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  1. Default LA to Boston in January... whoa.

    Alright, so I've driven up and down the West coast, and never seen the East. I'd like to take a drive to Boston and see a friend, and I'm planning to go alone. I'll likely be going in January because I have some time off work.

    My basic question is... is this a terrible idea? I drive a recently serviced 99 Civic so I'm sure I'll need some snow chains at some point, and there's a chance I may be sleeping in it along the way if that's possible.

    Any thoughts or advice on routes or precautions would be really, really appreciated. I'd like to see the South, but I'd also like to see Chicago... really, I'm not too sure what the best sites to see are, so any advice would be great. I'm not sure if a SoCA. car needs special outfitting to even start in 0 degree climates.

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

    Default Same rules apply

    Quote Originally Posted by placebocure
    Alright, so I've driven up and down the West coast, and never seen the East. I'd like to take a drive to Boston and see a friend, and I'm planning to go alone. I'll likely be going in January because I have some time off work.
    Welcome to the Forum!
    My basic question is... is this a terrible idea? I drive a recently serviced 99 Civic so I'm sure I'll need some snow chains at some point, and there's a chance I may be sleeping in it along the way if that's possible.
    Basically the same rules for common sense driving that work for the west coast in the winter work for the east. Slow down in wet, rainy weather -- pay attention to the conditions and you will be fine. I would read & practice our tips for safe winter driving. As far as sleeping in your car --- generally that is not a good idea in the winter months, because of the very real danger of freezing to death or breathing dangerous fumes from an idling car.
    Any thoughts or advice on routes or precautions would be really, really appreciated. I'd like to see the South, but I'd also like to see Chicago... really, I'm not too sure what the best sites to see are, so any advice would be great. I'm not sure if a SoCA. car needs special outfitting to even start in 0 degree climates.
    How long will you have for this adventure? As far as special equipment -- you really don't need anything -- make sure the solution in your window washers is rated to -20 degrees F. and ensure that the car is in good condition. Have fun.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by placebocure
    I'm not too sure what the best sites to see are, so any advice would be great. I'm not sure if a SoCA. car needs special outfitting to even start in 0 degree climates.
    In addition to the window washer solution, I would flush the radiator and put in new anti-freeze.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default More Great Plains winter info

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy
    In addition to the window washer solution, I would flush the radiator and put in new anti-freeze.
    Making sure that the strength of the mixture is good to AT LEAST -20F.
    A battery that's less than 2 years old would be a great idea as well.
    And some new wiper blades might be appropriate.

    Sleeping in your car is a pretty difficult thing to do in winter. Even if you're used to doing it in the summer, winter brings the extra-special problem of your breath condensing on the inside of the windows and forming an ice layer that will have to be melted later (and it kind of slimes the window too).

    I did the experiment of letting myself get snowed in at over 12,000' one September. I had 3 sleeping bags, loads of longjohns, lots of coats, and plenty of food. I was in no danger. But the ice-layer on the inside of the windows after 2 days was really amazing. It took direct sunshine to melt it off - the heater/defroster would never have melted it off.

    You definitely shouldn't be trying to run the engine to stay warm while you sleep - it could be your final rest if things go just a little astray.

    I've lived, and driven, in Colorado for better than 20 years now and haven't yet used tire chains. Mind you, I CARRY them, but haven't used them. (I drive a 4WD with good deep tread tires when I expect trouble.)
    One reason I haven't needed the chains is that I watch the weather very carefully and simply don't go out if things look too awful.

    noFanofCB

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

    Default A great story buried in there somewhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by noFanofCB
    I did the experiment of letting myself get snowed in at over 12,000' one September. I had 3 sleeping bags, loads of longjohns, lots of coats, and plenty of food. I was in no danger. But the ice-layer on the inside of the windows after 2 days was really amazing. It took direct sunshine to melt it off - the heater/defroster would never have melted it off.
    This sounds like a great story. I have never done that -- but I have been in ice storms in Davenport, Iowa and Ft. Worth, Texas where the doors to the truck were frozen shut.
    I've lived, and driven, in Colorado for better than 20 years now and haven't yet used tire chains. Mind you, I CARRY them, but haven't used them. (I drive a 4WD with good deep tread tires when I expect trouble.) One reason I haven't needed the chains is that I watch the weather very carefully and simply don't go out if things look too awful.
    Good advice -- I also carry chains, including a custom set for our big truck -- but I haven't had to use them in years.

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Winter driving

    I went winter-camping a couple of times and the only advice I can give you is don't even think about it!!:o)) lol Seriously, don't assume you're going to be able to sleep in your car at that time of the year, especially if you're not used to cold conditions.

    As for the chains, we'll I'm from North of the border and I never even owned a set of chains and never used them. Okay, we don't have the Rockies or anything like it here in the east, but I think you can drive very safely without them almost everywhere, plus I believe they are prohibited in certain places. Good winter tires and safe driving should do the job, but you should carry a set just in case because you never know what kind of conditions you'll have to go through.

    Last thing, you should carry a small shovel and a traction aid kit just in case. Make sure you have warm clothes, blankets, candles and a working ice scraper in the car. If your doors get frozen and you can't open them, you can use windshield washer liquid or...spray net. Yep, people might look at you like you're out of your mind, but it really works, I used it several times!

    Drive safe!
    Gen

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Spray Net?

    Is that a type of hairspray? The weather is generally mild here in N. Louisiana during the winter, but we do get the occasional ice storm. And yes, I have been frozen out of my car. Not a big deal since the cities usually ban all but emergency travel during the storm.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
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    304

    Default Don't forget the de-icing fluid!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen
    I went winter-camping a couple of times and the only advice I can give you is don't even think about it!!:o)) lol
    Last thing, you should carry a small shovel and a traction aid kit just in case. Make sure you have warm clothes, blankets, candles and a working ice scraper in the car. If your doors get frozen and you can't open them, you can use windshield washer liquid or...spray net. Yep, people might look at you like you're out of your mind, but it really works, I used it several times!

    Drive safe!
    Gen
    My snowed-in adventure was just part of my customary 2 week 4WD vacation that year. I was reading a book about Mallory and Irvine on Mt. Everest in 1924 while I was whiling away the time waiting out the storm.
    Sort of put my situation in proper perspective.

    Amen to having a GOOD ice scraper. A credit card JUST doesn't have the muscle for the job :-)

    Reminds me to note that the spray-on deicing materials in the auto department are a really good idea. "Liquid Fire" or purpose marketed de-icer works great. Even simple winter formula windshield solvent in a squirt bottle can help with the deicing task. Have to note though that after deicing the wiindshield and using the wipers you can see the ice crystals repropagate across the glass unless the glass is being warmed by the defroster.

    Would you believe that winter is routine in many parts of the country? :-)

    noFanofCB

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Lost in translation

    Sorry folks, spray net is actually hairspray. Spray net is a slang word we use in Quebec.

    My snowed-in adventure was just part of my customary 2 week 4WD vacation that year. I was reading a book about Mallory and Irvine on Mt. Everest in 1924 while I was whiling away the time waiting out the storm.
    Sort of put my situation in proper perspective.
    Sounds great:o)) I went winter hiking in a couple of parks here in Quebec when it was -15 C outside... After a while you can't even drink or eat anything, everything gets frozen... I slept in what we called a prospector tent once...Never again! Fortunately, my girl friend was dealing well with the cold, she made all the cooking. In the meatime, I just put all my warmest clothes on and spent a couple of hours just shivering inside of my -25 C goose down sleeping bag! But believe it or not, it was a good experience because the next night we got to sleep in a lonely wooden cabin on the top of the mountain. Amazing sunset, 360 degree views, just us and the sound of silence (and a couple of bears). And it got so hot in there with the fire we made, we even slept half naked!! What a contrast with the night before!

    Would you believe that winter is routine in many parts of the country? :-)
    Yep, 8 months a year, it is our routine here! It starts to snow at the end of October and we can't get rid of it until May! Personally, I like snow...as long as it's gone right after January 1st!! lol We are having a snowstorm today, 30 centimeters.

    Cheers from north of the border
    Gen
    Last edited by Quebec Gen; 12-16-2005 at 10:06 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default Just one more word on chains....

    If you're going where chains might be needed, buy a set before you leave and learn how to put them on properly. In the middle of a snowstorm, or in the darkness of night, or just on the side of the road in the freezing cold is NOT the place to learn how to do this.

    While chains are rarely needed, it is conceivable that you might find yourself in areas where chains are required....meaning you will not be allowed to continue driving without them.

    Rare, yes. But the tightwad in me can't imagine anything worse than being on a pass, being required to have chains to continue, not having them, and having no option but to find a room at some ski lodge that charges BIG bucks to spend the night, or 2, or 3 that you'll be stuck there.

    Some years back some friends of mine got most of the way up Snoqualmie Pass before the snow got bad enough to require chains. They didn't have them and there were none to be found to fit their size tires. They ended up spending 2 nights at a ski lodge near Alpental that cost so much money that they had to turn around and go home when the snow cleared a bit because they couldn't afford the rest of their planned, short vacation.

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