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  1. #1

    Default moving cross country november i-80 vs 90

    Hi. I'm new to this forum. My wife and I are moving the first week of november from vermont to portland, oregon. I am a bit concerned about which route to take that time of year. On one hand, it seems that the bigger inclines and generally nasty mountain weather in the rockies on i-80 that time of year should steer us toward i-90 as the logical choice, but then again, as far as mountains go, i-90 is no picnic either and there are a lot less services. I am a seasoned winter driver, but have never dealt with anything nearly on the scale of crossing the rockies in a 17 foot uhaul towing my car behind it.

    I'm wondering if any of you who live out there or have driven these routes in the winter have some advice to offer. I'd really like to avoid wimping out completely and taking the southern route through Arizona/New Mexico/up California, as the extra thousand miles would add nearly a thousand dollars to the cost of the move.

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default The Mountans

    Welcome to the Forum!

    The first week of November shouldn't be too much of a problem. The real bad weather begans to creep up (at least in the Cascades anyway) until mid November on average. With that said, these are the mountains, and the mountains make their own rules.

    Either I-90 or I-80 should be fine. Don't worry too much about lack of serivices. Our interstate highway system has become sort of a Cash Cow for services in sparse locations. And I-90 isn't exactly the middle of nowhere: You're looking at driving through some fairly large towns and cities the entire way. Big enough to atleast have a truckstop. Larger cities like Sioux Falls, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Missoula, Coeur d' Alene and Spokane are quite large and have abundant services. If you do happen to get stuck, these roads are HEAVILY patroled by State Police, as they are two of the primary East-West routes across the northern section of the country. Being that they are primary trucking routes, services are going to be more abundant than you might think and they will be patroled far more than smaller highways.

    Coming down here to Arizona may sound like a good idea, but it really is pointless.

    Being that you'll be driving a small truck and towing, it might be a good idea to get an inexpensive mobile CB with power adapter for the Uhaul. If nothing else you can listen to the truckers and what they think. Even driving in a car, I found the best thing to do (especially with winter driving) is watch the truckers. If they're digging in to truckstops and rest-stops for the night, it might be best to do the same. If the trucks are rolling, it's safe to cross. It also helps if you can listen to them too.

    You really should have no problem with either route. Just keep an eye on the sky, take note of what the truckers are doing, and listen to pass reports. Other than that, take it slow and easy when it gets chilly and you should be in the clear.

    Oh, and before you take that Uhaul out of the parking lot: ask if it has chains, and ask how to use them. State laws in the Northwest (Washington I know for sure) generally require carrying tire chains from around November to around March or so, depending on weather. If they don't have them on board, ask about getting reimbursed for purchasing chains before you drive away.

    -Arizona Brad
    Last edited by RoadTripper Brad; 10-03-2006 at 10:55 AM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    9,488

    Default I-80 is a very reasonable grade

    Quote Originally Posted by pkasten View Post
    Hi. I'm new to this forum. My wife and I are moving the first week of november from vermont to portland, oregon
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    I am a bit concerned about which route to take that time of year.
    If this is going to be a "normal" year, most of the heavy winter storms won't occur until after you are safely in Portland. Snow is, of course, possible on just about any section of your trip, but since you are, a seasoned winter driver, you will have no problems. From a mountain perspective, I-80 is the only logical choice -- while you can see the Rockies from the roadway, most of I-80 travels through the valleys and with rare exception you won't really notice that you are crossing one of the most majestic mountain ranges in the Americas.
    I'm wondering if any of you who live out there or have driven these routes in the winter have some advice to offer. I'd really like to avoid wimping out completely and taking the southern route through Arizona/New Mexico/up California, as the extra thousand miles would add nearly a thousand dollars to the cost of the move.
    I have driven all of these roads many, many times in the winter months. My choice of all of them is always I-70 if the destination is either southern California, Utah or Arizona, but I-80 and connecting to I-84 makes the most sense for you.

    I-40 is not a good choice for winter travel because of the difficulty of removing the ice and snow from Texan roadways.

    As in all instances of winter travel -- being forewarned is always important. We maintain a list of web resources for winter road conditions here and even though you are an accomplished winter traveler, you might find these tips and suggestions helpful.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

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