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  1. Default Washington to Masssachusetts; early January

    Hi all, so I'm looking for tips, advise, ect for our trip. Will be leaving from Bellingham WA and driving straight to Mass. Trying to do it as fast as possible but would like to see a few things on our way, like yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. We are planning to try to drive 8-10 hours a day (I know, that's a LOT!) but we have a very finite amount of time and $ to do this. I'd greatly appreciate any feedback; weather conditions that are normal in the areas we'll be passing thru as well as routes to avoid from personal experiences. We'll also be staying at hotels or motels or B&B's, so if anyone knows of any near our 2 destinations I'd love to hear about them!

    Thanks in advance,

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

    Default Time.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA fourms !

    To start with it's impossible to predict the weather for when you travel at this early stage, but travelling in January will mean a high possibility of seeing some poor weather and possible disruption, so you need to build time for delays into your timeframe. Yellowstone will pretty much be closed when you travel and snowbound, so probably not worth the detour with limited time to be honest. Keep an eye on current weather and road conditions prior to, and during your trip so that you can plan your day[s] accordingly. Interstates are a priority to keep clear and traffic moving but in the event of a major storm it's better to pull off at a truck stop or a Hotel for the night and let it pass and the road crews get to work.

    Eight to ten hours of driving per day is reasonable and does allow some time for unexpected delays along the way and perhaps a little sight seeing. You mention both "driving straight to Mass" and "Hotels etc near your 2 destinations" which makes me wonder how long are you expecting to be on the road for ? To drive 9 hours a day you will need about 6 days to complete the trip with time for just the basic stops and rest breaks, but not sight seeing and while keeping to major routes. So with a week you should have some 'wiggle' room but how much more you can see or do will depend on how much you can spare.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default finite

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm curious about exactly how much time and money you are planning for this trip.

    You will need at least 6 days for this trip driving 8-10 hours a day - which works out to about 500 miles a day in real world conditions.

    You should also know that most of Yellowstone is not reachable by car in January. You would be able to visit areas on the far north edge of the park, like Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley, but most of the geyser areas including old faithful, as well as the Canyon and Lake would not be possible. Additionally, the park is enough of a detour that you really would be looking at a 7th day on the road.

    One more factor that could potentially slow you down is the weather. It is simply impossible to say what conditions you might see 2 months from now, but the chance of seeing a snow storm is certainly one you need to prepare for, and know that if things are bad enough you might have to take additional and additional day or so to allow the roads to be cleared. The interstates are your best bet, and I-90 the whole way is a good choice for route, but mother nature is something that could be a factor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    My husband used to do that route while he was driving commercially, at all times of the year. I remember he called me once from Billings, MT, as the Interstate-90 had been closed and he and his partner were holed up in a motel there. (They used the opportunity to get out of the truck and stay where it was more comfortable.) Another time, he was holed up someplace in Wyoming, same reason. prepared for this, it certainly is possible!


  5. Default

    To answer a few questions, our to say the least, when I say straight to MA, I mean we will be taking as few detours as possible, not much sight seeing but my mom would like to see yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore because we may never go out that way again. We plan on driving as much as possible each day but possibly stopping every night or every other night at hotel/motel situation. I wish this were an actual vacation but it isn't, I'm helping my mom move from Alaska to MA. I know it's not the ideal time to do this kind of trek, but you gotta do what you gotta do! :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If your mom wants to see Yellowstone, January is the wrong time to do that. As previously mentioned, very little of the park is accessible and there's only one road open in and out. Rushmore shouldn't be too much of a problem.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    In addition to the issues about visiting Yellowstone in winter that have been raised, its also a tough place to visit if your goal is to make the trip as fast as possible. Even visiting the small part of the park that is open is going to add practically a full day to your trip. You're looking at roughly a 3 hour detour round-trip off of I-90, just to get to the Mammoth Area.

    I'll also say that spending every night in a hotel is pretty much mandatory for this trip. Sleep is not optional if you want a safe trip, and 2 people simply can't get a good night rest in most cars in the best of circumstances. Doing it in January, when you'll likely see overnight temperatures below freezing, if not below zero, could actually be dangerous in its own right.

    You're going to need to plan to spend at least 5-6 nights on the road, and factor those motels stays into your budget as something that is every bit as important as fuel.

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