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  1. #1

    Default New to Winter Driving: Route Advice. General Trip advice.

    Hello,

    Job relocation has wifey and I heading to Colorado. We will be departing Jan 1st from Orlando, FL. I've got a ton of questions. I'll try to be short yet informative.

    Vehicle: 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 5.7L V8 4x4. Bed has a tonneau cover.
    New Tires: Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV's (studded)
    Oil Change: Adding 0W-20 - But I have a question here associated with the route we take.
    Passangers: Wife, myself and our 4 year old Lab.

    The current plan is to drive from Orlando to Dallas. Google shows approximately 15 hours.
    Dallas to Santa Fe, NM.
    Santa Fe to Denver.
    If we make it to Dallas straight, we'll be there a total of 3 nights. One night in Santa Fe. That's really the only resting.

    I don't know how to drive in snow or icy conditions. I've done it many years ago... from San Francisco to St. Louis traveling across Northern Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Nebraska. All during winter. Stuck in Sierra Nevada, caught in a blizzard outside Cheyenne, and onward through Nebraska. I told myself no snow ever again. lol.

    I will practice in empty parking lot once I'm in snow.

    I'm from Southern California. We drove out to FL in November 2013. AZ, NM, TX, LA, FL. Mostly I-10 if I recall. I don't want to go that route again...
    Advised to hang a right in Mobile, AL to cut time.

    Here are some questions:

    Any better route suggestions?

    I bought winter tires for fear of ice. Never lived in a place where it snows. So, no idea how much snow/ice I'll be experiencing while living in Denver.
    Any insight as to what kind of weather I may experience cutting through Alabama towards Dallas?
    Perhaps my winter tires are overkill?

    Is my 15 hour power drive a bad idea?
    The hope is to depart at 2AM, driving FL is a breeze. I'd rather pass it in the night/early hours than see it again. lol. Sun should be up by the time we get to AL.

    My owners manual says to use 0W-20 viscosity for winter temps. I'm not sure my dealer here in FL will have 0W-20, but I'll ask.
    Do you think its necessary for the FL to Dallas, to Santa Fe portion of this trip?

    The big question:
    What gear should I have?

    Currently have:
    Snow brush/scraper
    Prestone De-Icing wiper fluid
    Fuel line de-icer
    case of 0.5L water bottles

    To purchase:
    Tow strap
    recovery mat
    snow shovel

    Any suggestions on what I'm missing?

    We have AAA, full roadside service plan w/Toyota as well.
    Survival gear in our packs. Water purifier, fire starters, 3 season tent, winter sleeping bags, etc.
    We'll bring food of course...

    Perhaps I'm over analyzing... But, I'd greatly appreciate some advice.

    Thank you!

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

    Default GoogleŽ is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!!!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As many times as we have posted this, it cannot be emphasized enough: GoogleŽ is WRONG! You simply cannot drive from Orlando to Dallas in 15 hours. That's well over 1000 miles! Consider for a moment that professional long-haul truckers are prohibited by law from driving more than about 600 miles a day because after that they become a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road. Do you really think that you can drive twice that far in a day and still not get fatigued or even simply tired of driving? Absolutely nothing else in your plan, or worries about seeing snowy/icy conditions, is a dangerous as the thought that doing so is at all reasonable.

    What you need to do is to go back and redo your itinerary with a maximum objective each day of covering 550-600 miles. That would make your overnights: Mobile AL, Dallas TX, and Santa Rosa NM. And by the way, if all you're doing in Santa Fe is spending the night, why are you adding all those extra miles and time (and additional chances of seeing untoward weather) when you don't need to? It's much shorter to just take US-287 (a perfectly good road) from Dallas up through Amarillo to Limon CO and then finish up on I-70 into Denver. Doing so would save you nearly a day's worth of driving. A day that could be the difference between having to drive in conditions you are not used to (or comfortable with) and spending that day curled up with your wife and dog in a warm, comfortable motel room letting the road crews do their job before you head back out on the roads again.

    Other than those basic routing/scheduling problems, there doesn't seem to be anything in your plans that requires commenting on. You seem otherwise well prepared, even a bit over-prepared. Relax, people drive every winter - just not a thousand miles a day in the worst possible weather.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CA Native View Post
    Is my 15 hour power drive a bad idea?
    The hope is to depart at 2AM, driving FL is a breeze. I'd rather pass it in the night/early hours than see it again. lol. Sun should be up by the time we get to AL.
    Not only is that a bad idea, It's a homicidal one. What you're proposing is every bit as dangerous as driving drunk. Please carefully read Buck's post, as surviving the trip as you proposed would be a matter of pure luck.

    My owners manual says to use 0W-20 viscosity for winter temps. I'm not sure my dealer here in FL will have 0W-20, but I'll ask.
    Do you think its necessary for the FL to Dallas, to Santa Fe portion of this trip?
    0w-20 has become a very common oil. My Subaru and my wife's Mazda recommend it for all weather conditions, and that's becoming increasingly common among many manufacturers. I'm sure your dealer will carry it, and if you're currently using 5w-20, or you're only getting more protection by using the 0w-20.

  4. #4

    Default

    I appreciate the feedback.

    I've driven from Orlando to New Orleans in one shot twice. Approximately 660 miles. I can see your point.
    Wifey was gonna drive a bit, but not letting her do 400 miles. I can't relinquish the wheel that long. lol. Seriously though, she doesn't really like to drive, it'd be too much for her.

    Dallas to Limon via 287 into Denver is showing 784 miles. Google maps.

    Dallas to Santa Fe, 637 miles, same source.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default route

    Actually, I hadn't even given much thought to your route, but why are you going through Dallas at all?

    A much more direct route, that would be all interstates would be to take I-75 to I-24/I-57/I-64 to I-70, going through Atlanta, Nashville, and St. Louis. That is still a bit over 1800 miles, and requires 3 very full days on the road, and doesn't require any time on 2 lane roads.

    Your overnight stopping points on that route would be Manchester, TN and Kansas City.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default 1+1 does not equal 2

    Quote Originally Posted by CA Native View Post
    I appreciate the feedback.

    I've driven from Orlando to New Orleans in one shot twice. Approximately 660 miles. I can see your point.
    Wifey was gonna drive a bit, but not letting her do 400 miles. I can't relinquish the wheel that long. lol. Seriously though, she doesn't really like to drive, it'd be too much for her.
    There is a huge difference between driving 660 miles and driving more than 1,000. There is also a huge difference between doing a 1 day sprint of 660 miles and doing a marathon of driving more than 600 miles, stopping, and then getting back in the car again and doing it again the next day, and the day after that.

    Just because you can safely drive 600 miles in 1 day does NOT mean that 2 people could then safely drive 1200 miles - or really any significantly more than 600 miles. Sitting in the car as a passenger for hours at a time is tiring all by itself, and really, the passenger should be helping the driver to stay awake and focused.

    Dallas to Limon via 287 into Denver is showing 784 miles. Google maps.

    Dallas to Santa Fe, 637 miles, same source.
    I'm not sure what your point is with that statement. Dallas to Denver VIA Santa Fe is 1,032 miles, so as Buck mentioned, that's a detour that adds about half day of driving to a more direct route. If you plan to overnight there, it essentially adds a full extra day on the road, because you need 3 full days to safely get from Orlando to Santa Fe, and if you're just going to overnight there, without having any time to see the city, what would be the point?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Routing

    A couple of things. I too noticed that going up through Nashville as Michael suggests is slightly shorter, but only by ten miles on a route of nearly 1900 miles. Hardly worth it, especially with all the large cities you'd have to negotiate if you go that way. If you are more comfortable staying south on routes that you are at least a bit familiar with, then that's what you should do. But note that I never suggested driving from Dallas to Limon in one sitting. I only mentioned Limon as the junction of the two main routes, US-287 and I-70, you would use for that leg of the drive. I did, however, specifically state that you should limit any day's drive to 550-600 miles max. From Dallas to Denver, that would put your potential overnight in southeastern Colorado, say Springfield or thereabouts. More importantly, you should be ready to pull up anywhere/anytime the weather turns against you and not press on regardless into worsening conditions just because the 'plan' for the day is to get to Point B.

    AZBuck

  8. #8

    Default

    Hmm...

    Well, I agreed with AZBuck when stating the trips to New Orleans, 600 miles in one day is plenty.

    I should have expressed that we have two weeks to make this drive. We aren't in a hurry.

    Originally we were going to Nashville... and why Dallas? I'm a football geek. We were offered a luxury box for the Jan 3rd game. That's my team.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'm afraid I have to inform you that you may have to de-stud your tires. Here is a list of stud regulations for all states. With 4wd, I wouldn't be that concerned as long as your tires are M+S rated. I run Michelin X-Ice tires on my 2wd pickup in the winter without studs, and they are very sure-footed. Your Nokians are just as good, if not better. Studded tires on dry or wet pavement actually give you less traction than without.

    Toyota recommends 0w20 for all weather conditions, 5w20 if you can't find 0w20. That being the case, if you can't find it at Walmart, parts stores, or quick lube joints I would think your local Toyota dealer would have it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default well then!

    Quote Originally Posted by CA Native View Post
    I should have expressed that we have two weeks to make this drive. We aren't in a hurry.

    Originally we were going to Nashville... and why Dallas? I'm a football geek. We were offered a luxury box for the Jan 3rd game. That's my team.
    Well that's a completely different story. When people lay out an initial plan of driving 1000 miles in a day to start, it's usually because they are trying to get there ASAP. Saying that you were planning to stop in Santa Fe only to rest also gave that impression.

    Being that you have 2 weeks available, that completely changes everything, and knowing you've got the time -not to mention tickets to visit Jerry's world - that certainly explains the stop in Dallas. That being the case, if you want to visit Santa Fe, you've got plenty of time for that detour - I would just plan on spending at least 2 nights there so you actually have time to check out the town.

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