San Diego to Chicago

Old Apr 29th, 2022, 11:14 AM
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San Diego to Chicago

I am 80 and disabled and do not drive. Due to a family tragedy my wife who is 70 will be driving us to Chicago in the next 2 days. We are driving because of the supplies I have to take and because we will need a care when we arrive. We will be there for approx 2 months.

1. Should we take the 40 or 80?

We don't want to get into a winter storm so thinking the 40.

Any ideas or suggestions would be helpful.

Thank you.
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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 01:30 PM
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Sorry about your family tragedy. Snowstorms are not likely in May along I-80 but just to be safe maybe you should do I-40. You can return on I-80.
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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by PrairieHikerII View Post
Sorry about your family tragedy. Snowstorms are not likely in May along I-80 but just to be safe maybe you should do I-40. You can return on I-80.
Only 12 miles more on I-40 but 1 hour more drive time 29 vs. 30 hours. It is tough for anyone over 70 to drive for 15 hours in a day. Sorry for your loss.
You may encounter traffic tie ups in New Mexico due to forest fires.
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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 08:01 PM
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I've driven from San Diego to St Louis a couple of times in the last couple of years, via I-40, in November/December. I think it's very unlikely that you will encounter winter storms now. You don't say whether or not there is a date by which you must arrive in Chicago. I found 500-600 miles a day is very doable. Here's the route I'd suggest for you.

Day 1: San Diego to Flagstaff, AZ via I-8, then then follow the sign to Phoenix and take the loop to I-17N. Don't stop at Dateland, just past Yuma for gas, their prices are way higher than others!

Day 2: Flagstaff to Amarillo, TX. It can be windy in the Texas panhandle. There are thousands of wind turbines!

Day 3: Amarillo to Topeka, KS

Day 4: Topeka to Chicago.

Four full days. I always topped my gas tank up at half-full and also used the facilities at the gas station. The ones I visited were very clean. Be sure to take plenty of water to drink and re-stock en route. If you don't have SiriusXM satellite radio, I highly recommend it. There are plenty of hotels to choose from to stay at night and DoorDash delivers!

Enjoy your drive!



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Old Apr 29th, 2022, 08:37 PM
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There is potential snow forecast for the next few days along I-80 Wyoming, so definitely I-40. But there are fires along that route as tomfuller noted. You can check here for fires:
https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
but with the strong winds lately that can change quickly.

There is also a decent chance for sizable thunderstorms Kansas - Missouri - Illinois over the next few days.

Keep an eye on things, adjust your route if necessary, have a safe trip.

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Old May 1st, 2022, 09:22 AM
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Thank you

Thank you everyone for your valuable suggestions.

We will be taking your suggestion Barbara and keep our alerts on for weather changes.

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Old May 1st, 2022, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MikSun View Post

We will be taking your suggestion Barbara and keep our alerts on for weather changes.
I should clarify that for day 4, I meant Topeka-Des Moines-Chicago. Not via St Louis.

You have to watch out for sudden moves into your lane by 18-wheelers. I just set my cruise control and let my fabulous car take care of almost everything!
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Old May 2nd, 2022, 06:00 AM
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Having driven this it's faster to leave I-40 at Tucumcari and take a 45 degree angle route (not straight east to OKC then straight north) to Minneola KS then you have several options to I-70. Note tolls exist in parts of OKC and I-35 in Kansas, as well as on I-70 between Topeka and KC and all over the Chicago area, even a stretch of I-80 just before the Indiana border.
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Old May 2nd, 2022, 09:39 AM
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tom_mn, I have looked at that route on google maps each time I've driven to St Louis. As I didn't know what that road was like, two-lane, four-lane, lots of gas stations or not, I decided to stay on the interstates. What is it like? I don't believe there's a significant improvement in time.
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Old May 2nd, 2022, 07:38 PM
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Mostly itís 2 lane but there are long 4 lane stretches, too. Roads are in good shape and it drives fairly quick, speed limits are pretty high, and trucks use it so it must be faster. I like the small towns on the way since as you know interstates in the middle of the country can be deadly boring. I donít remember services as being a problem, but Tucamcari to Liberal KS is lonely former dust bowl area but Dahlhart and Guymon on that stretch are larger towns.

Last edited by tom_mn; May 2nd, 2022 at 07:42 PM.
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Old May 2nd, 2022, 07:54 PM
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tom_mn, thanks for that information.
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