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  1. Default Vancouver to Montreal through the US in December in a Miata!

    Hi to everyone here! I have joined your great forum because my girlfrend and I have a big decision to make. Due to work commitments we have to move in mid-December from Vancouver to Montreal. The company will pay for us to get there, but they won't pay to ship my girlfriend's car, a Mazda Miata, so we are considering driving there. They have said they will cover the costs of us driving there, but do you guys think this is a wise move? Neither of us have any mountain or winter driving experience and this concerns us. I have been told that The Rockies require a lot of expertise.

    Do you think, even with snow-tires and a good survival kit, it is sensible for us to drive from Vancouver, into the USA, travelling I-94 and I-90, through Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, back into Canada, through Toronto and finally to Montreal, in mid-December in a little Mazda Miata? We are both a little apprehensive, but also excited at the prospect of drivng across the US. We are both from England and don't know if we will ever get such an opportunity again in life. To cross the USA (one of my wildest dreams), with all our expenses paid!! Our only other option is to pay $1000 of our own money to get it shipped, we have tred to sell the car but in this economic climate it ain't that easy to sell a sports car in Winter!

    So what do you guys think? Are we insane to even consder this plan? After reading a few threads on here I can see this place is packed with very experienced drivers and your advice and opinons would be invaluable to us. Any help any of you guys can give would be really appreciated.

    Thankyou, Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default The operative phrase: "all expenses paid"

    Quote Originally Posted by Micky Cigarettes View Post
    Due to work commitments we have to move in mid-December from Vancouver to Montreal.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum -- A Miata is not what most of us would think of as all-season car -- but as long as the heater works (really, really well) if it were me, I would do it!

    Here are some winter driving tips and our best advice about weather & route considerations.
    Do you think, even with snow-tires and a good survival kit, it is sensible for us to drive from Vancouver, into the USA, travelling I-94 and I-90, through Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, back into Canada,
    With that route -- you will essentially miss the Rockies -- technically those are the Bitterroots in Montana...

    I would pick up a hand-held CB radio with the NOAA weather channels and be prepared for some weather delays. Although actually on the route you have chosen, it is often too cold in December to snow....

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Go for it

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    A miata certainly is a fun car, but I'm going to guess its probably not the greatest car to handle the snow.

    Even saying that, I still would encourage you to take this trip. If you stick to I-90 or I-94, it should be a very easy trip. Be prepared for winter conditions, and if weather gets worse than you care to deal with, then get off the road and wait for the conditions to improve. Unless there is a major storm, it doesn't take more than a day for roads to be cleared in salted on the interstates.

  4. Default

    Hi Mark, hi Mike! Thanks for your speedy replies, I am so pleased to see they are encouraging! I'm gonna go read those links you sent me Mark, thankyou. Mark you also mention it is too cold for snow, does that mean Ice is a bigger concern? If so are snow tires a wise investment for this trip or should we just buy chains?

    Thanks guys, you are the best!!! Thanks for your help and advice, Mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Maybe

    Snow tires might be a good investment since you will be living in Montreal -- but I wouldn't purchase snow tires solely for this trip. I am not positive you have sufficient clearance for chains on your Miata. Cable chains might be a better purchase -- less room, less weight, less hassle -MAKE SURE YOU PRACTICE IN THE DRIVEWAY WITH THEM prior to departure. Make sure you carry a heavy towel to lie down on so you can put them on -- there is very little clearance on a Miata....

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-29-2008 at 05:23 PM.

  6. Default

    Hi Mark, to be honest we aren't planning to drive the car in Montreal as we have heard that cars rot quickly in Quebec due to the amount of salt they put onto their roads in Winter. We plan to garage the car and buy a cheap runaround for the Winter so that the Miata doesn't get trashed. So do you think we would be ok on ths trip with those cables and our all weather tires? It would be a big saving to us as the Miata needs really expensive special tires which we would have to essentially get into debt to buy.

    BTW I meant to post this earlier, it's the route Google Maps told us to take, does it look sound to you?

    Thanks again, we really appreciate all your help, Mike
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 10-29-2008 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Bad/Dead Link Removed

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default if it were me

    Your google map didn't save correctly, so I removed it. (It only had the googlemaps canada homepage). However, I assume it told to you pick up I-90 in Seattle, take that and I-94 through Chicago, cross back into Canada in Michigan and then head via Toronto onto Montreal.

    That's a fine basic route. There isn't a big difference between I-90 through Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota and I-94 through Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, so you'd have some choices there. I-94 is a little shorter, but I think its a just a touch slower, with a slightly lower speed limit (70 vs 75mph in the Dakotas) and possible traffic in Minneapolis before they rejoin in Wisconsin. This split would be a good place to check weather forecasts, because its certainly possible that one route would see snow, while the other is clear.

    While having chains is never a bad idea, I don't know if I would bother with them this car for this trip. I think I would be more likely to take the wait out a storm approach if you hit conditions that would require the use of chains.

  8. Default

    WOW! Mke thanks for that great advice re the route! That is so helpful, it's also great to know we don't have to lay out $100's for tires etc. Do you think we will find accomodaton along that route ok? Or do you think we would be wise to book in at a few places? We're only looking to stay n Motels really.

    I cannot begin to tell you how much help you have both been. We are now very excited about this trip, for us it is a once in a lifetime opportunty that we are so glad we aren't gong to miss!

    Mike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Winter trips -- wise to book accomodation

    Generally I don't recommend reservations for these kinds of trips, but a winter trip is different and I think it would be wise. There are plenty of motels on that route, so you could take your chances, but you might rest better knowing that your motel choices are somewhat secure. Here are some thoughts on this issue.

    Mark

  10. Default

    Hi Mark, thanks for that. I'm going to have to try to estimate how far we'll travel everyday and plan where to stay and reserve carefully. The Mrs is still convinced we need 'winter tires' (I thought there were just 'snow tires') as she says if it's icy we will need them. She wants me to ask if we will be fine wth just the 'all-weather tires' or do we have to get 'Winter Tires'. She just wants me to show here that in print. Sorry if I am repeating myself but I did only ask about 'snow tires'. It's all so complicated to me, but I promised her I would ask.

    Thanks again, Mike

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