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  1. Default Driving from St. Louis to St. George UT, best route?

    Hi,
    I am planning a trip from St. Louis, MO to St. George, UT in late January for a Wilderness Therapy training. The obvious route is straight across highway 70, but it seems snow could be a problem. Would I be better off taking I-40 through AZ and NM? I have also heard going north via 80 or 90 works? Any guesses on time for either route?

    I drive an AWD Mazda tribute, and currently don't own snow chains.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default no way to know

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Simply put, there is no way of knowing what the weather will be 2 months from now. Any and all routes across the west can and do see winter weather. Last week, sections of I-10 in Texas were closed, Today, a large portion of I-40 in Oklahoma is closed. Sections of I-70,I-80, and I-90 are also subject to closing because of trecherous conditions.

    The best thing you can do is plan to take the most straightforward route, and make a detour if the conditions warrant. Since either going to I-80 or I-40 would add 200-300 miles (and I-90 adds about 800!) it would take a pretty major storm, and I'd have to be very confident that the other routes would be perfectly clear before I'd add that kind of detour.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Via I-70/I-15, that's a 1500 mile trip, and you should allow 3 days, plus another day for possible weather delays. If I-70 is bad enough for them to put up the chain signs, you have no business being out there anyway, go find a hotel room till they get it cleared. I'd rather take a chance on snow up there than ice in OK and TX on I-40, which I got caught in last year.

  4. #4

    Default Rocky Mountain High (with apologies to the late John Denver)

    Hello jn02,

    I heartily agree with the "no way to tell at this point" and the "I-40 can be its own nightmare" observations already provided.

    I-40 is often considered as an alternative, but it's usually a bad idea. Segments of I-40 in NM and AZ reach high elevations and see plenty of snow, plus the western part of the Great Plains in the TX Panhandle and western OK are very prone to ice. Add the relative lack of snow removal equipment and expertise to that, and you quickly surmise going through Colorado may be better.

    There are essentially three high passes in CO: One immediately west of Denver (perhaps not really a pass, but I-70 gets up to 7,500' or so close to Idaho Springs), the pass through which the Eisenhower Tunnel cuts under (at around 11,000'), and Vail Pass (10,600' or so). I-70 in these 3 areas is prone to short-term whiteouts, 4WD/chain requirements, and outright closure. These issues, however, are rarely over a few hours duration. I'd just make sure I looked ahead at a mountain forecast before reaching Denver, left Denver full of fuel, and had a high-quality sleeping bag, gloves, socks, boots, and some emergency water and snacks aboard. Those items all just to make sure you're comfortable as you stand by in a rest area or exit along the way, waiting out the plow crews' completion of their work.

    In short, I'd be very reluctant to add miles in an effort to avoid weather. Excepting highly localized conditions along one route or another, it rarely improves one's experience.

    Foy

  5. Default

    thanks for all the info guys. 3 days sounds a bit long. In the summer I've driven st. louis to barstow CA in a day and a half. I'm guessing without serious weather delays this is a 2 day drive?

    Do they really enforce the law that you must carry chains? How much do they usually cost?

  6. #6

    Default Travel time, chains, AWD

    Quote Originally Posted by jnewberg02 View Post
    thanks for all the info guys. 3 days sounds a bit long. In the summer I've driven st. louis to barstow CA in a day and a half. I'm guessing without serious weather delays this is a 2 day drive?

    Do they really enforce the law that you must carry chains? How much do they usually cost?
    jn02,

    It's a standard recommendation around here to discourage folks from driving over 500-600 miles a day. Some feel OK doing more, but plenty are past their prime after that distance, particularly on a multi-day trip. You're not likely to see regulars here recommend or agree that more is a good idea. Your January trip will be in the "short days" as opposed to your summertime trip, also, meaning more travel would be in the dark.

    I haven't a clue what the level of or method of enforcement is with regard to chains. I do know when the passes are closed, traffic is physically blocked by the state troopers and this is done at an exit. Seems likely that the same troopers would be visually inspecting for chained-up vehicles when the road re-opens to chained-up vehicles only.

    That said, isn't your Tribute the same vehicle as a Ford Escape AWD? I would think AWD would be considered 4WD for the purposes of most states' "4WD or chains" requirements. A phone call or two would confirm or correct this point.

    Discounters such as Wal Mart typically get around $50 for a pair of cable-chains, the most common variety. If you find you're required to have chains even with an AWD, just get them and practice putting them on a time or two before departing. They're liable to come in handy in St Louis or environs at some point, anyway.

    Foy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default does safety matter

    Yes they enforce chain laws, of course they are there for your own safety.

    Of course, someone who would drive 1700 miles in a day and a half probably does care too much about their or other peoples safety.

    Yes, St. Louis to St. George is a 3 day drive, if you are getting a proper amount of rest to make a safe trip.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Unreasonable.

    I've driven st. louis to barstow CA in a day and a half.
    If you consider a day to be 12 hours which is far more than a normal work day and a day and a half to mean 18 hours you would of had to average 95 mph from start to finish.

    I would estimate that this is a 28/29 hour drive at or slightly above the speed limit and is certainly not something we would recommend anyone to do in a 36hour period, for their safety and that of other road users.

  9. Default

    Let me clarify. I had another driver with me, and the first day was 6 am til about 10 at night, with plenty of breaks. We had no problem staying alert. The second day was maybe 8 hours of driving? Probably 24-25 hrs drive time total, doing no more than 5 over the speed limit usually.

    Yes, my tribute is the same as a escape awd. I'll make a few calls and check on that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Not Possible

    Quote Originally Posted by jnewberg02

    Probably 24-25 hrs drive time total, (with plenty of breaks) doing no more than 5 over the speed limit usually.
    Some very simple math shows that if you took no breaks whatsoever you would have had to average over 70 mph. Even the simplest of fuel, food, and bathroom breaks would push your average speed up to the 80 mph range. You played Russian Roulette and won, but that does not mean that what you did was reasonable or should be repeated. The continued advocacy of such unsafe practices is a sure way to lose your privileges to post here.

    AZBuck

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