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Author Topic: Traveling from California to Florida in March  (Read 444 times)

jschmelzer

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Traveling from California to Florida in March
« on: October 31, 2017, 12:23:50 AM »
Planning our first cross-country trip from Northern California to Florida in March in our Winnebago Vista (31' gas MH). The RoadTrip America application mapped the I10 route. We plan on taking 10-15 days, at the minimum, each direction depending on research.

- Any suggestions on great places to stay or visit along the way?
- Due to high elevations in several states along I10, should we be worried about snow or ice in March? Is there a flatter route?
- Is there another scenic route that we can take back to California in April to see more places? (thinking about going north to North Carolina before heading west)

Many thanks for any advice,

John
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 12:28:19 AM by jschmelzer »
Regards,

John
2017 Winnebago Vista LX (31T)
New to RVing and Long Distance Road Trips

AStravelers

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  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 06:19:57 AM »
You always need to watch the weather for winter storms coming.  Be sure you have a smart phone and weather apps.  Also try to catch the local over the air TV newscasts in the evening for weather updates.

I-10 doesn't have any high elevations.  The highest elevation is in eastern AZ and that isn't very high.  You should not have any problems on I-10 in March.

I-40 on the other hand has some 6000-7000' elevations west of Flagstaff and then between Gallup and Santa Rosa, NM there are a couple of 6000-7000' elevations. 

On the way back take I-40, but be sure to watch the weather and be prepared to stop for 1 to 4 nights in the lower elevations if there is snow in the high country.

As far as what to see and do, it would really help if you shared with us what your interests are.  Otherwise you are kind of asking, "what kind of car should I buy".  It all depends on what you want the car to do, i.e. a tiny smart car or a pick up truck. 

Also will you dry camp or must you have hookups for your RV.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

Bobtop46

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 11:14:01 AM »
Depending on how your days break up, I-10 in west Texas has almost nothing out there, plan your stop.  I recommend Balmorhea State Park in the middle of the desert, then on to San Antonio or Austin.
2007 Coachman Aurora 36FWS
2006 Mini Cooper S

jschmelzer

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 11:21:07 AM »
ASTravelers, thank you for the reply. We also have a weather radio just in case - we will build in time buffers in case of snow/ice. The RoadTrip America application has a feature showing elevations for routes mapped - I might have not use it correctly because it showed high elevations through east Arizona through west Texas - will have to figure out why it showed I10 with mountains.

We like nature, but we are not extreme hikers, but like to see mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers, beaches. New to desert other than trip to Grand Canyon and Vegas. We have a choc lab that loves cold water and beaches. We like to explore small towns, cafes and see local flavor. Even though we want to explore National and State parks, we try to avoid large crowds and tourist hot spots. We are willing to dry camp or boondock for a few consecutive days then pamper ourselves in a RV park with full hook-ups. Our goal is to visit the lower 48 and lower Canada within the next couple of years.

Part of the reason we bought the RV is to find our next home or base camp for future travels. We are retired and we don't know where our two boys will live after college. So, we want to experience America, find out how much cold and hot temps we are willing to live in, and meet local people while we're visiting. Not sure the local residents want to meet us :-)

Hope this helps.

New to RVing and excited and meet the USA on the road.
Regards,

John
2017 Winnebago Vista LX (31T)
New to RVing and Long Distance Road Trips

Tom Hoffman

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 05:23:01 PM »
We left Yuma to visit my brother in Anderson CA last April early and hit the most sever weather we had experienced since the previous Jan going from Iowa to Yuma.   We went up the central valley to Bakersfield.

If you go down to San Diego and head EAST on I-8 to Yuma and spend a few days, we have been going there for 4 years.  Then head to Tucson and then EAST on I-10 to the only real mountain pass about 3000'  west before Los Cruces and then in to  Texas you are done with mountains till you head back WEST later on.  The rest is pretty flat to mildly hilly.  200-600'

Stop for a couple of days in Tucson and take a guided Jeep ride through a pretty much virgin desert which is right next to the fence from East Saguaro National Park  best money we ever spent for a personalized tour.  There have been no cattle in this range for over 100 years.

http://traildustoffroadtoursinc.com   

The day we went there was just us and the guide and one Jeep
Wife said to me. "What cha doin' today?"  "Nothin'" says I.  "Ya did that yestiday!" Says she.  "I didn't get done!" says I

2003 F-350 Super Duty Lariat Dually 7.3 Diesel
2008 34' Sunny Brook, Brookside

Wi1dBill

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 09:04:13 PM »
Places to stay heading east along I-10    In AZ,  Casa Grande....Fiesta Grande   Florence Blvd.  Tucson area  Voyager RV Resort... 8701 S Kolb Rd. Tucson  also Mission View 31 W. Los Reales.. Tuscon (A lot of things to see and do near near.)     Kartchner Carvens State Park near Benson AZ. (Pretty neat if you like caves.)   

New Mexico a little off your path.. White Sands National Mon.  Stay at Oliver Lee State Park near Alamogorda.   (Check weather as you will be getting up in elevation)   Again is you like caves, Carlsbad Caverns south of Carlsbad.

Texas,  2nd on Balmorhea SP.  (Spring fed pool, 70 degrees gets busy as weather warms)  San Antonio is a neat stop. We could have spent a month there, there is so much to do/see.   

Coming back west on I 40  Nashville is a great city to explore.  If you like Elvis, Graceland is a must in Memphis. CG right behind Heart Break Hotel.
Once in Oklahoma you can pick up different thing on Old RT66.  We always liked to stay at Red Rock SP west of Oklahoma City on SR 281 in Hinton, OK.   

Back in New Mexico, stop in Santa Rosa and take a dip in the BLUE HOLE.  Didn't find the State park near there, can't recommend a CG here.  Stay in a pretty run down CG in town.

On I40 in AZ The Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest Nat'l Park . Stayed a the KOA in Holbrook.  Meteor Crater west of Winslow, if you like big holes in the ground.   Sedona/Cottonwood area, spent 2 weeks there and could've spent another 2 weeks.  Arizona/California line Lake Havasu City. is a neat town.

Finally one of the web sites I used is http://www.rvparkreviews.com/search.  I'll also check the State's State Parks.  Usually, not a full hook up, mostly
water/electric with dump stations.


Wi1dBi11

wackymac

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2017, 09:25:27 PM »
Where in northern CA are you leaving from?
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2002 Toyota Tacoma Xtra Cab 2wd
2 cats:
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Home base---Ocala, FL

taoshum

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2017, 10:24:18 PM »
Planning our first cross-country trip from Northern California to Florida in March in our Winnebago Vista (31' gas MH). The RoadTrip America application mapped the I10 route. We plan on taking 10-15 days, at the minimum, each direction depending on research.

- Any suggestions on great places to stay or visit along the way?
- Due to high elevations in several states along I10, should we be worried about snow or ice in March? Is there a flatter route?
- Is there another scenic route that we can take back to California in April to see more places? (thinking about going north to North Carolina before heading west)

Many thanks for any advice,

John

Several people mentioned the potential for weather in March/April.  Both I10/40 east of California and west of central Tx can get really windy, especially those months... usually wind blowing west to east.  The wind can get high enough that the interstates will be closed for hours sometimes.  The wind seems to get more intense in the afternoon, especially the late afternoon, so we often try to leave really early and stop early.  Those routes also get a ton of truck traffic... going 75-80+ so unless we are in a big hurry, we try to stay off the interstates.  Now if you have a tail wind it will be very helpful...  head winds and especially cross winds will be a challenge.

07 Itasca Meridian 34SH.  '08 Jeep Sahara.
Taos, NM.

AStravelers

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2017, 10:03:55 AM »
ASTravelers, thank you for the reply. We also have a weather radio just in case - we will build in time buffers in case of snow/ice. The RoadTrip America application has a feature showing elevations for routes mapped - I might have not use it correctly because it showed high elevations through east Arizona through west Texas - will have to figure out why it showed I10 with mountains.

Weather radio is nice, but a smart phone with weather apps for 2-3 weather websites (NOAA, Weather Underground, Weather.com) is better.  Also if you can get over-the-air local TV news for the weather that is great.

About 60-70 miles east of El Paso you do get up to 4600'.  Then for a 100-200 miles you have 3000-4000' elevation. The only time you need to worry about snow or ice there is when a winter storm comes though.  But you find that even at lower elevations.  Even northwest of San Antonio, every 4th or 5th winter we have ice on I-10 near Kerrville (about 1700').  It only lasts for 6-20 hours though.   HOWEVER snow and ice almost never happens in March and never in April.  In west Texas in April it is not unusual to see 90's in the afternoon.
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

jschmelzer

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2017, 05:37:02 PM »
Found a couple of articles about cross-country trips. The articles talked about avoiding Interstates and traveling rural Hwys and Roads. Their points were to visit interesting places. Makes sense since there are many points of interest between the two coasts.

Example was to travel Hwy 90 along the coast instead of I10.

Pros: better scenery, interesting places to visit, beautiful country

Cons: slower speeds, worse road conditions, more road hazards for RVs, others

Any advice. If we have the time, worth the extra effort to get off the Interstate?

John




Regards,

John
2017 Winnebago Vista LX (31T)
New to RVing and Long Distance Road Trips

ArdraF

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 06:02:33 PM »
We've done both over the years.  Even when on the interstates numerous signs point you to exits that have interesting places to see.  For example, on I-70 in Utah signs point you to all the national and state parks (Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Goblin S.P., Wildhorse Slot Canyon, Cove Fort Historic Site, the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric area, etc.),  With some good research and visits to state Visitor Centers as you enter a state you'll find all kinds of interesting things to do.  In fact, southern Utah referred to above is so full of attractions that you can spend a month there.  And then there's northern Utah.  But that's another month!

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Tom and Margi

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Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2017, 06:34:27 PM »
Caveat.  We were not "planners" and I think you probably are.  That's OK, just a different style of traveling.  In our nearly 15 years of full-timing we rarely had a time-specific destination.  We just started down the road and decided to see what we could see.  The only time we were almost aced out of a place to stay was in Valdez, Alaska when we literally got the last available RV spot in town.  Don't be afraid to just go down the road either on the Interstates or off the Interstates.  It's all interesting.  The old cliche about the journey being so much more than the destination is really true (or it wouldn't be a cliche).  We did start fairly early in the day, stayed put on holidays and planned to get off the road before about 3 pm or earlier every day.  We didn't always travel for many hours, though, sometimes we went less than 100 miles.  We phoned ahead to check availability when we determined where we want to "land" each day.  Worked well.  Good luck and happy trails to you!

AStravelers

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  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: Traveling from California to Florida in March
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2017, 04:30:59 PM »
Found a couple of articles about cross-country trips. The articles talked about avoiding Interstates and traveling rural Hwys and Roads. Their points were to visit interesting places. Makes sense since there are many points of interest between the two coasts.

Example was to travel Hwy 90 along the coast instead of I10.

Pros: better scenery, interesting places to visit, beautiful country

Cons: slower speeds, worse road conditions, more road hazards for RVs, others

Any advice. If we have the time, worth the extra effort to get off the Interstate?

John
Are you towing a car/small truck?   A 31' MH is difficult to park in parking lots for many places, such as museums, trail heads for hiking, some visitor centers, etc.

March is spring break in Texas, especially from about March 9-25.  Lots of families in the public areas, Big Bend NP all the state parks, etc.

US-90 from Van Horn, TX (about 180 miles E of El Paso) to San Antonio is a wonderful scenic drive.  I would not suggest US-90 as just a way to get from Van Horn to San Antonio though. 
--  If you like art, Marfa is worth a day or two (2-3 nights)
--  Ft Davis and the McDonald Observatory is well worth another 2-3 days
--  Big Bend National Park is worth 5-7 days
--  Seminole State Park, about 40 miles W of Del Rio

San Antonio.  The river walk, the Alamo, tour a Spanish Mission or two.

In Seguin (about 30 miles E of San Antonio) pick up US-90 and work your way down to the coast.  Should be lots of wild flowers in bloom. 
--  Spend a few days in Galveston (Galveston SP is a good place to camp
--  Take the free ferry from Galveston across the ship channel to Houston to Port Bolivar.
--  Follow the roads to Sabine Pass and spend a couple of days at Sea Rim SP. 
--  Cross into Louisiana and follow SR-82 along the coast to Abbeville and Lafayette for 2-3 days.  Eat some Cajun food.
--  Take a swamp tour in the Lafayette area.  Small boat, about 18-20' to view alligators, other wild life and the trees
--  Follow US-90 to New Orleans.

There is much more to see along the coast from New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle. 

If you don't have that much time.  Just pick one of the above and spend 7-10 days touring that section.  The rest of the travel just get on I-10 get where you need to be. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

 

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