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  1. Default Winter travel from RI to UT on a low budget

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for advice on traveling from Providence, RI to St. George, UT during the winter on a budget. I'll be by myself and, although I would probably need a few exercise breaks along the way, would like to get to my destination as quickly as possible. Because this will be in early January, I expect that car camping will be uncomfortable, but am open to rustic options. I also expect that weather conditions may cause delays, or re-routing. This is travel to a new job, not for vacation. However, I'm an avid winter hiker and wouldn't mind throwing in a couple of good hikes along the way.

    So, I'm looking for...
    1. Winter route advice (I was looking at US-50. Good/bad/alternatives?)
    2. Hiking/running suggestions close to my route
    3. Housing locations and advice for reservations: can these be made en-route, or should they be made ahead of time? How to account for delays when setting up lodging reservations
    4. How to manage long stretches of empty road, with safety during inclement weather being the main concern

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    1. The best way in the winter is usually the shortest Interstate route. However, being on a budget I'd modify that a bit to avoid tolls and the Chicago area traffic. Take I-95 to I-287 across the Tappan Zee, stay on 287 to I-80 to Youngstown, then I-76/I-71 to Columbus to I-70. Take that to I-15. Another option would be to get to I-84 and take that to Scranton, then I-81 to I-80.

    3. You should not need reservations. There are plenty of hotels at Interstate exits where you can simply walk in and get a room. The only place where you may have an issue is through the mountains in Colorado on weekends, you will be competing with skiiers. Rates will be high and most places will probably be sold out.

    Regardless of what route you choose, you need to keep a constant watch on weather and road conditions with a laptop and/or a smartphone. If you are heading into a storm and the roads are bad, it's best to find a hotel and wait it out. If it shows that your planned route is bad, but a reasonable alternate is good, go for it. Just don't go too many miles out of your way, you will very quickly burn up the cost of a hotel room with additional gas and additional hours on the road (meaning another hotel room!).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Continuing...

    As long as you stick to the Interstates (best possible advice for long-distance winter drives)...

    2. There will be plenty of opportunities nearby to take breaks.

    4. You really shouldn't see 'long stretches of empty road', depending on how you define 'long, and 'empty'. I seriously doubt that you will find any stretch longer than 25-30 miles between exits with full travelers' services including food, gas and lodging. If things are starting to look iffy, and you don't know what's ahead, pull off at one of these exits. Take the time to at least get a weather update or find a room for the night to give the road crews time to do their job.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    The exception to what AZBuck says, about stretches longer than 25-30 miles, is a 108 mile long section of I-70 in Utah. Between Green River, UT and Salina, UT, there are NO services. No gasoline, no restaurants, no lodging, and very little cell phone service. There are a few rest areas, most of which have nothing. One or two have a portapotty, though I'm not sure about those in the middle of winter. Get fuel either in Grand Junction or Green River, and then you'll make it easily to either Beaver or all the way to St George on that tank (depending on your fuel mileage and size of gas tank). As far as emergencies in that stretch -- there is usually a patrol going on in that area, just because it is a non-populated area. But carry the standard emergency-preparedness equipment "just in case"....blanket, extra food, flares.


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