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Nest Cross Country Driving Route in Winter

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Gypsy

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Umm... that was supposed to be "Best" not Nest.


BTW: Anyone have an opinion of leaving on Christmas at 7pm ish to get to Virginia (past DC is the goal) versus leaving on the 26th at 7 am?


FI and I have a difference of opinion.

We are driving with 3 cats in a 4 cylinder Camry from Central NJ to Northern CA next week. He thinks taking the 'direct route' through the ROCKIES in the dead of winter is a good idea. Because it's 'quicker'... and I don't.

I want to head South then hook up with Hwy 10 somewhere in AZ... then head up north once in Nevada (or somewhere)... I think this will be quicker even though the mileage is greater as there will be less snow to slow us down. He thinks the desert is dangerous.

So... for those of you who have driven around the country a bit.... Can you help us out with some advice?

I already have emergency food and water and medical supplies. No room for sleeping bags in case of getting stranded and honestly... no budget for a good subzero sleeping bag either as we do no camping and it would only be for this trip... and that won't help the cats anyway if we get stuck somewhere.

GPS system is out of budget as well.

We are leaving NJ on the morning of the 26th (traffic will be a joy, I'm sure) and hoping to be in the SF Bay Area on the 31st or 1st at the latest.
 

movie zombie

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it won''t be quicker if he gets snowed in somewhere and has to pay for a motel....and that''s if he''s not stranded on the road. yep,, head south to 10 and take 5 north from los angeles.

movie zombie
 

Bunnifer

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I second Ladykemma''s route. I''ve made the cross country drive many times with my sister and we''ve taken Rt.40, I-10, and I-80, on various occasions. (She went to school at UC Davis and we live in DE.) With the winter storm in CO, I would NOT recommend taking Rt.40 or I-80. When you get out there, the roads are probably going to be terrible. I would definitely recommend I-10 all the way out west and hang north when you get to LA.

Also, I would HIGHLY recommend getting a AAA TripTik. They are the best, especially if you need to figure out when to stop for a "potty break." Also, make sure you get your car inspected before heading out, and MAKE SURE you ask for the windshield wiper fluid that does not freeze, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse and you end up in a cold front. The first time I made the trip with my sister, we took I-80 in December and it was so cold that the windshield wiper fluid froze and it wouldn''t squirt. It got really bad when the roads were slushy and we couldn''t wipe the windshield b/c the fluid froze. Anyways, just a friendly tip for cross-country travel in the winter.


Enjoy the drive! Those drives were some of the best trips I ever took. Good luck
 

ladykemma

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letus not forget about the SIERRA NEVAda as well. another huge snow covered mountain range at lake tahoe/reno.
 

ladykemma

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This has been edited:

ok - one day to get to pascagoula/mobile/atlanta (need I-85) . another 2 day to get to houston. It is 16 hours from houston to atlanta.

. another day to el paso. another day to palm springs. another day to SF.

5-6 sane rational days. surely you are stopping and not driving all the way through?
 

Bunnifer

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Date: 12/21/2006 7:59:03 PM
Author: ladykemma
ok - one day to get to pascagoula/mobile/alabama/atlanta. another day to get to houston. another day to el paso. another day to palm springs. another day to SF.


4-5 days. surely you are stopping and not driving all the way through?
My sister, her best friend, and I made the drive in 3 days one time. But, that was 3 people driving close to 16 hours a day. If it's just the two of you, it will be a stretch but if you're dedicated drivers
, you can do it. Just bring thermoses to store coffee so you don't have to stop every time you need a caffeine shot.


ETA: Three days was taking I-80. I think when we took I-10, it took 4 days.
 

ladykemma

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oh, pay attention there are still no hotel rooms in new orleans/slidell area. do not plan to stop there.
 

Gypsy

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AAA needs 2 weeks to give you that book thing.

MZ... that's my point exactly.

Lady K (THANK YOU!)... I 95 goes straight to 10? ETA: Umm... why am I going to Atlanta and I-85?

Windsheild wiper fluid that doesn't freeze. Got it. The car is only 7 months old... I still need to have it checked out???

No hotel rooms isn New Orleans... am I going to New Orleans? I need pet friendly hotels. 3 Cats.

And yes. Sane 12 hour driving days. Him doing 8, me doing 4. ETA... Are you suggesting 16 hour days Lady K?? With the cats?
 

ladykemma

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Date: 12/21/2006 8:27:34 PM
Author: Gypsy
AAA needs 2 weeks to give you that book thing.

MZ... that's my point exactly.

Lady K (THANK YOU!)... I 95 goes straight to 10? ETA: Umm... why am I going to Atlanta and I-85?

Windsheild wiper fluid that doesn't freeze. Got it. The car is only 7 months old... I still need to have it checked out???

No hotel rooms isn New Orleans... am I going to New Orleans? I need pet friendly hotels. 3 Cats.

And yes. Sane 12 hour driving days. Him doing 8, me doing 4. ETA... Are you suggesting 16 hour days Lady K?? With the cats?
i am suggesting 8/9 hour sane days. i was just looking at the atlas and might consider I-95 to atlanta, then across on I-20 to el paso. don't dip as far south.

look at a map and you will see why i suggest passing thorugh atlanta.

on I-10 you will be passing thorugh new orleans.

go buy a road atlas at barnes and noble. a good one.
 

Bunnifer

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If the car is only 7 months old, it probably doesn''t need to get checked out.


I think the easiest route is I-95 to Jacksonville, hit I-10 in Jaxville and follow it all the way out to LA where you can catch I-5 north to SF. But, you might want to check out an atlas to see if there is a more direct route. Although this is the easiest (since you''ll be on interstates the whole time), you''re kind of following the bottom of the US to get to SF.

As a less southern route, you could take I-95 to Benson, SC and catch I-40 all the way out to Barstow, CA and then hook up somewhere out there to I-5 or another interstate to SF.
 

ladykemma

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what bunnifer said.

if you go the I-40 route, might want to adjust the last leg of the trip to avoid the mojave desert and so you can get across the sierra nevada. they close a lot of the roads across the sierra nevada for the winter. i don't remember which ones.

edited: never mind my comments on the mojave. mojave ok, i was thinking of death valley. you can get straight across to bakerfield. no problem. then jump over to 5.

I-40 will get you there the whole way. only mountains in flagstaff, should be ok.
bunnifer you said no I-40 in the winter?

this is fun! anyone else?
 

Tacori E-ring

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I have a friend who drove alone from SF to Charlotte with her dog. She said every motel 6 are pet friendly so that is where she stayed. I am not sure the route she went but I think she said it took her around 5 days. Good luck!!!
 

Gypsy

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Thank You Lady K and Bunnifer. I will definitely check out an Atlas tonight. We have to buy one anyway.

By the way, does anybody have any idea whether leaving on Christmas day, or early morning on the 26th, would be better in terms of traffic?
 

Bunnifer

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I originally said "avoid I-40," but what I meant to say is avoid the part that goes through Indiana and Colorado.
It's been a while, but when I took it back to Davis, CA, I think we took I-40 to Route 66 and avoided the wintery parts of the nation. I think it still takes you to LA or Pasadena, where you can pick up I-5 to go up to SF.
 

monarch64

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All the useful info I have to add is this: since you don''t have subzero sleeping bags, I''ve heard to conserve body heat you should both get naked and share as many blankets/coats/clothing on top and around yourselves as possible.
Seriously!

Good luck on your trip...I will be thinking of you and kinda worrying the whole time!
 

Gypsy

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You've all been so helpful! Fiance is now firmly on board with the "south bound" plan. (Thank you MZ) and is checking on Motel 6's as I type -- thank you Tacori(Four seasons and Red Roof Inn are also pet friendly FYI).

I asked him to get some flea medication/ Advantage from the vet as they are indoor only and we don't normally use that stuff (we are just careful about fleas and have never-- to date-- had a problem, thank God!) but need to be careful on the road.

He's also checking on the windshield wiper fluid today AND the movers are coming to pick up our stuff. I'm flying out tonight (red eye) and will be there at 5 am tomorrow.


Altas, check! We will finalize route later today. Luggage is in the car. Getting of work at 4:00. I'm nervous about the drive.

MONARCH honey, thank you for the tip and the concern! Will update (we'll have the laptop) during the trip if we can!!
 

Gypsy

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BTW: Anyone have an opinion of leaving on Christmas at 7pm ish to get to Virginia (past DC is the goal) versus leaving on the 26th at 7 am?
 

oldminer

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I''ve driven cross country several times on the motorcycle. The Denver I-70 route is a scenic one, but the desert route is far better in winter. Go through St. Louis, MO and head for Interstate 20 instead of I-10 for a nice, more southerly western route. The desert is not dangerous. Take a couple bottles of drinking water. No problem.
 

Tacori E-ring

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Gypsy, did you talk to your vet before this trip? When we moved from WI to NC with our cat he gave his muscle relaxers. She get SOOO stressed in the car she would have cried the whole way without them.
 

Gypsy

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Kitty Valium. Yup.
Gonna give it a whirl tomorrow so that we know if they have any reactions to it before we leave.
 

Tacori E-ring

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We gave it to two different cats. One when I was younger and we moved states. He got SOOO stoned! Don''t be nervous if you see his second eye lids (don''t know what they are called). He was doing a wierd thing with his tongue too. My cat now just got sleepy. She did pee on herself but allowed me to give her a bath since she was on drugs.
 

eks6426

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Gypsy--I''m not going to comment on the route...seems like you have good advice. One thing you might want to keep in mind for leaving Christmas Day: It''s hard to find open gas stations. If you are going to just travel as far as one full tank will take you then you''re fine, but other than that it can be a challenge. Same with restaurants for stopping. Even a lot of the fast food places are closed on Christmas Day. Just a thought.
 

Gypsy

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Merry Christmas!

We finalized our plans for the trip.

We are leaving at 6 am on the 27th of December. We are going to *try* to make it straight through to Nashville, TN that day. It''s about 13 hours. But we would stay with family and it would really set us up right. Plus that''s the day the cats are going to be the most heavily drugged so we figure we might as well try to push through. If we see it''s not going to happen (due to traffic or the cats) then we''ll stop and take a rest, I promise.

Day two will be to Amarillo TX. The La Quinta in there is $60 a night and pet friendly. It''s about 12 hours from Nashville to Amarillo.

Day three will be from Amarillo to Kingman, AZ. There is a Travelodge, a Motel 6 and a Days Inn in Kingman. All are pet friendly all cost about $50-60 a night. It''s about 12 hours from Amarillo to Kingman.

Day four will be from Amarillo to Home. About 11 hours.

Total driving time will be around 48 hours. The forecasts for all the routes are pretty good. Amarillo is supposed to have snow showers the day AFTER we leave, however... and it''s the place where we are most likely to hit bad weather. Still. We figure even if the trip gets extended an extra day we are in pretty good shape.

I will update (hopefully) from TN and from Amarillo as the La Quinta has free internet access. Wish us luck!
 

Gypsy

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Okay so day one was bad. We hit traffic and had to stop short of DF''s cousin''s house. We ended up in Pigeon''s Forge TN which was inexplicably sold out of decent lodging. I won''t tell you about the place we stayed at. We were only there for a few hours then couldn''t stand it and got back on the road despite 3 hours of sleep. We were forced to re-evaluate our driving plans... and decided to keep it down to about 650-700 miles a day. We booked our lodgings for the trip thanks to tripadvisor and we are now at a very decent Holiday Inn. It feels like the Four Seasons after last night''s horror.

Cat''s are adjusting. First day was just a nightmare. We were seriously discussing shipping them out from Nashville to CA. But things were better today. They''ve adjusted to the routine a bit and are more themselves. Hally was the quickest to adjust... Duncan is coming around just now... and Frodo''s better than he was yesterday as well.

I''m a bit worried about the weather because we are traveling on route 40. Tomorrow we are drving to New Mexico and have a reservation at Tucumcari, NM and the weather channel mentioned snow in Northern New Mexico tomorrow and Saturday. Once we get to Tucumcari we plan to go to Kingman as originally planned. Then to home. Hopefully we won''t hit too much Weather (caps intentional). I''m not afraid of driving in snow, after all we lived in the north east... but I am worried about the other drivers on the road who may not be as comfortable or as experienced.
 
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