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  1. Default late October Milwaukee to Bellingham

    Hello All -

    I am glad I found this site. I see lots of great advice has been given, so I am hoping to get some as well. I will be making a one-way trip at the end of October. Leaving Milwaukee and heading to the Port in Bellingham, Washington. From there I am getting on a ferry and going to Juneau, Alaska.

    I'm looking for the best route time-wise, and also I am concerned about snow at that time of year. I am planning on 5 days to make the trip, but can add more if that seems wise. Mapquesting wants me to do I 90/94, but I was concerned about driving that far north at the end of October. I was wondering if I 80 to I84 would be a better choice? Or is that going to bring me smack into some mountain passes that I might want to avoid?

    Any and all advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Comfortable enough.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Of course it is way too early to start predicting weather but, with 5 day's for your journey it should be a fairly relaxed affair, provided you are comfortable travelling 7 or 8 hours a day with the appropriate rest, lunch and bathroom breaks. Taking I80/84 adds about 260 miles and 4 hours to your journey time and not really worth it, unless the weather forecast suggests it would be, a couple of day's before travelling. According to my mapping program there is nothing in the time it would take over I94/90 or just I 90, and with the Interstate system being a priority to keep open and the Country moving you will have enough time in the 'bag' to make it to the ferry if you had to pull off the road and let a storm pass through.

    If an extra day is an option and would make you feel more relaxed I would take it, you can alway's do a bit of sight seeing if you near your destination in good time ;-)

  3. Default

    Southwest Dave - thanks for the advice. I have no plans of traveling more then 7-8 hours a day. That's why I'm trying to give myself plenty of time to get there - just in case life happens and interrupts my plans.

    I realize that it is to early for weather predicting and understand I80 adds time/miles to the trip. Other then that - is one route more scenic then the other? I don't really have time to stop along the way, but I like scenery. I am also driving with my teenage son. This will be the first driving trip heading west across country for either of us.

    Thanks again for your input.

  4. #4

    Default Scenery preferences

    Hello bthorn31,

    The corridors traversed by I-90 in MT and I-80 in WY are but a few hundred miles apart, and somewhat localized weather conditions are required for one to be under vastly different conditions than the other.

    I share the opinion of Southwest Dave that the best bet is to look at forecasts in the time frame immediately preceding your trip and choose your route accordingly. That said, I would be very surprised to find snow in amounts and for durations sufficient to materially affect traffic flow in October.

    Of the two segments, I vastly prefer I-90 through northeastern WY and all the way across MT. Once you reach Billings, it follows the Yellowstone River to Livingston with mountain ranges off in the distance on both sides. It goes up and over a couple of very scenic passes west of Livingston, then a long, gentle section west of Butte to Missoula, where it's in broad valleys flanked by forested mountain ranges with snowcapped peaks. Excepting I-70 through CO, I'd rate I-90 in MT the most scenic of Lower 48 Interstates in terms of alpine scenery.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!


  5. Default Alaska bound - any advice?

    Hi folks - I recently posted that I was planning on driving from WI to WA to catch the ferry to Juneau. I received some great advice that I appreciate, but my plans have changed as my husband is now being transferred to Anchorage.

    So my new question is: Is anyone familiar with a way to get a vehicle out of Juneau in the winter so that it can then be driven to Anchorage? It looks like the ferry stops running to Whittier in Sept. Is anyone familiar with the drive from Haines to Anchorage?

    Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    Thanks again for all of your help.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The Haines Highway is open and maintained in the winter, subject to temporary weather-related closures.

    I would recommend that you have studded snow tires on your vehicle and a set of chains available. If you are going to be living up there, you will need them eventually so I'd get them before you go.

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