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  1. Default Virginia to Washington in February. Best route?

    My husband is in the Army and we're moving from Fort Lee (near Richmond, VA) to Washington State (Tacoma) in mid-February. We'll probably have about 9 days to make the trip. I wish we didn't have to move in winter, but some of you may know how military is!

    Any tips on the best winter route? We're definitely willing to head south to avoid any terrible snowy areas. We'll be driving a U-Haul (which will have a trailer for my car on it), so any tips about avoiding toll roads would also be appreciated. Mostly I just want to be as safe as possible.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Let's start by saying one of the great myths of winter travel is that heading south is a good way to avoid snow or ice. Every single cross country route sees winter weather at some point of the year, and places farther south are often less able to deal with it when it hits. Unless there is a storm in the forecast for the specific days you'll be traveling, going with a direct route is usually the best bet. That gets you to your destination fastest, meaning the fewest possible days to see a storm.

    The route I'd be looking at first would be I-64 to West Virginia, US-35 to Dayton, I-70 to Indy, I-74/I-280 to Davenport, I-80/I-680 across Iowa, I-29 to Sioux Falls, and then I-90 the rest of the way to Washington. I-90 is actually one of the lowest elevation routes across the Rockies, and at times it can be too cold for heavy snow in February, so it actually has some advantages in winter travel you might not otherwise think of.

    This is mostly a direct route, but with the exception of a short stretch through WV, it is toll free, and with the exception of a short stretch of US-35 in Northern WV, it is 4+ lanes all the way. The trip is just under 3000 miles, and at a reasonable and steady pace of 500 miles a day while towing, it will take you 6 days. That still gives you 3 extra days in case you need to slow down or even stop for a storm and wait for conditions to improve.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Yes, I definitely understand military life -- thank your husband for his service, and you for dealing with it, especially winter PCS moves! (Be thankful you aren't being transferred to Fort Richardson in Fairbanks, AK. grin.)

    Michael's advice is exactly as I would give it. Short route, steady travel, safe travel. I would be careful along I-90 in SD and MT, and keep tabs on the weather. If you have a smartphone, be sure to have either the weather app that comes pre-installed on your phone, or Weather Channel app (or both). Check ahead each day for possible storms, but also winds (which aren't fun in a tall vehicle like a U-Haul).


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