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Old 12-18-2009, 10:11 AM   #1
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Desperately need winter travel help!!!

Hello- this is our first post and we are new Class A RV'ers. Here is our situation and we need help from experienced RV'ers who have done this.
We are traveling from upstate New York to Springfield, OR and we HAVE to leave tomorrow. There have been snow storms in the mid-west, there are huge passes over the Rockies, etc. Suggestions on the best route to take? We have been to AAA- they are of zero help. We are open to any and all suggestions. Should we go far south and then over? Or up high through Montana and over?

Help, please! We have a family emergency that requires us to drive the RV to Oregon as we will be there for an extended stay.

THANKS SO MUCH IN ADVANCE!
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:25 AM   #2
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I am so sorry that your trip has to be due to a family emergency. Personally with the weather and where you are headed, I would not take the RV. Roads are bad enough in the winter with a car and an RV make it worse.

If you have to take the RV, I would go south to get out of the snow and bad weather for most of the trip. This will add a lot of miles and time.

Stay safe.

ken
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:55 AM   #3
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I would never be afraid to take my RV on any trip at any time of year. With that said, I would not be traveling on days where the weather is likely to be an issue. For this part you will have to watch the local TV and National weather channels to see if you should or should not be driving that day. Once the roads are clear enough for safe travel then you are just as safe as if it were the middle of Summer. The only logical choice for you is to take as straight a line as possible but if you want to avoid the Great Lakes area you could sweep down a route that would take you along 70 all the way to Kansas City, up to Omaha and then 80 into SLC, UT. This would only add a bit over 200 miles to the trip and keep you on a more heavily traveled and somewhat more Southernly route. Have a safe trip and if you don't like the way things are going there is always a rest area or a Wal-Mart nearby. Tomorrow is another day. Be sure you drive safely enough to see it.
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:24 AM   #4
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Can't help with route or specific driving tips, but I'd suggest taking a laptop with some type of internet access. Good info is invaluable. Keep propane and fuel topped off in case you can't get back on the road for a few days. Have a safe trip!
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:48 AM   #5
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Lightbulb RV Wintertravels

Hello and Good Morning, head south and cross the country via I 10, and from CA on head north on I 5. You have only one Pass to worry about from CA into OR
(Siskiyou Pass).
Keep fuel and Propane FULL. The first snowstorm is over, so - you should be ok for awhile????

NOTHING beats RVing

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Old 12-18-2009, 12:30 PM   #6
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Watch your fuel and LP. There is an Interstate Hwy road condition site. I access by using Google an entering Interstate Forecast Welcome. This site provides updated road conditions. If time permits I would go as far south as time permits I 40 to I30 to I 20 to I 10 to I 5 might take longer but less chance of snow closures. Ca. has one significant climb outside Los angles called the Grapevine and into Oregon at the state line before Medford. Take your time be safe and don't create another family emergency
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:44 PM   #7
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I concur with Bill Adams.

Keep a close eye on the weather and be prepared to hole up for a few days if you need to. Attempting to head south will take you so far out of your way that you will spend much more time detouring than if you are weather delayed along the way.

I would suggest I-80 to Salt Lake. The highest pass you'll cross is between Laramie and Cheyenne Wyoming and it's not much of a pass (there is a reason the Union Pacific Railroad chose this route for the first trans-continental railway). From Salt Lake, head NW on I-84 to Boise, ID and on to Portland.

Another candidate route is I-90. I've only driven the portion across Montana. That stretch is perfectly fine typical interstate.

I-80 west to Sacramento takes you over Donner Pass - one of the worst maintained roads in America and possible severe weather. Farther south, I-70 through Denver takes you over really high mountain passes, I-40 through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona doesn't have any passes but is all high plains that can have some of the worst winter weather driving in the country.

Stay north and watch the weather.

Most importantly, don't get caught up in the "gotta get there" syndrome.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:36 PM   #8
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PipersTravel,

I know that Colorado, and probably other Western states, have "Chain Laws". When the highway patrol implements the chain law in the mountains, they sometimes have roadblocks beyond which you can't pass without chains or snow tires. This doesn't mean the road is not passable; I drove a Midas Mini over Monarch pass many years ago in a big snowstorm, and with regular Michelin tires. You probably already know about winter driving, and the same principles apply to motorhomes. Just slow down and check ahead with AAA or the internet for weather conditions.

Good luck...
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:55 PM   #9
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If chain laws are in effect and you're travelling in a motorhome, you should be holed up until they are no longer in effect (rarely no more than a day). Too many opportunties for things to go very wrong very quickly!
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:14 PM   #10
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I agree with the I-80 route to Salt Lake and then up through Boise to Portland. That trip is just short of 3000 miles (from Albany, NY).

Going down to I-10 and taking that across the country adds 1500 miles to your trip.

Bad weather can happen anywhere so you should minimize your route as much as possible.

A storm is coming up due to hit NJ on Saturday so get out of Dodge while you can. Chicago is supposed to get 1-2 inches this weekend. Omaha looks good until Tuesday. Cheyenne looks the same but 5 degrees. Salt Lake City looks clear until Tuesday. Boise's forcast is not too good with snow and rain most of the week.

You already have one emergency to deal with. Don't push yourself through bad weather and create a second emergency.

Drive SAFE. We'll be praying for you and your family!
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:04 PM   #11
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Remember toread your manual about use of Pac or Jake brake in ice, snow and other conditions. As I recall the book suggests NOT using the Pac brake on ice or snow...someone else might reply.
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:32 PM   #12
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I formerly drove an 18 wheeler. I have driven I 70, I80, I90, and I94 in the winter in bad weather. Did this because I had no choice. Load had to be delivered. I WOULD NOT DO IT for the reasons you have to. The only way to drive this is what most have recommeded to you. GO SOUTH pick up I10 or I20 in Texas and go west to the I5 north in California. Yes it is longer but it is also alot safer. No need to add additional stress to a stressful situation. BE SAFE.
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:53 PM   #13
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I formerly drove an 18 wheeler. I have driven I 70, I80, I90, and I94 in the winter in bad weather. Did this because I had no choice. Load had to be delivered. I WOULD NOT DO IT for the reasons you have to. The only way to drive this is what most have recommeded to you. GO SOUTH pick up I10 or I20 in Texas and go west to the I5 north in California. Yes it is longer but it is also alot safer. No need to add additional stress to a stressful situation. BE SAFE.
While a trucker might find these routes to be bad, they are only bad during bad weather. The trucker must drive through this but you do not! Adding 1500 miles to any trip to avoid the slight possibility that you might encounter weather simply makes no sense. A family emergency that is not so important that you must fly means that you have an emergency that can wait until you get there. Even if you made it halfway and the weather ahead made it appear that you would get stuck you could turn South at any point along your travels. Take the trip, take it safely and the chances are that you will take the trip without any weather related issues. Tall passes are not an issue when they are clear any more than rolling countryside is. If you are afraid to drive on dry Interstate highways then you should be flying to your destination. If driving in those conditions do not concern you then you should be able to make the drive you need to make without incident whether that happens to be along the flat lands of KS or over the mountains of CO.
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:38 PM   #14
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Here's the current east coast weather map. Driving south is not the best option because you have icing (pink areas) all the way down to SC. Taking I-90 to I-80 and getting behind the storm seems to make more sense.

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