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  1. Default Moving from New York to San Francisco

    I just discovered this forum and would love to have the expert's advice. I'm moving from New York to San Francisco this week and am driving all the way. I'm planning to take 80 west but am concerned if I'll hit bad weather along Colorado and Utah. I welcome quality advice that can help me at the last minute.

    Also, what major attractions can I check out on the way. I'm planning to drive about 8-10 hours a day.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    How many days do you have to make this trip?

    The best last minute advice on which routes to take will be online at the various states' DOT websites and the Weather Channel. Right now, the weekly planner for this week isn't looking too good.

    I would get a set of tire chains if you don't have any. Cable chains are sufficient. Without them, you may be delayed and have to wait out a storm (actually, that wouldn't be a bad idea anyway). California in particular is quite picky about their chain law, and if you are going to be living out there and want to go into the mountains in the winter, you must carry them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I-80 actually does not go through Colorado at all, although Wyoming sees its shares of winter weather. However, you'd still be better off following the basics of safe winter driving, as any other major interstate route is going to add at least a half day of driving that could better be used waiting out bad weather.

    As for things to stop and see along the way, here's a good list of some of the many attractions along I-80. Also make sure to check out RTA's map center which can also provide hundreds of suggestions of things that might be interesting to you.

  4. #4

    Default Elevations along the way-Wyoming and Utah

    Hello thedreamer,

    Yes, I-80 all the way is the most direct way, and in nearly every instance, the most direct way is the fastest and the safest. Be aware of a couple or three things as you plan:

    If you're doing the right thing and looking carefully at the Weather Channel on TV each morning, or checking in as you travel with a laptop or a smart phone, you'll know the whens and wheres of bad weather you're heading in to.

    If there's an "intersection" of bad weather and Wyoming, plan on a high likelihood of having to wait it out for a few hours to a half-day or so. Virtually all of WY is +6,000' elevation with the eastern section between Cheyenne and Laramie topping out at 8,640' and long segments west of Laramie at 7,000-7,500'. Flashing signs and the "511" telephone service will give you road condition updates, and you can connect to for real-time web cams all the way across the state.

    Once you drop into Utah, if the weather is iffy or if you'd be passing through Salt Lake City at rush hour, consider taking I-84 west at Echo Canyon to Ogden, thence I-15 to I-215 to I-80 near the SLC airport. This adds around 18 miles to the trip, but avoids a fairly steep, twisting canyon at around 6,000' near Wanship, as well as the pass named Parley's Summit, a 7,016' pass immediately west of Park City. It's a wide, moderately sloped 3 lanes downhill for +10 miles from Parley's to where I-80 dumps into downtown SLC, but it can be something of a banzai run in bad weather. The I-84 route, by contrast, starts at just over 5,000' at Echo Canyon (I-80-I-84 junction) and drops gently into the Salt Lake Basin at Ogden at 4,000'. Low elevation is your friend out there.

    Once west of Tooele, UT, I-80 crests a 6,900' pass at Pequop, NV and a lower pass farther west, but it generally remains between 4,000 and 5,000' or lower all the way to Reno. West of Reno, you've got the Donner Pass to watch out for, so vigilance as to forecasts, your cable chains, and attention paid to the flashing signs warning of pass conditions and chain requirements must be part of that day's travel.

    Salt Lake City to Reno is about 540 miles, with Wendover, Elko, and Winnemucca as the larger stopover towns. There are others, and one would have to really blow it to run short of fuel, but just be aware of distances and your vehicle's range. There aren't many sizable places to stop between Sidney, NE and Cheyenne, WY, nor from Rawlins, WY to Rock Springs, WY, either, so plan accordingly.

    If you don't already have one, get a US highway atlas. Traveling cross country with only GPS as your guide is foolish and can get you into trouble much more quickly than most anything else.

    Safe travels,


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