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Old 12-08-2015, 01:58 PM   #1
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IL to CA and back around Christmas....

My wife and I (oh...and Lucy-the-dog, of course) are heading out on a grand adventure over the Holidays...leaving Rockford, IL and driving to the Los Angeles, CA are via Tulsa, OK, Albuquerque, NM and Mesa, AZ, and then back again.

We're praying for decent weather (so far, the outbound trip looks pretty good), and sincerely hoping to we'll be able to meet other iRV2 forum contributors along the way. Here's our itinerary, and if anyone happens to be in any of these parks at the same time, we'd love to say hello. Bluegrass pickers particularly welcome!

18-Dec; Big Red Barn, Carthage, MO
19-Dec; KOA Elk City/Clinton, Foss, OK
20 Dec; American RV Park, Albuquerque, NM
21 & 22-Dec; Mesa Spirit RV Resort, Mesa, AZ
23, 24 & 25-Dec; KOA Pomona Fairgrounds, Pomona, CA
26, 27 & 28-Dec; Off Grid near Onyx, CA
29-Dec; Sky Valley Resort, Dessert Hot Springs, CA
30-Dec; Mesa Spirit RV Resort, Mesa, AZ
31-Dec; American RV Park, Albuquerque, NM
1-Jan; Amarillo Ranch RV Park, Amarillo, TX
2-Jan; Big Red Barn RV Park, Carthage, MO
3-Jan; Double J Campground, Chatham, IL
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:21 PM   #2
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All depends on the weather of course. You will know better once it is closer. Also you are able to judge the weather from home to OKC fairly well with short notice. I-40 can have some issues from OKC to Flagstaff, Not sure if your plans are to head south on I-25 at ABQ and then pick up I-10, or go I-40 to Flagstaff and then I-17 south. I guess my suggestion is just have flexibility if required to adjust schedules or to speed ahead or lag behind a storm if required.

I recently went ABQ to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving, great weather heading east, and sucked coming back. Two full days of rain Louisville to Amarillo, plus was one day after all that ice storm that hit OK and TX. My MH is a complete mess and needs cleaning up really bad!
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:44 PM   #3
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Yeah....we're going to head south at Albuquerque to stay away from Flagstaff, and I have in mind that we may need to avoid Albuquerque as well if the temperature drops too much. And on the way home, I'll gladly hold up in Mesa and delay my return to work in Chicago. Maybe 'till April? You think anyone would notice?
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:45 PM   #4
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IMO the hot spot for bad weather will be Albuquerque to Ammarillo. It can be fine one day, a foot of snow with wind the next. I have the NWS live radar weather app on our phone. I can watch storms on radar, and predict their direction from movement of the front.
It never get so rushed I can't stay anywhere to wait out a storm.
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Old 12-10-2015, 08:08 AM   #5
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IMO the hot spot for bad weather will be Albuquerque to Ammarillo. It can be fine one day, a foot of snow with wind the next. I have the NWS live radar weather app on our phone. I can watch storms on radar, and predict their direction from movement of the front.
It never get so rushed I can't stay anywhere to wait out a storm.
Thanks, Ray. It's been years since I've gone the southern route, so this is very helpful. My memory had been that the biggest weather problems were further west....like Albuquerque Flagstaff, for instance. And it doesn't seem like there's a more southern route to avoid the Amarillo to Albuquerque stretch, or am I just missing something?

Also...do you have any experience driving a class A on snow-covered roads? I have no idea what to expect should we hit any areas where there's no ice (I'd simply get off the road if that were the case) but where there is any snow covering on the roads. I'd think the weight would mean you'd have some traction, and as long as you kept the speed down, you'd be able to handle roads as well as most passenger cars, but we've never had ours in that situation to date.
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:51 AM   #6
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The section between ABQ and Amarillo can get bad blowing winds that cause the problems with snow. That section of I-40 can close until the storm is done since they have hard time to keep it cleared. The good thing is the closure is typically less than one day, but it is closed to all traffic when it does close. I-40 rarely has closure or real bad conditions west of ABQ to Flagstaff, but a storm could make for poor driving conditions.

The only other real alternative southern route is I-10, which is what you would join up with heading south at ABQ once you hit Las Cruces. Then I-10 west into Mesa. You would have to make pretty significant changes to your plans to go I-10, probably work your way through DFW area and take I-20 west until it intersects I-10.
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Old 12-10-2015, 02:09 PM   #7
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The section between ABQ and Amarillo can get bad blowing winds that cause the problems with snow. That section of I-40 can close until the storm is done since they have hard time to keep it cleared. The good thing is the closure is typically less than one day, but it is closed to all traffic when it does close. I-40 rarely has closure or real bad conditions west of ABQ to Flagstaff, but a storm could make for poor driving conditions.

The only other real alternative southern route is I-10, which is what you would join up with heading south at ABQ once you hit Las Cruces. Then I-10 west into Mesa. You would have to make pretty significant changes to your plans to go I-10, probably work your way through DFW area and take I-20 west until it intersects I-10.
Thanks....going to study the maps of that area really well and be prepared to change our route if it looks like we'll hit trouble.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:27 AM   #8
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The only other real alternative southern route is I-10, which is what you would join up with heading south at ABQ once you hit Las Cruces. Then I-10 west into Mesa. You would have to make pretty significant changes to your plans to go I-10, probably work your way through DFW area and take I-20 west until it intersects I-10.
That is what we do (Chicago to CA). We just do it rather than make the decision last minute because we like to have a planned-out route with reservations. Traffic can be tough getting past DFW though. Otherwise the route is a breeze.
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:45 AM   #9
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ABrask,
I have absolutely no experience driving a MH in snow. When it snows- I park.
I have driven my dually 4X4 towing a 40' 5er in snow, not fun.
Driving is doable, stopping-not so much. Too much weight to safely stop on snow, nothing will stop on ice.
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:10 PM   #10
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....Also...do you have any experience driving a class A on snow-covered roads? I have no idea what to expect should we hit any areas where there's no ice (I'd simply get off the road if that were the case) but where there is any snow covering on the roads....
I live in Southern California, and I love to go camping, (all year long).

As a result, I have been caught in snowstorms, (yes it does snow in California). I have been caught in Mammoth, Big Bear, and Julian with snow and ice covered roads for the trip home.

First, I wait for the snowplows, if there are going to be any. Caltrans, (our road department in CA), does not use salt. so a plowed road is as good as it's going to get. If the roads are not going to be plowed, I wait for SUVs. I put chains on my rear drive wheels. Then, I'll wait until the 4x4's have trailblazed and clearly marked a path through the snow, and then I go real SLOW, anticipating any stops or turns.

You would be amazed at how poorly your motorhome's asphalt-rated "like new" tires will perform on snow and ice. So go slow and anticipate.

The most fun is making sharp left turns on ice!! A 20,000lb+ coach develops a mind of it's own on ice!


As soon as you have access to fresh water in non-freezing weather rinse your chassis. You will be amazed at what can get where, when it's solid and frozen.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:21 PM   #11
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We are in Yuma ,Az as we speak. Our route here from Quad cities, Il was Des Moine,Kansas City, Witchita, Oklahoma City, Amarillo and then 60 south to Clovis, Roswell,Ruidoso, Alamagordo, Las Cruces. It's all four lane, slightly hilly not much traffic. We travelled after Thanksgiving and 40 into Albuquerque was closed for a few days. In Las Cruces you can hook up with I-10 to Phoenix. We found the route easy ro drive with little or no traffic, our final destination was Yuma though. Have great trip!!!
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:49 PM   #12
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Thanks, Beach Dude! Didn't think about rinsing the salt, etc. Great feedback.
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:41 AM   #13
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Thanks, Ray. It's been years since I've gone the southern route, so this is very helpful. My memory had been that the biggest weather problems were further west....like Albuquerque Flagstaff, for instance. And it doesn't seem like there's a more southern route to avoid the Amarillo to Albuquerque stretch, or am I just missing something?

Also...do you have any experience driving a class A on snow-covered roads? I have no idea what to expect should we hit any areas where there's no ice (I'd simply get off the road if that were the case) but where there is any snow covering on the roads. I'd think the weight would mean you'd have some traction, and as long as you kept the speed down, you'd be able to handle roads as well as most passenger cars, but we've never had ours in that situation to date.

I post you a picture of driving in snow. Actually was near Flagstaff . Road and weather was good and all of a sudden we hit this junk. FYI--it was in a Palazzo that we had at the time-- we were pulling a small car.

We slowed to about 40 mph with the traffic. The coach did quite well. The biggest issue was traffic that would zip around us. And our windshield kept icing up. I would run the washer till it would melt the ice.

Had just maybe 20 mile of this and it went back to wet roads. So your probably used to snow in Illinois so you should be OK. The coach will handle it fine. For sure something I would never intentionally drive into tho.

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Old 12-12-2015, 08:04 AM   #14
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On my very first trip in my RV from San Marcos TX to Tucson AZ I caught a winter storm on I-10. Fortunately it was November and the road was still warm enough to keep it from freezing. You probably know this but watch the other traffic, if their tires aren't throwing water it's because it's beginning to ice up. Time to pull over somewhere.

BTW when I drove through LA on that trip I did it at 2:00am and used I-210. It was worth it to me to avoid heavy traffic problems. However, you may have a higher tolerance than I do for driving a behemoth in heavy traffic.

Steve
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