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  1. Default Indiana to Vancouver in December

    My husband is starting a new job in Vancouver, BC on January 1 and he'll be moving out from south-central Indiana sometime in December (I'll join the next summer, with most of our household items). He could fly, but if I drive him out it will allow him to take more of his things. The most direct route seems to be I-74 through Illinois to I-80 across Iowa, then up I-29 to I-90, then all the way across the plains and mountains to I-5 near Seattle (and then north a bit to Vancouver). However, this doesn't seem the smartest route for winter travel. Any other suggestions for a route that wouldn't be insanely out of the way (like going down to I-10 would be) but safer that time of year? Would I need to get and learn how to use chains? I'm comfortable with mountain driving (I've spend summers out west) and winter driving (lived in Minnesota) but never have done winter mountain driving. Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Always Have a Backup

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Possibly your best strategy for traveling in winter is to have two available routes and only decide on which one to take at the last moment when you've seen the latest weather reports and know which one is more likely to have the best weather. In your case, a perfectly good alternative to the route you listed would be to stay on I-80 at Omaha rather than take I-29 north. Around Salt Lake City you would switch over to I-84/I-82 to rejoin I-90 east of Seattle. That would only add about 50 miles to the total distance, which would be well worth it if it kept you out of the snow. There are some roads in the west that occasionally require that your car be equipped with chains, so getting a reasonably good set and practicing how to put them on would be in order. The main driving technique when using them is simply to slow down.


  3. #3

    Default A frequent topic of discussion

    Hello jodine,

    Often there are expressions of concern over traveling across MT, WY, and CO in winter. Some ponder traveling hundreds of miles out of their way to avoid winter weather.

    I think there's a general consensus among experienced RoadTrippers that adding lots of miles to one's trip is inherently at least as risky as an average encounter with some winter weather, and perhaps moreso. While there's no denying some stretches of I-90, I-80, I-70, and even I-40 can get blasted with the white stuff and traffic delayed as a result, the real fact of the matter are that the Interstate system is an economic engine in every state and the Mountain West is home to the best-equipped and most experienced snow removal professionals to be found anywhere.

    As suggested by AZBuck, I'd suggest planning your route as you wish, have an alternative in mind should the weather developments within just a few days or hours of departure each day dictate, and have some practice with your chains in the warm, dry comfort of your Indiana driveway.

    I personally favor I-90 across MT. The route is actually topographically low across most of MT, with but two fairly short-distance high passes in the west-central part of the state (Bozeman and Homestake) and a third (Lookout) at the MT-ID border.

    Enjoy planning and taking your RoadTrip!


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