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  1. Default Portland, OR to Death Valley next week: Need some thoughts on safe to drive?

    Hello,
    I'm planning to drive from Portland, OR to Death Valley National Park mid February. Wondering if it is safe to drive without getting stuck into snow or ice. I will be driving a SUbaru Outback with all season tire. Please reply so that I can plan my trip accordingly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    As I told you last fall in your thread about a similar trip, you just won't know till it's time to go. The quickest route is I-5/CA-46/CA-99/CA-58/CA-14/US-395/CA-190. The only likelihood of real adverse conditions would be over the Siskiyous on I-5. You have the right vehicle to minimize any problems, if there are chain restrictions just wait them out.

  3. Default

    Thanks GLC, I had to cancel my trip in December due to some personal issues. For this trip Google Maps give me three options.
    1. Take I5 till Euguene, OR, OR-58, OR-97, CA-139, US 395, US 95 -- Total 908 Miles
    2. Same as Route# 1 but take US 395 all the way to DVNP. -- Total 904 Miles
    3. Take I5 till Sacramento, then take 50, 395, 190 -- Total 1028 Miles.

    In Option 1 and 2 there is no passing of Siskiyous but I'm not sure since if the will have similar or worst condition compared with Option 3.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Weather is key.

    As mentioned, you have a good choice of vehicle which is set up nicely but in really poor conditions you should pull off the road and let it pass while the crews are clearing the roads. There is no answer to how the weather will be at the time you travel, that you will have to wait and see. Mapping programs will put 3 alternative routes out there, the first is often the quickest but by no means is the last option the third quickest, with Google maps you can drop and drag the blue route line and play with many options.

    If weather is not an issue, I would probably choose the second option and head down 395. I'm not sure I would agree that going all the way around the southern end of the mountains as described by glc would be the quickest even on quicker roads as it adds a couple of hundred miles, but I haven't driven either to truly compare.

    The most important factor in keeping safe is having the time to do the trip, which means 2 days on the road and time enough that if you need extra time, you have it available.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Going via my route is in fact a bit quicker due to the considerably higher speeds you can maintain. It's freeway most of the way and really isn't that much farther. You have to remember that the speed limit off the Interstates in OR is only 55.

    You are looking at a 2 day trip with an overnight around Sacramento.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Going via my route is in fact a bit quicker due to the considerably higher speeds you can maintain. It's freeway most of the way and really isn't that much farther. You have to remember that the speed limit off the Interstates in OR is only 55.

    You are looking at a 2 day trip with an overnight around Sacramento.
    I'll probably have a second driver, I'm thinking about leave Portland at 1PM, drive 8 hrs stop and let the other driver take over. What I'm realizing is that crossing the mountains is unavoidable, does any anyone know how far I have to drive in the snow if I get stuck in the Siskiyou pass? and is it all good road after putting the Siskiyou behind.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default the wrong problem

    Even with 2 drivers, Trying to drive 1000 miles in a day is very dangeous and far more likely to result in a serious crash than the weather. Looking for a "safe route" with such a plan is a fools errand, at best.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Even with 2 drivers, Trying to drive 1000 miles in a day is very dangeous and far more likely to result in a serious crash than the weather. Looking for a "safe route" with such a plan is a fools errand, at best.
    Hmmmm.....We might just take the night off then.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Agreed.

    Even with 2 drivers ! It's not wise in a best case scenario as one person who has driven for 8 hours will soon be nodding off to sleep after the drive, leaving the driver, who is probably just as tired due to being in the car all day without any proper rest, on their own to drive into the small hours. As the night comes [early this time of year] fatigue can set in quickly after a long day, and with the temps falling and the possibility of ice much greater than in the day, it's more of a dangerous combination than just worrying about weather. If you encountered a storm it could delay you by a few hours making life miserable stuck in your car, plan on leaving earlier in the day and an overnight stop.

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