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  1. Default Richmond, VA to Seattle in May 2013

    Hello, all!

    I was wondering if I could get some advice about the best way to get from Richmond to Seattle in early May.

    I'm moving to Seattle, and since I'll be travelling with animals, I'd like to get there as quickly and safely as possible.

    I'm considering I-90 for the bulk of the trip west, but I've been reading that even in May, the weather in Montana can be unpredictable, and I have no idea what the Snoqualmie Pass can be like that time of year.

    Having lived most of my life in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic, the whole concept of snow tires, mountain passes, and possible spring snow is a completely foreign one to me. :) Is I-80 a better choice for a bicoastal greenhorn such as myself, or can I reasonably expect smooth sailing in Montana and the Cascades in early May?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Keep It Short and Simple

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To make a RoadTrip as quickly and safely as possible, you want to minimize your time and miles on the road, thus minimizing the chances for an accident or running into bad weather. You also want to use the safest roads possible, and generally that means the Interstates or other freeway-quality roads. The way to deal with weather is not to add hundreds of miles trying to drive around it, but to add enough time to your driving budget to sit out any weather you're uncomfortable with and return to driving only once the roads have been cleared and the sun is back out.

    In your case, the route of choice would be I-95 up to Washington, then I-270 to I-70/I-76/I-80/I-90, the Pennsylvania and Ohio Turnpikes, and the Indiana Toll Road. Use I-294, the Tri-State Tollway around Chicago and rejoin I-90. You can use either I-90 or I-94 across the northern plains, depending on the weather when you get there. They rejoin at Billings MT and I-90 will take you the rest of the way into Seattle. At a bit over 2800 miles you're going t need five solid days minimum for the drive so that you have sufficient time for meals, gas and bathroom breaks, traffic and construction delays, and the occasional mental health break for short walks and similar non-driving activities. You should also budget an additional sixth day for any possible weather delay.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd like to suggest a different route that adds about 50 miles, but cuts out most of the tolls and avoids the DC and Chicago metro traffic.

    Take I-64 west out of Richmond to Beckley WV, then I-77/I-64 (the only toll on this route) to Charleston, stay on I-64 west to US-35. Take that to Dayton OH, then I-75 north to I-70 to Indy. Take the south I-465 bypass to I-74 to I-80. Take that to I-680 just before Omaha to I-29 north, take that to I-90.

    Your overnights for a 5 day drive taking this route would be:

    Des Moines
    Rapid City

    The only non-Interstate is US-35, but all but 12 miles of it in WV is expressway or multi-lane divided highway with some grade crossings. It's a good, fast road.

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