Category Archives: Road Trip

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!

Greenville, North Carolina to Nashville, Tennessee

Today we get a nice long trip across I-40 from the Coastal Plains from NC to one of the hotbeds of country music, Nashville. I’ve actually taken this trip before, and midway we get to enjoy the picturesque Smoky Mountains. But will Mother Nature cooperate and give us some sunny skies to enjoy the scenery? Let’s see what this day-long 621 mile haul brings us!

We head out early today given the length of this trip, making sure to get out of the city before all of the college students from ECU can continue their weekend fun. An area of low pressure has been camping off the Outer Banks for the last few days, keeping scattered shower and thunderstorm activity over the region. This low pressure, however, is starting to drift towards the northeast as a cold front makes its way through the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, drawing the low pressure towards it. We expect a few scattered showers over Eastern North Carolina when we get going, however, with the cold front pushing through the Appalachians at this point, shower and thunderstorm activity is expected to quickly blossom during the late morning hours. By the time we roll past Raleigh towards Greensboro, the Rain-X we applied could be coming in pretty handy as some strong thunderstorms could kick up over the Coastal Plateau. By early afternoon, we should be heading towards Ashville, with much of the thunderstorm activity behind us heading towards the coast. With the front shifting through, skies should be clearing out, leaving us with fairly nice weather as we mosey on through the Appalachians into TN. There might be a couple lingering showers over the southeastern portion of TN during the late-afternoon/early-evening, but for the most part should be clear sailing as we speed on down I-40 towards Nashville. Country music awaits!

Morristown, Tennessee to Sioux City, Iowa

Remember how much fun we had yesterday with the day long road trip? Well, let’s try to double the fun with a two day trip from Tennessee to Iowa. It’s going to cover 1034 of the flattest miles you may ever see. All that travel will be done at a pace of 62.8mph, and we will get to shy of half way after the first day, covering a mere 502 miles. I’m ready. Are you?


The day may start a little slow for a variety of reasons. First, it will take an hour or so to get from Morristown to the interstate in Corbin, Kentucky were we can really start to drive. Second, the back side of a system moving through tonight may leave some memories in the form of some early morning showers for the Smokeys. By the time we are on the interstate, however, we will be able to drive quickly free of lingering showers and restrictive speed limits. We will end the day in Mansfield, Illinois, between Urbana and Bloomington.

Day two, Wednesday, will be a very easy drive. The interstates are good, the roads curve every once in a while to keep you engaged. Other than that do, it’s a good day for a road trip, with sunny skies and warming temperatures. Roll the window down and enjoy the open road on our way into beautiful Sioux City.

Cleveland, Ohio to Morristown, Tennessee

And here we are, with another 1 day journey. Just an extra half hour tacked on to the end of our typical 8, but it will be through the beautiful Smokey Mountains, so who are we to complain? It’s a 520 mile journey, which equates to our travel coming at a rate of 61.9mph. Shall we?

I’m not going to mince words. This drive is going to suck. We’re going to be following a cold front as we head from Cleveland to Morristown. In the morning, it will likely be a general rainy type of precipitation, with a stroke of lightning intermittently lighting up the sky. By about 1 in the afternoon, three hours in, the thunderstorms will really ramp up. The heaviest of the wet weather will come between Parkersburg and Charleston, West Viriginia as we start to come into the mountains, which will only help the development of soaking thunderstorms. Between Beckley, West Virginia and Abingdon, Virginia, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a break in the rain, but as we swing back southwest into Tennessee, some showers and storms will again be possible, though not as strong as we will have seen earlier in the day.

Toledo, Ohio to Rochester, Minnesota

This is going to strain our friendship, I think, this drive from Ohio to Minnesota. It will be just shy of 10 hours, which is under out threshold for one day’s driving We will definitely need some stretching when we are done with our 593 miles in the car. It’s going to be an interstate laden drive, buy the time in Chicago will slow us down and we’ll cover the distance at a pace of 60.3. Let’s make our way to the Mayo clinic.

It’s been an active week or so for the northern tier, but a squall line moving through northern Indiana, when it arrives in Toledo, will signal the beginning of the end of the stormy, nasty period for at least a day or two. Fortunately, one of those days will be the one we will be in the car. After Toledo shakes off some morning sprinkles, we will be on our way through some warm but not terribly oppressive weather as we inch through Chicago and eventually roll through Wisconsin, other areas that have been recently raked by severe weather. Actually, both Toledo and Rochester have seen their share of rough weather over the past couple of months. Let’s just keep driving and avoid the gawker slow down at people picking up the pieces after their rough weather.

El Paso, Texas to Lawton, Oklahoma

Just a one day journey today, headed to Lawton, perhaps the only site that you can get to in one day from El Paso. It’s a 655mile drive that will actually take us about 9 1/2 hours. IF you do the math, that’s a 68.5mph average, telling you all you need to know about the terrain we will be covering.

The drive will be extremely warm, with temperatures in the neighborhood of 100 degrees in El Paso and not much cooler through west Texas. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 90s all the way through the drive. The dry line will set itself up along the Texas/New Mexico border, but its associated storms won’t go up until around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, and by that time we’ll be between Abilene and Wichita Falls, well away from any inclement weather. Hot and dry will be the name of this long, steamy drive.

Pocatello, Idaho to Little Rock, Arkansas

Today’s trip takes us 1,555 miles from the lovely Rocky Mountains to the Land of the Ozarks. Off we go!


We begin out trip traveling east out of southern Idaho, watching a beautiful sunrise over the mountains. Well, if we’re lucky. A cold front is making its way through the Northern Rockies, streaming some high clouds out ahead of it with showers pushing their way through the Pacific Northwest. While we should stay dry during the morning as we make our way into southern Wyoming, the skies should remain mostly cloudy out ahead of the front. With the flow increasing ahead of the system, our main issue throughout the day will be gusty south-southwesterly winds of 25-35mph at times, especially in western Wyoming through some of the mountain passes. While we won’t get the worst of it, it’ll still be breezy as we travel through Cheyenne southward into Fort Collins, CO, the stop for our first night.

A fairly quiet start to the day as we travel southbound towards Denver, some partly cloudy skies greeting us. Our area of low pressure over the Northern Rockies is continuing to shift east and intensify some, increasing the southerly flow over the Plains. By midday, some showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop over KS as a remnant boundary kicks up activity. Most of this activity is expected to be off to our north, however, making for some picturesque scenery as we travel eastbound through Hays towards Salina. Some southerly wind gusts might catch us off guard as the low shifts towards the Northern Plains, and maybe a stray thunderstorm or two, but otherwise the evening shall end on a quite note as we roll into Wichita, KS.

Our friendly low pressure system is now shifting fully into the Northern Plains and deepening. The old frontal boundary that was lingering over the Central Plains yesterday has disintegrated as strong southerly flow continues to stream up through the Plains to the low. Also, broad high pressure is found from the Great Lakes down to the Lower MS River Valley, quelling much of the activity through the morning hours. With the low level jet feeding northward, our trip out of Wichita through Tulsa will be rather windy, but dry and sunny. Winds should die down as we cruise across the Arkansas state line at Fort Smith. While we may see some thunderstorms off in the distance, east of Little Rock, we should remain dry as we pull into the state capital.