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  1. Default Which way should I go? Seattle to Baltimore with 30' rental truck plus car trailer

    I've been reading a little about traveling on I 90 or I 80 during Thanksgiving week.
    I'm concerned about snow.
    Having a 30' rental truck with a 15' car trailer in tow without chains during the end of November
    is of concern.
    What is the best way to get across country? ]I don't mind a southerly route and adding a day or so travel time.
    I'm actually leaving from Pullman WA.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Keep that extra time in hand.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I will let others comment on what route would be best suitable based on your vehicle set up, but as for the weather there is just no way of knowing what will happen until much nearer the time, so you should keep an open mind. Going south does not guarantee you will not see winter weather, it actually increases your chances of seeing some, as you would be on the road for longer. Interstates are a priority to keep open and traffic moving through the winter and that '"day or so " you are prepared to add to your journey time, is time you should have in reserve along the direct route[s] when, in the event of a storm, you can pull off the road early [or leave later] while the road crews do their job of clearing the road. Worse case scenario is you end up drinking coffee in a nice warm motel room rather than burning money in gas driving the long way around in a noisy truck ! Best case is that you will have fine weather all the way, which in this case would mean at least 5 overnight stops on route.

    Safe travels.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-03-2015 at 09:18 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    As Dave mentioned, the biggest factor for your route is going to be the weather, and you won't know that until just before you are ready to leave.

    If all things are equal, I'd be taking I-90 across all the way to Sioux Falls, then use I-29 and I-680 to reach I-80 for the drive across Iowa. Use I-280 to get around the Quad Cities, and then take I-74 to Indianapolis. Use I-70 to PA, and then I-79 and I-68 into Maryland.

    That's going to be a lower elevation route than I-80 across the west, and avoids both Chicago and the tollways that would be very expensive in a Uhaul while pulling a trailer. It's a 2600 mile drive, and in good conditions, you'll need at minimum of 5 full days. However, since this is a move in winter, I'd try to have at least a week available just in case.

    If there is bad weather forecast on I-90, then you might look at dropping down to Boise and use I-84 to pick up I-80, however, beyond that, there really isn't any other workable route without adding a huge extra amount of miles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    If there is bad weather forecast on I-90, then you might look at dropping down to Boise and use I-84 to pick up I-80, however, beyond that, there really isn't any other workable route without adding a huge extra amount of miles.
    The weather fronts generally move NW to SE so weather on I-90 will soon sag to I-84/80. I think the roller coaster hills across Oregon on the southern route are worse than the hills on the I-90 route. Plus the average altitude on I-80 across Wyoming is higher than the I-90 route.
    I prefer I-90.

  5. #5

    Default Either-or

    I see Pullman is located at the "in between" point where running up to Spokane vs down to I-84 are similar distances. If it were my trip, and particular when towing, I'd run up to I-90 unless local weather up was unfavorable. As mentioned, you're going to want to have the schedule flexibility to sit tight for a day or so following the passage of a snow event, anyway. The advantage provided by I-90 is relative flatness when compared to I-80 from eastern UT all the way to Cheyenne, WY. From the Idaho Panhandle to Billings, MT, you have exactly 4 passes or pseudo-passes. The remainder of I-90 follows either the Clark Fork River, the headwater rivers of the Missouri, or the Yellowstone River, so there is very little in the way of ups and downs. From Billings to east of Rapid City, SD, there are some long grades, but you're at least out of the higher elevation territory. Contrast the terrain from the junction of I-84 & I-80 at Echo Canyon, UT to Cheyenne, WY which involves crossing the Colorado Plateau at elevations between 6,000 and 7,500' and a single 8,640' pass east of Laramie, with some long grades as well, and I-90 looks pretty good. There are more cities and towns along I-90, as well, so if services are needed, you're in somewhat better position there, as well.

    There are no really great options, but the section of I-68 from Morgantown, WV to at least as far as Cumberland, MD was tough sledding for us in early August of this year. There are many fairly short but steep grades. I suspect many of the grades are at or close to the limit on grade % for Interstate highways. We towed a camper trailer through there and it was an unexpected challenge at the end of a too-long day. That said, I-76 (the PA Turnpike) through Somerset to Breezewood is no day at the beach, either, and I am unable to say from the perspective of recent travel which is more diffucult when towing. One certainty is that the tolls on the PA Turnpike will amount to something.


  6. #6


    The chance of weather is one thing, but I've been forced to detour off I-80 due to wind alone. It can get pretty fierce across Wyoming at those high elevations. I-90 would be my choice to Sioux Falls, SD and then follow Midwest Michael's more southerly route from there on.

    I would also suggest some extra days in case of unforeseen weather along the way. You are going across the entire country, after all, and driving/hauling is no easy task. Seven days minimum, and try to limit yourself to about 400 miles per day, especially if you're the only driver.

    Here are some possible stops where accommodations will be good:
    Pullman to Bozeman - 457 miles
    Bozeman to Sturgis - 431 miles
    Sturgis to Sioux Falls - 372 miles
    Sioux Falls to Iowa City - 398 miles
    Iowa City to Indianapolis - 367 miles
    Indianapolis to Morgantown - 379 miles
    Morgantown to Baltimore - 212 miles
    Last edited by Harry Kline; 11-03-2015 at 09:38 AM.

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