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  1. Default Tampa to Seattle - 1st Week of January

    Greetings All,

    I've been reading past discussions on this but they seemed old enough that I'd try for all new input.
    • My mother and I are driving her new Toyota Camry all the way from Tampa to Seattle in January.
    • I'll be doing most of the driving, and all of the driving in poor conditions.
    • I've never put chains on a car, but I will learn this before heading out.
    • I'm not terrified of driving through the passes. I can hunker down and take it slow, but still, considering the time of year, I'd be willing to add miles to avoid the most dangerous, snowiest/iciest route.
    • We need to be back in Seattle by Friday 1/8 or early Sat 1/9.
    • We would not add any miles for scenery or views or attractions. We WOULD add miles for safer, faster driving.



    What route recommendations do you have?
    How many days/nights do you recommend?

    I appreciate your time and insight in guiding us!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default First Things First

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you've read through enough former discussions of driving in winter weather, then you've probably seen the advice I'm about to give you a few times already, but it bears both repeating and emphasis. Your best option for driving in the winter is NOT to head south, and NOT to rely on chains or four wheel drive, or any other mechanical aid. If you have to practice putting on the chains, don't bother because the thing you really need to practice is driving on snow and ice with them and you clearly can't do that. Simply put, your best option for driving in winter weather is to have enough time for your trip that you don't have to drive in any conditions that make you uncomfortable.

    By the most direct all-Interstate route, it would take you about five and a half days at a good, steady, but not overly taxing rate to get from Tampa to Seattle. Assume that you'll take a slightly slower pace and call it six days. Then you'll need to have a seventh day in hand to be able to just sit out any adverse weather. It makes far more sense to hole up in a nice warm motel room than to try to "hunker down and take it slow" on roads and through conditions that are outside your experience. Adding miles will do nothing to make your trip any faster but just increase the time you're on the road and subject to bad weather. Even the southernmost Interstate in the US, I-10, can and does see snow and/or ice every winter.

    So, the route I'd recommend is I-75 to Chattanooga, I-24 up into southern Illinois, I-57/I-64 to St. Louis, I-70 to Kansas City, I-29 to Sioux Falls, and I-90 the rest of the way to Seattle. There are a few beltways and such around major cities, but you should be able to figure out your own best way through/around those. To leave yourselves the full seven days for this journey, you should plan on leaving in the morning of Saturday January 2nd. You probably won't need reservations, especially since you want to leave yourselves some flexibility in your driving and timing, but if you maintain a pace of 500-550 miles per day you should be fine. Remember, daylight hours are going to be relatively short and you're still going to want to be able to take two or three short (15 to 30 minutes) breaks from driving each day in addition to meal, gas, and restroom stops.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    This is so incredibly helpful, AZBuck. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    Be sure the car and your gear are prepared for genuine winter conditions.
    I had to start my vehicle after it sat overnight at -23F when we overnighted in Butte, MT after Christmas last year. Drove an entire day where it never got above 0 from there to Colorado.

    Snow brush, ice scraper, warm clothes, some overshoes, gloves, scarf, headgear, extra blankets - all good planning for travel in winter up that way.

    Check weather forecast for the area you plan to head in to at every opportunity.

    I've posted trip reports for 4 different years runs from N. Colo to Seattle. They vary a lot. Sometimes it's just rain, sometimes much more.

  5. Default

    Very wise. I appreciate the reminders and shall adhere!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Ice scrapers and snow brushes might not be easy to buy in Tampa. I know they are very difficult to buy here in my neck of the woods, and the ones that you buy here are lousy. So you might want to make plans to stop at a place along the route that gets real snow and ice, and pick up some.


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A little bit of help.

    Quote Originally Posted by noFanofCB View Post
    I've posted trip reports for 4 different years runs from N. Colo to Seattle. They vary a lot. Sometimes it's just rain, sometimes much more.
    Have you thought to post the links. Sometimes the trip reports are difficult to find, especially once they move onto page 4 and onwards.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Ice scrapers and snow brushes might not be easy to buy in Tampa. I know they are very difficult to buy here in my neck of the woods, and the ones that you buy here are lousy. So you might want to make plans to stop at a place along the route that gets real snow and ice, and pick up some.


    Donna
    Maybe time for a little on-line shopping.

    Dave.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default No hurry!

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Maybe time for a little on-line shopping.

    Dave.
    Why get them before you look like needing them. If you keep your eyes on the forecast, you'll know well before when you are going to need them. You could find that you have an incident free trip.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Have you thought to post the links. Sometimes the trip reports are difficult to find, especially once they move onto page 4 and onwards.

    Lifey
    Have thought about it but decided against for appearance of bragging or something.
    (the one from last year is especially chilling - pun intended-)

    Can be found by searching in Field Reports under my username.
    They do disappear quickly from the front page of the website section.

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