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Old 01-17-2021, 11:26 AM   #1
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My Annual Trek From Washington to Florida

Last year I left on the first weekend of the new year. It was a memorable trip as it was pre Covid and I had some sightseeing and visiting friends and family along the way. I took a full month to make that trip.

Obviously, this year is going to be different. Iím leaving later, next weekend, and planning a straight through trip with no stops along the way other than for gas, food, and overnights. My main concern this year is weather as Iím leaving later. I really donít have a deadline to be there so I can hole up if I have to wait out the weather somewhere. I have a 2019 Entegra Esteem 29V and I am towing my VW New Beetle behind me. I carry chains but Iím hoping I wonít have to use them like last year.

So hereís my plan. Iíd appreciate any recommendations if Iíve made any bad assumptions. I will travel I 5 south through WA, OR and into CA. Iím hoping that the Siskiyous will be as friendly as they were last year. At Manteca, CA I plan to take Hwy 99 to Bakersfield. Then I 15 S to San Bernardino and I 10 East to Quartzsite AZ and onto Phoenix. Then Iíd stay on I 10 East all the way into Florida. Iíve read some reports here about the quality of I 10 particularly between Houston and New Orleans but I think it would be the fastest way and not terrible to drive.

Last year I took a more northerly route from Arizona through New Mexico and then across central OK. This year, as Iím not visiting my cousin in Choctaw and Iím concerned about the weather there, Iíd like to take a more southerly route. So thatís it. As this is only my second year of doing this, Iíd appreciate any suggestions especially considering my main concern, weather and my second concern, time. Iím hoping to average 400 miles a day which I have done many times and take 12 days or so to get there. Hopefully next year I can take more time to sightsee and enjoy the trip.
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:35 AM   #2
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400 miles per day over 12 days. You say youíve done it before.

Was it in an RV? Thatís a pretty aggressive travel trip. Not saying itís impossible, but that could be fatiguing.

Good luck.
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:14 PM   #3
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Difficult for any of us to predict the weather any better than the newscasters. They get their info from the national weather service at noaa.gov and they forecast a week to 10 days out. Plan 3 routes, the high road through the plains (2750 miles), a middle road to Albuquerque (2750 miles), and the low road y ou mentioned (3174 miles). Take the one that fits the forecasts the day you leave. At 400 miles per day, its either 7 days of driving or 8. Taken over 12 days, there'll be time for regularly scheduled rest breaks and snack times.

Have fun.
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:17 PM   #4
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I did it on my return trip last June because of Covid. I agree it was tiring and aggressive. My normal preference is 250 miles per day but circumstances dictate otherwise. The purpose of this post was gain insight on my route. I’d appreciate any suggestions or improvements on that. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:32 PM   #5
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I didnít mention actual starting and end points. I live 60 miles north of Seattle and my final destination is Clearwater so on my planned route, according to my atlas it is actually 3,737 miles long. I did my return trip last year in 8 days but it was a much more direct route and one day was spent not traveling. I am adding in a few extra days in case of inclement weather or unexpected issues.
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Old 01-17-2021, 04:28 PM   #6
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I-10 between Beaumont and I-12 near Baton Rouge is definitely a character builder. a good alternative is to take Texas SR12 eastbound. that will connect with Louisiana SR12 and then US190. the state routes are good 2-lane roads and US190 is 4-lane all the way. west of I-49 US190 is a good road while east of I-49 is a mixed bag. regardless, we think US190 is a better alternative to I-10.

to get back onto I-10 use LA 415, LA 1 or I-110 just west of Baton Rouge. where I-10 meets I-12 east of I suggest you stay on 12 unless you want to go to New Orleans. I-12 will re-connect with 10 at I-59. I-12 was an excellent road in 2019.
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Old 01-27-2021, 09:25 AM   #7
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Well, here I sit in an RV park just north of Bakersfield, CA. I am waiting out the weather over the Grapevine which has been closed off and on due to heavy snow over the last few days. Today and tomorrow the weather reports look like the snow problem may be abating but wind gusts up to 70 MPH are expected. It appears that Friday may be the better day to resume my journey. I have chains but high winds are not your friend when driving an RV over a mountain pass.
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Old 01-27-2021, 10:16 AM   #8
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Best friends did Olympia WA to Key West last year. 11000 miles. 3 months. Did both FL coasts. They also did AK, but from WA not too bad. We've been trying for 2 years from N TX. 8k miles Not looking good for this year either.
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Old 01-27-2021, 10:24 AM   #9
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I was worried about the weather going over the Siskiyous. There were a few moments of what did I get myself into but I got through just fine. I never considered that the Grapevine would be the big issue.
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlYeller View Post
I was worried about the weather going over the Siskiyous. There were a few moments of what did I get myself into but I got through just fine. I never considered that the Grapevine would be the big issue.
How is the wind forcast over Tehachapi?
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:34 AM   #11
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How is the wind forcast over Tehachapi?
I was originally going that way but 58 thru Tehatchapi had major snow issues and semi spin outs the other day so I have decided to head south to I 210 and then east on I 10. Iíd still have to go over the grapevine and winds there this afternoon are predicted to gust to 52 MPH. Over Tehatchapi the gusts are lower but still in the upper 20ís.
For that reason Iím going to wait another day and give Caltrans some time to clear up Cajon. Winds on Friday are much less and it will be somewhat warmer...I hope.
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Old 01-29-2021, 12:01 AM   #12
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From Bakersfield I'd take 58 east to 247 at Barstow to Yucca Valley to I-10. We like it a lot better than the other mess. You could pick up 62 to Twentynine Palms and drive through Joshua Tree Nat'l Park to I-10.
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Old 02-01-2021, 05:55 PM   #13
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Once you get east of New Orleans along the Mississippi & Alabama coast, slow down and catch your breath. The beaches along there are much less crowded and weather should be reasonably good. The Gulf seafood is worth the stop.
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Old 02-08-2021, 08:34 AM   #14
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Made it to Clearwater just fine. I took I20 through Dallas to Shreveport and then I 49 south to I 10. It was a fairly uneventful drive and I arrived in Clearwater on Friday afternoon.

Generally, I only drive 250 to a maximum of 300 miles in a day but circumstances this year dictated a more ď pick Ďem up and put it downĒ approach. This year I boondocked in a couple of places along the way which worked out perfectly. Last year I took a month for the same trip. Just happy to have landed safely. Thanks to all who gave advice.
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