Friday, December 10, 2010

Cross-Country, in Winter


Have you book and love it. I'm taking a car from Los Angeles to the East Coast. Unfortunately I need to do this in January or early February. Looking at taking Route 66 thru Oklahoma, and then going south to the Southern Pacific route to Atlanta.

I would love to take the Appalachian Trail from Atlanta north but very worried about the weather during this time of year. What is your suggestion?

Looking for a ten day trip and will end up in Boston.

Thanks for any suggestions.



Hi Casey --

Many thanks for your note, and glad to hear you like my book! I've just started work on the next edition (#6!), so if you have time to take some notes on your trip, let me know.

Midwinter road trips are definitely more challenging than ones taken in the warm summer months, but I think you should be alright. The biggest advantage of tracing old Route 66 in particular is that you're never far from a snow-plowed Interstate (I-40 casts a shadow over RT66 most of the way across the USA.)

Between RT66 and Atlanta, I'd recommend a pilgrimage along the Great River Road to Memphis, and the Mississippi Delta -- and maybe New Orleans, just in time for Mardi Gras!

Winter weather can be an issue on the Appalachian Trail route -- one March I got blocked by snows off my desired route north of Asheville, the highest part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, so I ended up heading north along I-81, which is possibly the prettiest Interstate route there is, outside New England. I love the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and when you get to Pennsylvania be sure to stop at "Roadside America", one of the country's all-time-great tourist attractions.

My main suggestion, if you really want to do all that (4000 miles?) of driving in 10 days and retain your sanity, is to wake up early and be on the road as soon as the sun rises, so you can see as much as you can and get your miles done during daylight -- driving after dark, especially in winter, is really asking for trouble. And when you're on the road, find yourself a place to stay for the night before it gets dark -- then eat your dinner after you've got settled, without ruining your digestion worrying about where you're going to sleep. I am definitely not a "early bird" metabolizer, but I have found that this makes for happier traveling than the alternative.

And much as I enjoy two-lane highways, in bad weather and after dark the Interstates really are safer; just make sure you escape the franchises along the frontage roads, and find yourself some classic diners -- which are plentiful, especially in the Northeast.

Hope this helps. Be safe, and let me know what you find! Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


Post a Comment

<< Home