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  1. Default Seattle to Illinois April 5th: Help Please


    My fiancee and I are heading out with a minivan and leaving Seattle April 5th on a trek to Illinois. I have read really good posts on this forum and plan to check the DOT websites along the way for weather, but I am hoping that folks can offer advice on our plan.

    I had originally planned on taking I90 right through, as this seems like the most direct route, but I am a little worried about snow in the mountain passes and in Montana and the Dakotas. Would it be any easier to take I80? I must admit to being a very stressed snow driver, and I'm trying to avoid steep elevations and slick road conditions.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default In Case of Snow

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The best way to prepare for possible snow on a RoadTrip is to have alternative routes available that will let you avoid the bad weather rather than fight your way through it. Between Seattle and Chicago you have 2 possible routes through the mountains, and a third possibility across the plains. If there is enough snow forecast for the northern Rockies to give you cause for concern, you can take I-90/I/82/I-84 down to Salt Lake City and then I-80 the rest of the way. Conversely, if there is snow in the central Rockies, you can just take I-90, with I-94 as an alternative on the plains, straight through. There's less than 150 miles difference between the shortest and longest of those routes and each will take you about four days of moderate, steady driving. So have a look at all three and be prepared for whatever the weather throws at you. The you can feel comfortable making your final decision on route at the last minute.


  3. #3

    Default The forecasts and the reality

    Hello Keith,

    By all means have a number of close looks at the WA, ID, and MT DOT webcams in the days preceding your trip. Might as well throw UT and WY in there, too, for a look at the I-84/I-80 route. MT in particular keeps cams focused on the passes--Lookout, Homestake, and Bozeman, and that's the best barometer of what's ahead.

    If you end up going south, be advised to stay on I-84 at Ogden rather than dropping down to Salt Lake City to catch I-80. I-84 runs around 25-30 miles east of Ogden and picks up I-80 east towards WY there, and does so via a gentle grade (which accomodates the railroad) up the Weber River. By contrast, I-80 east of SLC climbs Parley's Summit and picks up around 3500' over a 10-12 mile stretch, topping out near Park City at > 7,000'. If there were to be cruddy going in the UT section of I-80, it'd be at Parley's.


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