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  1. Default Traveling from Pennsylvania to California in mid-January 2013

    Hello, I am traveling to California from central Pennsylvania in order to do an internship assignment for about 4 months. I will begin travel in the middle of January 2013. Are there any routes, or precautions I should take when driving cross country this time of year?

    I have already equipped my vehicle (Isuzu I290 standard truck, 2008, 40,000 miles) with snow tires and 400 pounds of grit sand tubes in the bed (along with the rest of my belongings that I will be taking as well).

    Like I said I have never driven cross country before, and the time of the year sort of concerns me but I believe this is cheaper than flying out and renting a car once I am out there.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Time and Knowledge

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To be honest, and despite the millions of dollars spent on advertising to convince you otherwise, equipment is not the difference maker between a safe trip and a disaster. Yes, you need a good set of tires, preferably all-weather with plenty of tread on them, but studded tires, chains, and hulking SUVs are still only as good as the proverbial 'nut behind the wheel'. What you need in order to make this a safe RoadTrip is plenty of time to do it and knowledge of both the conditions you'll meet and your abilities to meet them.

    Depending where, exactly, in 'central Pennsylvania' you're starting from and where in 'California' you're going, you'd need around 5 days to make the drive under normal circumstances. But your circumstances are not normal. You're loading down your vehicle with hundreds of pounds of cargo and 'stuff' meaning you'll be going slower than normal (and taking longer to stop, don't forget), so add roughly another half day to account for that. Then there are possible weather delays. Unless you have experience and are comfortable with driving in snow/sleet/ice, you should plan on just sitting out any adverse conditions. Pull up, spend the time in a warm and comfortable motel room, and let the road crews clear the highway. Then wait some more for the sun to come out. So add another day to your travel plans. In other words, have a full week at your disposal for the drive.

    Then, keep yourself informed as you travel. Check the Weather Channel every night before going to bed and every morning before starting out. Let someone know what your plans are and check in with them every day or so to let them know how you're progressing and especially if you decide to alter your plans. Plan to take the shortest all-Interstate route available to you. Trying to find a 'safer' route by going south is counter-productive. All roads in the continental US see frozen precipitation sometime in the winter and increasing the number of miles drive, and time on the road, just increases your odds of running into bad weather.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thanks for your input, I will be leaving about 10 days in advance from when I start the job. I did forget to mention my father will be driving with me as well; so rotation will be advantageous. I may minimize the weight in the vehicle though, as you mentioned.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-06-2012 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Quote of entire previous post removed

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'd recommend you remove that 400 pounds of sand. All it's going to do is kill your gas mileage and it could make your front end start "floating". I drive cross country in a rear wheel drive pickup truck each winter and I don't add weight other than what I'm hauling anyway. I do have a set of Michelin X-Ice tires on winter wheels and I do carry a set of cable chains. It's funny - the only time I have ever used the chains was to get out of my driveway and alley after a 19 inch snowstorm right here at home a couple winters ago.

    If the weather and road conditions are bad enough where it gets really sloppy, it's best to just get off the road and wait it out. With 10 days, you have plenty of time to account for any weather-related delays.

    2 drivers doesn't mean you can drive around the clock - I'd highly recommend you plan on at least 4 overnight stops.

    A tip - if you have a smartphone and/or laptop, you can get real time road conditions at safetravelusa.com. It has links to each state's site, many of which are mobile-optimized. Quite a few states are also on the 511 system.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    I do have a set of Michelin X-Ice tires on winter wheels and I do carry a set of cable chains. It's funny - the only time I have ever used the chains was to get out of my driveway and alley after a 19 inch snowstorm right here at home a couple winters ago.
    Of course, the day you take those chains out of the truck, you will find that you need them the next day! Or later the same day!


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    The chains are in the truck 24/7/365 along with my road atlas and snow brush/ice scraper. It's amazing how much crap you can stow behind the seats in a standard cab truck.

    Off topic - I'll be heading out your way next week for a month or so. We're going to Disneyland on Christmas Eve.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    I'd recommend you remove that 400 pounds of sand. All it's going to do is kill your gas mileage and it could make your front end start "floating". I drive cross country in a rear wheel drive pickup truck each winter and I don't add weight other than what I'm hauling anyway. I do have a set of Michelin X-Ice tires on winter wheels and I do carry a set of cable chains. It's funny - the only time I have ever used the chains was to get out of my driveway and alley after a 19 inch snowstorm right here at home a couple winters ago.

    If the weather and road conditions are bad enough where it gets really sloppy, it's best to just get off the road and wait it out. With 10 days, you have plenty of time to account for any weather-related delays.

    2 drivers doesn't mean you can drive around the clock - I'd highly recommend you plan on at least 4 overnight stops.

    A tip - if you have a smartphone and/or laptop, you can get real time road conditions at safetravelusa.com. It has links to each state's site, many of which are mobile-optimized. Quite a few states are also on the 511 system.
    Thanks for the input. I will keep myself updated with my laptop for weather, etc. I may remove the weight, like you said, would be easier on the vehicle too.

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