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  1. Default Siskiyou Thanksgiving Driving - San Diego to Seattle

    I have originally planned to drive with my family (wife, 12-year-old daughter, and two senior citizens) to Seattle on Dec.20-25 but decided to consider changing the dates to Nov. 24-29 (thanksgiving week) to avoid the possibility of a storm while on the Siskiyou Mountain Pass.

    1. Should I at all be worried about the possibility of a storm in Siskiyou this year around Dec. 20?
    2. I've read that it can still snow as early as Thanksgiving week in the mountain pass making Thanksgiving week and Christmas week basically the same in terms of difficulty in driving?
    3. Are there any Thanksgiving driving/safety trends I should know about?

    I've only done one road trip (San Diego to Big Sur to SFO) and I haven't driven in the snow yet.

    I appreciate everyone's input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,992

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It could certainly be snowing in the mountains in December, just about as easily as it could snow in late November. However, in both cases, the odds are significantly higher that the weather will be perfectly clear.

    You simply can't predict the weather for a trip 2 months in advance, because it is impossible to have any idea of what you might find on the days of your travel. Really, the thing you can do is plan for the worst and hope for the best. That means being ready for the possibility of snow.

    The biggest concern would be the apparently limited time you have for this trip. It is a full 2 days of driving to get from San Diego to Seattle in good conditions, so if you have any slowdowns for weather, it's quite likely that you'd need a 2nd overnight stay. Considering you only have 6 days for this trip total, and assuming this is a round trip, you're looking at a lot of driving for not much time at your destination.

  3. Default

    Thank you sir. I was definitely planning an overnight - do San Diego to Redding then call it a day then do Redding to Seattle the next day. If any, will the slowdown be somewhere between Redding and Siskiyou? If so is it usually that bad to merit a second overnight when Day 2 travel will only look like the ten remaining hours left in the twenty hour trip?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default

    Google may be able to do this trip in 20 hours, but it would be wise to plan for a longer time. At more than 1200 miles this will see you on the road for beetween 11 and 12 hours each day. As Michael said, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. It may very well be fine weather the whole way, in which case one overnight will probably see you safely there. However, should you meet with winter weather, be prepared to sit the storm out in a hotel room, and continue when the road is clear again.

    As mentioned, the most important is to keep up with the weather forecast

    Lifey.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,992

    Default expectations

    I think you're suffering from some unrealistic expectations. As Lifey mentioned, this is not a 20 hour trip.

    Your first day is going to be at least 12 hours, and that's if everything goes perfectly. It's 660 miles, and once you factor in LA traffic, as well as stops with a family of both kids and senior citizens, this day is more likely going to take you at least 14 hours. That's an extremely long day on the road - more than we recommend for a family trip, and more than professional drivers are allowed to do in a day.

    The next day might "only" be 10 hours, but again, that's if you hit perfectly good conditions. Even if you only have light snow, it should slow you down and add more time on the road. Considering your previous day and that any slowdowns caused by snow would be extra stressful miles, doing much more than 10 hours is really not a wise idea, as you will be at high risk for drowsy driving. Of course, worst case, they could close the highway or require chains - and if you don't have experience driving in the snow, you're better off pulling off the road for the day and waiting for conditions to improve.

  6. Default

    Thanks Lifey and Midwest Michael! Appreciate your advice. We're now looking for easier alternatives for our winter/thanksgiving roadtrip plans. After all my family and I have just been in the states for two years, I might need practice before I do siskiyou. Looks like we're either doing yosemite or tahoe instead. Are any of those two good "winter practice drives"?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Keep watching that weather forecast.

    Once again, a lot will depend on the weather. Just keep watching those forecasts. However, you will not be so pushed for time. Yosemite in particular is a spectacular place, though I have never seen it in winter. Check the Yosemite website, I think you will find that the carrying of tyre chains is mandatory at that time of year. You may not need to use them, but you may need to carry them. If that is the case, I would get a set of chains, and practice at home, beforehand putting them on and taking them off. there is a knack to it. Some are easier than others. I did it for months driving taxis in a ski resort.

    When it comes to winter driving, especially when there is snow/ice on the ground, it is always a wise idea to get off the road and sit out a storm till the roads are cleared. You may become very experienced at driving in snow, but you are still at the mercy of other drivers.... many of whom have no idea what to do.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    If you have extra time, you can avoid the Siskiyous by taking US-101 instead of I-5. This will take you up the coast which seldom, if ever, sees snow.

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