We will be making the cross country trek very soon and we would love to hear from folks about their preferred route from upstate New York to LA. I'm particularly interested in hearing about the best place(s) to cross the Rockies.
Can't speak about Arizona to LA, but from Tucson to upstate NY, we went on I10 and I20 to Ft Worth, on I30 and I40 to Nashville, on I65 to Louisville, on I71 and I90 to Upstate NY. A nice trip, but perhaps a bit longer. We went this way only because we had friends in Ft Worth.
Coming back, we used to go on I90 to I71 to I70 to St Louis, I44 to OK city, I40 to Albuquerque, I25 to Las Cruces and I10 back to Tucson (There is a shortcut from I25 to I10 at Deming on back roads). You could follow I10 back up to LA.
But the 2 sections of Toll road in OK are very expensive (based on number of axels), so last time we continued on I70 to Kansas and took I35 down to OK city. Still had to pay toll in Kansas, but much cheaper than the OK rate. Probably will continue using this route from now on.
These directions do not include short sections of roads between the major highways, or bypasses around big cities (which we generally give preferance to).
Note that you can save as much as 240 miles by not going down to Tucson and back up to LA, but you will go through a lot more steep grades. This way is alleged to only have one (between Blythe and San Bernadino).
Hey Huey9, I-40 isn't too bad to cross Arizona into California or I-10 is fairly easy to cross into Ca from Az. This time of year they are both pretty hot and hard on tires and vehicles. However, the most spectacular route is through Colorado via I-70 into Utah and then taking I-15 through Southern Utah, Az, and Nevada into Calif. But, crossing the Rockies through Colorado is a heavy duty climb. I would stay North as long as I could this time of year and drop down to I-40 on I-35 as suggested by John. Then if you are really trying to avoid the mountains drop down to I-10 via I-25 in Albuquerque. Hot, hot, hot.
Thanks to both of you for the awesome information - exactly what I was hoping for. Being one of those Canadians, I hadn't thought of the heat combined with the climbs. Over the next few years, I hope to try all of the above suggestions. I've now been retired for all of two weeks and I can't wait until my younger wife is allowed to retire in mid-October so we can start the Odyssey.