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Old 12-01-2018, 11:12 PM   #1
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Best safe route Oregon to Arizona in January 2019

We would like to get somewhere warm and sunny for January, however, we are well aware of the challenges of getting over Shasta, etc to get to Arizona from Portland, Oregon.
We figured we could go down 101 and then 99 North of the Bay area to get on I-10 out of the Southern California area.

Thoughts and experiences for this time of year.
And yes, we are very well aware that Mother Nature often has January surprises, like snow at the beach.

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Old 12-01-2018, 11:41 PM   #2
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Hi LovesToWine; Have made a few trips from the Auburn, Wa. area to Az. So far I have never had to do the coast route. I have always watched the Oregon, DOT web site for information getting from Ashland over to Shasta. Being a major route, the Oregon DOT does a good job in my opinion, of keeping the roads clear. There are plenty of web cams on I-5 as well as road reports throughout the day. If things change as you are getting close to those passes, you can always stay in Medford. Then get going when they get the roadway clear. I know it can happen and mother nature will go nuts on that area. I don't have a map in front of me at the moment, but as you go down the coast, I think it is highway #20 will cut you across to Williams on I-5 if you don't want to travel too far south. We take short hops and stay at Red Bluff, Lodi and Bakersfield once into Ca. Then we go hwy 58 over to Barstow then Needles on 40. Down to Parker and Quartzite. Then on 10 over to the Buckeye. For us this avoids the L.A. area. Has worked many times for us. I am sure others here will chime in for what works for them. When you go, have a great trip and enjoy the sunshine!
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:48 PM   #3
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You’re going to get a wide variety of suggestions but keep in mind that Arizona is a long way and there are any number of ways to get there, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. It really comes down to what the weather is doing on the specific day you set out. Use trip checkers, route planners and tools like oss.weathershare.org to see what’s going on up ahead.

I’ve made that trip from Portland area east through the gorge, Pendleton, Caldwell, etc., a few times in January or February. It seems like every time I went through Twin Falls it was snowing.

We’ve also gone south on I-5 and cut across at Shasta toward Susanville - beautiful drive but again, watch the weather.

We’ve gone straight east on 30 and also over Santiago pass then south or on toward Burns.

All those routes pretty much just getting out of Oregon area. For us at least, once we get beyond Reno we feel like we’ve got it made.

Good luck!
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:38 PM   #4
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Thank you!
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by LovesToWine View Post
We figured we could go down 101 and then 99 North of the Bay area to get on I-10 out of the Southern California area.
That is the route I would recommend without know more about what you are driving.

Came down the first week November on 101 and then cut over to Reno via Redding and Susanville, then 395 to Las Vegas.

While slow 101 is beautiful. Having lived in California for many years there is nothing new except how the traffic is getting worse every each time. So avoiding Sacramento and points south is only something I would do to avoid snow.

I did miscalculate the weather going around Lassen NP and it was 17F for about 30 miles. I had neglected to stock up on additive to prevent diesel gelling below 23F.
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:43 PM   #6
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From Northern Oregon...go I-5 to after Eugene go east to Klamath falls to Reno...then south to Vegas to Arizona. If you go South from Oregon....go Down to Mendocino County Hwy 101 Turn west on Hwy 20 to I-5 at Williams...go through Sacramento before 3 pm or after 8 pm....Go south to HWY 58 at Bakersfield....then Come out on the Hwy 215....to the 210 to Hwy 10...east to Phoenix. The first route....out of oOegon can alway be subject in foul weather....go slow...and take you time. Also...all routes in California...are super expensive on fuel...since they added a 50 cent tax on diesel last year... HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU!
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:45 PM   #7
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That is the route I would recommend without know more about what you are driving.

Came down the first week November on 101 and then cut over to Reno via Redding and Susanville, then 395 to Las Vegas.

While slow 101 is beautiful. Having lived in California for many years there is nothing new except how the traffic is getting worse every each time. So avoiding Sacramento and points south is only something I would do to avoid snow.

I did miscalculate the weather going around Lassen NP and it was 17F for about 30 miles. I had neglected to stock up on additive to prevent diesel gelling below 23F.
Did you by chance mean 95 instead of 395 from northern NV to Las Vegas?
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:51 PM   #8
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I'm envious. I can't make the trip to AZ this winter.
Last February we went from home, South of Olympia 30 miles down I-5 to I think Sacremento and decided to go over to 99 to Bakersfield, needed to get to Vegas first. Shasta area was good, no problem. But, I wished I hadn't taken 99 to Bakersfield. Rough as a cob, worse than I-5. I think I-5 was good, some think it isn't, so on the way back, through Bakersfield, as soon as I could I went over to I-5.
Seems to me, once you get down to Redding you would have it made, ALTHOUGH, last week Tucson had SNOW. So you never really know until a day out or there abouts. AND, it's been a little chilly in AZ lately.
This time of year I would take the same route again to AZ.
Someone mentioned BURNS, guessing Oregon. It gets really cold in Eastern Oregon, I mean really cold. I lived in Bend for a few years and had to travel to John Day and Burns a few times in winter, BRRR. NOT fun. I've been to Maine in winter also, OH BOY!!!
Anyways, check the weather ahead and enjoy.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:15 PM   #9
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Depending on weather,and avoiding most of Cal.with their extreme fuel costs, rough roads and traffic..

Yes you are running the "High Country" and may see a bit of weather, just be prepared for it, and shut down for a day or so if needed..

From PDX, east on I-84, to US 97 south, to State route 39 south @ K-Falls.. Turns into Cal State route 139 to JCT of 299, go east to JCT of US-395 south(Alturas) , to Reno, I-80 east to US-50 @Fernley, to US-95 @ Fallon, then south to I-40 in AZ. I-40 east to AZ-95 south to destination..
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Old 01-16-2019, 07:09 PM   #10
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I have done it just about every year for the last 10 years. Stick to I-5 and just watch the weather over the Sisq???? mts in southern Oregon (hold up at Canyonville if you have bad weather). Stay on I-5 until you can jump over to Bakersfield, then take HWY 58 to Barstow. Then follow your nose.
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Old 01-16-2019, 07:21 PM   #11
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I-84 through the gorge is supposed to be bad this week. 1" to 3" of snow tonight east of Hood River. Possibly freezing rain also.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:26 PM   #12
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I-84 through the gorge is supposed to be bad this week. 1" to 3" of snow tonight east of Hood River. Possibly freezing rain also.
Yup I saw that, Just depends on when this month they will be traveling..

another alternative would be south on I-t to state route 58 east over Willamette to 97 and south..
But if they are not experienced with 2 lane roads and the high country, then by all means run either I-5 or 101 south to Cal.
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:54 AM   #13
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Did you by chance mean 95 instead of 395 from northern NV to Las Vegas?
Yes, you are correct.

Did take 395 going north one year stopping at Death Valley NP and Lake Tahoe. but it was later in the spring.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:25 PM   #14
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thinking I-5 south would be the ticket except for one thing this time of year, TULE FOG so thick in the central valley you can't see your hood ornament, have a safe trip.
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