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Old 08-14-2016, 05:40 AM   #1
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Traveling Safe on Your Cross Country Trips

We are on our second year of enjoying our fifth wheel trailer.
We have made a trip to Ontario, CA and enjoyed the Adirondacks on our way home to MA. The rest of our trips so far have been east of the Mississippi touring to Florida and back enjoying historic sights. We are headed for three weeks in Maine where DH will be attending the Wooden Boat School.

We are planning a cross country trip for next year. We have been observing the terrible weather conditions so much of the US has dealt with this summer.
Also the wildfires doing so much damage out west.
We like so many others want to visit the national parks and monuments and for many of them there are shorter periods of time due to snow and other weather conditions in which you can enjoy them.

Would any of you have advice about how to plan a safe trip and how to readjust the route when necessary? I suppose it ought to be self evident that if something bad is going on in a location you should just stay away.
Just wondering if the experienced members of this group have any special advice to offer.

Thanks for any information you might want to contribute,


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Old 08-14-2016, 06:46 AM   #2
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Wanted to add that we do have a battery operated weather radio and download the apps for weather warnings on our phones. We survived the torrential rainstorms and tornado warnings in Florida this winter.


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Old 08-14-2016, 09:39 AM   #3
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We have just reached Seattle, WA after three weeks of travel from Michigan. We have stopped everywhere we wanted too and have had no weather or fire related detours. The only heavy traffic we have experienced was from Salem to Seattle and that was ridiculous.
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:32 PM   #4
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I think you answered your own question. If something bad is happening where you planned to go .... go to plan B!
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Old 08-14-2016, 05:11 PM   #5
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This is one reason we don't make reservations. During our 16 years of full-timing and traveling constantly we just headed for where we wanted to be. If there was an issue with storms, we hunkered down for a few days - don't try to drive through them.

Learn to be comfortable on secondary roads in case you have to use them to change direction. They are easy to drive on with a big rig and you'll see a lot more than on an interstate.

Also, be comfortable with just pulling off onto a large gravel/paved area to spend a night. If you're caught in a storm you might have to do it.

Monitor a good weather station constantly as you travel.

Fires in the western states are normal every summer. Here's an excellent site that we monitor as we're heading for another state. Explore it and get used to using it. Enter any state and it will show the fires and tell about about them - if there are evacuations or if roads are closed. We also dealt with fires on the way to Alaska one year. It's a natural occurrence.

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Old 08-14-2016, 05:23 PM   #6
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We've been across country twice in our old motorhome. We don't normally worry about the weather, but this last time, we got caught in a really bad storm in South Dakota. Sideways rain was overcoming the window seals... and we actually saw a fifth wheel trailer on the other side of the highway that got blown over. On our way home, there were storms in Kansas... having learned our lesson on the trip out, we decided to stop short for the night and let the storms blow through.

Other than the weather... make sure your rig is in good working order... brakes, tires, bearings, etc... Stay away from scary walmarts... and don't drive sleepy!

Fun and safe travels to you!

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Old 08-16-2016, 04:38 AM   #7
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Thanks, everyone, I have been clicking the thanks button but I am not sure that it is working properly. It looks different than it has in the past.

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Old 08-16-2016, 04:55 AM   #8
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You just can't let the weather stop you from enjoying your trips. You, of course, need to be aware of your surroundings, listen to what the weather guesser has to say then travel accordingly. Right now, I probably wouldn't plan on going to LA or MS, but nothing else currently would stop us. The wildfires will give you some haze problems and might even have a smell as we found out last year - but they didn't hinder our trip beyond some photos that seem to be foggy. Have alternate plans too. While I tend to make advance CG reservations, they are after the first 3 nights, only for the next afterwards. Oh and next Tuesday, we are again headed West (CO,AZ, UT, NM, etc) from Upstate NY with our 5er for another 8-10K mile, 5-6 week or more trip.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:29 PM   #9
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Hi - just back from our 12th trip across the country. I DO pay a LOT of attention to the weather. Used to be spring was the worst time to venture thru Tornado Alley. Now it seems to be all year long... This time toad suffered $1200 in hail damage in Cheyenne, WY - glad the rig was parked in Denver! I'm sure others will say "don't worry", but I sleep better knowing I'll still be in the same spot in the AM!

When crossing thru the mid-part of the country, prone to the worst storms, I look at NOAA's Storm Prediction Center forecast. It only goes out 48 hours, but shows the "most likely" locations for bad weather. Gives me an idea if I want to take a more northern or southern route - VERY general.

I keep a weather radio on 24/7 in the cab. We use a Midland HH54VP. Nice thing about this model is it has a Travel Mode, so is always scanning for the strongest signal. No need to program SAME codes, etc. Activates when warnings are issued, quiet the rest of the time.

Weather radios will usually give warnings based on counties. I do 2 things - I look at a paper map of the area we stop for the night, and note the county we are in, along with adjacent counties to the west, since storms usually move west to east. So if the radio alerts with a warning for a particular county, I know if I need to beat feet or not worry. I have also recently added a free app to the phone - "Where Am I?" - so at the touch of a button (as long as you are within range of a cell tower) I can get the county name where I am at. See https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...whereami&hl=en

I also use phone apps including 1Weather and RadarNow, which will alert to posted warnings, but also provide real-time weather maps, including outlines on the map of warning areas.

All this being said, have a mental plan as to what you will do if weather threatens. Keep a "Go" bag set, with medications, water, some food, cell phone and charger, keys, clothes, etc., so if the alarms sound at O-dark thirty and you have to hustle to a storm shelter you can grab it and go.

I find that by being prepared, I can relax and not worry as much, which, IIRC, is the reason we are "out there", anyway. ST
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:14 AM   #10
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Thank you for very, this is just the sort of information we need.

Thanks to all of you for your kind advice.


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