Best Driving Route from Vegas to Boston (avoiding CO)
January 19, 2014 3:04 PM   Subscribe

My brother is moving to Boston (Waltham area) and he's driving there from Vegas tomorrow morning. What is the best way to get there (avoiding Colorado) and what cities would you recommend stopping for a motel to crash along the way? Can it be done in 3 days? He's traveling alone and would like to avoid snow when possible. Not looking to sight see. Just want to find the simplest way to get there. Thank you.
posted by camfys to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Well, the easiest way (aside from going through Colorado) is to go south, through Albuquerque, then cutting North on I-44 in Oklahoma. Going through Colorado removes about 1 or 2 hours from the total of the drive. If you want to go even further south, and go through Tennessee, that will keep you out of most cold weather climes (until you head into Philadelphia, et cetera) for longer, but it is longer itself.

Google Maps says it takes 41 hours, so use that as a guide as to whether he can do it. One person driving that distance in 3 days is not suggested, I would say. 13+ hours of driving at highway speed, that's tough. At that sort of break neck pace, I'm not sure that it matters where he stops, as long as it is close to the highway. Motel 6 and its ilk are fine by me, but may not suit your brother.

When I've done these types of drives, I always try to get to the far side of a city to stop, so that I'm not stuck in traffic with the commuters. For example, you want to be east of ABQ, or OKC, STL, Indianapolis, etc. when stopping for the night.

Is he towing a trailer? If so, this is probably undoable for him in 3 days. I'd budget in 2 extra, just to be certain.
posted by China Grover at 3:19 PM on January 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

3 days is very aggressive. You're looking at 14-16 hour days including rest and meal stops.

If you need to avoid Colorado for whatever reason, then:
* US 93 to Kingman
* I-40 to OKC
* I-44 to St. Louis
* I-70 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike
* Pennsylvania Turnpike to New Jersey Turnpike
* Tune into AM 880 to identify the bottlenecks in NYC, if traffic isn't an issue just take the George Washington Bridge to I-95 north to Connecticut
* Exit 38 on I-95, Wilbur Cross Parkway (CT-15) north
* I-91 north to Hartford
* I-84 east to Massachusetts
* I-90 east to Natick
* I-95 north to Waltham

Where to stay? Amarillo and Columbus maybe? You'll be getting 6 hours of sleep at most. Be safe out there.
posted by moammargaret at 3:26 PM on January 19, 2014

With poor timing, I made two cross-country moves (IL to MA and back) in December. Not fun, especially when trying to beat a moving van there. I took I-90 and it was snowy and nasty-- I'd advise staying farther south as far as possible.
posted by zompist at 3:47 PM on January 19, 2014

There's no snow on I-70 at all right now and none forecast for the next week+. As long as he won't be going from Vail to Denver from about 1 to 6pm tomorrow (on MLK day when the traffic will be horrible), he has no reason to avoid Colorado, fwiw.
posted by rachelv at 3:56 PM on January 19, 2014

Today I drove on I-80 from Lincoln NE to Green River WY and it was totally dry and clear. He can go I-15 to SLC to I-80 to Chicago to I-90 to I-95 to whichever Waltham exit is best. That's slightly longer than cutting diagonally through Colorado on I-70 but meets your criteria for avoiding Broncos territory.
posted by carmicha at 6:40 PM on January 19, 2014

Sure, 3 days, easily doable.

I'd head out of Las Vegas on 40 to OKC.
Depending on traffic and how long it takes to get out of Vegas, that'll take the vast majority of a day.

Stay on the far side of OKC, the head out on 44 towards St. Louis, then 70-71-76, to Akron (or maybe Youngstown, so he's on the proper road to start), which is another day.

Finally, leave Akron, take 80 though Penn, onto 84 up to Hartford, then 90/Mass Turnpike to home.
This is a shorter day, since the roads get busier (and especially through PA, twistier.) Plus if they leave early, they'll get to Boston at a reasonable time.

It's an all highway route, so there will be generic motels aplenty. One Holiday Inn is much the same as another.
He might want to plan the stops ahead of time, as it sucks to pull into a hotel after a long day and have it be booked.
posted by madajb at 9:05 PM on January 19, 2014

Thanks everyone. Basically looking for the easiest all highway route - avoiding snow whenever possible. So many options! I tried Google Maps and Trip Tik and they had so many unnecessary steps before I even left Vegas so I worry they are doing the same for the rest of the route.

He would actually prefer taking the I-70 through CO but I figured that there would be snow and I remember those turns approaching Denver can be scary at night.

I'm thinking the 40 to OKC, 44 to STL, and not sure after that. :(

I've got 6 hours to decide...thanks again!

**and no he isn't towing anything. He's driving a Nissan Rogue.**
posted by camfys at 10:18 PM on January 19, 2014

Don't go TOO far south. If you take the I-40 route through Tennessee, you'll still have to connect with I-81 up through Virginia, and the NWS is calling for 5" or more of snow in Northern Virginia by tomorrow night. I agree with the other folks about the route through St. Louis.

(If that was the plan it's not too late to change his Day 2 trajectory...)
posted by pianoblack at 8:04 AM on January 20, 2014

Thank you! He's going to stay in Amarillo tonight. I'm trying to Google Maps the route but I just don't understand what it's saying. :(

So the 40 will take him to Amarillo where he'll sleep
40 to 44E
Sleep in OKC or Akron
44E to 70E
70E to 71N
71N to 90E (or is it the 76?)
90E to?

Thank you again for your help everyone.
posted by camfys at 1:44 PM on January 20, 2014

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