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  1. Default SEATTLE to BALTIMORE

    I have to make the drive in January or February from Seattle area to Baltimore, MD. Any advice on the best route to avoid nasty weather? We are relocating, and this is not a vacaation trip, so shorter time/distance is better. I have driven cross country twice already using I-90 in the summer and that was fine, but don't know what to expect during the winter....
    Thanks for any help...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default Seeing into the future

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The issue often comes up on the forum, and the answer is almost always the same when picking a winter route. The shortest and fastest route will reduce your time on the road, and thus reduce your chance of hitting bad weather. If two routes are of similar distance, then it pays to look at the forecast just before you leave, and see which route looks to have the best chance of good weather.

    In your case, I-90 or I-94 would be the shortest, with I-80 being an option worth considering. I'd say the odds would put I-90 or I-94 as having the best chance of good weather (ie too cold to snow) across the plains and then working down to I-70 in Indiana to get away from possible Lake Effect snows on I-80/90 from Chicago to PA. However, this is a case where checking the forecast before you leave and once you are on the road will probably be worthwhile.

  3. Default

    Thanks, I think that makes sense- I was just looking at I-90 on Washington DOT's website and was a little worried when I saw pictures of Snoqualmie Pass. Having driven through those mountains in the summer I remember how steep they were and I can't imagine how trucks and cars make it through. I remember it being a little stressful in good weather, so I'm definitely not looking forward to this trip in the snow.

    I know that once I get east of the mountains it will be OK, hopefully we will be blessed with good weather....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default Going via Portnd is always a possibility

    If Snoqualmie Pass intimidates you, that is. You can go up 395 at Hermiston, OR, to meet up with I-90 near Spokane. This will add hours/miles to your trip though.

  5. Default

    Thanks- I thought about that looking on a map, and it seemed like an option, but I figured it would definitely add some miles and time. I'm not sure what to do yet.... actually I-90 from WA all the way through Montana spooks me during the winter. (because of mountain passes and curves) Although, I-90 is a major freight route, so should be well maintained...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default Interstate curves

    Remember, highways on the interstate system are built to a standard that requires gradual slopes and curves. While its certainly impossible to cross a mountain without both of those things, you won't see anything like the switchbacks that are more common on a two lane mountain road.

  7. #7

    Default Montana passes

    As noted, I-90 through Montana is a modern interstate with gradual curves and gradual grades. Have a look at the real-time webcamera images from Lookout Pass (ID-MT border), Homestake Pass (near Butte) and Bozeman Pass (between Bozeman and Livingston) and see how they look following several days of steady snowfall and very cold temps. As of this morning, MT time, only Lookout Pass appears to have any snow on the road surface whatsoever, and that is so covered with sand that it's brown.

    Then look at the Interstate pics from lower, non-pass stretches. Clear and dry as far as you can see. The great majority of I-90 in MT is at or below 2500' of elevation.

    Foy
    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-31-2007 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Preferred link format

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by one50 View Post
    Thanks- I thought about that looking on a map, and it seemed like an option, but I figured it would definitely add some miles and time. I'm not sure what to do yet.... actually I-90 from WA all the way through Montana spooks me during the winter. (because of mountain passes and curves) Although, I-90 is a major freight route, so should be well maintained...
    As Michael said, interstates are built to certain specifications. Snoqualmie Pass is actually a relatively easy incline/decline with relatively few curves as well. Once you get over The Pass, most of I-90 is quite straight and flat. Especially once you get past Ellensburg. So, really, I don't think The Pass or this stretch of highway is near as bad as you're envisioning. Both are fairly easy drives.

    Going via Portland is an option but, yes, in your limited timeframe, the extra miles and time aren't necessarily the best option. I just raised it because you seem to really want to avoid Snoqualmie Pass.

    Personally, unless Snoqualmie Pass is buried under a recent snowstorm, I would go that way. I think once you safely get across it and realize that it isn't as bad as you're imagining, that you'll have more confidence to cover the miles on the rest of your trip.

  9. Default

    Thanks for the replies everyone! I appreciate the advice.
    Dave

  10. Default nightime snoqualmie

    i drove from nashville to seattle and ended up driving through snoqualmie pass, at night, with a 22" foot penske truck towing a car carrier. everything was fine - the weather was dry, if it was snowy i wouldn't have felt comfortable to do that.

    if you keep your speed to a low comfortable level (don't feel intimidated to drive the same speed as everyone else) - i don't remember it being difficult at all - the key is speed, keep it low and in decent weather, you shouldn't encounter any problems

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