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  1. Default Tacoma WA to Denver Co for Christmas

    I'm considering driving next weekend from Tacoma WA to Denver CO for Christmas with my 3 year old. Am I crazy? And not because she's 3 (she's a great traveler) but because of the road conditions. I'll be driving a 4 wheel drive 08 SUV with GPS so the car should handle it and I'm planning on doing about 6-7 hours the first day, 8-9 the second and finish up with about 5 hours the last so I'm breaking it up. I'm just worried about road conditions and the weather next weekend. I'm meeting my family on Sunday Dec 20 and will be making the return trip Dec 27-29. So has anyone traveled roughly that drive around this time of year?

    Thanks for your help from a mom on a mission to Santa!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    There will be a chance for bad weather and road conditions no matter which route you take. Check the weather and conditions, including forecasts, before you leave and make your decision accordingly. Generally, the road crews in those states will work around the clock to keep the Interstates as safe for travel as they can.

    With good conditions, I-90/I-82/I-84/I-80/I-25 is the fastest and most direct, I-90/I-25 adds 50 miles and about an hour. Any other Interstate routing would be unproductive.

  3. Default Cooper Mt

    Thanks for the response glc. I'm actually going to Cooper Mt CO so the maps are having me take US-6 through Price out of Salt Lake then through the mountains to where it meets up with I-70. I was very concerned about that much mountain driving. So even though your suggestion of taking I-80 west to Cheyenne then dropping south on I-25 to Denver adds about 4 hours to the trip your route sounds safer and will probably in the long run save me time as well. Is taking I-70 out of Denver to Cooper Mt the best route up the mountain? Thank you so much for your advice!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Bag of Tricks

    As glc pointed out, the key to safe weather driving is flexibility, particularly being willing to alter your route or timing to avoid bad weather. If the weather is not to your liking in Utah and you want to avoid US-6, than you can continue south on I-15 from SLC to Scipio, UT and use U-50 to cut over to I-70 at Salina. That will add a few miles (~25) to your overall drive, but minimize your miles (~30) on non-Interstate road. The I-90/I-25/I-70 route to Copper Mt (Copper, not Cooper, right?) adds about 170 miles to your overall drive, but is still worth it if the forecast calls for nasty weather in Utah and/or western Colorado. One thing to keep in mind is that the driving time estimates you're getting from the computer based mapping routines do not include any stops for food, fuel, bathroom or leg-stretching breaks. You should count on three full 9-10 hour days to make the drive, a little more if you end up using I-90/I-25. And the last trick in your bag in winter should always be the willingness to just spend a day in a motel somewhere if despite all your planning the weather turns against you. I'm sure those awaiting you and your daughter in Colorado would rather have you arrive a day late than not at all.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Gunnison ?

    There appears to be 3 possibles for Cooper Mt, in Dillon, Canon city and Gunnison. Taking into account the 4 hours you quote I would think it is Gunnison ? If so I would look at taking the direct route as you have described depending on the weather situation. If you had concerns about US 6 continuing down I 15 to US 50 and a shorter drive to I 70 is only 20 mins or so longer.

    Keep your options open untill you have checked the weather and make an informed decision.

    [I was still typing as Buck posted so could you confirm your destination, but Copper Mt appears to be only 30 mins more via glc's route, not the 4 hours you describe.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-12-2009 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Slow fingers !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Let's establish exactly where you are going (which we should have immediately) and examine the options. My advice was given presuming Denver.

  7. Default Copper Mt

    Sorry I wasn't clearing from the start and yes it is COPPER MT Colorado. Map Quest has the shortest route as taking I-15 south out of Salt Lake, then US-6 until it meets up with I-70 on into Copper Mt. It just seemed like a lot of opportunities for bad weather and roads through the mountains. I will definitely check the weather as I get into Salt Lake, that way I can decide if I'll keep heading East on I-80 to Cheyenne then south to Denver or head out through the mountains. Like AZBuck said, I'd rather get there later than not at all.

    Any other suggestions are appreciated now that I've cleared up where I'm going. Thanks once again.

    Lou Ann

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Wait and see.

    Just for the record, on my mapping it only shows a difference of an hour taking I 90 and I25 and less than that taking I 80 across to I 25 so the advice remains the same, check the forecasts before leaving and make a decision. You have at least 4 routes within an hour of each other to choose upon including taking US 50 to I 70.

    Of course the I 80 or 190 would have to be decided upon before Salt lake city but you should have enough info prior to leaving. Also keep in mind what Buck said, your journey will take longer than the mapping programs estimate so if you have a clear start I would try and get more driving under your belt on day 1.

    I hope you have a safe and wonderful journey !
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-13-2009 at 02:49 AM. Reason: info.

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