So, it occurred to me that some readers will have no clue why we chose the route we did. After all, if you enter "Pasadena, CA" and "Lexington, VA" into Google maps, you probably won't find anything close to our route.
Well...the ideal route would have been to pick up I-40 just north of Barstow, CA, and then stick with it all the way into eastern Rocky Top, where we would simply pick up I-81 into Lexington.
2 problems with that:
1) That's way, way too easy and danger-avoiding.
2) We just took I-40 all the way to Memphis in October.
So, to avoid repetition, we wanted to do something different. From south to north, here were our major choices of interstates:
I-10 - REALLY boring through Texas, depressing to drive nearly 900 miles in the same state, and goes really far out of the way to the south.
I-10 to I-20 - Possibly even more boring through Texas. Unbelievably flat on I-20.
I-40 - Already explained.
I-15 to I-70 to I-64 - A possibility, but I've been on I-64 from STL to Virginia more times than I'd like to count.
I-15 to I-70 all the way - Reasonable, but it hits Kansas, a state that I'd like to avoid. If you have to ask, you haven't driven that stretch of road.
I-15 to I-80, then south. Pretty cool, but a huge snowstorm was supposed to drill Salt Lake right as we got there, and my car wouldn't have done well in those mountains in a serious storm.
Any number higher than 80 - too far north.
So, we got our route by a combination of lots of factors. We got some snow, but nothing as bad as we would have hit further north. Also, this allowed us to cross the plains a day ahead of a snowstorm that's supposed to hit. Lastly, we avoid Kansas. Check, check, and check.
So, we ended up with:
I-210 in California
I-15 through CA, Vegas, 30 miles of Arizona, and about halfway north into Utah.
I-70 through Utah (desolate but gorgeous), Colorado (weather excitement).
I-76 up into Nebraska (avoids Kansas)
I-80 through Nebraska and Iowa (you have to cross the plains somewhere)
I-74 to Indianapolis (lots of fog)
I-70 to Dayton, OH, where we are now.
US-35 down to I-64, and on home.
So, that's the explanation. Apologies to Dorothy and Dwight Eisenhower.