Category Archives: Road Trip

Grand Forks, North Dakota to Ames Iowa

Today’s trip will cover exactly 8 hours. Right on the nose. How about that. It’s a 528 mile journey, so if you do the math, that means we’ll average about 66mph, thanks to driving that will exclusively cover interstates. Let’s just hope that Ames isn’t underwater when we arrive. For once, Grand Forks isn’t.

The trip will get off to a somewhat rocky start with a cold front sweeping into northern Minnesota. Overnight, there could be a little bit of severe weather in eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota. The boundary isn’t moving terribly quickly, and we’ll be able to sink south of and shower or thunderstorm activity tomorrow after we have reached the Alexandria, Minnesota area. Since it’s still early in the morning, I don’t think we’re going to be in for any huge thunderstorms, just some nagging rain and thunder. South of the front, everything looks good. Look for the typically clear and warmer weather ahead of a front, which will envelope us all the way into Ames.

Morgantown, West Virginia to Amarillo, Texas

Today we embark on a 1,378 mile road trip from Morgantown, WV to Amarillo, TX. We’ll be taking it easy though, making the trip in three days at a fairly comfortable pace in covering roughly 460 miles a day. And away we go!


We head out of Morgantown northwards towards Pittsburgh, but we’ll make a west on I-70 before we reach the metropolis. A cold front pushing through the region will fire most of its activity off towards the east during the afternoon hours. There is a slight chance of a lingering shower along it during the morning hours as we continue westward, but things will dry and clear out as we continue our way westward into OH. Good weather should greet us for the rest of the day as we push into Indiana, finishing up at Terre-Haute, which is near the IL border.


Weak high pressure over the area will make for a fairly nice morning with some patchy light fog perhaps breaking up shortly after sunrise. We continue our jaunt down I-70 towards St. Louis. The cold front that moved through the region the previous day will keep the main concentration of shower and storm activity off towards the south over the TN and Lower MS Valleys. A weak disturbance along the tail end of a boundary lifting back over the Central Plains will sprout scattered shower and thunderstorm activity over much of the Plains states. We’ll be pulling into Joplin, MO, found near the KS/OK border by the late-afternoon hours while the skies cloud up. Some showers and thunderstorms are possible late evening into the overnight hours, hopefully they don’t keep us awake. We only have one more day to go!


A few straggling showers are possible over the Ozarks during the morning hours as the disturbance shifts northeast and dissipates overnight. The tail end of the cold front continues to camp out over the TN and Lower MS Valleys, keeping the diurnal thunderstorm activity south of our route. Models have been spinning up an area of low pressure along the Gulf Coast and by Wednesday, it could possibly develop into a tropical system as it shifts westward towards LA and far eastern TX. This focus of moisture southeast of our route will keep precip activity fairly isolated as we make our way past Tulsa and Oklahoma City and onto I-40 towards the TX Panhandle. Most of the afternoon and evening activity will be found over the Four Corners region as monsoonal thunderstorms ignite once again over the Rockies. A couple stray thunderstorms might find their way down towards Amarillo by early evening, but we should beat them to the city.

Springfield, Missouri to Jackson, Mississippi

It’s another delightfully brief road trip that will take us through the Lower Mississippi Valley on Friday. It will take roughly 8 hours to get from southwestern Missouri to western Mississippi, and will see about 494 miles tick off the odometer. If we’re driving a hybrid, that’s one tank of gas! We’ll be making the drive at about 61mph, if you were curious.

It’s just a nasty, unstable pattern for much of the country. There is heat and humidity everywhere, with weak little thermal troughs rippling through an indefinite pattern, touching off thunderstorms in a seemingly crazed, aimless pattern over almost all the country east of the Rockies. One such trough will continue to bring wet weather from southern Missouri to about Nashville. I suspect we will see a thunderstorm or two as we begin the drive, particularly until we reach the Arkansas border near West Plains. We should be drier but incredibly warm through Arkansas, with the rain from the tropical system in the Gulf potentially reaching as far north as Memphis, but we should be dry until we get to about the Kosciusko exit on I-55. It will probably be quite rainy in Jackson when we get to town.

Greenville, South Carolina to Tallahassee, Florida

Our Monday afternoon drive will be fairly enjoyable. It’s only about 7 hours from Greenville to Tallahassee, covering 414 miles. That puts us on a pace of 59.7mph, thanks in large part to some country roads and a trip through the heart of Atlanta.

For a drive through the southeast in the dead of summer, this will be a fairly easy trip. A low off the Florida coast will pass over the Peninsula and draw almost all focus for thunderstorms south of our route. It’s going to be so blasted hot and humid for the drive that there is that outside chance of a storm, but that likely won’t come until after we have been on the road for a while. I would say we will be dry until we reach Macon, after which we will fend off some isolated showers until we hit the Florida border. No rain is expected in Tallahassee, but it will be incredibly warm.

Fort Wayne, Indiana to Bismarck, North Dakota

I have lived in Lafayette, Indiana and Minot, North Dakota, but I have no record of either end point on our trip. That said, this two day, 994 mile trip will cover a lot of familiar ground for me. We’ll travel at a rate of 61.9mph and we’ll split the mileage nearly in half, going 495 miles on the first day.


This is road trippin’ weather if you ask me. I’m used to the long drives with temperatures in the 90s, humid with either the windows down or the AC blasting. It’s going to be hot through Chicago and parts of southern Wisconsin. Temperatures will begin to cool down with increasing clouds in the center of that state. By the time we reach Eau Claire, we may see some light showers or one of the isolated thunderstorms that will go up in northern Wisconsin, but we won’t have much further to go. Menomonie will be the stop Monday night.

The Tuesday trip may be a little long if we get a thunderstorm overnight in Menomonie, but we shouldn’t have issues because of the weather. The drive through Minnesota will be down right enjoyable. It always seems unfair that you have to drive for about three more hours when you hit the North Dakota line to get to Bismarck, but such is life. It will be hot and dry in North Dakota’s capital when we arrive.

Naples, Florida to Kingston, New York

We’re taking a trip from the Gulf Coast to the Hudson Valley between Albany and NYC. It’s a 1388 mile journey, surprisingly long, if you ask me, and will take us nearly three full days of driving. The first two days will net us only 496 miles, primarily because of our glacial pace of 62mph. I guess grandpa is driving us back from his winter home.


Part of the reason this drive is so long is that we are following almost the entire Florida Peninsula, which takes about 400 miles on its own. The extra 100 miles will take us to Savannah, Georgia, which is our destination on day one. Models are indicating that the seabreeze will be most active for Florida on the eastern side of the Peninsula tomorrow, which is great news for us, since our route takes us on the Gulf side. We will likely be just fine from Naples to about Ocala. Thunderstorms will be more problematic from then to Gainesville, and becoming more dispersed through Jacksonville and on to Savannah. Of course, this is summer in the southeast, so don’t be surprised if a storm does crop up over that tail end of the trip. It happens.

A cold front is sweeping through the east tomorrow, and is often the case, the tail end will stall through the eastern Carolinas. The most widespread thunderstorm activity will be in South Carolina, which is good, because it isn’t likely to be fully developed as we drive through. Still, the heaviest rain of the day will likely be between Lake Marion in South Carolina and the North Carolina border. After that, we should really dry out as we head through the rest of North Carolina and southern Virginia. Our day will finally end in Ladysmith, Virginia, which is between Richmond and Fredericksburg.

The next little wave will be rolling into the east coast as we travel through the bustling megalopolis. We should stay dry, but there is a chance at some isolated drizzle and mostly cloudy skies virtually through the whole day. Don’t let that deter you though, because the last hour and our arrival in Kingston will be quite lovely.

Salt Lake City, Utah to Gainesville, Florida

Today we travel from Salt Lake City to Gainesville. Well, it’ll take four days but if the Utes and Gators were ever to play a high-stakes football game, at least the fan base would know where to travel! This trip will cover 2,207 miles over 4 days. So let’s all hop into the minivan and travel to the Sunshine State!


It’ll be a somewhat cloudy start to the day in Salt Lake City, as some remements of overnight monsoonal showers and thunderstorms lift northwards over the region. While no showers are expected in the area as we head eastward on I-80 into Wyoming. The sun should break out fully as the morning progresses and the land heats up, but as with the typical monsoon routine, thunderstorms should start blowing up around midday. The tail end of a cold front that’s pushing through the Northern Plains will be the focus of showers and thunderstorm activity, most of which should stay out over the Dakotas and over Northern WY. Scattered thunderstorms are quite possible as we roll through Laramie towards Cheyenne, and a few should continue to hang around the region as evening approaches and we continue on into Western Nebraska towards Sidney, our first stop of the night. No severe storms are expected today, they should all stay well off to the north and east of today’s leg.


As the tail end of the cold front pulls away from the Upper Midwest and high pressure starts to build in, it should be a fairly nice start to the day as our trip along I-80 continues on its’ merry way. The base of the high pressure will continue to push down over NE and Western IA, keeping partly cloudy skies overhead as we roll through Kearney and Grand Island by early afternoon. Overall, it should be a rather pleasant day through and through as we turn southward and head into Kansas City, our stop for the second night.


The main dome of high pressure will continue eastward overnight into the Western Great Lakes, with the base of it pushing down into the Mid-MS Valley. With another system developing over the Northern Plains, a weak boundary will set up from southeast MO northwestward into the Dakotas. The start of the day will be nice, with us starting our way over on I-70 towards St. Louis. Clouds will build through the late-morning hours as a few thunderstorms attempt to develop over the region, with better chances as we make our way along I-24 to kick off the afternoon past Mt. Vernon, IL. The afternoon will continue to get a bit drearier though, as numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected to ignite over western KY and TN into the early evening hours. The windshield wipers should have gotten a pretty good workout by the time we roll into Nashville, our stop for the third night.


This area of high pressure has been rather kind to us for the most part the last couple of days, following us along the US and getting our days off to good starts. Today won’t be any different either, with it building southward into the TN Valley and Southern Appalachaians while the main center remains over the Central Great Lakes. The cold front mentioned previously will have pushed off the Eastern Seaboard mostly, but the tail end of it will have shifted to southeast GA/FL Panhandle and westward along the Gulf Coast. This axis will be the main area for showers and thunderstorms, which we won’t get to until well in the afternoon after making our way though Chattanooga by mid-morning and Atlanta by midday. Once we get south of Macon is where we’ll start to see increasing clouds and a few scattered storms, which we’ll have to dodge for the remainder of the day as we pull into Gainesville. Time to do the Gator Chomp!

Saint Louis, Missouri to Billings, Montana

We’re essentially headed west from the end of yesterday’s trip for our 2 and a half day trek from St. Louis to Billings. We’ll cover 1276 miles in total, and 538.9 a day. Lots of interstates and a whole lot of South Dakota means that our pace will be at 67.3mph. Pretty swift. Let’s be on our way.


A system is getting ready to explode over Siouxland, as it’s known, between Sioux Falls and Sioux City (South Dakota and Iowa, respectively). The associated warm front will be pushed north of Saint Louis, and the entirety of Missouri for that matter by the time we hit the road. Expect quality conditions for most of the day, only to see them dramatically deteriorate as we approach Omaha. Depending on how things go earlier in the day, things could be particularly nasty north of town with supercell thunderstorms just beginning to develop for the day between Omaha and Sioux City. We’ll be happy to end the day in North Sioux City, especially if the thunderstorms are still raging.

The general troughy pattern of the northern Plains will continue as we start our Friday drive. Showers and thunderstorms, though not as impressive as we will see Thursday, will crop up over northern South Dakota. Some of them could definitely sneak south to over I-90, our route for most of the day. Let’s again make it clear: Nothing as strong or severe as what we are expecting Thursday. The rain may even end by the time we reach Rapid City. We’ll keep soldiering on into Montana by the end of the day, and the town of Hammond in the far southeastern corner of the state.

No complaints on Saturday. It’s going to be beautiful, cool for the beginning of the day, warming up into the 80s by the time arrive in Billings. Hopefully won’t show up with hail damage (or as I call it, speed dimples)

Harrisonburg, Virginia to Saint Louis, Missouri

Back in the 1800s, the Mississippi seemed like some mythical destination for residents of the original Colonies. People would pack up and take weeks to get from the coast to a city like Saint Louis. Well, now it takes a day and a half to get from Harrisonburg to Saint Louis, a trip that covers 746 miles. That means we get to cover 510 miles per day at 63.6mph. Let’s do what the pioneers couldn’t and cover this ground quickly!


The drive tomorrow, Wednesday, is going to be appalling. A cold front is going to set itself to stall east to west right along I-64. Yes, we will be taking I-64 almost the entire day, how did you know? Essentially, we’ll be OK right up until we get to that interstate in West Virginia. Before we reach it, the drive will likely be mostly sunny with a few hit or miss showers. Then after we reach Beckley, WV, it will be almost nonstop thunderstorms. Some of them will have gusty winds, some of them will have hail, and almost all of them will have torrential rain. Ironically, the drive will end in Carefree, Indiana, which is west of Louisville.

The drive on Thursday will be easier than the one n Wednesday, no doubt. The will be some more rain to be sure, likely from when we get up in Carefree until about Mount Vernon, Illinois, but this rain will be associated with a warm front and will likely be more rain than thunder, and won’t create the torrential downpours we’ll see on Wednesday. Heck, by the time we arrive in St. Louis, we can expect sunny skies. Hot, sure, but sunny.

Napa, California to Farmington, New Mexico

We’re going to take a delightful road trip from beautiful Napa Valley to the 4 Corners of New Mexico, undoubtedly seeing some beautiful desert landscapes. It’s a two day drive that covers 1061 miles. The second day will be a few miles longer, as our 64.9mph pace will net us 519 miles on the first day, less than half what we want.


Things are rather chilly by the standards of southern California this summer.It’s still plenty warm near Death Valley, which is about as far as we will make it on our first day. We shouldn’t have to worry about too much weather, as we’ll be inland of the coast, which will keep us out of the clouds. Some models seem to think there will be some shower activity along the Mexican border, but we aren’t going that far south. We’ll stop in Fenner, California, which is not the most densely populated area.

We are in the throws of “monsoon” season in the west, and this typically means showers and storms for Arizona and New Mexico in the afternoon and evening. Depending on the flow, it can be fairly widespread, or it can just be an isolated cell or two causing headaches for the resorts of Colorado. New Mexico is almost always active, as wit will be on Wednesday. Actually, models indicate a more organized boundary scooting through the area, so perhaps a few more thunderstorms will be in the Farmington area than we should expect upon our arrival on Wednesday. Expect the threat to pick up pretty soon after we arrive in New Mexico maybe a few miles before that. Then all we have left to do is go out and enjoy the natural splendors of New Mexico. Land of enchantment!