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  1. #1

    Default Portland, OR to Atlanta GA in late November

    I'm currently planning a road trip from Portland, OR to Atlanta, GA in late November. I'm thinking about going I-84 to Salt Lake City and then I-80 through Wyoming, Nebraska but I'm worried about the road conditions. I've seen a few postings about early Nov. trips through these areas but nothing about late November. Does anyone know if road conditions in Utah and Wyoming are icy/snowy? I don't really have much experience driving in snow nor do I have a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Also, I'm wondering if I shouldn't just drop down through CA and take I-40 back across the country. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    9,477

    Default There is NO ice-free route in late November

    Quote Originally Posted by cvicurnpdx View Post
    I'm currently planning a road trip from Portland, OR to Atlanta, GA in late November. I'm thinking about going I-84 to Salt Lake City and then I-80 through Wyoming, Nebraska but I'm worried about the road conditions.
    The reality about ice and snow in late November is that if the winter storms are a-howlin' there is no route in the USA that will be ice-free. That being said, the road conditions along I-80 in late November are often much better than I-40. In order to have ice, you need two conditions -- water vapor and cold temperatures. Both of those routes have the potential for plenty of cold temps, but I-40 is much closer to the Gulf of Mexico (lots of water down there) and so the chance of ice storms are much higher along I-40 than I-80.

    4-WD doesn't help that much in ice (like not at all) and a skilled 2-WD driver can usually out-drive a less skilled 4-WD operator.
    I don't really have much experience driving in snow nor do I have a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
    Here are some tips for winter driving. The other thing to keep in mind -- in winter driving conditions, the shortest route is usually the best.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Watch weather reports

    Really, once you get into the winter months, you need to keep an eye on weather reports before leaving and choose your route accordingly. Check them against each morning to see if conditions have changed. You may need to tweak your route during your trip due to changing weather conditions.

    It's probably too early in the winter for a severe storm but ya never know. If the weather gets quite bad, hold up in a hotel for a day or more until things let up a bit and the road crews can do their work.

    In addition to Mark's good reasons about I-80 being a better choice, I would add this - it if does ice up on 80, you're more likely to get a dusting of snow and, to be honest, I find it much easier to drive on icy roads with snow than those with just ice. You still have to follow the winter driving tips. Also, I've been told that the transportation crews have better equipment to keep the roads clear farther north. Don't know for sure if this is true but, if it is, it's another thing to consider.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,477

    Default Colorado is #1

    If ever there were a snow-clearing-derby, the highway crews from Colorado would win, Wyoming and Montana would be neck-n-neck for the #2 spot and Texas would be deadlast.... If you that answers your query.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,306

    Default

    From personal experience - I-40 through Texas and Oklahoma is subject to ice storms, and neither state knows their elbow from a hole in the ground when it comes to doing anything to the roads.

    Picture taken at ~ 30 mph.......there is not one speck of salt or sand on this road, it was a skating rink.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for the good advice! I think I would rather stay the I-80 route. A friend who is coming with me wants to go to Las Vegas so that would mean I-40 the rest of the way. However, based on what I heard here that may not be such a good idea.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,306

    Default

    If you want to go to Vegas, go to Vegas. The odds of I-40 being in bad shape are actually fairly slim that early in the season. Check the weather before leaving LV, if it looks bad across I-40, go down to Phoenix and pick up I-10 to I-20, that's only about 100 miles longer than taking 40.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,857

    Default go for it!

    I agree that if you want to go to Vegas you should go to Vegas!

    The fact is, the weather will be what it is going to be. Trying to predict it or plan around it today, several months in advance is just kind of pointless. If in the days before you are scheduled to leave, it looks like a storm is going to be pounding the southern plains during your trip, then you can rethink and possibly reroute, but don't be so fearful of the weather that you try to plan around something that might not even be an issue!

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