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Driving from St Louis Mo. to Charleston SC

Bethalto Il.
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Driving from St Louis Mo. to Charleston SC

I am planning a trip driving from St Louis Mo. to Charleston SC in January 2014. I have never driven through the Rockies in the winter before. Can anyone offer any advice, tips, hints or warnings?

I plan on taking the shortest route suggested by Mapquest.

Chula Vista...
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1. Re: Driving from St Louis Mo. to Charleston SC

Hi Dennis,

Not to put too fine a point on things, but if you're driving over the Rockies from St. Louis to Charleston, SC, you're going in the wrong direction. :-) Going over the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina can be a bit dicey in winter.

MapQuest routes you through Knoxville on I-40, and I-40 between Knoxville and Asheville, NC is quite twisty as it goes over the mountains.

My recommendation is not to finalize your route until a day or so before departure, and base it on the weather forecast. If it appears that the weather will be good between Knoxville and Asheville, I'd go ahead and use I-40.

But if the weather will be bad in the mountains, then you may want to consider dropping south and going through Chattanooga to Atlanta and then over to Charleston. However, the area around Chattanooga is still mountainous, so watch for the weather there, too.

If you have the time and want to avoid the mountains pretty much altogether, you may want to drop all the way south to Birmingham, AL and head east through Atlanta to Charleston. But that adds another 110 or so miles to the trip.

The other advice I can offer is to pre-load all of the states' DOT Road Conditions Hotline telephone numbers into your cell phone and, if you have a smartphone, their websites as well. Many will have near real time road condition maps that you can refer to, and that will allow you to plan a detour if the weather gets bad.

Being from St. Louis area, you already have winter driving experience, but here's a great article that may remind you on some of the preparations you can make before your trip. (I always carried a sleeping bag and some food/water with me when I lived in Illinois and Indiana and traveled in the winter.)


Safe travels.


Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Driving from St Louis Mo. to Charleston SC

Good info from Zed about I 40 and other routes. Southern states are just not well prepared for winter type weather conditions.

3. Re: Driving from St Louis Mo. to Charleston SC

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