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Old 07-26-2014, 10:43 AM   #1
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Travel from Chicago to Tucson in Winter

Hi All,

We are planning to head for Tucson AZ during December. Weather can be iffy. does anyone have experience and suggestions for the route. Is it better to drive through Iowa, Kansa, Oklahoma and down or to go due south to Louisiana and then over to Texas, New Mexico, and AZ? worried about winterizing, dewinterizing! we are driving a 2011 Fleetwood bounder with a jeep toad.
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:15 PM   #2
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It is probably a bit too early to make any hard plans. Weather might very well make that decision for you.

Last year we left Champaign, IL for Macon, GA and then planned to go through Dallas as we headed for the McAllen, TX area. As we left Macon, Dallas was having a nasty few days of ice storms. We wound up going straight south to Apalachicola, FL and hugging the gulf coast via I-10 as we transitioned westward to avoid the cold and rain.

As to winterizing that would also depend on the weather. If your RV has good insulation and also the ability to keep the water bay warm you should be fine unless the weather turns ugly. That assumes you didn't already winterize it in late fall. One thing you could do is use air to blow out the lines if you winterize it prior to your trip. That and emptying your tanks, including the water heater, could make it easy to add water to the system as you get further south and into warm weather.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-26-2014, 02:18 PM   #3
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You will have to watch the weather to determine the best route. I have traveled from Indianapolis to Phoenix via I-75, I-44, I-40, & I-17 in December. I am prepared to turn south at Effingham, IL; Oaklahoma City, OK; Ammarillo, TX; and Albuquerque, NM. The temp was 11 to 14 until we hit Flagstaff from there on warmer. Phoenix was 67. Our coach is a 2006 Fleetwood Expedition which is very similar to your coach. We kept the gas furnaces running, and at night used electric space heaters to supplement. When plugged in at campgrounds, we have a small reflector light in the water bay with a 60 watt bulb to keep the pump and valves warm, and we did not have any tanks or other equipment freeze. When we travel this route in winter, we always stay in campgrounds that have good 50 amp power to be sure we are fully charged and warm. Before going to bed, I turn on the engine block heater which makes starting the engine the next morning very easy.

In a previous coach and making this trip, our water tanks were not in a heated area. We used gallon jugs of water and did not have problems with the gray or black tanks. Not enough volume to cause freezing problems. We showered at the campgrounds.
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Old 07-27-2014, 03:38 PM   #4
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I have done this many times but not in an RV. Go south young man go south. Go through Saint Louis to the 10. Avoid the 40 especially Scottsdale. The 10 will avoid mountains and mountain passes. Hopefully snow free.


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Old 07-27-2014, 08:42 PM   #5
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Flexibility is the advice I would give you.

We travel from Wisconsin to Tucson/Yuma in the winter. I map out several routes about a month before our planned departure. Then a day or two before we leave I start watching the weather forecasts. We have left a day earlier once, a day later once, changed our route in the middle a couple of times.

All the states now keep up to date maps of winter road conditions on their websites ... I suggest you find the sites of all the states that you might travel through and book mark those before you hit the road. Driving a couple of hundred miles extra to avoid treacherous roads will be worth the extra fuel and anxiety.

We were snowed in for three days once in MO ... and delayed for 2 days in New Mexico because of subzero temps, high winds, and snow.

We are generally winterized when we leave WI. We use bottled water for drinking and brushing our teeth for the first couple of days ... we flush the toilet with windshield wiper fluid (keep the jugs in the shower) ...

We make sure that we keep the LP tank full and run the LP furnace (on our rig the ducts from the LP furnace supply heat to the basement storage). When we park for the night I put trouble lights in the water bay and beside the fresh water pump after we have dewinterized if the overnight temps are going to be in the low teens ...

So far this has worked for us ...
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:45 PM   #6
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I forgot to mention that in cold weather we fill the fresh water tank and stow the hose.

We get out the sewer hose ... dump ... and immediately stow the hose.

Dealing with frozen hoses is not fun ... and please don't ask why I know that
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:42 PM   #7
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For a December trip it would be best to head south to I-20 in Texas or ideally I-10 into Tucson. Definitely don't try I-40 - storm central! We've lived in Michigan and Missouri.
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:01 PM   #8
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Most of the western states require you to carry snow chains, this is especially true for mountain driving. Usually its chain up or 4x4 or AWD with snow tires. If you do decide on a northern route take chains, weather forecasts, are iffy very iffy. Snow conditions signs go up and you need to obey. Trying to buy chains at the foot of a mountain can be really expensive, especially after a ticket.


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Old 07-28-2014, 07:56 PM   #9
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There are NO ABSOLUTES... last year there was an ice storm moving through Texas at the time we were travelling .... both I-10 and I-20 were hockey rinks ... and I-40 was clear as a bell all the way from Tulsa to Albuquerque ... we turned south there and had a wonderful trip into Tucson .. . watch the weather channels and the road reports!!!.
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