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  1. Default Help! Seattle to Tampa: in January

    Hi Everyone!

    I'm going to be moving from Seattle to the Tampa area in January. I live in the Seattle area and there are already snow issues and Pass closures and it's only November!

    I need to know what the SAFEST and quickest way is to do that drive. AAA map info takes me across the passes, but I'm not so sure if that's the smart way to go. Should I target driving south thru Oregon and Cali then cut over through Arizona, etc?

    Would love some good advice. I'm not an experienced snow/ice driver!

    Thanks!

  2. Default One more thing....

    Any idea how LONG this trip will take? My plan is drive...drive...drive...sleep..and drive some more. I will be sharing the drive and plan on 16hrs min. per day of driving. Not a 'vacation'...but drive it as fast and as safe as possible.

    Thanks!

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default

    Welcome to RTA! Well, lets see if I can answer some questions for you. First, if you drive south along I-5 through southern cali, expect to cross 3 - 4 passes just getting down to Sacremento. Northern Cali. can get some pretty bad snow too. But, again, the interstates are usually kept clear. This is how I would get to Tampa:
    I-5 to Porland. I-84 through the Columbia River Gorge east via Boise, ID and into Northern Utah, merging on to I-15. Head south to Salt Lake City. Take I-80 east over the Rockies from Salt Lake City to Omaha, NB, via Cheyene. Once at Omaha, look for I-29 just to the east. Take I-29 south to I-70 in Kansas City. From there, take I-70 east to St. louis, merge on to I-64. From St. Louis, go east to Lexington, KY. Look for I-75. I-75 will take you right to I-4 and Tampa Florida.

    Hope you find this route to your liking, as it crosses as few passes as possible and gets you fairly south without having to do much directional backtracking. It's 2 days by the speed-run from Seattle to Phoenix, so I would expect 3 to 3.5 days at least. Being that you aren't an experienced snow/ice driver, you'll find some troubles all along the way, as the country you'll be driving through gets snow, ice or frost at times during the winter. Just keep concious of the driving conditions, put as many miles down as you can on dry pavement, but take it slow and don't risk it if it looks dangerous. Its best to have the trip take an extra day rather than end up in a nasty prediciment.

    -Brad M.

  4. Default The last accurate weather forecast was...

    Keep in mind that what happens in November doesn't have much connection to what happens next week -- or in January. You may encounter serious snow and ice -- or you may not. Plan your route in two or three directions -- then decide based on the weather and conditions at the time you leave. You can keep up with road conditions all across the country by using the resources here on RoadTrip America.

    Also, allow some extra time if you need it -- driving in winter conditions is extremely fatiguing. If the conditions ARE snowy -- you'll need the extra time. If conditions are perfect, you might do this faster, but I'd make sure you have 5 to 7 days available if needed.

    All that said, there's no reason why this trip can't be enjoyable even IF there's a bit of snow -- so don't freak out about it too much! If you want to read a primer on winter driving, check out this article. Bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Safety

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    I don't see a whole lot of point to trying to avoid the passes in the northwest, unless they're blocked when you start your trip. If the passes are open and the weather looks good, then you can be past the Rockies in a couple of days and out on the plains. The most direct route is just I-90/82/84 to Salt Lake City, I-80 to Lincoln, a short cut over to Nebraska City and then I-29, I-70, I-24 and I-75 into Tampa. The Interstates are the first roads cleared after any storm and so are your best bet for open and navigable roads.

    Of far more concern is your plan to drive "16 hours minimum" each day. Even with two drivers this is going to be exhausting. You will need time out of the car and a good night's sleep if you plan to drive "as safe as possible". There is far more to safety than just avoiding the snow. The route I've suggested is a minimum of 49 hours actual behind-the-wheel driving time. The one Brad offered is comparable. To this you have to add time for delays, eating, servicing the car, sanity and health breaks, and the aforementioned sleep. I'm afraid I have to agree with Bob that to try to do this in less than 5 days will be pressing your luck. There have been previous discussions of long haul drives here, and the recurring theme is that by the second day, the miles that were so easy and enjoyable on the first day have already become a physical and emotional challenge by the second, and they don't get any easier as time progresses.

    AZBuck

  6. Default Thanks for the info!

    I'm really nervous about this coast to coast drive so I appreciate the pointers.

    I have a 4-cyl Jetta (I am from Fla NOT the Pacific Northwest), so snow/ice driving and the steep mountain passes are quite intimidating to me. Plus, 'well meaning' friends/family are saying "don't drive!". I am now considering just having my car shipped and flying.

    But, the cost factor is part of this (hence driving). Any ballpark estimates on total trip costs for this? I'm guessing $400 for gas, $60-80/nite for hotels plus food. I also would love suggestions on pre-trip setup considerations...type of tires for example. Oil change is a given both before and during the trip. I'm 'guessing' a total of about $800-1000 and 4-5 days driving.

    In the past, I have done a lot of 'road trips', but this would be the longest for me. The snowy/icy mountain passes is what is really making me nervous.

    Overall, I think it would be a once in a lifetime adventure and a great opportunity to see the country.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Jetta -- RoadWorthy!

    Quote Originally Posted by FLA_bound
    I have a 4-cyl Jetta (I am from Fla NOT the Pacific Northwest), so snow/ice driving and the steep mountain passes are quite intimidating to me.
    Jettas are well-made and I have driven thousands of miles in moderate to severe winter weather in Jettas and I can vouch for their rigorous road-worthiness.
    Plus, 'well meaning' friends/family are saying "don't drive!". I am now considering just having my car shipped and flying.
    Remember, that thousands of people drive across the USA every single day. It is not that big a challenge. There are some potential problem areas -- but the USA is not northern Ontario or even Siberia. You will be fine.
    Any ballpark estimates on total trip costs for this? I'm guessing $400 for gas, $60-80/nite for hotels plus food. I also would love suggestions on pre-trip setup considerations...type of tires for example. Oil change is a given both before and during the trip. I'm 'guessing' a total of about $800-1000 and 4-5 days driving.
    OK -- by the shortest possible route, it is 3152 miles. If you use our handy-dandy fuel calculator, the fuel cost should be on the order of $350.00. Motel cost is reasonable. I would plan to have a cash reserve/budget on the order of $1350 for this trip.
    Overall, I think it would be a once in a lifetime adventure and a great opportunity to see the country.
    Absolutely, driving cross country is a gas and you should, by all means, go for it!

    Mark

  8. Default

    Thanks again! :) I feel better about this trip already. Great advice! The links are very useful as well.

    Any suggestions as to types of tires? I am hesitant to go the snow tire route since after Day 2, I will be in a different terrain. I NEED to replace my tires regardless of this trip but want to try to get something good for this drive. I'm thinking top of the line all weather?

    One other thing, I will be travelling with my cats...(I know, you ALL are wishing you could be in the car with me listen to meowing for 3000+ miles!). Any traveling w/pets tips? Are there hotels I should target that are pet friendly?

    So glad I found this site. You guys are great! :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Tires

    Quote Originally Posted by FLA_bound
    I feel better about this trip already. Great advice! The links are very useful as well.
    We aim to please.
    Any suggestions as to types of tires? I am hesitant to go the snow tire route since after Day 2, I will be in a different terrain. I NEED to replace my tires regardless of this trip but want to try to get something good for this drive. I'm thinking top of the line all weather?
    You will have the chance for snow and/or ice all the way to Florida. But you are correct, snow tires seem like silly expense when you are going to be living in the Sunshine State. Far more import would be to carry a good set of chains and purchase a good all-weather type of tire. For some more tips about tire safety, look at this and this article about hydroplanning and this one about tips for driving in snow.
    One other thing, I will be travelling with my cats...(I know, you ALL are wishing you could be in the car with me listen to meowing for 3000+ miles!). Any traveling w/pets tips? Are there hotels I should target that are pet friendly?
    There are several posts on this board about traveling with cats. Gen is our local expert on this subject. But if you search by traveling with pets you will find all sorts of information.

  10. #10
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default

    There are several chains of motels that are pet friendly for the most part, and can save you quite a bit of cash too ($48/night for 1 person). Motel 6 are inexpensive, most welcome small animals. You can predetermine a list of Motel 6 locations and which ones that allow cats by going to www.motel6.com. If you take the route I mentioned above, you won't get further than northern salt lake city before having to stop. I stayed in the motel 6 in Ogden on my trip down from Washington, it was quiet, clean, and cheap, but it was about 3 miles off the freeway. That's just one chain. Super 8 and others are out there, as well as smaller chains and privately owned ones.

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