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  1. Default L.A. to Seattle - chains,rains,I-5

    My first road trip driving 3 consecutive days, up the 5. I've bought chains, sort of know how to put them on (though 2 guys had a heck of a time showing me). Any suggestions/advice/warnings etc. for a woman doing this alone? I'm taking everything one can take in case I end up having to spend the rest of my days in the car. :-) If one can't access the internet while one's driving, what's the best way to keep abreast of the weather/highway conditions up ahead? Cell phone to Highway Patrol? Anything better than that? Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Cal trans

    To get up-to-date road condition info for California's highways call (800) 427-7623. Not sure about Oregon and Washington, but they should have someyhing similar.

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest


    Greetings, and welcome to the forum!

    Both Washington and Oregon have the 511 System in place (you can activate this voice activated road condition system by dialing 511 within the boundaries of each state, although along the OR/WA line you may get the other state's 511 system.

    Another good source is an all-hazards/NOAA weather radio. These can be picked up as a stand-alone, incorporated into an AM/FM radio, or, even better, a handheld or mini-mobile CB radio. All of which should cost you no more than $150 for a good CB Radio with NOAA weather function. With the CB radio, you can leave it on channel 19 and just listen in to the truckers... you'll hear real quick if they feel its too dangerous.

    Lastly, the AM radio stations in the area usually will have the latest mountain pass reports every half hour or so. Some areas have government run travelers information radio stations on the AM dial (look for yellow signs that read "Tune to (frequency) A.M. for Traveler Information".

    You can always inquire locally, such as a public library, restaurant, truck stop, or even a sheriff/Highway Patrol office.

    3 days will give you PLENTY of time if something does happen. The pass that you will mainly have to worry about is Syskiou Pass

    Some other good advice is check your tire pressure, and if possible, get studded tires. If you don't have them and would like to purchase them for the winter, ask your tire dealer to 'sipe' them as well.

    Just make sure you have a basic emergency kit in the cab of the vehicle, as in blankets, extra food and water, and some sort of device like a bowl or shovel to clear snow from your tailpipe if you are forced to stop in a place other than a rest area or town.

    Just keep an eye on the sky, if it starts looking too bad where you are, find the next exit with services, get some coffee or hot chocolate, and wait for conditions to improve... nothing is so important as to push it when driving in rural areas in winter.

    Another tip I would give is not cross the passes when it gets close to dusk. If it begins to get late in the afternoon, stop in Redding or Yreka. Mountain passes tend to get slick after dark, and unless you're an experienced mountain travler, it might be more than you want to chance.

    And don't worry about closures, the state Departments of Transportation clear all interstates first and keep them cleared as best they can.

    Hope I answered your questions!

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default You came to the right place!

    Quote Originally Posted by fiddler
    My first road trip driving 3 consecutive days, up the 5. I've bought chains, sort of know how to put them on (though 2 guys had a heck of a time showing me).
    Welcome to the Forum! That makes me chuckle. Word of advice -- ignore them. Take five minutes and read the instructions and then do it yourself (in the garage or at home) 2-3 times until it makes sense. It really isn't that hard -- although the first time someone tried to describe it to me, I thought they were babbling...
    Any suggestions/advice/warnings etc. for a woman doing this alone?
    You really won't be alone on I-5! Our normal weather warnings are amped extra this year -- the NW is getting hammered by rain and snow. So allow extra time. Read these tips for winter weather roadtrips.
    If one can't access the internet while one's driving, what's the best way to keep abreast of the weather/highway conditions up ahead?
    Yeah, before you leave go this page and see the range of sites providing such info. Then look at the National Traffic and Road Closure Information site and get the phone numbers for California, Oregon and Washington and listen to the recordings as you go.

    Most important: Remember this is a Road Trip -- It is an Adventure -- go and enjoy it!


  5. Default Thank You All!! Great Advice!!

    So glad I found this site (and could finally figure it out, Mark!)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    As usual, Mark and Brad gave excellent advice.

    I would add that you might consider packing a bag of kitty litter if you have room. If you were to become stuck somewhere because of ice, sometimes a sprinkle of kitty litter will add just enough traction to help you get your car going.

    I wouldn't worry too much. As Brad said, the Siskiyou Pass is probably the only place where you might have problems. Most other places along I-5 have enough traffic to keep the roads relatively clear. While the PNW is having an amazing amount of rain, the snow is pretty much only falling in the mountains. Except for Siskiyou Pass, you probably won't be going over the mountains (Cascade Range). So I wouldn't worry too much about that.

    I think the best advice is to be prepared (and you are!) and to just monitor your speed. I tend to be a bit of a leadfoot but if driving conditions are questionable, I'm happy to toodle along in the slow lane. It's worth it to get there a bit slower but to get there in one piece!

    Have a great drive!!

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