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  1. Default Toledo to Seattle in Feb. 2011 - Take the Long Way Home.

    Hi all -

    First time poster. After several cross country trips on I-90/94 east and west we are preparing for one (hopefully last for a while) trip from Ohio to Seattle. We'll be driving a crossover SUV and will have our two kids (5 and 7) with us.

    Considering the time of year we're traveling, we were considering taking a bit of a different route this time around, perhaps south through MO/OK/TX/NM/AZ and then back up through California and maybe along the 101 up the coast from Redding to Eugene and then over to the 5 up to Seattle.

    Total mileage for the trip would be approximately 3500. We were thinking of taking 7-8 days to make the trip and have some time to see a bit of scenery along the way. Our thinking also was that taking this route may avoid some of the harsher winter weather in the northern plains and in Montana and the Washington passes.

    I'm open to some affirmation or critique on the route and any suggestions or ideas.

    Thanks for any information!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Maybe, But...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You may avoid severe winter weather by traveling the route you outlined, but there's certainly no guarantee of that. Certainly Indiana. Illinois and Missouri are not a lock to be sunny and warm! I-40 often sees snow and even blizzard conditions across the Estacio Llano of Texas and Oklahoma. And as it traverses northern New Mexico and Arizona it reaches elevations approaching 8,000 feet and you will be passing several ski areas that rely on getting snowfalls measured in feet. Even worse, being on the southern edge of a storm sometimes means that you're getting sleet or freezing rain, even worse for driving thank snow which provides at least some traction. Then both I-5 and US-101 up the west coast have to cross several relatively high altitude passes with frequent weather warnings that will require chains for your vehicle.

    You may enjoy the scenery along the drive, but you are adding over a thousand miles to your journey and adding even minimal detours to sites such as the Grand Canyon or Pacific Coast will mean that you will have to be on the road 10+ hours a day every day for 7 solid days. That's a lot of driving for not much payoff. You simply won't have time to savor any of the spots you'll be driving to. I just don't see where you're gaining much on either of your stated goals with this plan.


  3. #3

    Default Do it for the scenery, not to "avoid weather"

    Hello pezzino,

    With that much time at hand for the trip, you can very likely simply head west on I-94/I-90 and wait out any bad weather in the MT and WA passes. The MT passes, in particular, are relatively low in elevation. The balance of I-90 in MT seldom exceeds 4,100'. Excepting to avoid clearly identified severe localized weather events, I'd choose I-90 over I-80 or even I-70 and I-40.

    Do some research involving real-time weather radar (like for Bozeman, Butte, and Thompson Falls, MT. Watch weather systems as they approach, impact, and depart. Simultaneously watch the RWIS real-time webcams for the MT passes on the MT DOT website. Also look at some of the low-lying webcams along the I-90 corridor. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how good the "going" is virtually all of the time away from the passes, and within mere hours of the departure of an event in the passes.


  4. Default

    Thanks for the information gentlemen. We'll take the northern route and take enough time to compensate for any weather events.

    Thanks again.

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