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  1. #1

    Default Charlotte to Bend, Oregon in mid December

    My wife and I are are flying from Bend, Oregon to Charlotte, N.C. returning to Bend in mid December by auto. We are planning 8 days and know we need to stay south to avoid snow in the Rockies and Sierras. We will carry chains and emergency equipment. Any suggestions on points of interest or areas to avoid?

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

    Default No guarantees.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It really doesn't matter how far south you go, there is no guarantee that you will avoid snow and ice. Whatever will be will be when it comes to the weather, so perhaps you should be looking at the different places and routes that interest you, [you didn't tell us what you would find interesting] and then make a final decision prior to leaving when you have up to date weather and road condition info.

    In fact heading south could add 500 miles or more to your journey which is a full day on the road, which is one more day you could see bad weather and one less day you could potentially spend waiting out a storm by taking a more direct route. It's a 5 to 6 day journey under normal circumstances so you certainly have time to see a few sites and see out any bad weather, rarely are Interstates closed for more than a few hours as they are a priority to keep clear. So leaving things open to change and being prepared to pull off into a Motel early on the occasional day should make for a safe and enjoyable drive.

  3. #3

    Default Don't run from weather potential

    Hello neighbor (I'm in Raleigh),

    I would not add a single mile to a trip from Charlotte, NC to Bend, OR to avoid potential weather situations. Each and every mile of travel has some inherent risk associated with it, and adding 500 miles is just not something I'd do.

    That said, within the past 22 months I've done December/January Road Trips to and from Park City, UT from my Raleigh home. On 3 of the 4 legs of these 2 out and back trips, I encountered some lousy frozen weather. My own (foolishly imposed) travel schedule precluded waiting it out, and in each case, a delay of a few hours to a half-day would have provided ample time for the expert and well-equipped DOT crews to completely clear the Interstate. Those theoretical delays pale by comparison to adding 500 miles--a full day's travel--to your plan, particularly given the fact that you may just as possibly encounter snow along I-40 and even I-10. Case in point for a southern route not necessarily being snow-free: We first encountered snow in January 2012 as we approached Asheville, NC, were in a light non-sticking snow all the way to Knoxville, TN, and had heavy sticking snow and sleet from Knoxville to Nashville (up and over the Cumberland Plateau), with related very slow travel for a couple or three hours. Every mile of this was on the "southern route" of I-40.

    Not sure I'd be too concerned with chains, unless you've already got them and are familiar with their use. If you get to "chain-up weather" out west, it's time to pull over for coffee and some pie until conditions improve. No, I did not follow my own advice in January 2011 and 2012. Silly me. On each trip we were in a 4WD or AWD vehicle with good tires and all we had to do was to slow (way) down and endure some congestion and a lot of salty-icy spray. What I do suggest is stocking up with a couple of gallons of windshield-sprayer de-icing fluid, a roll of paper towels, and a nice windshield squeegee. Once you start picking up some salt spray in the midwest and far west (where even a cleared road will have small rivulets of meltwater here, there, and everywhere), you'll be wanting to clear your windshield with the sprayers and wipers a lot, and the squeegee and paper towels will help with the side windows, mirrors, and your headlights and taillights.


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