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  1. Default First Timer Help Needed: Ottawa,On Canada to Los Angeles, Ca

    Need Helping picking winter route from Ottawa, Canada to Los Angeles

    My sister is moving from Ottawa, Ontario ,Canada via 10 footer U-Haul Truck and i told her i come along for the trip to keep her company, i don't drive but think i will help with navigating.She does not want to do a sight seeing trip along the way as she has to start a new job and really does not have the time for it.She would like to do the trip in 5-6 days but i think with just her driving and fact she is driving a uhaul 6-7 days will be more realistic with the 53mph rule and not driving too much.Driving at the end of January is not the most ideal time but we will make the best of it.She would like to avoid the northern route/around the great lakes even though their is chance of ice rain through the southern route.My preference would be to take the 81-S all the way to the I-40W but have heard that driving through 81-S West Virgina mountains you can encounter some really bad weather.I could really use some help on picking the route and while i am not sure of the routes or roads i played with google maps and thought i would get your input.

    I thought we would take the I-81 S,I-68 W,I-79S,I-64W,I-44W,I-40W,I-15W

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

    Default A bit of 'wiggle' room.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Thinking it through and having your options in mind is always a good thing to do, rather than just heading out and hoping for the best. However the weather being as unpredictable as it is, means that you should keep your options open and decide upon your route right before hitting the road when you have the most up to date forecasts. 180 appears to be the quickest option with I40 or I44/40 taking an insignificant amount of time longer, for a journey this lenght.

    I think you are also wise to think along the lines of 6-7 days as 5 would be a bit of a 'slog' and you would have no 'wiggle' room should you need to get off the road in the event of a winter weather event. Think 6 days and have one in the bank, just incase.

    Have a safe trip !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    The route you've picked is about 350 miles longer than a more direct option. That does add a good half day to your drive, and about $80 in fuel.

    It also is a pretty mountainous way to get down the east coast. Really, any trip via I-81 is going to have you cross the eastern mountains twice. Even if you take a southern route, I think you'd be better off crossing into the US at one of the 3 crossing near Detroit, and then head down towards Indianapolis and St. Louis.

    Additionally, while ice tends to be more common in the southern plains than snow, you're still going to go over elevations out west where snow is typical. The larger reality is that you can see winter weather almost anywhere. This year, Southern New Mexico has seen more snow than Chicago (and Northern NM has gotten hammered by storms a few times this winter).

    The point is that keeping your options open may be a better bet than avoiding a northern route because of a generic fear of bad weather.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Perhaps...A confusion on the rule?

    Quote Originally Posted by bf1942 View Post
    She would like to do the trip in 5-6 days but i think with just her driving and fact she is driving a uhaul 6-7 days will be more realistic with the 53mph rule and not driving too much.
    You've read our tips, which is fantastic, but I wanted to make sure you understood what the "53 mph rule" means... It's the aggregate AVERAGE speed you can expect to achieve over the course of an eight hour day on roads east of the Mississippi River. But this number assumes that you'll be traveling at or beyond the posted speed limit. Even in the winter months, in a U-haul truck, a single driver can safely drive 450 to 500 miles per day -- For your journey, if the roads are dry and the weather cooperates, you'll be able to cover this distance, each day, in about nine hours, stopping a couple of times for fuel and food.

    As both of the Advisors have mentioned, the most direct route is usually the best. For that reason, I'd recommend I-70 through Colorado and I-15 to LA.

    2,791 miles can be driven in six days, five might be a bit tough, and seven is fine too. (It is possible to go faster, but that would be unwise to expect to achieve in the winter months... I've personally driven, solo, that distance in four days in December, but I'd not recommend it).

    Mark

  5. Default

    Thanks for all of your advice, we will watch the weather and adjust our route accordingly and pace ourselves.

    Sister does not want to do the Colorado route she wants a little warmer weather... ..lol....I know we will hit bad and cold weather along the way no matter which route we go but i thought maybe the 81S,I90,I71,I70,I44,I40,I15 way may work for her ....

    The only concern can be the lake effect (erie,ontario lakes) along the I90 but the rest of route seems fine, if any one else has input on that route feel free throw your two cents in.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default The concern should be about ice and snow!

    Quote Originally Posted by bf1942 View Post
    Sister does not want to do the Colorado route she wants a little warmer weather...
    I think your sister might be worrying about the wrong thing -- Going south along I-40 will not decrease the chances for winter weather Ice storms along I-40 are nearly always much worse than along I-70. Plus the highway department in Colorado is one of the best in the nation and the roads are keep open and safe. We've mentioned this before, but some of the worst road conditions in the winter months can found along I-40....Of course, it could be warm and dry when you go through... But as you make your way westward, if there's any chance of snow along I-40 -- you'd be wise to use I-70 or even I-80!

    Mark

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