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  1. Default Cross Country during winter? From NY to LA...

    My boyfriend and I moving to LA this late fall/early winter. Can anyone tell me how feasible a cross country trip is during this season? Our dream is to take a Northern Route to be able to visit Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, then head straight south to Colorado and Arizona, and shooting West to LA. I'm afraid that A) We are trying to do/see too much... and B) Traveling during the winter may prohibit us from seeing such places. We want to stay as North as possible because we've both seen plenty of the South. If anyone has any suggestions/tips/advice, or has driven a similar course, we'd love to hear your stories. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Some info

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums and good luck with your upcoming move.

    As you know the weather is unpredictable at best and you will need to get weather and road condition updates before you leave and as you go if possible to check for any possible delays. But driving across country at any time of year is feasible, the Interstates being the main priority in bad conditions to keep everyone moving. Generally 5 days driving across country is recommended and then add time to that for detours and sight seeing.
    Here are some tips on winter driving and a link here to recommended safe driving distances in a day. And some sound advice from Michael.

    That should get you started, let us know if there's anything else.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Know Your Limits - Then Just Do It

    As someone who used to live in Maine, with family from Delaware to Wisconsin, I've done a fair amount of RaodTripping in the winter. I have never had to cancel a trip but I have had to postpone or modify several. Since you and your boyfriend are currently in New York, I'll assume that you have some experience with driving in the snow, particularly if you are from upstate (I also lived in the Finger Lakes region for several years.) There are two rules that are paramount to making a safe RoadTrip in the winter.

    1) You must know what your limits are for dealing with snowy/icy conditions. Notice that I did not say that you need to be an expert in winter driving, just that you know what you can handle, and more importantly what you cannot. If things get beyond your comfort level, just lay up for the night or even a day or two. Let the road crews do their job and resume your trip when the roads are clear and the sun is out. I find driving on dry road after a snowstorm to be one of life's great pleasures. Trying to push through a blizzard just to try to get somewhere is about as stressful an endeavor as there is. For me the choice between those two is easy.

    2) You must build in extra time for your trip. The only way to follow rule 1 is to have extra days available for the journey. If you have them, then the 'delay' can turn into one of the best experiences of the trip as you forego driving for walks through freshly fallen snow and around towns you otherwise would have overlooked. Especially out west you'll be seeing plenty of towns that either get very few winter visitors, and so will be happy to see you, or are winter resorts and are built on the premise that people still need to get around town in the snow. Enjoy them both.


  4. #4

    Default What they said

    I'm in complete agreement with the "no worries" about winter travel--so long as you're logical and reasonable about it.

    I have the distinct pleasure of visiting the Wasatch Range in Utah annually, normally in early January. My host's home overlooks I-80 near Parley's Summit, a 7,500' pass which delivers I-80 between Park City and Salt Lake City. The area got 6' of snow during the 10 days I was there in January of this year. Traffic slowed from time to time but never stopped. The most significant incidence of traffic stoppage I was aware of last winter was along I-70 west of Denver, when a dumping of snow created avalanche risks. There was about a 12-18 hour closure, if memory serves. Even that is rare, and I've never seen such in 8 years of going to Utah in January or February.

    A several days in advance study of the weather maps, recognition of where the passes are, some study of the linked winter weather travel tips, and perhaps a laptop with a wireless or satellite connection, and I'd have no concerns about winter travel in the West.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default 511

    Many states have adopted the 511 system. You can that number and can find out road conditions. It's handy and is an easy way to keep informed.

    Not all states use that number so you might want to google the DOT's of each state you're traveling through and jotting down their number.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default ...And the RTA Road Conditions Page

    One easy place to find all of the 511 numbers is this site. And you can always swing by the RTA Road Conditions Web resources page for more information.


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