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  1. Default 3 Week Trip- December 2010- Las Vegas-> Alberta, Canada-> San Francisco-> Las Vegas.

    Hello Everyone,

    Me and My Boyfriend are travelling from London, UK to Las Vegas on December 18th 2010, we are planning on heading North up to Lethbridge, Canada then across to Seattle then down to San Francisco then back down to Las Vegas to depart on 8th Jan 2010.

    We kind of know the things we want to see and do but I am REALLY worried about the weather. We are hiring a 4x4 but need to discuss the snow chains with the company (do you think we'll need them). My main concern about the whole trip is the weather. Are the roads going to be icy? Will there be snow storms? I know no one can see in to the future but are these things we should be preparing ourselves for? We want to visit Yosemite, Death Valley, Salt Lake City and places like that (all suggestions welcome) but is the weather going to be too bad to see it all properly? I have looked on websites to try and get help but am not really finding the information I need.

    We got some great advice from this website 2 years ago when we did a 6 week road trip from East Coast to West Coast and would really appreciate any help now.

    Thanks in advance for your help :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default No "right answer"

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Yes, you should be preparing yourself, as the risk of seeing winter storms/ice is a real one. However you shouldn't be getting worked up over it either, millions of Americans have to go about their daily business every day. Interstates are a priority to keep clear and the country moving, so other than perhaps having to wait out a storm for a few hours or stopping early for the night ahead, you really shouldn't have much to worry about. Of course you will have to keep up to date with local forecasts and road conditions on a daily basis, before deciding on where, or where not to go for the day ahead.

    The reason you are struggling to find the "right answer" is because there isn't one, just be prepared, alert and open to change as you travel, but not stressed. The main thing is not to suddenly think you are invincible because you have a 4x4. If you wouldn't go 'there' in an ordinary Sedan, don't attempt to go 'there' in a 4x4 with a false sense of security.

    You could need chains, and if you carry them it would be worth having a couple of trial fittings before hitting the road. It's easier to do it in the comfort of a hotel car park etc on a reasonable day than it is to attempt it for the first time by the side of the road in a blizzard ! Before renting them, it would worth checking out the price to purchase in a discount store such as Walmart to compare costs. My advise would be, that once there are [if] chain restrictions in place, get off the road as soon as possible and let the storm pass while road crews do their job. Of course non of this may be neseccery [hope not!] but better prepared than not, just don't let it worry you too much.

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

    Default

    If you are planning on going to Yellowstone, you should do some research first. In the winter, only a very small portion of the park's roads are open to wheeled vehicles, and you can't get to Old Faithful in a car. From the official NPS site:

    Only two park roads are plowed in the winter and remain open for wheeled-vehicle use:
    The road between the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, to the Northeast Entrance at Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana.
    From Mammoth Hot Springs to the parking area at the Upper Terraces (approximatedly 1/2 mi. of road)

    They are maintained only during daylight hours and may close during severe storms. Expect snowpack, ice, frost heaves, drifts. Mud/Snow tires or tire chains may be required and are recommended always.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sarasadek View Post
    Hello Everyone,

    Me and My Boyfriend are travelling from London, UK to Las Vegas on December 18th 2010, we are planning on heading North up to Lethbridge, Canada then across to Seattle then down to San Francisco then back down to Las Vegas to depart on 8th Jan 2010.

    We kind of know the things we want to see and do but I am REALLY worried about the weather. We are hiring a 4x4 but need to discuss the snow chains with the company (do you think we'll need them). My main concern about the whole trip is the weather. Are the roads going to be icy? Will there be snow storms? I know no one can see in to the future but are these things we should be preparing ourselves for? We want to visit Yosemite, Death Valley, Salt Lake City and places like that (all suggestions welcome) but is the weather going to be too bad to see it all properly? I have looked on websites to try and get help but am not really finding the information I need.

    We got some great advice from this website 2 years ago when we did a 6 week road trip from East Coast to West Coast and would really appreciate any help now.

    Thanks in advance for your help :-)
    hi i am from southeastern bc 4 hrs from west of lethbridge, we get snow in canada, and blowing snow is common in alberta.we live in mountains(near kootenay national park, radium hot springs) we have never used chains,ever. only big semis use them here or if you may be going off roading but not on highway. i am sure most rental vehicles would have all season or winter tires,and sometimes a good front wheel drive is as good as a 4X4. up here in canada anyways, don't know what it is like in usa in winter. check out my fall/winter post as we just did a trip from here to california/vegas/utah and back in sept though, with lots of siteseeeing. enjoy your trip and this site is awesome for information. i do know that when we were in the diamond/crater lake area,(oregon)quite high elevation, we were told that they can get 11 feet of snow up there

  5. Default

    Hi Everyone.

    I am the 'boyfriend' of Sara! We do talk to eachother but I just thought I'd ask some questions myself. Like she said, thanks for the tips two years ago. Anyway, it is a bit of an awkward trip I feel. I have done a rough plan which is here.


    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&so...,14.040527&z=6

    Not sure if that worked properly! We will be in Las Vegas for 3 nights until the 21st and out only restriction is that we have to be in San Francisco for New Years Eve until at least the 2nd Jan. I am a profesional truck driver anyway so Im not worried about driving the miles but even I think it might be a bit too much to do. A little bit of a problem is not knowing when to be in Lethbridge, either just before or during Christmas day. (its to see a possible future workplace) I am waiting for an email back so I will let you know a definate date for all you good people to help me! I would quite like to visit Glacer NP, is it worth it. I know some of the roads are closed so it might be a but pointless at that time of year. Also as Sara said we would like to go to Seattle and Yosemite- again roads closed!

    I drove up Highway 1 last time I was there but the weather was really bad so i am thinkiong of going South this time but I know from looking at the map its either Yosemite of Highway 1! Which would everyone prefer? I know the route seems a bit long winded so thats why I need the help. If eveything fails then I may head South again maybe into Arizona then to San Francisco and possibly catch a flight to Lethbridge at some point if it is easier. Also, I need to fit in a couple of days at the end of the trip to relax back in Las Vegas! If possible!

    I know this might sound like I haven't put a lot of thought into this trip but I was able to get flights with my airmiles and I just love America so Im trying to fit in as much as I can.

    Thanks very much for reading and any help you have.

    Ben
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-14-2010 at 03:45 PM. Reason: Map display

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

    Default

    If you are going to be driving to Lethbridge, it may be worthwhile seeing what you can of Glacier. However, the Going-To-The-Sun Road is already closed for the season. In the winter, Glacier is primarily for cross-country skiing, as is Yellowstone.

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