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Old 08-13-2015, 09:36 PM   #1
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route 12 in Washington state

Looking for information about US 12, both summer and winter, from I5 to Yakima traveling in 45 foot motorhome pulling toad. Any info about elevation and grades etc. Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:11 PM   #2
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Looking for information about US 12, both summer and winter, from I5 to Yakima traveling in 45 foot motorhome pulling toad. Any info about elevation and grades etc. Thanks!
Although I haven't actually driven this in several years the highway from I-5 to the summit is pretty good & has decent grades. Used extensively by logging trucks, so I'm sure it will handle your 45+toad.

As I remember there is a pretty steep grade going down the east side. May want to check with DOT.
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:13 PM   #3
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Steep, but not problem. Not near the amount of traffic as I-90; prettier too.
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:15 PM   #4
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US 12 is a two lane road that goes through several small towns. There are a few grades, but nothing over 10%. Speed limit is 55 mph for most of it. During the winter, it does collect snow as pass elevation is 4,500 ft above sea level. The Washington State DOT has a pass report website with cameras going year round.

Look for information on White Pass
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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As far as summer/winter, they do keep this route open year round. Sometimes it's open when 90 and 2 are closed. You just have to watch the weather reports or dial 511 for pass reports.
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:17 PM   #6
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We just drove it east to west in our 40.
No issues. I think it a bit steeper and winding on the west side.
Winter time is anybody's guess. Maybe cold rain, maybe warm rain, maybe some snow.
That would be a check before you go deal.
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:28 PM   #7
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Since you are in Spanaway, take a few hours some weekend before you make the RV trip and check it out. As stated, the west side is the steepest. The east side is a nice gradual slope in comparison. Do you plan to go down I-5 to Rt 12 or will you go down to Elbe and on to Morton and join Rt 12 there?
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:10 PM   #8
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Thanks to all for the very helpful info. Thinking of going thru Elby to Morton over thru Yakima. Mostly gathering info on various options South I5 is very busy most of the time.
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:38 AM   #9
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Thanks to all for the very helpful info. Thinking of going thru Elby to Morton over thru Yakima. Mostly gathering info on various options South I5 is very busy most of the time.
Twisty in sections but a pleasant drive.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:22 AM   #10
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Depending on when you plan to go, check for traffic reports. I think it's closed a couple of places because of wildfires at the moment.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:33 AM   #11
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No problem,did this in my 40' with trailer and towed on trailer 63' both winter and summer several times. West side is shorter to top but a little steeper and turns that can slow you if you have the power for a speed limit run up hill. Good ski area on top so mid winter you will be on compact snow and ice both sides for a few miles and on the east side depending on the storm maybe all the way to Yakima. Be sure to have chains on board even though you may, as I did never use them, as there can be checks and the fine is $$$$$. The Down hill on the east is no problem but on the west side if in ice conditions can be a bit of a pucker factor but no problem if you keep your speed for conditions. DOT is good and clearing and sanding during winter, ski area. Lots of great camping areas on the east side but few with hookups. Cell coverage as I recall all the way. If early morning or later evening watch for deer or elk, for that matter any time.

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Old 08-14-2015, 06:35 PM   #12
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If you are a Washington state resident, you may already know this but WSDOT has specific chaining requirements for vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVWR (your diesel pusher is obviously rated over 10,000 GVWR so this will pertain to your situation).

WAC 204-24-050 ...go to (f)

You must carry chains with you going over White Pass (and all the other passes listed in the link above) even if you don't need to install them and road conditions are clear from November 1st to April 1st. It states too that "all vehicles over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) must carry a minimum of two extra chains for use in the event that road conditions require the use of more chains or in the event that chains in use are broken or otherwise made useless." (I was once told by a WSP trooper that they only enforce the extra "two chain" rule for commercial vehicles but nonetheless, you must at least carry with you one set of chains if not the extra set in order to be "legal" if stopped or being investigated for something else.)

You'll have to chain up when the commercial trucks chain up. Therefore, even when cars do not have to use chains, vehicles over 10,000 lbs. GVWR may still have to install chains. Also, one tire on either side of the toad (left rear or right rear) will have to be chained.

Most of us do not want to install chains on a motorhome so will time the trip to avoid a snow storm in the passes but the important thing to remember, though, is that you must carry chains with you whether you need them or not from November through March. As Len has said, fines are strict ...even for not having chains on board.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:24 PM   #13
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rt 12 in Washington state

Thank you for the heads up! We are traveling towards Naches from parts East the first 10 days of Nov. and did not know about the chains rule. I will make sure that we have two sets of chains on board. Good to know. I had asked on another thread about traveling from NC to Naches, WA but nobody answered my request. Glad I looked tonight.



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If you are a Washington state resident, you may already know this but WSDOT has specific chaining requirements for vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVWR (your diesel pusher is obviously rated over 10,000 GVWR so this will pertain to your situation).

WAC 204-24-050 ...go to (f)

You must carry chains with you going over White Pass (and all the other passes listed in the link above) even if you don't need to install them and road conditions are clear from November 1st to April 1st. It states too that "all vehicles over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) must carry a minimum of two extra chains for use in the event that road conditions require the use of more chains or in the event that chains in use are broken or otherwise made useless." (I was once told by a WSP trooper that they only enforce the extra "two chain" rule for commercial vehicles but nonetheless, you must at least carry with you one set of chains if not the extra set in order to be "legal" if stopped or being investigated for something else.)

You'll have to chain up when the commercial trucks chain up. Therefore, even when cars do not have to use chains, vehicles over 10,000 lbs. GVWR may still have to install chains. Also, one tire on either side of the toad (left rear or right rear) will have to be chained.

Most of us do not want to install chains on a motorhome so will time the trip to avoid a snow storm in the passes but the important thing to remember, though, is that you must carry chains with you whether you need them or not from November through March. As Len has said, fines are strict ...even for not having chains on board.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:48 PM   #14
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Thank you for the heads up! We are traveling towards Naches from parts East the first 10 days of Nov. and did not know about the chains rule. I will make sure that we have two sets of chains on board. Good to know. I had asked on another thread about traveling from NC to Naches, WA but nobody answered my request. Glad I looked tonight.

Ruthie197, if coming into Naches from Yakima on US12, that is not a mandatory "carry chains" stretch of roadway ...only west of Naches will be. However, you'll still want to be carrying chains with you if coming up through I-84 in Oregon (Cabbage Hill/Deadman Pass area as well as a few other stretches of I-84 through northeast Oregon) as Oregon also has similar rules for carrying chains. I believe in Oregon though, both sides of the toad must be chained.

However, as has been discussed on this board as well as other RV boards, most of us do not want to be chaining up a motorhome (and some motorhomes actually can't accept chains because of clearance issues ...and even if you can chain up your motorhome, if the chains work themselves loose, they can do a lot of body damage) and by studying the pass reports ahead of time, you can usually avoid being on the road during a snow storm. Since we don't want to hijack this thread, PM me if you have any further questions about winter driving in a motorhome ...I am a retired commercial driver).
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