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  1. Default Seattle to Tucson, AZ in February

    We're driving in a Honda Element from Seattle to Tucson Arizona in February.
    What do we need to know for winter driving, and what would be the best route to take?
    (By the way, you advised us on our "Seattle/Denver/California and back" trip this summer and it was fabulous! thanks!)
    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-01-2007 at 10:59 AM. Reason: Link to former trip added

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Very Simple

    Winter driving is a different animal, that's for sure. Read through these tips, and then keep in mind that what they really boil down to is:

    Slow down
    Know your limits
    Slow down
    Be prepared to quit driving if need be
    Slow down

    The best route in such a case is the one with the best (straightest, levelest grades, most likely to be plowed) roads, and that is unquestionably the Interstate system. In your case, that would be I-5 down the coast all the way to Los Angeles and then I-10 to Tucson. While a route inland to Salt Lake City and then south is shorter (by all of 5 miles!) it would have you driving considerably more in mountainous terrain, and on two-lane, isolated roads at high elevation through southern Utah and northern Arizona.


  3. #3

    Default When You Hit the Southwest

    I like the southwest deserts of California during February. Potential spots: Mojave Desert Natl. Preserve (Kelso Dunes, Mitchell Caverns); Amboy Crater; Twentynine Palms (murals) with entry to Joshua Tree Natl. Park. South along the Salton Sea to the Imperial Sand Dunes. West to Yuma and the Yuma Territorial Prison. When in Arizona you could visit Organ Pipe Natl. Monument, Kitt Peak Observatory, Saguaro Natl. Park.

    If you like driving open road--CA Hwy-62 from Twentynine Palms to Parker, Arizona, is a great road (100 miles with zero towns). Rice (pop. 0) is still a dot on most maps. There is a stretch of Hwy-62 that is lined with rock banners. The drive south from Parker to Yuma is a scenic drive for some of us.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-01-2007 at 11:43 AM. Reason: added link to RTA's article about these rock banners

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default What winter driving?


    As has been stated, you don't need to worry much about winter driving at all. I-5 should be good all the way, except for a brief section from about Roseburg, OR to Redding, CA. After that it is all downhill.

    Or if you have the time and inclination you could drive the coast to Eureka, CA, or all the way to San Francisco or even Los Angeles, before heading east. If you want to avoid the Interstates you can wind your way across southern California into Arizona using any number of interesting, lightly traveled roads.

    Hwy 178 out of Bakersfield, past Lake Isabella is good. From there you can make your way to Twenty-nine Palms and Joshua Tree, as has been suggested. Then Palm Springs, the Salton Sea and the Blythe Intaglios are within striking distance.

    WILDFLOWER WARNING: Depending on just when in February, but the wildflowers in Anza Borego and other southern California areas could be in bloom and well worth taking a detour to see! There are several websites to check for updates such as DesertUSA and Photo Travel. This could be a rare opportunity if there is a decent rainy season!

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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