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  1. Default California to Minnesota in March

    Hi guys,

    I'm moving to Minneapolis in March and will be driving from California. Tentatively will be towards the 3rd week of March (21st). Any advice or recommendations in which road to take or how I should prepare? Not sure if I would need chains or anything but perhaps winter tires?

    Any recommendations and wisdom would be appreciated! Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First of all, starting with a target as big as "California" we can't even guess which route would be a good choice, because a trip from San Diego to Minneapolis would be dramatically different than one starting in San Francisco.

    The other big factor is one you can't know until just before you leave, and that's the weather. You'll have to be looking at forecasts to let you know what areas could be trouble spots. There is no route anywhere between CA and MN that is generically "better" when it comes to weather, as every route will have the chance of snow or ice.

    I wouldn't bother with chains - as if conditions are so bad that you'd need them, you're better off waiting for conditions to improve. A good set of all-season tires should also be just fine - just make sure they are in good condition, and aren't actually summer tires, which could be problematic.

  3. Default

    Thank you so much, Midwest Michael!

    I should have specified what city to what city, that is my noob-ness. It's going to be Santa Clara to Burnsville.

    So, in your opinion, I wouldn't even need winter tires for possible snow and wet conditions along the way? From google maps search, it seems like I will be heading through Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Salt Lake City-UT, Wyoming, South Dakota, and then into Minnesota.

    Just worried about all-seasons vs winter tires.

    Thank you!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    As Michael said, the weather is unpredictable until a few days before you leave, but taking major Highways and Interstates that are the priority to keep clear and traffic moving should give you a relatively clear run. If you needed chains to drive along these then the conditions are bad enough that you should simply pull off the road and wait it out. To do the trip safely you will need a minimum 3 overnight stops which should be 500-600 miles apart. [If you get a good window of weather you could get nearer the upper limit to give you a little 'wiggle room' in the event of poor weather] Don't be tempted to push too far on day one when you are fresh and keen to get there, you will just end up over tired later in the trip to safely drive. It's a marathon not a sprint. Have a safe journey.

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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by solafive View Post
    From google maps search, it seems like I will be heading through Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Salt Lake City-UT, Wyoming, South Dakota, and then into Minnesota.
    Here's a great example of why paper maps are essential when planning a trip, and blindly following electronic instructions can run you into trouble.

    I have no idea why they would recommend cutting up to South Dakota for this trip. The much more obvious route would be as simple as I-80 to I-35 through Des Moines. Google's recommended route only saves you about 50 miles, but involves long stretches off the interstates. Unless there is bad weather in Nebraska you can avoid by cutting north, or you're looking for a reason to explore South Dakota, I-80 all the way to Iowa is the way I'd go.

    All-Season tires are call all-season for a reason. They do a good job all around. They aren't going to be as good as snow tires in the snow and cold, but they'll be better than snow tires if you see temperatures above 50 degrees. If conditions are such that you can't get by on the interstates with all-season tires, and you don't have much experience driving in winter conditions, then snow tires probably aren't going to save you. You'll be better off in either case of pulling off and waiting for conditions to improve.

  6. Default

    Is the suggested route cutting straight through I-80 and up I-35 better than the google suggested route? What benefit or disadvantage would there be for taking the google suggested route?

    I think your logic makes perfect sense in the all-season tires. I will take this advice!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Like I said, the google suggested route saves you about 50 miles, but forces you off the interstate onto many miles of 2 lane roads across Wyoming. 2 lane roads are going to be slower going, will take you through towns instead of around them, will have less traffic, and are lower priority for plow crews if there is bad weather.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Google has the answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by solafive View Post
    What benefit or disadvantage would there be for taking the google suggested route?
    Perhaps that's the sort of question you should ask Google. From my experience there is neither rhyme nor reason for their routing. That is why I always look at a good map, and do not let any computer dictate the route I wish to travel.

    Lifey

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

    Default

    Google seems to think it will not take as long. However, Google doesn't have to stop for red lights or stop signs, it travels at the speed limit with no delays or stops. That's the big disadvantage of using only electronic route planning.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Like I said, the google suggested route saves you about 50 miles, but forces you off the interstate onto many miles of 2 lane roads across Wyoming. 2 lane roads are going to be slower going, will take you through towns instead of around them, will have less traffic, and are lower priority for plow crews if there is bad weather.
    AWESOME! Thank you for your insight!

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