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  1. Default Please help! Need to avoid mountains San Francisco area to I-10 east mid Nov

    Hello everyone! I have found this site so useful that I thought I would join and see if anyone can please help. When we moved to the Bay area from GA during summer it was recommended to take the most northern route to avoid the desert. I thought we were avoiding the really steep mountains by taking I-80 vs. I-70. I am terrified of heights and mountains and was in tears by the time we hit Utah. We are now relocating back to the east coast to NC in mid November. Since we are travelling with a 2 year old, 5 year old and a dog, we are most concerned about winter conditions, so after reading this forum we have decided to do I-10. The problem....I have read so many opinions online but cannot decide how we should get to I-10 from the bay area. Time is of no concern...I would rather spend a few more days driving to avoid mountains. We are not experienced big city drivers so 101 to LA is intimidating as is driving I-5 period. I most definitely want to avoid the Grapevine and Tepahachi pass at all costs. I also see that CA 99 has lots of fog. Someone posted re: avoiding mountains in winter from Oregon to Phoenix and someone suggested Hwy 95 in NV down to I-10. We would be willing to do that but is there a not too bad mountain pass that would get us to 95 from here? Should we go through Yosemite? ANY suggestions would be very much appreciated as I am in tears already and wanting to fly but we cannot afford to at this time. And we are not familiar with CA as we have not traveled outside the bay area. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default run out of options

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but your fear has put you in a place where you're pretty much asking the impossible. It's essentially impossible to drive across the US without dealing with some degree of mountains.

    We'll start just in California. If you're unwilling to go over a pass as mild as Tehachapi or the Grapevine, and you don't want to drive through Los Angeles, you essentially can not leave the Bay Area/Central California. There just isn't any other option. US-95 is not an option, because you still have to get over the Sierras to get to US-95. Techachapi really is about as mild of a mountain pass as you'll find anywhere in the country. It doesn't even get over 3,800 feet, and it's a 4 lane divided highway at or near interstate standards with very mild slopes and curves.

    Following the coast/using US-101 is really the only way you can get out of central California without going over mountains, but obviously, that will require you to go through Los Angeles.

    Yosemite is a National Park that's famous for it's location within the mountains, and crossing the Sierras there would involve using a 2 lane road far more intense than anything close to what you encountered on I-80. It doesn't seem like a place you should ever think about going!

    Once you get to I-10, there are a few things you should know. First, one of the common things you'll read on this website is that I-10 is NOT what we recommend as the best way to avoid weather on a winter trip. I-10 can and does see snow and ice every year, especially from Southern Arizona through West Texas, and when weather hits, road crews are not as able to quickly get the roads in good shape again. In your case, depending upon where exactly in NC you're heading, going via I-10 is going to add about 250 miles. That's at least another half day on the road, and when it comes to weather, unless you've got a specific forecast saying that the more direct route is about to get hit by a storm, you're much better using that half day to sit and wait for conditions to improve.

    Now, I-10 is about the least mountainous route you can take across country, however, even there it doesn't completely avoid mountains. You'll be going up to an elevation of about 5,000 feet in SE Arizona/SW New Mexico. This is going to be your best option to get across country with as few mountains as possible, but based on the level of fear you've described, if you can't fly, I'd be having a serious conversation with your doctor about anxiety treatments before you get on the road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Expanding on what Michael has said, why can't you fly with the kids and have your partner make the drive with the dog - or sell the car and all of you fly?

    If you must drive, see your doctor and plan on taking 99 to Bakersfield, then 58 over Tehachapi to I-40. Take that all the way to NC. That's the most efficient route and is as good as any in the winter.

  4. Default Moving to Raleigh but stopping in GA to visit family

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Expanding on what Michael has said, why can't you fly with the kids and have your partner make the drive with the dog - or sell the car and all of you fly?

    If you must drive, see your doctor and plan on taking 99 to Bakersfield, then 58 over Tehachapi to I-40. Take that all the way to NC. That's the most efficient route and is as good as any in the winter.
    Ouch! Yes, I know I need therapy for this but maybe later! LOL. This was the route that my husband has been wanting to take. Am looking into flying or doing Amtrak. Either with my husband driving the van or us all traveling together and shipping the van. I see now that there is no way to avoid mountains getting out of CA. Thanks so much for the valuable information. This is a wonderful site. I read many personal opinion posts online about how I-10 is a guaranteed avoidable of snow in the snow....now we know!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Check the facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by eastbound El View Post
    I read many personal opinion posts online about how I-10 is a guaranteed avoidable of snow in the snow....now we know!
    There is a great deal of misinformation on the internet - and elsewhere in print. The members on this site attempt to speak from experience and fact, not opinion. Even where I live I did hear on the news last winter, about the traffic chaos caused on I-10 as the result of snow and ice. If you check some of these sights, you will read about, and see videos from 2007, 2014 and 2015.

    Lifey

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