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Old 12-19-2009, 01:17 PM   #15
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Just a heads up, PipersTravel, but we all have to remember that when traveling through states which have frequent winter snow, it's usually required to "carry the correct-sized chains IN the vehicle" whether needed or not. In Oregon specifically (we frequently travel through Oregon in the winter with the motorhome), you have what are called "snow zones" which are posted continuously through the winter, (24 hours/7 days) on designated roadways. This actually includes the Siskiyous on I-5 and the Blue Mountain area on I-84 both of which are MAJOR interstate throughways.

So, even though you may not need them, you are breaking the law and are subject to fines if you are not carrying them in the vehicle. As others have said, if you watch the weather forecasts on the internet, you can "time" your passage through these snow zones when the roads are clear. However, be aware that you are technically breaking the law if you do not have the correct sized chains in the coach. The chances of getting a ticket while traveling on a clear roadway are pretty slim unless you are pulled over for something else and the LEO wants to be nasty and writes you up for not having chains in the vehicle.

We never intentionally want to drive the snow zones while the chains required signs are posted or any snow is on the roadway, for that matter. We do what others have suggested and wait until we know the roads will be clear. However, we purchased a cheap pair of cable chains in the correct size to show the LEO just in case we are ever asked if we have them inside the vehicle. We DO NOT intend to use them ...in fact, we WILL NOT use them as there isn't enough clearance to comfortably use them anyway. But we carry them so we won't technically be breaking the law.

If you're towing your car, you theoretically need to show that the correct-sized chains are inside both vehicles in order to be legal from what we've been told by numerous LEOs. With that said, we traveled through the snow zones for several winters before we bought the cheap set of chains (for both vehicles). Again, as long as you aren't pulled over for something else --and even if you are-- the probability of them checking to see if you have chains in the vehicle are pretty remote, I'd guess.

Here are the Oregon chain rules; other western states have similar laws so just be aware:

TripCheck - Oregon Chain Law - ODOT

Again, this sign is posted all winter long, 24/7 in Oregon on I-5 @ Siskiyou Summit, Smith Hill, Stage Rd. and Sexton Mountain Pass. And on I-84 @ Troutdale past Hood River, Cabbage Hill, Deadman Pass, Ladd Canyon, and Durkee ...this is when the road is CLEAR:

The restriction is worded as follows:

Minimum Chain Restriction: Carry chains or traction tires regardless of conditions.

When chains are required, one of these signs will be posted:

Good luck and have a safe trip.

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Old 12-19-2009, 04:25 PM   #16
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Thumbs up Thanks

Hello Amanda, thanks for letting us "snowbirds" know, that we are breaking the LAW!!! Do we have dates for the chain law?

Thanks and greetings

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Old 12-19-2009, 04:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by TW View Post
Hello Amanda, thanks for letting us "snowbirds" know, that we are breaking the LAW!!! Do we have dates for the chain law?

Thanks and greetings
*heh* ...have you been breaking the law too, TW?

Well, I know in Washington state, the dates are usually November 1 to April 1 but we've seen them modify that if conditions warrant.

I'm thinking that in Oregon, it's probably about the same time frame.

Again, in some states you won't be breaking the law if you don't have chains in the vehicle. We are familiar with WA and OR because we drive through those states frequently in the winter now.

For instance, California doesn't require the carrying of chains. Obviously, you have to have them if the "chains required" conditions are posted but you are legal to run over clear roads in the winter without having chains inside the vehicle.

The reason we know the Oregon law so well is that we have talked extensively to several OSP officers about this. We've also talked to several WSP officers and Washington state is probably even more strict about it.

I'll take a look on the web and see if I can find the dates that Oregon posts their snow zones.
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Old 12-19-2009, 05:11 PM   #18
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Well, as I was searching the net for more information about this, I found this website that gives a pretty good summary. It's for trucks but from what we were told, Oregon and Washington go by the 10,000 pound rule so class A motorhomes for the most part would be included.

Evidently, it's only Oregon and Washington that require that chains be carried in the vehicle while traveling in the designated areas regardless if needed or not. The other western states evidently don't have that requirement.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:34 PM   #19
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Pipers- Hope you are progressing nicely. @ current date & time weather I-80 over Donner Pass from Reno, NV into California is good with road clear. I-5 is clear from Los Angeles to Springfield, OR.
Saturday, 16:30 Pacific time.

Check weather for Truckee, CA and Reno, NV to get the scoop up to the minute for I-80 over Donner Pass; I just did and there may be snow showers Sunday evening, Monday ("few snow showers"), and Tue. If it is snowing you will be required to carry chains and weather can be quite variable on this pass; you can get chains in Reno or you can wait in Reno in one of several RV parks till the pass is clear.

If you come into CA on I-10 you should have no problems. Next issue is Redding, CA to Ashland, OR (Siskiyou's). For that you can check weather for Yreka, CA and Ashland, OR for up to the minute info.
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:01 PM   #20
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Good post, Mike.

Here's a couple of links that will get an even more pinpointed forecast of the Siskiyous from the National Weather Service and road conditions from the Oregon DOT:

Siskiyou Weather Forecast

Siskiyou *Southwestern Oregon* road conditions

Siskiyou Webcam from TripCheck 1

Siskiyou Webcam from TripCheck 2
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:30 PM   #21
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Ronnie You are correct on the Pac break. Iwas tested on this when returning from Quartzsite last year, snow on 40 also good to inform about the Grapevine subject to snow as we know

Merry Christmas
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Old 12-19-2009, 09:00 PM   #22
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route ... weather/ road conditions ... RV parks

If I had to make the trip you are taking, I would choose to travel I-80 to Salt Lake City ...

I think that you need access to the intenet as you travel (laptop computer and an air card ... are my recommendations) for two reasons
  1. weather / road conditions ... weather.com & intellicast.com...
  2. finding RV parks that are open year round ... woodalls & trailer life ...
The number of RV parks that are open along I-80 this time of year is small and it takes some planning to find them ...

I recommend that you keep a 2 days supply of fresh water in your fresh water tank and your LP tank above 1/2 full.
2004 Winnebago Journey 39W - 2012 Buick Enclave
Present @home Home: Oshkosh, WI
We call our rig "Ernie the Journey"

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Old 12-20-2009, 09:33 AM   #23
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I would head south and take I 40, but check that out too since there might be some snow there also. Campgrounds in the north usually close during this season so where ever you travel call ahead.

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