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Old 07-25-2021, 10:21 AM   #1
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West bound Santa Fe in Dec

Still hoping we will be heading to California at the end of the year.

I'm playing with a couple of different west bound routes.

Leaving from our early Christmas with family in B'ham we're heading west on I-20. A must stop is Grapevine, TX. From there is our big decision, do we stay on I-20 until we hit I-10 then on to LA or head north to I-40 and work our way to Santa Fe before continuing to Flagstaff to head south to I-10.

So, what is the weather like in Santa Fe in mid December?

Or, should we wait until next fall and extend a trip much further west than planned?
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:34 PM   #2
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So, what is the weather like in Santa Fe in mid December?
We were there for 2 weeks in mid-October (after the ABQ Balloon Fest) a few years back and had sub-25 degrees and the park turned off water.

Given the snow and ice (and wind) along I-40 from the TX panhandle (Amarillo) into NM that time of year, I would probably plan a more southerly route.
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Old 07-25-2021, 12:39 PM   #3
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You will not be able to make a considered decision more than a few days ahead of time if considering the northern route.


It may be fine or under a foot of snow with ice.


The southern route would very likely be better from a weather standpoint.


Said another way, planning an RV trip past several ski resorts in mid winter..........
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Old 07-25-2021, 01:49 PM   #4
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Santa Fe and Flagstaff in December? No way. Take the southern route.
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Old 07-25-2021, 03:10 PM   #5
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Last December, during the first week, we were in Ft. Stockton. The morning we left to head west we had snow, light ice, some freezing rain. We had to go about 50 miles west to run out of it before we were in the clear.
But the year before at the end of January 2020 no issues with the weather, just really chilly then in the low 50's in the day.
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:53 PM   #6
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West bound Santa Fe in Dec

Take I-10. Go South past Fort Stockton (67S and 118) and head to Lajitas for a week or more. Explore Big Bend. Great time of year to be there. Then go North and pick up 90 to I-10. Las Cruces, Nm your first stop, Tucson the next. Cruze on in to LA.

Stay at Maverick Ranch in LJ.
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Old 07-25-2021, 08:26 PM   #7
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Thanks all, that is what I was afraid of.

So back to the original plan.
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Old 07-25-2021, 08:55 PM   #8
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I have lived in Santa Fe for the past 40 years.

I-40 does pass through Santa Fe, it goes through Albuquerque which 2,000 ft lower than Santa Fe with better weather. The bad spots on I-40 are typically east of Albuquerque to the Texas state line and then again around Grants to the Arizona state line. Flagstaff is fairly high in elevation and can get serious snow anytime from November into May. I-40 is a major truck route is typically kept open except durning a big storm.

But then I-10 from Las Cruces to the Az state line can also be dicey in the Winter. Serious cross winds have flipped more than a few rigs out around Lordsburg, NM. The sandstorms can close sections of that highway. I lived in Las Cruces for about 7 years durning grad school and usually the weather in December is lovely, but then again it can snow 20 inches at that time of year.

When we go west in the winter we prefer the I40 option leaving from Santa Fe. But if the weather is bad we may go south to I-10 and then west. Or just stay put for a couple of days until it clears up again. Like suggested above have plan A and plan B, you never know which will be best.

Good luck on your travels, just do it with common sense...
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:47 AM   #9
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I have lived in Santa Fe for the past 40 years.

I-40 does pass through Santa Fe, it goes through Albuquerque which 2,000 ft lower than Santa Fe with better weather. The bad spots on I-40 are typically east of Albuquerque to the Texas state line and then again around Grants to the Arizona state line. Flagstaff is fairly high in elevation and can get serious snow anytime from November into May. I-40 is a major truck route is typically kept open except durning a big storm.

But then I-10 from Las Cruces to the Az state line can also be dicey in the Winter. Serious cross winds have flipped more than a few rigs out around Lordsburg, NM. The sandstorms can close sections of that highway. I lived in Las Cruces for about 7 years durning grad school and usually the weather in December is lovely, but then again it can snow 20 inches at that time of year.

When we go west in the winter we prefer the I40 option leaving from Santa Fe. But if the weather is bad we may go south to I-10 and then west. Or just stay put for a couple of days until it clears up again. Like suggested above have plan A and plan B, you never know which will be best.

Good luck on your travels, just do it with common sense...
Thanks, sorry I wasn't more clear, I know Santa Fe is north of Albuquerque.

We drove cross country in Feb a couple of years ago, no weather problems heading west on I-10 but in March we did have snow on the return trip in Denning, NM.
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:07 AM   #10
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Hey, what brings you to my little town (Grapevine)?
I would take I-20 to I-10 to get to CA.
I-40 get real winter weather. I-10 gets cold and temporarily snowy/icy but you can wait it out.
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Old 07-27-2021, 07:31 AM   #11
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Hey, what brings you to my little town (Grapevine)?
I would take I-20 to I-10 to get to CA.
I-40 get real winter weather. I-10 gets cold and temporarily snowy/icy but you can wait it out.
If they are still doing it - the Christmas lights. I am a complete sucker for large showy Christmas displays.

If not, we will probably skip the Ft. Worth area and stop a little further west.
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Old 07-27-2021, 10:48 PM   #12
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Have you ever seen the Christmas display at Bellingrath Gardens, Alabama? Awesome. We stayed at Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores & took the short ferry over.
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Old 07-27-2021, 11:41 PM   #13
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There are many great Christmas light displays. One around here is the River of Lights at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens.
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Old 07-28-2021, 11:33 AM   #14
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If they are still doing it - the Christmas lights. I am a complete sucker for large showy Christmas displays.

If not, we will probably skip the Ft. Worth area and stop a little further west.
Christmas lights in Grapevine? I know Interlochen (Arlington) still goes all out.
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