Some Scots in the USA
Myself and my partner are trying to plan a trip through the States in the coming winter (probs Jan '12) with a view to finishing in Vancouver and doing some skiing at Whistler Blackcomb, however being from tiny Scotland we're a bit overwhelmed by the immensity of the country!
First of all I wanted to check, is driving risky at that time of year, how good are the authorities at keeping the roads open and clear of snow?
Second and I suppose this depends on the answer to question 1, can anyone suggest a good route that will allow us to take in a fair amount of the USA before finishing in Vancouver? We were thinking of alotting up to 2 weeks to do this, we're not too fussy about where we fly into (I say that now but I haven't checked the price of flights yet... yikes!) as long as it gives us a chance to experience some of the US we're very open to suggestions.
One man's floor.........
.....is another man's ceiling, particularly when it comes to winter travel and dealing with snow.
I think your question is purposefully open in terms of "seeing some of the States" given that you also comment on the size of our country. Perhaps a bit of perspective would help:
In late January 2010, my son and I embarked on a RoadTrip from Raleigh, NC to Park City, UT (near Salt Lake City). It's a 2,150 mile trip which took us 3 days of hard driving to complete. Days 2 and 3 would be described by most as "brutal", as we punched through a bitter cold front and endured thundersnow, sleet, freezing rain, heavy snow, whiteout conditions, high winds, subzero (F) cold, and +50mph headwinds and crosswinds, all within the space of a single day and half of another. A portion of our route was closed due to high winds and whiteout conditions (I-80 from Cheyenne to Laramie, WY), but only for a period of a few hours. It was a blessing, as we would have continued driving if not for the closing.
But I'd do it again in a heartbeat. We saved a small fortune on airline tickets and oversized + extra luggage fees, not to mention having saved the cost of a 4WD rental SUV for over a week in Salt Lake City. The roads were by and large clear, what with the highway departments in the Plains and Mountain West states being highly skilled and well-equipped. Interstate highways are the commercial transport lifeblood of the US economy, so they receive all the attention and funding needed to remain open. Closings are normally localized at a high pass or similar topographic feature and normally don't last for long.
I might suppose flights from the Isles to Salt Lake City or San Francisco would be readily available and would give you the opportunity to see some of the western states and have good access to Whistler/Blackcomb. I tend to rent 4WD SUVs just because I'm used to operating them, but the truth of the matter is a good front-wheel drive minivan performs very well in slightly snowy conditions.
Enjoy planning and taking your Winter RoadTrip!
Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !
They are a lot better at dealing with the roads after snowfall than we are this side of the pond ! The main routes and Interstate in particular are a priority to keep open. In the event of a severe winter storm they can be closed, but usually only for a few hours [maybe a day] at a time.
The US is huge and having the choice of where to fly into still open, makes for a big target. I would open a good map and do a little research, digging around the forums and road trip planning pages above and see what appeals to you. Once you have made a start I am sure we can help fill in the blanks and make suggestions. I will say that being from the UK, I love the contrasts of the West/Southwest with it's incredible Desert landscapes, Red Rocks, valleys and amazing National parks. You could do a lot worse than to fly into Vegas [cheaper flights perhaps?] and make your way North.