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  1. Default Just two Aussie tourists

    Hi.
    All feedback is hugely welcome.

    Travelling from Los Angeles to Fernie Canada via Grand Canyon Salt Lake City and Vancouver in December January 2018.

    I am wondering, as I have never been to USA, what the road conditions will be like between Salt Lake and Washington via Twin Falls Nampa? Is this a major highway? Will I need to carry snow chains? I would like to stop and visit attractions on the way.

    Please forgive my naivety but I come from a hot climate.

    Looking forward to seeing a little of your country.

    Thanks
    Chalestevo
    Last edited by chalestevo; 08-23-2017 at 08:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    You won't know what the weather and road conditions are until the time you travel. Safetravelusa.com has links to each state's real time road conditions website, I would bring a wifi-capable laptop or tablet with you, weather.com will have current and forecast weather. Most hotels have the Weather Channel on their in-room televisions. "Interstate" highways (shown on maps with the red white and blue shield) are all "motorway" quality and are the first to be maintained. It's doubtful you will need chains but if the weather is bad enough to need them, you should find a hotel and wait it out. Generally, chains are not permitted on rental cars, you need to ask about that, rental cars will have all-season tires. You will be taking I-15, I-84, I-82, I-90, and I-5 from SLC to Vancouver.

    Also, if you are planning on renting a car in the US and returning it in Canada, very few companies permit that, and the ones that do will hit you with a very significant surcharge. Even if you return it in the US, there will be a one-way surcharge. I would return it in Seattle, then take public transportation to Vancouver, then rent a car there for the Canada portion of your road trip.

  3. Default

    Thank you glc.

    Your advice is most welcome. My travel partner has a car in storage in Los Angeles. She has only traveled down the very western coast and has no inland knowledge.

    Ideally I would love to travel up through Montana and back to Seattle, but I am thinking the roads maybe impassable. Do you think this would be the case? I noted Yellowstone is closed so I imagine most other places would be the same. ��

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,328

    Default Time, Time, Time

    Once you get far north enough, all of the roads linking the places on your itinerary will be closed at some point and for some amount of time during the winter. Even at the southern end of your trip, roads in and around the Grand Canyon can and do close occasionally due to ice and snow. And yes, Yellowstone is indeed closed to auto traffic for the entire winter season (although it is open to snowmobiles and cross-country skiers).

    But in no way does that mean that you can't or shouldn't make this RoadTrip. As glc pointed out, you can cover the bulk of your miles on Interstates and/or the Trans-Canada Highway. Those are major arteries for truck traffic year-round and will be kept open as long as possible and re-opened as soon as possible after each snowfall. Yellowstone's internal roads, even though they carry US highway designations, are not.

    So, plan how many days it would take you to drive the route in ideal conditions (five days), add a couple of days for possible weather delays, and another two or three days to spend time exploring along the way, and you come up with roughly nine to ten days that you'll need for this RoadTrip. That assumes L.A. to the Grand Canyon to Ferrie to Vancouver to Seattle.

    A side note: Most mapping routines will 'suggest' that you make the transit from Ferrie to Vancouver by coming back into the US and taking US-95 and I-90 to the coast before re-crossing into Canada. I disagree and would strongly suggest the Crowsnest Highway, BC-3, across southern British Columbia. This is a gorgeous, although mostly two-lane, route through the Rockies and is about a hundred miles shorter than the I-90 route besides saving you two border crossings.

    Mainly, you'll just need to maintain some flexibility in your schedule and not try to push too far into any worsening weather, which in turn means you'll need to expect and plan for weather delays.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Altitude is mnore important than latitude.

    Quote Originally Posted by chalestevo View Post
    My travel partner has a car in storage in Los Angeles. She has only traveled down the very western coast and has no inland knowledge.
    This is typical of those who blindly follow electronics, without looking a real map and seeing what else there is, what alternative routes, small towns and places of interest...... of which there are hundreds, maybe thousands.

    If good maps are not available where you live, may I suggest you purchase a Rand McNally Road Atlas from the RTA store via the link at the bottom of this page. It is the very best you can get, and if you order it now, you will have it in a couple of weeks.

    Is your travel companion a member of AAA? If not, then I suggest you bring your automobile club (RACV, NRMA, etc.) with you. It will give you access to free tourism infomation from the AAA and CAA, along your route.
    Ideally I would love to travel up through Montana and back to Seattle, but I am thinking the roads maybe impassable.
    Not necessarily! As mentioned above, the main roads are kept open at all costs, and closures only happen during heavy snowstorms. You need to realise that all Yellowstone roads are closed because they are at significant altitude. It is the altitude, not the latitude which has the greatest affect on the weather related road closures. Most of Montana is at much lower altitudes, and the roads there could very well be open. The most important part of winter travel is that you keep up with the weather forecast, and proceed accordingly.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Thanks for your valuable contribution AZbuck. Appreciated. Back to my research so I don't blindly only follow electronics hey Lifemagician �� Thanks for your input as well. It's appreciated.

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