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Old 11-17-2014, 07:56 PM   #1
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Southbound from Salem, OR January 2015

I plan to follow I-5 South. Driving a 38' class a diesel pusher. Have not driven over a pass in the winter. Any recommendations from those with this experience?

Thanks
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:46 PM   #2
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I do it every year and chances are we could be on the road the same time. We leave after Christmas, weather depending.

That is a key, watch the weather and the DOT cameras and simply pick your timing. The Siskyou pass is very important so if it closes they throw a ton of equipment at it to get it open.

Oregon has DOT cameras on I-5 showing intervals and the conditions up and over the Siskyous in real time. Just do a search for Oregon DOT cameras. Oregon is a carry chain state so it is better to have them than not. Unlikely to get stopped but stuff happens and getting caught needing them in an unpredictable storm is a bad deal. I have chains and have never had them out except to practice putting them on so I am prepared. If for any reason you are discovered without them then you get a big fat ticket.

Also Oregon has a DOT phone number which will give real time information en route. The number is on the same website with the DOT cameras.

I make sure I am prepared with proper clothing out and available for laying down in the snow, chains ready and easily accessible and a tarp. But I never intend to chain up, plan B is if it says snow and requires chains I just find a place and stay put and monitor the pass conditions until it clears. I have only had to wait one time in 12 years because I do as outlined above.

I plan to do Coburg Oregon where we stay the night to Redding California in one day and then you are pretty much clear of any problems. We did have the Grapevine in California close but we just grabbed Hwy 41 and headed to the coast along with a million trucks , I like that route better anyway.

I watch the weather and the ten day forcast. I pick my days to leave, I recheck everything the day of departure, and I plan to hit the pass about 1pm. The 1pm crossing give me plenty of daylight to get through the Shastas and into Redding. When we get just before Ashland I have my wife call the DOT number and get the current conditions. If for any reason it is closed I take the first Ashland exit. Off to the right is a little motel and they have about ten full hookups right outside. You can see it on the right when you exit. I go there and just wait it out, nice and cozy in the MH until time to go.

Do not compress your schedule when going over the pass. Leave yourself plenty of travel time and be patient. Having "to be somewhere" at a certain date does not serve you well when traveling in winter.

https://www.tripcheck.com/Pages/CamerasEntry.asp Here is the website.


PS: We are the Rolling Stones, small world.
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:57 AM   #3
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We're headed south from Eugene after our solar is installed at AM Solar on January 5th. Thank you for all this info--very helpful!
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:08 PM   #4
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X's 2 on the chains, I carried them in the Semi but never had too install them.
Start down the decline slow you don't want too start off @60 incase she get's away from you.
Best Wishes, Tim
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, Tim. Slow definitely seems wise in this situation. Has it ever been bad enough that any of you have just gone down the coast & if so, where did you head inland?
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:43 PM   #6
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If I-5 is closed in Oregon or Northern CA I take 199 from Grants Pass to Crescent City then 101 to Petaluma over to Napa on 37, down to Pleasanton on 680, then 580 towards Tracy and I-5. It is a tad longer in both time and distance.
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:06 PM   #7
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What about the weather

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ciderdog View Post
If I-5 is closed in Oregon or Northern CA I take 199 from Grants Pass to Crescent City then 101 to Petaluma over to Napa on 37, down to Pleasanton on 680, then 580 towards Tracy and I-5. It is a tad longer in both time and distance.
Is it less wintery?
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:10 PM   #8
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Depending on the day, time and weather you can expect:
Clear sailing
Fog
Rain
Sleet
Snow
Ice
Or any combination of the above!

I try to hit the passes in the afternoon after the temps have risen and snowplows made it through.

A few years ago we were scheduled to leave the Vancouver, WA area for Quartzsite and Yuma. The night before we got hit with snow and freezing rain. They closed I-5 for a while through Portland. Waited a few hours til they opened it up and headed south. Got to watch SUV's and cars slide into the ditch, some people were just getting out of the vehicles plus a few 18 wheelers also. Got south of Eugene and called it a day. Next morning we waited a while and went through the passes without any problems.
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Old 11-20-2014, 12:01 AM   #9
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RE post 7. When I-5 is closed with snow or has chain restrictions many long haul truckers move over to 101. Less wintery? Well that depends on your opinion of winter. The coast will probably be having rain if there is enough snow fall to close I-5.
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Old 11-20-2014, 12:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ciderdog View Post
RE post 7. When I-5 is closed with snow or has chain restrictions many long haul truckers move over to 101. Less wintery? Well that depends on your opinion of winter. The coast will probably be having rain if there is enough snow fall to close I-5.
That's a much longer, slower way to go since you have to detour to the coast and the roads are secondary in nature. Plus, if others go that way the roads will be crowded and slow going.
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Old 11-20-2014, 11:38 AM   #11
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Yes, probably 80 miles longer and traffic may be increased but at least it is moving. A good portion of 101 is four lane highway once south of the Redwoods and traffic moves pretty fast. The choice may be waiting overnight for highways to clear or take the open (longer) highway.
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Old 11-20-2014, 11:52 AM   #12
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Just a quick question for those of you who carry chains,where do you buy them and what's the approximate cost. We actually had to wait out a storm in Oregon this last October. We had no chains and I wasn't going to chance it, even though we probably didn't need them. We rarely travel in areas/ or time of year when we would need them, I think you are right, it doesn't hurt to carry them.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike and Cha View Post
Just a quick question for those of you who carry chains,where do you buy them and what's the approximate cost. We actually had to wait out a storm in Oregon this last October. We had no chains and I wasn't going to chance it, even though we probably didn't need them. We rarely travel in areas/ or time of year when we would need them, I think you are right, it doesn't hurt to carry them.

I bought mine from Les Schwab in Medford. I bought the cable type chains and never plan to use them but here in Oregon there are highways where you are required to carry chains. I don't know if it carries over to large tire chains but Les Schwab will take the chains back in April if not used and give a full refund - at least that's what they advertised last year. I don't remember the amount I paid for the cable chains.
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Old 11-21-2014, 12:50 AM   #14
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I'm leaning towards I-5 to Grants Pass then 199 to 101. We have the time and would like to go through the redwoods, maybe even camp there a night or two. Reviewing the DOT cams the roads look to be very adequate for our rig and toad.

Always welcome more suggestions/recommendations.
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