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Year-long road trip where it's 70°F every day in North America (citylab.com)
232 points by thebent on July 8, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 141 comments

21ºC for us non-Americans. That would be a pleasant year's worth of weather for me, given that the winter temperature in my Canadian city can reach -35ºC in the deepest part of winter.

You can come to Mexico City, with a min. 14ºC Daily mean temperature in winter and a max. 20ºC in summer. It's basically Spring all year long.


Wow, I had no idea about that. TIL. I always thought all of Mexico was very hot year round.

They say that Cortés returned to the Spanish Court to report to the King on his conquest of México. King Carlos V asked him to describe the lay of this new land adjoined to his kingdom. Cortés asked for a piece of paper (still an expensive luxury at the time) and, instead of drawing on it, he shocked the court by crumpling it into a wrinkly chaos. That is the topography of México.

Mexico is a very large and geographically diverse country. You can find desert, grassland, rainforest, swamps, snowy mountains, beaches, ...

Mexico City is 7200 feet above sea level. Keeps it quite nice.

Like half of Mexico is at least a mile above sea level

Spent a month in Mexico City ("DF"!) about a year ago. I was surprised to enjoy it as much as I did. I'd seriously consider living there if it weren't for the pollution.

It's similar to Medellin with an average high around 22ºC all year.

check : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medell%C3%ADn#Geography_and_cl...

average high is 27 centigrade. average temp is about 22.

It gets pretty hot in the springtime, though. The low summer temperatures are because the monsoon pours up from the ocean and peters out over El Águila's 4000 m peak (14000 ft) into light rain showers every day in the early afternoon in the Valley of Mexico.

True, the climate in Mexico City is ideal. If it wasn't for the traffic. ... and the dramas in erremexico ;)

That is quite tempting. I think that's my optimal temperature zone!

Guadalajara has year-round nice weather too I understand (I've visited, but haven't lived there) and has less pollution than Mexico City. The area around lake Chapala is supposed to be very nice if you don't need the trappings of the city.

Just don't breath the air.

Bangalore has similar temprature range on average.

Thanks for the conversion. Whoah, that's cold.

A true northern winter redefines your sense of cold if you are from a more mild climate. The ambient temperatures sting any exposed skin and freeze any moisture (like the inside of your nose or condensation as your exhale) almost instantly. Add in a strong wind and you can feel the heat being sucked from your body even if you have a good winter coat on. Visually, everything changes. Snow piles up so high you can't see over it, humans travel down narrow lanes where the snow has been cleared, everything gets caked in this dirty grey powder of ground up snow, ice, and grit, sun dogs appear in the sky, plants are stripped to skeletons of their summer mass, and you start to see a side of nature that is often invisible (specifically animal trails). I've lived in Minnesota for 10 years and still love the winter and the excitement of a good snowfall!

Do not let these other less hardy commenters make you think you are alone in appreciating winter – there's literally dozens of us!

As an Angeleno, that last sentence does not follow from the rest of that horrific description.

He left out SAD and a general sense of having to live a full year's worth of life condensed into the three months where it's tolerable being out of your house.

Even the most winter wary Minnesotan will venture out far more than three months of the year! Spring, summer, and autumn are fantastic here as well. The winter can be long, but if you get outside and enjoy it, you find that you look forward to large snowfalls etc. A mid winter holiday somewhere warm also helps!

I'd take the northern winter over the LA smog and traffic any day (and I say that as someone who loves visiting LA!).

Stockholm syndrome.

> you can feel the heat being sucked from your body even if you have a good winter coat on.

I've felt that! At -25C 100km/h north wind at a bus stop I think it's my soul being ripped out not my body heat.

I'm guessing he lives within a few miles of the American border. It gets a lot colder than that up here. I remember in college trying to find a kitten on a farm that escaped the house for a girl I was into. No idea what the temperature was, it only had markings to -50c (-58f) and all the mercury was in the reservoir. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long to freeze a little kitten in those temperatures.

Yep, Calgary, Alberta. I wager that the folks from northern Montana have the same weather as us.

I grew up in Edmonton and you have to be honest, -35C is an extreme temperature that is only rarely reached. Almost every winter gets to -20C or -25C but -35C can happen but isn't an every winter let alone every day occurrence.

And anyways... it's a dry cold :-) Winters here in southern Ontario are fairly mild but they feel worse to me than where I grew up. A damp -10C is just awful, so hard to get rid of the cold feeling everywhere.

It's usually the deepest part of the winter - I think we'll usually get one week where it's -30 and dips (occasionally) beyond, with the rest of winter being -25C at its coldest.

North Dakota and Minnesota are colder than Montana (at lower elevations too). Take a look at the climate data for Fargo, ND for instance, significantly colder than Calgary. It's colder because it's more continental, and you often see a big bubble of arctic air dipping down on the weather map.

Calgary is a bit of an outlier, they get a weather phenomena called chinooks. It's not uncommon for them to get several periods throughout the winter where their temperatures are above freezing due to these chinooks.

I'm surprised any creature would leave relative warmth for temperatures 50 below (either scale!). Even for a girl.

70/21 is cold?! Damn. That's pretty much the top end of my comfort zone. I'd trade this humid, oppressive southeastern US summer every day of the week for that.

     the winter temperature in my Canadian city
     can reach -35ºC in the deepest part of winter.

     21ºC for us non-Americans
Funny you said that:) "By the end of the 20th century, Fahrenheit was only used as the official temperature scale in the United States (including its unincorporated territories), its freely associated states in the Western Pacific (Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands), the Bahamas, Belize, and the Cayman Islands."

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit

To continue the curiosities, the º sign that was used is the spanish ordinal marker of masculine gender. The degree sign is °.


It is almost a cliche but my friends who moved to LA truly do miss the seasons, especially leaves changing colors. It is like living in a giant open-air mall all year long. When nothing changes but the store displays, the seasonal heartbeat is lost. Living in LA, of course, means they can go to the beach all-year long with a short commute though. Snapchat is particularly smart for having its corporate headquarters almost on the beach.

I live in LA (somewhat new, but I have been in CA for years), and I do not miss seasons at all. It has been many years since I have seen snow, and I plan to keep it that way. I cannot recall the last time I was in below freezing weather.

I am an avid cyclist, and it is amazing to bike year round. My tan lines are very prominent from the amount of cycling I do in sunny weather.

+1. I absolutely do not miss seasons in Southern California. On the contrary, I'm much happier when I (almost) constantly have great weather.

Illinois transplant to CA, casting another vote for "I don't miss the seasons at all." After 5 years in CA, I moved to PA for 1 and immediately regretted it at the first sign of significant weather variation.

After about 10 years out of the Northwest (and a particularly severe drought here in CA), I've finally started to miss the rain a little bit. But I sure don't miss the constantly-ruined plans or the incessant depressing grey.

See, I too am a fairly avid cyclist, and I too hate any weather that prevents me from doing it.. but when I lived in LA, it was hard to find good cycling routes. It's a very car-centric area.

I think youd be surprised at the number of people that bike year round in places with snow like Minneapolis and Chicago. I did a year of part time bike delivery in Chicago and had many days of 50 miles in the snow.

Cycling is fun. Skiing is orders of magnitude more fun.

You are just doing it wrong. :) Since you ski, you probably mountain bike. Mostly downhill. Boring. I am a climber (road bikes of course). The longer the climb, the better. California has great climbs.

I ski, I do not ever mountain bike, mainly because it's the same terrain I ski on without the snow to protect me from the rocks, stumps, and fallen trees. Downhill mountain biking is insanity. Cross country mountain bikers go up the hills and down fire roads. Downhillers go up gondolas.

Climbing on skis is a lot more fun than climbing on a bike, and you have access to much more interesting terrain, as they don't generally build roads over mountain peaks, and certainly they don't build them on slopes nearly as steep as what skis let you access.

Showshoeing is the road bike climb of the winter months. You just have to get them to stop plowing the roads.

LA has skiing. Big Bear and Mammoth are nearby.

Don't people travel? I have lived all over the country and currently love living in San Diego because I can visit areas of the country enjoying the seasons for a week at a time. A week of raking leaves, a week of shoveling and scraping windows. And even in LA, the mountains are less than an hour dive away. They can experience all 4 seasons in less than an hour drive.

I loved living in San Diego but nothing in the mountains compares to the lush spring, deep winter, hot summers with water temperatures warm enough to not wear a wetsuit, or crisp fall you get in other parts of the country you've undoubtedly visited.

Southern California is wonderful for a variety of reasons but the "I can drive to all 4 seasons" disregards some of the important details you don't get anywhere in semi-arid California weather, fauna, and ocean you have in the rest of the country.

I personally find California weather unbearably arid. When I travel for work etc. I miss the lush leafy vegetation and throbbing humid summer of my great lakes basin home...

> It is almost a cliche but my friends who moved to LA truly do miss the seasons, especially leaves changing colors.

I lived in Orlando for eight years and suffered the same thing. At least, I think I lived there for eight years. It's hard to tell, because it started to feel like an unbroken smear of days.

I live in Seattle now, and I love the cadence of seasons. It helps mark the passage through my life and I get filled with positive anticipation of every single seasonal change. I love picnics and playing in the sun in summer, mulling cider and carving Jack-o-lanterns in fall, snuggling under blankets and driving to play in the snow in winter, and, uh... OK, so spring here doesn't have too much to offer. But it's a good lead in to the incredible summers here.

You can go to the beach whenever you want, but even in July the water is friggin freezing.

A few years ago, I was visiting a friend in San Fransisco, and it was a warm, sunny day (to my friend's surprise). We were hanging out at a beach when we see a guy in a speedo walk by, towards the water. Before anyone could warn him, he jumped in the water, immediately jumped out, then ran back to the parking lot.

My guess is he was European - people from the West coast would know not to go in the water, and American men rarely wear speedos. I imagine the concept of being at the beach on a warm sunny day, but the water is too cold to enter, was completely unknown to him.

Yours and the parent comment are really amusing. The best time to swim in the Los Angeles area is December to March. I try to hit up the Dolphin Club whenever I am in San Francisco. And no, you don't need a wetsuit.

Are you sure that you didn't simply misunderstand what he was doing? When you're used to five degrees celsius water in the summer there really is no such thing as "too cold to enter"...

Entirely possible - but based on his reactions, he was not expecting the water to feel like it did.

Water got up to 75F at a lot of beaches in Orange County, CA last summer, not exactly the 80 of Belize, but pretty enjoyable.

We visited in September, and the warm clear water was a very pleasant bonus.

Winter surfing in January/February in -20C (-4F) is a thing in my region.

I know two guys who surf on Lake Michigan and Superior. They mostly go in the late Fall/early Winter because the waves are bigger, but the water is absolutely freezing.

No, no... you stop when the water hits absolute freezing. Before that it's really cold, and really harsh... I found it very difficult to surf/jet ski Lake Michigan in the winter as the surf was random and violent...

Ice Balls


Unnavigable Surf(Lake Erie)


edit: need a thesaurus

I walked by their office the other day and I think the venice snapchat office has moved. Ran out of space maybe?

Or they could just stay in San Diego all year round....

I was gonna say... the trip to Alaska seems unnecessary. Average highs never surpass 70°F in San Francisco: http://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/san-francisco/californi...

> the trip to Alaska seems unnecessary.

Staying in one easy 70°F place did not satisfy the project goal. From the meteorologist behind it (emphasis mine): "Imagine that you really like days where the high temperature is 70°F AND YOU WANTED TO PLAN A ROAD TRIP where the temperature always hovers around 70°F"

A 13,000 mile road trip is probably always unnecessary. Yet awesome! :-)

I think it's impressive he fit the Alaskan diversion into the problem constraints. (Also, I love road trips to Alaska.)

Reminds me of a motorcycle trip I took from CA to Alaska in late June/early July. Highest temp I saw the entire trip was 87f in Delta Junction, AK. Then went back to CA and ran into snow.

Careful, there -- many historical average charts are no longer particularly useful, and you really do need to look at current data. In June of this year, San Francisco had a high temperature over 70F on one out of every 6 days, including a high for the month of 79F.

Rising temperatures in a city where nothing was built anticipating the rise is a recipe for a bad time. Plus, the instant you get beyond the city limit of SF and a few adjacent suburbs you head right into temperatures typical of summer in many other parts of the country (the NOAA station at the airport in San Bruno, for example, reported a high of 87F in June, with daily highs over 70F for the majority of the month).

Unnecessary but fun. This maximises travel and experiences while keeping the temp the same. Someone needs to do this for their gap year

Shh, don't tell anyone!

Did you miss the part where he doesn't want anything higher than 70°F?

San Diego is pretty much 68 to 72 year round. In the summer it might get a little warmer and in the winter a little colder on select days, but it's a pretty tight range.

Speaking as a San Diego native, it does get colder than 68 and it definitely gets warmer than 72. Summers can get a little hot when the Santa Anna winds kick in. However, compared to vast majority of places on earth, our weather is better.

Ok, fair enough, the range is more than 68-72, but still pretty tight as far as places on earth go:


Did you miss the part where he said San Diego?

It can get to high 70s or low 80s on occasion, depending where you are in San Diego. Still beautiful though. I hope I can move back some day.

You need to work on your courtesy.

I am planning a road trip this year from my home in Alabama across and up to Washington state in late August. I believe I timed it just right! Side note: I cannot stand the heat and humidity here in Alabama this time of year. When it's 98 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is so high that as soon as you walk outside you are covered in water like you just jumped in a pool..... it's unbearable. I love the outdoors but due to the climate around here I can't do anything during the summer months.

I have lived in both Alabama and Washington state. Washington is nice :-D

Here's an idea for an app: a program that does this for any desired temperature range. Set it to 65-75F, and you probably don't have that big detour to Alaska. This ought to be a function in travel planning programs.

I made this a few years ago: https://p-seventy-two.herokuapp.com/

I feel a little embarrassed how long I spent clicking on the temperature curve before finally noticing the little dragbar underneath which is how you change the target temperature on that. The lack of geographical or movement constraints make the results less interesting than OP, though.

Any chance you could deploy a Celsius version for the rest of the world?

Very nice. Can you make it take a temperature range?

Nifty. You could probably turn this into a useful planning tool for RV camper types if you turned it into a constraint-solver or integer programming problem by using RV or camping locations and adding costs for relocation, to get a cost-effective set of trips up the coasts and back down over the year.

I've been doing this for the last few years but with my brain as the planning tool.

It only hit mid 60's today on the Maine coast.

Your neighbour from the Maritimes here it was 10C (50F) here yesterday it's 17C (63F) right now. I don't mind cool but I don't like it with rain.

I agree 21C (70F), dry, summer sun strength, no wind that's perfect.

I wonder if there is a similar world database.

Or you could just live in the SF Bay Area, and do a mild east/west traverse that doesn't range more than 50 miles. Problem solved.

But then you'd have to live in the SF Bay Area ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Am I the only one who prefers rain, snow, cold weather, and darkness?

I generally prefer the same -- I live in Portland after all...I had better like the rain!

That said, I do like/need/require a bit of sunshine now and then. What I certainly do not like, however, is lots of hot days.

Rain, yes! A perfect excuse to sit home, drink beer and pick nose. Love it. Darkness is fine. But cold... Eh. I like my windows open.

Nope, you're not alone. I grew up in Upstate New York and I also enjoy precipitation, wintertime, and early evenings.

The biggest issue with this, is that the average temperatures don't change that quickly, so you're treading pavement in most of these locations waiting for the temps to change. It's a year long road trip in the most agonizingly slow way possible. Neat premise though.

In the visualization video it looks like the 70 degree latitude is much more uniform in approximately the eastern half of the country than the western half. In the east it basically just marches northward in a line from winter to summer, but in the west it's all over the place. (And not just on the coast.) Does this have something to do with prevailing winds? Elevation?

It's all about the elevation. You can drive for hours on the east coast and be in the same relative eco-system. Here in the west, you drive an hour and can move through several. Start in a scorching red-rock desert and move in elevation to an alpine meadow in a short drive. And the temps drop 3°F for every 1k feet you gain in elevation.

Elevation explains temperatures staying cool in the mid-west. The California Current probably explains cool summer weather on the west coast: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Current

I'm born and raised in the Bay Area (a native, of sorts). Between work and family, I've travelled more than a little bit the last few years. I live on the coast, we used to have some great storms in the late 90s, but nothing impressive in over 10 years.

For me, I need the change of temperature (sure it's between about 8 and 21-25C, but a variation). The lack of light in winter affects me more.

I've been through one Finnish winter and had visits to Tallinn (-30C), Stockholm (-12C) and Munich (0C) one work trip where 0c really felt like I should be wearing shorts.

What I can't deal with is hot and humid. Arrived in Germany about two weeks back, it was 33C and humid. Not enough showers would help not feeling "sweaty and dirty".

I think some variation is useful. I also miss rain.

This can be a nice calculation based on the contour lines. I'm sure there are several local optimal solutions (Bay Area, San Diego) but I'd be interested in working on an elegant "doable" solution (e.g. no more than 200 miles of travel a week)

Favorite part about this is June, July, August and September in Colorado. Summertime in the Rockies! Any startups needing an excuse to get away, come visit us :)

The video of a line of red dots moving northward reminded me of Cherry blossum front (桜前線) in Japan.


If you are in India, you could just stay the whole year in Bangalore. https://www.google.co.in/search?q=bangalore+temperature

As someone who lived in Bangalore, no. You missed April's average temperature being 95F.

So here's the thing.

It starts in Brownsville, Tx.[1]

In January 2016, There were 2 days in Brownsville where the high was 70, the 13th and 28th.

Even if you say +/- 5 degrees is 'close enough' to 70, less than 1/2 the days in January 2016 fall into that range.

From the 3rd to the 4th, the high temperature jumped 15 degrees from 51 to 66.

On the 2nd, the high was 45 degrees. The 15th, the high was 83 degrees. That's a 38 degree high temperature spread in one month.

So if you really do need 70, spot-on to be happy, you may need to add standard deviation to your criteria.

Here's the chart:

[1] http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/brownsville-tx/78520/januar...

Needs to be a loop so you can just keep driving the route till you die.

I was looking to relocate a while ago and found a website that gives year round weather for places. Apparently Hawaii is consistently 74 and sunny.

Their summary of pros/cons was you may become bored.

The boredom has nothing to do with weather.

I would kill myself July - October... in the middle of nowhere...

People from Idaho would tell you, "It sucks here! Don't come! You'll hate it."

The reality is that this track takes you through one of the most beautiful parts of the US. Oregon and Idaho have an amazing array of climates and landscapes. You could be wakeboarding along an almost tropical Snake River in Hells Canyon in the morning and then hiking in the high alpine of the Wallowa Range later that day.

Truly my favorite part of the country and I'm glad that it's not overrun with tourists.

Hah! That sounds very similar to Wyoming. I've seen more than one shirt and heard more than one person say "Yes, Wyoming sucks. Now go home and tell all your friends!"

The weather isn't so great (spring and fall may as well not exist, it just feels like you go from freezing winter to blazing summer), but the scenery is truly hard to beat. Also, Yellowstone.

yesss… "It sucks here! Don't come! You'll hate it."

Looks heavenly to me.

Two-thirds of it spent in the Pacific Northwest? I'd hardly call that the middle of nowhere.

Watching that youtube clip of the 70 degree temp moving up and down the US really puts thing in perspective, one small tip of the earth's axis and we are all f#$$ed

damn this would make a great motorcycle route, but keep it towards the higher side of 70 for the naked bikes. High temperatures and summer humidity can side line me as much as below freezing temperatures. I can do below freezing but I get leery of what I find on the road around the next corner. Summer heat can be dangerous as many will ride without jackets which is unsafe and dehydrating

This is a nice visual depiction of why LA and most of the west coast is so nice year round.

On Big Island, Hawaii you can probably find 70-degree weather somewhere anytime of year.

On the other hand, if you can't, the road trip gets really ugly, really quickly...

Thanks to global warming you can soon drive anywhere you want in 90 degrees.

I wonder how the route changes as a function of the desired temperature.

Too much time in Texas and they miss September in San Francisco!

Driving this far the temperature might become 71.

Or stay in Santa Barbara pretty much year-round.

If you can afford it.

Lived there for 10 years. I loved it. But it got way way to expensive even if your making close to 100k. That and its not big. stuff can get boring there.

Or you can just go to San Diego

I'm not sure the writer understands the project. The route is constructed so that the daily high temperature is 70, so most of the time is spent in sub-70 degree weather. If "69 degrees and below makes you shiver like a soaked kitten", you're SOL.

Way to miss the point. The prose makes it sound like the goal is to maximize the time spent at exactly 70, or to minimize the variation away from 70, neither of which is the case.

I just set my thermostat to 70.

Too much free time and money on hands, eh? Good for you mate.

NB: The meteoroligist plotted the trip, he has not (and likely will not) made it.

If you work from home or are retired, that would be a good opportunity to be able to get an RV and do it... but destinations would be more important to me then temperature... and as others have pointed out, multiple locations have this kind of temperature all year long anyways...

I work remotely for a non-profit. So neither too much time nor too much money but I still do live like this. Except for that 70F is way too cold for me, I like it above 85F.

Try it, makes one less grumpy ;)

Just stay indoors.

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