Category Archives: Road Trip

Jefferson City, Missouri to Gainesville, Georgia

We’re going to take a day and a half to sneak from Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri, to Gainesville, Georgia, the Chicken Capital of the World. The World! It’s a 683 mile drive, of which we will cover 483 miles on the first day. A lot of time spent off the main roads will mean a pokey 60mph pace. Well, let’s get pokin’ already!

DAY 1

Our first pokey day in the car will spend time in St. Louis and Nashville before terminating in Smyrna, Tennessee, which lies on the southeast side of Nashville. The drive should be all right, as a stationary front is wrapping from northern Illinois to Northern Missouri and southwest towards Oklahoma. South of this boundary, we’ll get to see some hot weather by afternoon, but we won’t have any other problems than that, especially if the rain stays along the front, north of our route, as it’s expected to.

DAY 2
All the moisture being trucked north from the Gulf is being brought north on the backside of a weak ridge in the southeast. That means all the showers and storms are going to develop over Texas and the southern Plains, and the front, as it sags south towards our route will dry up. Expect some clouds, though, and still warm weather as we arrive in Gainesville.

Salisbury, Maryland to San Jose, California

For the 2nd straight time, we have a ridiculously long road trip to embark on, from sea to shining sea (so to speak). This one covers 2,959 miles. Hope you brought enough snacks.

DAY ONE
The high pressure ridge over the Eastern US will make for some near record warmth over the Northeast as we make out way past Baltimore and through Hagerstown, PA. Clouds will be on the increase as we make our way past Pittsburgh as low pressure over the Southern Great Lakes will push a vigorous cold front eastward. Strong to severe thunderstorms are expected over the Mid-MS Valley and into the Ohio Valley later in the day. Luckily, we’ll escape much of this activity until we make it to Cleveland, our 1st stop. Gusty winds are expected later on in the day as we make our way through the Appalachians. Some scattered showers are possible ahead of the front late in the evening, with some thunderstorms possible late at night as the front makes its way through OH.

DAY TWO
The cold front will be moving through Cleveland right around when we wake up, which could make for some interesting traffic as rain and some thunderstorms are expected during the morning rush hour. Once the front moves through, however, precip should trail off pretty quickly and gusty winds switch around from the northwest. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler today thanks to the new air mass spilling in from the Upper Midwest, and those gusty winds won’t be helping matters much either. In any event, rain showers should tail off by late morning as we make our way out of Indiana into northern Illinois. Quiet conditions should greet us for the rest of the day through Iowa City, IA, our stop for day 2.

DAY THREE
Alas, it’s a quiet day for us as we continue our tour of I-80. High pressure ridge has developed over the Central US as the lingering end of a cold/stationary front is found parked over the Dakotas. An area of low pressure attempts to weakly form along the front in the Northern Rockies, but will otherwise remain fairly benign. Some high clouds will greet us as we pull into Ogallala, NE for the end of the day.

DAY FOUR
An area of low pressure will develop over the High Central Plains during the day today as we’re making our way westward into southern Wyoming. The lingering cold/stationary front over the Northern Rockies will pretty much camp out where it is, however some increased shower activity will kick up over the Dakotas and northern WY. Some of these wandering showers might wet the windshield as we travel through southwestern WY, but will wind down during the late evening as the sun sets for the day. Some thickening clouds will be expected as we pull into Salt Lake City for the night.

DAY FIVE
An upper-level trough will be digging into the West Coast, spreading showers throughout the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies. Luckily, most of these showers should stay off to the north of I-80 as we continue our westward push out of SLC and into the high deserts of northern NV. Sunglasses probably won’t be needed today as clouds will continue to stream over the region ahead of the advancing trough, but shower and isolated thunderstorm activity should be mainly found over Oregon and Idaho throughout the day. Conditions should be nice as we pull into Reno, NV, our stop for the day. We’re almost there!

DAY SIX
As broad low pressure continues to develop over the Northern Rockies into the Northern Plains, a cutoff area of low pressure will have swung well off the CA coastline before making an easterly turn towards Baja California. The main impulse of energy over the Pacific Northwest will shift into the Northern Rockies, and inbetween these 2 systems, a brief ridge of high pressure looks to develop over Central CA into Southwest OR. This couldn’t be timed any better, since it’ll keep the rest of our trip through the Rockies, through Sacramento, and into the Bay Area, finally arriving at our final destination! After two long trips like this, I think the family is going to not mind about those airline fees and just fly.

Greensboro, North Carolina to Altoona, Pennsylvania

Welcome to a road trip featuring one of the longest titles ever. It’s going to be a 7 hour trip, and covers almost 400 miles. Expect a slow rate that covers ground at about 56mph. Shall we?


Our drive on Saturday will be rather easy. We’ll meander through the mountains of the eastern time zone. Expect warm temperatures for the day, well above average. Keep the windows down, because we won’t have any precipitation at all for the entire 7 hour day. Altoona could be clearing 80 by the time we get there!

Denver, Colorado to Gainesville, Florida

From the foothills of the Rockies to one of the biggest party schools in the nation, our drive is going to cover 1737 miles. Better hit the road!

DAY ONE

A rather vigorous upper-level trough is digging into the Western US, with an area of low pressure intensifying over the Central Plains. This area of low pressure won’t move very much throughout the day, but strong low-level flow out ahead of it is going to make for some VERY windy conditions for nearly the entire route between Denver and Kansas City. A couple of light rain showers are possible in the Denver area during the morning hours as we head our way eastwards into Nebraska, but for the most part the trip today should be dry as the cold front makes its way out of the Four Corners and into the High Plains from Kansas to western Texas.

DAY TWO

The cold front will continue to move through the Central Plains during the overnight into Friday morning, drawing closer to KC. However, most of the precip will remain right along the front, so showers should be of worry as we push eastward through Missouri during the morning hours towards St. Louis. However, winds will continue to be gusty out ahead of the front so keeping the car on the road will require a little bit of attention. By then end of Friday, the cold front will have made its way into Missouri, but winds will be lighter over central TN, where we’re parking in Nashville for the night.

DAY THREE

Once again, it’s a race against the cold front. By morning, rain and thunderstorms will have made their way to Memphis, with a chance of a few spotty showers pushing as far east as Nashville.  Things should dry out as we head southeastward through Atlanta, as high pressure over the East Coast will put the kibosh on any significant amount of showers pushing too far ahead of the front. Winds will be a lot calmer today as well as we push towards FL, due to the high pressure. Mostly clear skies should greet us in Gainesville as we arrive in the late evening. Saturday night in a big college town, surely there will be a couple of parties to relax after a long trip!

Elizabethtown, Kentucky to Denver, Colorado

We’re heading west towards the mountains, perhaps to get in a final ski run for the year. It will be a two day trip covering 1155 miles. We’ll do it at a pace of about 65mph and try to put 520 miles behind us on the first day. We’re looking at a lot of Plains on this trip, but will we be dodging any rain? Let’s find out!

DAY ONE

There is a good chance that we will drive for many miles without seeing a cloud in the sky. As we start hitting some wind, likely around Mount Vernon, Illinois, clouds will begin to increase as moisture from the Gulf picks up. We won’t have many problems with this trip, especially as we drive through St Louis where the 15mph winds will be blocked by higher walls around the interstates. We’ll get to Bates City, Missouri, which is just outside the Kansas City metro for our first day.

DAY TWO
We’re in for a much longer drive on Thursday to make up the rest of the ground. Expect a drive unfettered by things like rain or precipitation. Temperatures are going to climb and perhaps be in the 80s as we trundle off through Kansas, with clouds on the increase and winds nearly constantly blowing at about 20mph. As we arrive in Denver, there is a slight chance that some light rain could be falling in Colorado’s capital. That means snow in the mountains!

Naples, Florida to Beaumont, Texas

Today’s journey will wrap us around the Gulf Coast for a couple of days. It’s a 1054 mile drive, and we will be able to net 533 miles on the first day thanks to a rapid pace of 66mph. Making good time, having a good time. Or something.

DAY ONE

An area of low pressure is developing over the center of the country, and doing so rapidly. Our first day will take place entirely in Florida, and it’s a matter of timing for when that cold front comes crashing into the Florida Peninsula. I say we will see some passing clouds, maybe an occasional area of showers until Ocala, when we are due for the initial wave of heavy thunderstorms. We stand the chance of seeing some heavy weather until at least Live Oak, maybe even all the way to Tallahassee. In Florida, these strong thunderstorms are typically windy systems with occasional small tornadoes, so be on the lookout for that, and keep your hands on the wheel. The day will end in Caryville, which is in the Panhandle.

DAY TWO
After the heavy weather on our first day in the car, it’s going to be a rather pleasant drive on Monday. Behind a cold front, we’ll have a west-northwest flow that will cut the stifling heat that one might expect along the Gulf Coast. Even the humidity will be down somewhat as we arrive in sunny, beautiful Beaumont.

Allentown, Pennsylvania to Santa Cruz, California

Yup, a grueling 2906mile cross-country trip that’ll take 6 days. Best get on our way…

Day 1
Clouds will be streaming over Allentown early in the day as a warm front slowly lifts its way towards the Southern Great Lakes. The first half of the trip should be fairly benign with clouds thickening and lowering, however, light rain showers will begin to show themselves by early afternoon. As we make our way into Ohio and head towards Cleveland, some moderate rains will be possible as the main area of low pressure that’s affecting the region passes off to our south. No thunderstorms are expected for us, as those will remain a decent distance towards the south. We will need to make sure the windshield wipers are in working order though as we finish off the day making our way towards Toledo, the stop for our first night. A few light rain showers will still be possible in late evening, but will continue to dwindle overnight as the system presses eastward.

DAY TWO
Dry weather greets us as we wake up for our next leg of our trip, but will be markedly cooler with morning lows in the upper 20s with high pressure starting to build in during the morning. Mostly sunny skies are expected as we trek into northern Indiana with temps warming into the 40s by midday. Today should be a fairly non-descript day as we continue past the south side of Chicago and towards the Quad Cities. Southerly winds might pick up some towards the latter pary of the day as we make our way to Des Moines, our stop for the day, as another system starts taking shape over the Southern Plains.

DAY THREE
As an area of low pressure ejects into the Southern Plains, the winds could kick up a lil bit during the morning hours as we hop back onto the I-80 and continue our westward march through the Plains. Some light rain is possible during the morning as the low pressure makes its way fully into the Plains, but will increase to a possibly heavier steady rain as we continue west on I-80 through Omaha and through the Cornhusker State. Rain will start to lighten up as we cruise past North Platte and pretty much end as we make our way past Ogallala. Clouds will continue to linger over the area as we make our way to Sidney, NE, the halfway point of our journey.

DAY FOUR
By now the kids are getting restless as the batteries in the Gamy Boy gets low, but soon they’ll have something to keep them entertained, mountains! The topography that we’ve been lacking the last couple of days will show up almost immediately as we make our way into Wyoming and past Cheyenne. High pressure will be moving over much of the Rockies today, so aside from some lingering low clouds early in the day that’ll burn off, just some mostly high clouds will dim the sun from time to time as our exploration of I-80 continues. Again, today should be a fairly non-descript day as we wind our way into the Rockies and finish our day at Salt Lake City. Who’s up for a swim!?

DAY FIVE
A large trough is going to start moving its’ way towards the West Coast, so clouds will be on the increase as we make our way out of Utah and wind our way through Northern Nevada. The view should still be entertaining and clouds will remain high as the thicker ones haven’t quite been able to push over the Sierra Nevada just yet. A couple of isolated showers are possible during the early afternoon north of Battle Mountain and Winnemucca, but our afternoon should continue on the dry side. A couple of stray showers might be able to make their way over the mountains and into Reno as we finish our day, but most of that action should be moving in overnight.

DAY SIX
We finish our exploration, and our trip, today as we make our way up into the Sierra Nevada towards Truckee, CA. Most of the heavier rains will have happened during the overnight, and begin to lighten during the morning hours. It’ll be slow going during the morning with the wet roads and steep grades, but luckily today’s trek is not nearly as long as the rest of the trip. Conditions will dry out as the bulk of the system pushes into the Northern Rockies. A few lingering upslope showers are possible as we head out of the Tahoe National Forest, but for the most part the rest of the day should be on the dry side. Some low clouds will continue to linger over the area as another system will move in towards the overnight hours, but the rest of the drive into Santa Cruz should by dry, but cloudy. Finally, we’ve arrived at the Pacific Ocean! And we didn’t even need to ford a river.

Columbus, Georgia to Gainesville, Florida

It’s a little shorty with this shift, that will take less than 5 hours. We’re headed south into Florida, a trip that will cover 279 miles. If you do the math, that means a slow pace of 59.4mph. Let’s go ahead and inch our way to Florida.


Not only will the drive be brief, it will be remarkably easy. There could be a few lingering clouds over southern Georgia, but really nothing that should hinder our drive. Things will simply clear out, probably by the time we reach Albany, Georgia. Sunny and seasonably cool conditions await us in Gainesville.

Jonesboro, Arkansas to Newport News, Virginia

Are you excited for this two day excursion that will zig-zag from northeastern Arkansas to southeastern Virginia. It’s a 974 mile, mountainous journey that will put us through 2 full days of driving. In a perfect scenario, we’ll drive at 63mph and nail down 505 miles on the first day. We’ll see how that goes.

DAY ONE

The first day of our trip will be rather wet, to say the least. The center of low pressure will pass right over Arkansas and push an occluded front with some heavy raun and even a Thunderstorm right over Jonesboro early on Sunday. the heaviest of the rain will have pushed off to our east at 10, our departure time, but as we head to the east we will catch up with the very heavy rain once again. By the time we reach Jackson, Tennessee, the light, scattered showers will turn themselves into heavy rain again, with thunderstorms in the mix as well. We’ll have to contend with fairly strong showers or storms until we reach Cookeville. We may see some clearing after that, but the boundary will still chase us on into Morristown/Lowland Tennessee, which is in the far eastern corner of the state.

DAY TWO
The system will pull it’s self through the Appalachians and the Smokies and we will be in line, perhaps, for some snow as we wake up in the highlands of Lowland, Tennessee. It won’t be much, but there will continue to be the threat for a flurry mixed in with any spotty showers up along the spine of the Appalachians to I-64, where we will make our eastward turn, when our mix will turn to all rain again. Today, we’ll be behind the the front, however, so the threat for thunder is reduced. It will certainly be dreary as we arrive in Newport News on Monday evening.

Allentown, Pennsylvania to Montgomery, Alabama

Our late week drive is going to be a two day trip south to Alabama. It’s a 961 mile journey that we will cover at a rate of almost 63mph. We’ll net ourselves 503 miles on the first day and finish it off on day two. It looks like we will be having a pretty enjoyable drive, so let’s bundle up and head on out!

DAY ONE

Another area of low pressure is developing over the southeast, preparing to shift jut off the coast. We won’t see any rain or anything out of this system, but moisture wrapping around the circulation will likely interact with the Appalachians and produce some clouds almost as soon as we pass into Virginia. They will stay with us right on until we reach Bristol, along the Virginia/Tennessee line.

DAY TWO
As we sleep in Bristol, the low off the coast will pull away from the coast and allow some clearing to find it’s way into eastern Tennessee/western Virginia. Clouds will be reluctant to depart because of our position in the hill country, but as we hit flatter land south of Chattanooga, we’ll be able to enjoy some sunny, warm conditions. We’ll see them all the way to Montgomery.