Category Archives: Road Trip

York, Pennsylvania to Jonesboro, Arkansas

High pressure is beginning to become the norm across the country, which bodes well for our 979 mile, two day trip from Pennsylvania to Arkansas. As always, we will be slowed by the drive through the Appalachians, however we will be able to maintain a respectable 62.5mph pace. The first day will be a little bit longer, but we’ll cover 500 miles even on that first day. I hope you bring your sunglasses.

DAY ONE

High pressure has a crushing death grip on the center of the country. There is a little area low pressure over the northern Rockies trying to gather some energy, but that’s going to promptly fall apart in the face of the much stronger ridge. I guess what I’m trying to say is enjoy the drive, because you won’t have any weather to contend with. The day ends in Huntington, West Virginia.

DAY TWO
Kentucky is probably one of my favorite states. Very friendly people, a lot of beautiful natural phenomenon, and generally some of the best weather in the country by almost anyone’s measure. We’ll spend a lot of time in the Bluegrass state, so you’ll be able to tell me if you share my opinion on this second day on our trip. No problems in Kentucky, and none in Jonesboro either.

Blacksburg, Virginia to Jackson, Michigan

Talk about consistency. The last road trip I did was 507 miles. This one is about a 5K jog longer, at 510 miles. Will this jaunt from Virginia Tech to Eastern Michigan University have sunny skies? It’s the famous Hokies/Eagles showdown, road-trip style!

Upon our departure from Blacksburg, only a few scattered clouds are expected as high pressure continues to build into the Eastern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. For pretty much the entire trip northward through WV and Ohio, clear skies will rule, along with some gusts of 15-20mph. Don the sunglasses and enjoy the trip!

Mobile, Alabama to Blacksburg, Virginia

We’re on for a nice little day and a half trek to western Virginia. If it weren’t for the fact that we are in the furthest corner of Alabama to begin our voyage, we probably could have done this whole thing in a day. As it stands, we’ll net the 744 miles between Mobile and Blacksburg at a pace of 64.1mph, which ain’t bad. The first day will thus cover 512 of the necessary miles.

DAY ONE

An area of low pressure is slowly moving up the Appalachians from about West Virginia, it’s present location. It’s going to inch towards New England over he next 48 hours or so. Behind this front? High pressure and lots of it. Expect delightful conditions with northerly winds keeping temperatures from being oppressive in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The day’s drive will end in beautiful Knoxville, Tennessee, leaving just a few hours of mountain driving for Thursday.

DAY TWO
The low will break down over northern Virginia overnight Wednesday into Thursday and reform well away from our route for Thursday. This will end up being a perfectly timed little jaunt through the wilderness of the southeast. Virginia awaits!

Bloomington, Indiana to Cumberland, Maryland

A short trip today, only 507 miles. Not sure if dad will like having to spend an NFL Sunday in the car, but that’s what the AM band is for, right?

We head out from Bloomington and head north through Indianapolis, with some clouds expected from our small cutoff low sitting over Ohio. As we travel eastward past Dayton and Columbus, rain showers are expected as the system slowly drops southward towards the Southern Appalachians. Better chances of rain are expected as we head towards the OH/PA border, but should drop off once we make our way into extreme western MD. Clouds will continue to cover the sky as we make our way into Cumberland, with perhaps an isolated shower pushing into the area as we finish our trip. Time to check our fantasy football teams!

Springfield, Illinois to Santa Cruz, California

Why is it most of the road trips I write involve California? I know I lived there for 5 years, and twice as long as that in Illinois actually, but still. Oh well, with nice weather covering the western 2/3 of the country the beautiful weather here in the Twin Cities always makes us feel like we’re enjoying a piece of what CA gets nearly year round. Today’s trip will cover 4 days and 2,102 miles. Off we go!

DAY ONE

The tail end of a cold front will pass north of Springfield during the early morning hours, so outside of a few clouds perhaps, it should be a dry start to the day as we head west out of Central IL. Two words are going to be very popular during this road trip…. High Pressure. A large dome of it is shifting into the Central Plains, making for mostly sunny skies and dry weather as we travel though Northern Missouri to Lincoln, NE, and further westward to Grand Island, our stop for the 1st night.

DAY TWO

Well, nothing much to speak of today, weather-wise that is. The dome of high pressure continues to assert itself over the Central US, so nothing but pleasant conditions will be experienced for the trip west into Wyoming where we went the day at Rawlins. Unless of course, you forgot your sunglasses in Grand Island. Then all that squinting might get annoying.

DAY THREE

More sun, different day. As we delve further into the weekend, our old high pressure continue to squish any chances of precip along our route. Some afternoon thunderstorms are possible over portions of the Four Corners and Desert Southwest, but most of that activity will be isolated and well south of our route through Salt Lake City westward into NV where we end our day in Elko.

DAY FOUR

The coast is in our sights! The large ridge of high pressure that caused the Southwest to absolutely roast earlier this week (including an all-time record high in Los Angeles at 113 degrees) continues to control the Western US. What does that mean for the final day of our road trip? Severe thunderstorms! Massive tornadoes! Nah, nothing like that. Just make sure the car’s AC is working well as we make our way through the Sierra Nevada and into CA’s Central Valley by rolling through Sacramento towards San Francisco, and finally into Santa Cruz. Surfs up!

Pueblo, Colorado to Springfield, Illinois

I think this would be one of those drives that people would be willing to attempt in one day, but per our rules, we’ll break it down into two wonderful days. We’ll cover the 938 miles at a pace of 64.9mph. That means the first day will mean we can cover 518 miles. It’s going to be a solid drive, good opportunities to stop at road side attractions, because there won’t be any rain.

DAY ONE

There will be literally nothing exciting about this drive. well, nothing foreseeable anyways. There will be no rain, and the terrain will flatten to pancake like proportions. It’s a lot of empty countryside for our Wednesday route, which will take us into Manhattan…. Kansas.

DAY TWO
I would like to say Thursday will be better, and in a way it will be. We get to cross the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as well as pass through Kansas City and St. Louis. But really, in terms of weather, we couldn’t ask for a better trip. Sunny skies, temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s. As close to perfect as you get. Springfield will be just as pleasant when we arrive.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Knoxville, Tennessee

It’s the Philly-Knoxville express as we head from Pennsylvania’s largest city to the Smokeys of eastern Tennessee. It’s going to take us a day and a half to get there, covering 478 miles of the 625 on the first day of the trek. It’s going to be a fairly slow drive thanks to the stretch between Philly and DC, and we’ll only be covering ground at about 59.8mph. Let’s go drivin’!

DAY ONE

The first leg of our journey will be delightful, save for the incumbent traffic in Philadelphia, Baltimore and DC, as temperatures should be in the low 70s and there won’t be a bit of rain. A nice little ridge of high pressure is building into the Mid-Atlantic, but will also help pin some showers in the southern Appalachians. The threat for rain will pick up around Staunton, Virginia and will continue along with us right on down to the stop on our trip in Chilhowie, which is southwest of Roanoke. Isn’t that hw it always is? It starts raining as soon as we hit mountains.

DAY TWO
A weak little area of low pressure will develop over southern Alabama and shift north to be parked between Huntsville and Chattanooga by the time we are ready to go on Monday. It will be extraordinarily wet for our short drive through the high country along the Virginia/Tennessee border. Somewhere on the order of 1-2 inches will fall around the Tri Cities just during our 3 hour drive. We’ll finally make it to Knoxville, in need of an umbrella.

Alexandria, Louisiana to McAllen, Texas

This delightful Gulf Coastal drive will last just under the official 1 day trip threshold, lasting almost 10 hours. We’ll follow the Gulf Coast almost the entire way on the roughly 600 mile trip. If you can do the mental math, that means we’ll be covering roughly 60 miles an hour. Blame the pace on Houston traffic.


The flow over the Gulf remains easterly, which means some lower level clouds for many places in east Texas. The best threat for a sprinkle will crop up as we drive past the bays and estuaries along the coast, like near Houston and Galveston, or in the Victoria area. Every where else on the trip, expect partly to mostly cloudy skies with some muggy conditions covering the area. Keep the windows up and the AC on, it will make our little journey a little bit more tolerable. Especially if we are spending almost 10 hours in a car together. You wouldn’t want to sit next to me when I’m sweaty.

Billings, Montana to Abilene, Texas

This is a very similar trip as one we took a couple weeks ago, from Rapid City to Laredo, in which we spent our time mostly in the high plains on our way to West Texas. It will be a trip of two days and change, covering about three hours of Texas highway on the third day. It’s a 1234 mile drive that we will cover at a speed of 65.7mph, thanks in large part to the empty expanses we will cover. At that rate, we’ll cover 525 miles on the first two days in the car. There is a lot of prairie between Billings and Abilene, so let’s hitch up the wagon.

DAY ONE

A warm front appears as though it will be a little bit more well established over Montana than the forecast had called for yesterday, so there looks to be a good chance for rain through until we exit Montana around noon. As we drive through Wyoming and into northern Colorado, expect clearing conditions, with the undulating elevation being the only issues to speak of. The day will end in Dacono, a suburb north of Denver.

DAY TWO
We should be good on our second day in the car, but as we approach the border with Oklahoma and then into Texas, there will be a very remote chance for a thunderstorm anywhere from Lamar, Colorado south to Memphis, Texas, our stop for Saturday. I wouldn’t count on storm chasing because the possibility is so remote, but it is worth mentioning. The better chance is that we stay dry all day, and start to get very warm.

DAY THREE
Tropical Storm Karl will be slamming into the coast south of the Mexican Border, but his impact will still be noticed all the way up between Memphis (which is west of Childress, if you are looking for it on a map) and Abilene. It will cut off any moisture, some good subduction will be seen across the area, and we will be left with a very pleasant drive to finish things off.

Madera, California to Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Just one post today, and it’s a road trip, from the Central Valley of California to the shores of Lake Michigan in California. It’s a 4 day journey to cover the 2241 miles. That means we will pick up 536 miles on the first three days (the 4th will be longer) at a rate of 67mph. Here’s hoping for high pressure the whole way through!

DAY ONE

There is an area of low pressure over the Great Basin, but even this system will keep all of it’s associated moisture north of the route. Against our better instincts, we’ll actually head south to start, and that will take us through the dry desert, the Las Vegas metro and into beautiful southwestern Utah, near Toquerville which is fairly close to Zion National Park.

DAY TWO
The cold front associated with the low that will stay north of us will also not cause us much concern. Instead, we’ll be able to enjoy the magnificent scenery and hope the radiator in our car is functioning properly, as we’re going to fight the elevation changes all the way to Frisco, Colorado, which is east of Vail.

DAY THREE
We’re just going to keep on chasing that front right on out of the mountains. It will be rather dry and cool for the entire trip, and the sun will be shining brilliantly the whole day through. Expect to arrive in Wood River, Nebraska (near Grand Island) wondering what happened to all the mountains.

DAY FOUR
This is where we’re going to make our money. Lots of turns to pay attention to, and quite a bit of country roads. It will still be sunny, still be dry, still be cool. It’s going to be a good way to pull into Sheboygan.