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  1. #1
    travlngal Guest

    Default Atlanta To Seattle in Febuary?

    I'm planning on driving out to Seattle from ATL in Febuary and was recently warned about the possibility of closed passes and to pack a sleeping bag, water and food in the case a pass is closed. Is there any way around the passes into Seattle?? If not would anyone have any suggestions on when would be better to leave (March-April).

    I'm also tryimg to avoid driving thru too many mountain ridges, but think it may be impossible, is it??

    Thanx

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default The Rockies

    Quote Originally Posted by travlngal
    I'm planning on driving out to Seattle from ATL in Febuary and was recently warned about the possibility of closed passes and to pack a sleeping bag, water and food in the case a pass is closed. Is there any way around the passes into Seattle?? If not would anyone have any suggestions on when would be better to leave (March-April).
    Welcome to the Forum!

    Well, you have to cross the Rocky Mountains, the continental divide and a few other coastal mountain ranges to reach Seattle. Yes, you should always carry those items when traveling in the winter (well, maybe not the sleeping bag, but a blanket is a good idea), but seriously, even if it is a HUGE storm, the liklihood that the passes will be closed more than a few hours is nil. Don't worry about it.

    Mark

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default

    I lived on both sides of the Cascade Range (near Seattle and on the other side of the mountains east of Seattle), and when they close a pass, they typically try to close it at a location where services are availble. For I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass, Electronic Reader-board signs warn drivers miles before a closure that the pass is closed, and they close the road to east-bound traffic at North Bend, a mid-sized town with services, and Westbound traffic is usually is closed at Roslyn or Alpental Village (at the Summit), both of which have facilities. By way of facilities I mean limited lodging, and truck-stops or gas stations where parking is availble... of course a U-Turn is always an option to head back the opposite direction. I don't know of many Major passes that don't have some sort of truck-stop or town on both sides of the potential closure area, as in winter when weather or avalanche danger does permit closing, this means a spike in cash flow for these locations... and lots of pots of coffee.

    Like Mark says (frequently).... don't sweat the passes. They rarely close in an average year, and if they do its only just long enough for them to drop some grenades or explosives on potential avalanche areas and clean up the mess, or overnight if its just that its too dangerous to drive.

    If you're looking for something to quickly throw in a car for emergency supplies, Target sells a Emergency Preparedness Kit which is sponsored by the American Red Cross, and contains a basic first aid kit, 2 flash lights with batteries, a transistor radio with batteries, 4 whistles, 4 emergency space blankets, 4 ponchos, about 10 or so snap-lights (glow sticks), among some other items (including a set of crayons and a coloring book for kids). Just pack some sort of food supply in addition, like a bag of trailmix, box of granola bars, or even a bag of candy, some water, and you're in great condition.

    Brad

  4. #4
    travlngal Guest

    Default Thanks

    First let me say thanks for the quick replies. I'm wary of long drives solo and the thought of being stuck on the road in the dead of winter was enough to make me contemplate a spring trip.

    I have experience driving from Boston to Vegas and Vegas to Atlanta, neither of which prepares one for a trip over the mountains of the west (ok maybe some of the mountains in tn and wva). Thank you for soothing my nerves about the possibility of closed passes.

    Thanks also for the information about the emergency kit found in Target. I'll be stopping by this evening to pick one up! As for the food tips I tend to keep nuts, dried fruit and canned soda and bottled water, in the car. Sounds like this should be more than enough for the trip.

    Thanks again guys.

    Kelli

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A few more ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by travlngal
    First let me say thanks for the quick replies. I'm wary of long drives solo and the thought of being stuck on the road in the dead of winter was enough to make me contemplate a spring trip.
    Kelli, that is the adventure part of it! Seriously, there are a few other time-tested tips that you should consider. Read this article by Bob and Dennis about safe winter road trips and in the unlikely event that you actually do have to spend some quality time sitting in snow waiting for a closure to lift... keep a window cracked for fresh air and MAKE SURE that you check to ensure that there is a sufficient air gap around the exhaust pipe, so that carbon monoxide is not making its way back into the passenger compartment.

    Mark

  6. #6
    travlngal Guest

    Default great ideas but...

    I should have included that I'm moving to seattle from atl and that safety and the most direct route are my main objectives. I'm just filling up the car with the essentials and driving out there. This may illuminate why an 'adventure' is not met with welcome anticipation.

    The drive isn't the worry as much as the unanticipated hazzards.

    Kelli-

    oh, thanks for the bob & dennis article.

  7. #7
    urtod Guest

    Default I-90 Rock Slides

    Howdy,

    I just wanted to add that there have been issues this season with rock slides that have closed the I-90.

    While I can’t speak to the conditions in February, I have a hunch that the problems may continue until they can really address the issue(s) in the Spring.

    If you’re coming up from the south anyways, I might recommend you finding another way westward (such as coming in through Oregon) and then coming up North along the I-5 to avoid the entire I-90 mess all together.

    You can get updates here:

    Washington State Department of Transportation
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/

    Snoqualmie Pass Rockslide Updates
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/I90...es/updates.htm

    Enjoy Seattle… I’ve lived around here my whole life, and I adore it! Be sure to visit Kitsap County (across the Puget Sound just west of Seattle)… it’s gorgeous in May!

    urtod

  8. #8
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default

    Another good alternative that no one likes to mention is US 2 over Stevens Pass if you prefer to go 'around snoqualmie', but even with the rock slides, I would still recommend I-90 for the unexperienced mountain traveler, as it is kept far more clear, has more patrols, and more services than US 2, which is heavily traveled fairly frequently patroled, but it is a more rural route.

  9. #9

    Default

    If you want to avoid the Cascades (Snoqualmie pass et al) And to still maintain a more direct route, I would use these Interstates (Bear in mind I'm not that familiar with the south and am using a road atlas for everything east of the mississippi).

    From Atlanta:
    Take I-75 to Chatanooga
    then I-24 to I-57 (Northbound both interstates)
    At Evansville Illinois take I-64 West to St. Louis
    From St. Louis take I-70 West to Denver Colorado
    In Denver, go north on I-25 to Cheyenne Wyoming
    In Cheyenne take I-80 West to Junction I-84 (Just east of Ogden Utah)
    Take I-84 west to Portland Oregon
    In Portland, you can take either I-205 North or I-5 North (North I-205 connects with I-5 North of Vancouver Washington)
    Take I-5 north to Seattle

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

    Default ATL to SEA

    The mountain passes in Washington aren't the only show-stoppers across the country.

    Last week I-70 from Denver to Kansas was closed for 24 hrs due to blowing snow and winds strong enough to tip empty semis right over. Lots of people were stuck in some really small towns sheltering in public schools and churches.

    Treat a winter x-c trip like a pilot would treat a cross-country flight. Get frequent weather updates for the places in front of you. Keep an eye on the good places to stop as you come to them. Consider stopping then and there if things sound dicey ahead of you. Have lots of gas in the tank if continuing on an unknown distance or to a much, much smaller town as your next possible divert.

    For weather awareness you really can't beat the Weather Channel on cable TV combined with a portable weather (NOAA) radio to get the local update.

    The interstate system is an important part of our country's infrastructure so the authorities try to keep it open as much as possible and devote a lot of time, money and effort to doing so. Just give yourself some margin in time allowed, money needed, and options for routes. The fact that you're asking about it this far ahead indicates that you'll take prudent actions and make good choices and have a good, and memorable, trip.

    (I would suggest however that you avoid I-70 west of Denver and instead take I-80 across Wyoming. Not as much ski-traffic and steep hills to deal with that way. And you eventually have to make some distance to the north anyway.)

    noFanofCB (in Colorado)

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