Some people prefer the long, warm days of summer; others revel in a crisp fall night. Either way, most people can agree that mild weather is the most comfortable—you're not sweating but you're not shivering either. With all the varied ecosystems that make up the United States, it sounds like a daydream to get good weather year-round without leaving the country. Or is it? Climatologist Brian Brettschneider has conceived of a year-long cross-country road trip where it's always a comfortable 70°F.
Brettschneider first designed the road trip map in 2015. The original version only featured a single route starting in Brownsville, Texas, on January 1, before heading northeast to be in Washington, D.C., by May and then winding around from the north to lay low in Colorado for the summer. The triumphant final stop was in San Diego on December 31. “I have been contacted numerous times over the years since from people who want to bike or drive the trip. It has resonated with people in a way I never imagined,” he wrote on his blog.
The first map was map was based on the 1981–2010 climate normals produced by the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI). As the 1991–2020 normals were released by NCEI in May 2021, Brettschneider set out to update his map. Not only did he have some very interesting findings, but he also added more routes to the map. He created both interior and coastal routes, and even designed a map with a road trip route that includes Alaska and Canada.
“It might surprise people that as fast as the globe is warming up due to human activity, the shift in 70°F temperatures between 1981–2010 and 1991–2020 is very slight. It's just too short of a time period to capture the distance change,” he wrote. “Instead, I decided to come up with new routes. The original route was interesting, but it left out a lot of options. This time around, there are multiple routes to choose from. Enjoy!”
The most extreme overall is definitely the 13,909-mile road trip that goes from Southern California in January, crisscrosses the country to reach Fairbanks on July 1, and then ends in Florida for all of December. For those hoping to chase the 70ºF dream without leaving the contiguous United States, Brettschneider offers routes beginning in Texas and Florida with connector segments in case you change your mind halfway through or want the best of both worlds. Spring in the East Coast or the Midwest? Summer in the Pacific Northwest or Wyoming? The options become more limited towards the end of the year, as a New Mexico Halloween is almost inescapable. But who wouldn't say yes to not having to wear a coat above your costume?
Climatologist Brian Brettschneider has conceived of a year-long cross-country road trip in which it's always 70°F wherever you are.
Brettschneider first designed the road trip map in 2015. As the 1991–2020 normals were released by NCEI in May 2021, he set out to update his map.
The original version only featured a single route starting in Brownsville, Texas on January 1, heading northeast to land in Washington, D.C., by May, and then winding around to spend summer in Colorado.
— Brian Brettschneider (@Climatologist49) August 17, 2015
Now, not only has he made some very interesting findings, but he has also added more routes to the map. He created both interior and coastal routes, and even designed a map with a road trip route that includes Alaska and Canada.
You asked for it, and here it is. The most popular map (by far) that I have ever made is now updated using 1991-2020 climate data. The 13,909-mile year-long road trip that follows the 70°F (21°C) high temperature value. Enjoy. Accompanying write-up: https://t.co/7MFRAt9SR9 pic.twitter.com/T5l9k191KD
— Brian Brettschneider (@Climatologist49) May 31, 2023