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  1. #1

    Default Winter Trip from Seattle to Ohio HELP!!

    OK, I am attempting to research how to drive from Seattle (recently laid off) to Ohio with a trailer and see a SCENIC route. I have never ventured to the Yellow Stone and would like to visits there for a short bit and HEAD north to Ohio. I have a small U haul trailer and I am paranoid about pulling it THROUGH the mountains of Washington, IDAHO and Montana. I drove here from the east coast during the summer and it was dangerous!

    I would like to go south Montana and head North to Ohio from the Yellow Stone? Has anyone made this trip? Is it seriously dangerous pulling a small 4 x 8 trailer with a Honda Odyssey? Can I avoid the dangerous trip I ventured here to the pacific returning to the North East? I heard you cannot get through the mountains easy this time of year. Washington, Idaho and Montana are dangerous to drive during the winter months? To compound things I have a 4 x 8 trailer?? Is it wise to go south and head north or should I risk the drive...albeit with a bit more time involved??
    Last edited by Chillis; 12-11-2012 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Changed destination from Grand Canyon to Yellow Stone!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    I'm wagering that you haven't considered the Interstates for your trip. However, they would be the safest way to travel between your destinations. The states you listed should not be significantly more dangerous to drive through via Interstate with the possible exception of inclement weather. Even then, the Interstate highways would be the first to be cleared out and likely the best maintained of any of your options. Now, if you were to take secondary or ternary roads, then, yes, I would think the likelihood of danger increases.

    As far as the vehicle towing a trailer - as long as it is rated for the trailer and weight, then you should be fine. All but the smallest of vehicles have some form of tow rating. Keep in mind the differences between how a vehicle can handle with and without a trailer, and how you would have to alter your driving style and you should be fine.

    How much time do you have for your trip?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default

    I am really curious as to what routes you took that you considered to be dangerous? If you were on the interstates, you were on one of the safest highway systems in the world, that are designed for big commercial trucks to maintain highway speeds.

    Simply put, there are very few roads in the US that could be called dangerous, so it would be really helpful to have an idea what you are using as a baseline.

    If you go south first, you will be dealing with a significant amount of mountains, first as you cross the Siskiyou's in Oregon and then again as you leave the Central Valley in Southern California. You then are dealing with more mountains as you head into Arizona (The Grand Canyon is at an elevation of about 7,000 feet). Now all of those roads are safe and see thousands of cars and trucks all year long, but you can't avoid the terrain.

    In addition to the extra mountains, Going to the Grand Canyon would also mean a significant addition to the number of miles you'll need to travel. That means more wear on your vehicle (thus it being more important to make sure things are in top shape), more money for fuel, and more chances for bad weather.

    None of these things need to be deal-breakers by any means. If you have some extra time and really want to see the Grand Canyon, I would encourage you to do so. However, if you are already very nervous about making the drive, then you might be better off just focusing on getting home as quickly, and directly as you can.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default

    Yellowstone is largely closed off to cars in the Winter. The only portions of the park you would be able to see is the very northern edge, including Mammoth Hot Springs.

    Also in the future, please do not use the edit feature to make changes to your post after people have responded. It is disrespectful, but more importantly, people who have previously viewed your post likely will not see the change and you won't get the information you are looking for.

  5. #5

    Default KHQ INFO for Moutain Passes

    I did locate a link that could help greatly for winter driving

    It gives up to date information for road passes and snow clearing. This is what I needed to gauge where the snow would possibly hinder my travels.

    Thanks again for all the information. Planning to leave December 20th. Should arrive in Ohio about the 24th of December.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-13-2012 at 04:48 AM. Reason: Added a Link for INFO for moutain passes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default

    If you are planning for 4 days for this trip, then you certainly would not have time to do anything other than take the most direct interstate route. You just wouldn't have any time for detours, including Yellowstone. Depending upon where in Ohio you are going, you're already going to have to be on the road for more than 10 hours a day.

    That also assumes that you'll see completely perfect conditions. If you see any bad weather at all, you're going to need a 5th day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    I-90 is about as safe a drive as you can get.

    Yes, there are some hills. Yes, there might be weather. But the road is in excellent condition and it doesn't spend a lot of time at high altitude. And you aren't driving doorhandle-to-doorhandle in a crowd.

    If previous trailer-pulling experience resulted in "seriously dangerous" then perhaps learning more about trailers and driving with them would help?

    Going somewhat south won't help. Winter weather can be found even into Texas.
    And the further south you go, the more likely the weather will be an ice storm rather than a snowstorm. I'd rather drive all day in snow than 1 hour on ice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I'd rather drive all day in snow than 1 hour on ice.
    No kidding! I drove from OKC to Amarillo in an ice storm on I-40 a few years back - it was SCARY. Last year I drove from just east of Kingman to just west of ABQ in the snow and it was a lot less terrifying.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    Folks who haven't experienced it probably wouldn't believe how good the traction is on a road of packed, dry snow. That's part of my reasoning for liking I-90 over I-80.
    If it's COLD, the snow on the road is less of a problem. Wet snow that packs down turns to ice which is devilishly slick. And a silvery ice storm is a nightmare.

    Of course dry packed snow isn't as grippy as clean pavement or dirt but it's pretty good.

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