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Old 11-13-2013, 08:43 PM   #1
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Truckee and Reno late January, early February

We may find ourselves needing to travel thru Truckee and Reno on the major highways in the dead of winter. Has anyone done this? Do we need to find another way?
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:04 PM   #2
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I think that Donner party tried it a few years ago...
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:15 PM   #3
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While the California DOT crews do a fantastic job of trying to keep I-80 over Donner Summit open, there are times that Mother Nature just throws more at them then what they can handle.

At the time of year you're talking about you could get anything from sunny skies and a clear highway to heavy snow fall that can shut down the highway, and everything in between.

You didn't say what your point of origin and destination are, but at that time of year the only better route to exit or enter California would be I-10 in southern California.

And if you do choose I-80 make sure you at least have a set of cable chains. You may or may not need them, but there could be a check point where they won't allow you to proceed without showing proof that you have them. Conditions can change very quickly in that area at that time of the year.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:02 PM   #4
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I say just watch the weather conditions and that's pretty darn easy. If it has snowed then you to check the Cal-Trans site for road closures/conditions.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:18 PM   #5
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unless it's a monster dump, Caltrans will try to clean it off such that there's a couple of hours of driving where chains aren't required.

If you don't have chains, don't be on the road when they'll be required.

as suggested above, keep in touch with road conditions and be prepared to move quickly

If you get snowed out, the typical no-snow route is back down 80 to Fernley, 50 to 95 at Fallon, 95 south to Beatty, and then thru Death Valley on 190 to 395, south on 395 to the 14 to LA, or to 58 and westward into the central valley via Bakersfield. That's a looooong detour.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:55 PM   #6
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Are you leaving from Palm Desert? If you are assume you will be taking 10/15/395 to Reno? If you haven't been on it before or for awhile, it's a good road. The worst part in my opinion is from the 15 to the 14 junction. Not bad just a long single lane in each direction. Just watch the weather and try not to travel when a storm is on the way. As mentioned the weather changes fast up there, if you don't have to travel just wait it out.

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Old 11-14-2013, 12:07 AM   #7
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We're originally from that area...and to use Nevada terminology...it can be a real crap shoot over Donner at that time of year. On our honeymoon in late January of '69 we got snowed in at North Lake Tahoe, for 3 days. Cal Trans does a great job keeping I-80 Donner Summit open, but Mother Nature can throw a Huge Snowball at times...in January I've seen the pavement a bit slick, but couldn't see more than 3 feet through the snow and wind. A funny feeling when you can't see the front end of your car anymore.

Just be aware that your travel plans "might" need some adjustment during the season in High Sierras...

Good luck...
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:07 AM   #8
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I lived up there when younger.... When they say it can turn bad quick, they mean it... Like 12' of snow type of bad...

I think the Donner party's suggestion would to bring some friends along with good taste for that trip... LOL
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:40 AM   #9
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It does snow and they do close the road (I80) or require chains or the road is clear. You will just have to wait until your travel date and check the weather. The drive is much easier going west since Reno is about 5000 feet in elevation. Going east you must climb from about 100 feet elevation over the Sierra and down to Reno. I've driven this route in my MH many times and it is not my favorite road. The good news if you are traveling west and I80 is closed or chains are required there are good RV parks in Sparks/Reno along I80 and or many casinos.
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:25 PM   #10
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Ok, sounds like, as expected, not the best idea. We're trying to tie a trip to Death Valley together with a visit to see our kids on grass valley. We may need to do a bit of backtracking. Thanks for everyone's input.
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:43 PM   #11
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I'd also keep in mind that 395 up to Reno can have its moments also.
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biosensai View Post
I'd also keep in mind that 395 up to Reno can have its moments also.
Sure does. We had to get from Carson City to San Diego a couple of years ago in January. Had to head east to Hwy 95 through Tonopah to I-15.

No way was I going to try Hwy 395.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:50 PM   #13
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When I grew up if there was snow or ice you drove on it -rarely did they close a road or highway but now it seems if there is a trace of snow or ice they close the highways for traveler safety. And that's OK. Probably should keep in mind they tend to close the roads perhaps earlier than necessary to protect travelers. Just my opinion.
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