanks to a stalled boundary extending from the southern Great Lakes into the Plains. It could be breezy, but the light snow will only stack up a few inches, albeit those inches will be falling on a half a foot or so that is falling overnight tonight.. We’ll be out of it somewhere around Bloomington, and it won’t be chasing us on Friday, so conditions will be markedly warmer, and definitely drier as we make it all the way to the outskirts of Nashville.

DAY TWO (Saturday)

As we sleep in Nashville, a vorticity maximum will be gathering organization in the southeastern US, getting ready to mass an assault on Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. It will likely be pouring when we set forth from Nashville. The weather will only get nastier in the higher terrain between Murfreesboro and Chattanooga, with some thunder possible as well, but then, somewhere between Chattanooga and Rome, it will let up. Georgia is a hilly, verdant state, and there may be some haze or fog all the way to Warner Robins before it relents. Then, enjoy some good old fashioned humidity south on to Lake City in north Florida.

DAY THREE (Sunday)

That little vort max I mentioned is really going to haul in the moisture and really latch on to the original cold front that brought problems to us near Rockford. Remember that bugger? So as it sinks south, expect quite a bit of rain and wind, and ultimately a bit of snow and ice through Georgia, the Carolinas and the rest of the southeast. Except Florida. A vigorous flow across the peninsula will likely lead to some stray pop up showers, bot those will diminish towards the coasts. Punta Gorda is on a coast. It won’t be so bad!

Valdosta, Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee

Georgia is a big state, and we are expected to run the length of it. Tennessee is a lengthy state as well, but we will cover it the short way, and all told, our drive will be about 7 hours, covering 477 miles, most of it coming in Georgia. We will be on I-75 until we hit Chattanooga, and I-24 the rest of the way, and that works itself out to an average speed of 69mph, which is pretty nice.

 

Tonight will be a very rainy night in Valdosta. The tail of a cold front lies in the Carolinas, but a weak surface perturbation will move through northern Florida overnight and really ramp things up over south Georgia. The nice thing about this feature, however, is that it will also pull more quickly off shore, and pull any lingering moisture out of Georgia. By the time we head out tomorrow morning from Valdosta, the rain will already be on the eastern horizon. One of the challenges we may yet encounter will be some gusty conditions as the cold air arrives in eastern Tennessee. The wind may pick up between Atlanta and Chattanooga, but will taper off through the last couple of hours in the Volunteer State. There is a weak little band of light snow that should pass to the north of Nashville, but that’s not a guarantee. If nothing else, this should tell you that it will be a bit on the chilly side when we arrive in Nashville. (I should note that I am concluding this post just as the award for best Country Album of the year was announced at the Grammies. Weird.)

Lawton, Oklahoma to Joplin, Missouri

We’re on the road again this evening, but today’s trip will be a short little trek. We’re only going to take about 4 1/2 hours to cover 302 miles through Oklahoma before we call it a day at the southwest corner of Missouri. Let’s set forth and see if anything is going on in the Sooner State.



High pressure in the middle of the country is leading to unpleasantly cold air just being parked smack dab along our route, but it’s starting to retreat. As high pressure relents, there is a little bit of rising air in the Plains, which is leading to some flurries over eastern Kansas. Some of those snow showers will make their way into southwestern Missouri in the morning and might still be hanging around Joplin when we arrive. The rest of the drive, the part in Oklahoma, on the other hand, will be a pretty great drive. Stay in the car though, because it will be fairly chilly in Oklahoma, and not a soul will be out to say hi to you.

Wenatchee, Washington to Lewiston, Idaho

Today we have a pretty short road trip, only 227 miles from the lee side of the Cascades to just over the Snake River into Idaho. Let’s see what it’ll be like for our jaunt of a few hours.

The Cascades continue to get some higher elevation snows due to a warm front that’s pushing onshore from central BC down to Washington. Luckily, the only thing affecting Wenatchee is just some lingering fog and overcast skies. Cloudy conditions are expected to last throughout the day as we head southeastward and the fog should burn off by midday. That’s about the only trouble conditions we’ll have as temperatures lift into the upper 40s for a high as we pull into Lewiston.

Oxnard, California to Fort Smith, Arkansas

Hey, who’s ready for a nice road trip through the desert? It’s so cold across so much of the country, but we will be taking our route through part of the world that has been able to avoid the really cold stuff. If anything, it’s still unusually warm in the southwest. Our drive will take three days, covering 1564 miles. Our pace will be about 69mph, and the first two days will be longer, with a goal of 553mph.

 

DAY ONE (Sunday)

The good news for California is that the high pressure dominating the region right now is centered off shore, so there won’t be any Santa Ana winds whipping up flames through the Santa Barbara mountains. Hopefully, this will mean some rain soon to help neutralize the threat even further. Alas, as we drive through the desert California, we will encounter no such wet weather, and we will barely see any clouds, even in the high elevations where they tend to sneak up on you. Our drive will conclude after we have passed through Flagstaff and end up in the ghost town of Two Guns, Arizona. Sounds like a fun place.

DAY TWO (Monday)
Our second day on the road, and the first day of the year will be just as pleasant as the first day of the drive, and last day of 2017. We’re going to be cruising through New Mexico on the way to the Panhandle of Texas, stopping in the town of Wildorado, west of Amarillo. We’re going to be reaching the western edge of that cold area of high pressure at the end of the day, so while it may be fairly warm on Monday, don’t expect the last day to be as accommodating.

DAY THREE (Tuesday)
As I noted in the description of Monday’s forecast, expect some colder weather on Tuesday. Indeed, Oklahoma and Arkansas especially should expect near record cold as cold air pools along the I-40 corridor from Amarillo to North Carolina. Of course, our entire route falls neatly within that stretch of roadway. Clear skies east of Amarillo, but a very brisk feel to the environment when we get to Fort Smith.

Deltona, Florida to Muskegon, Michigan

Today we embark on a 1,257-mile, 3-day road trip from nearly coast to coast! The Atlantic Coast to Lake Michigan coast that is. One of my oldest friends lives in Muskegon, so let’s go pay her a visit, shall we??

DAY ONE

Okay, I know I was using the Atlantic Coast moniker a bit loosely, with Deltona being found a good 20-miles or so inland from Daytona. But that’s just a quick jaunt to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream! A boundary that’s been lingering over the FL Peninsula is keeping overcast skies around the Deltona area and we can expect some morning fog as we make our way towards Daytona. After that, however, skies should clear up and mostly sunny skies will greet up as we head towards Jacksonville, then head west/north on I-75 and continue into Georgia, with mostly clear skies all the way to Atlanta, our stop for the night.

DAY TWO

A strong area of high pressure continues to push down into the Midwest/Ohio Valley, bringing increasing frigid temperatures with it. This is keeping skies mostly clear as well, and today should be more of the same from yesterday. Sunny skies greet us as we push towards Chattanooga and eventually past Nashville before finishing the day in Louisville, much colder than when we started. Put on your party hats, it’s New Years Eve!

DAY THREE

Happy New Year! We’re gonna get a late start on the day because, well, hangovers are no fun. Also, the temperature this morning is going to be sub-zero, so lets let things warm up a bit before we head even further north. Mostly sunny skies will start our final leg, but clouds will increase as we head into Lower Michigan and eventually we’ll get caught up in some lake effect snow as north-northwest winds prevail over the region. It’ll be a slower drive throughout the afternoon hours thanks to these bands, but we eventually make it to Muskegon by early evening. Time for more celebrating!