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  1. Default Traveling from Tacoma WA to Pensacola FL middle of Nov

    Making the trip starting November 16 pulling a 35 foot 5th wheel. The "shorter" route looks to be taking I 90 E a good bit of the way (to Sioux Falls then South) but I have never travelled that way and slightly worried about pulling with the threat of winter weather and unsure of elevation changes along the route. Looking for suggestions, roads to avoid, or alternate route.

    Thanks in Advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    In winter, the shortest route is typically the best choice - the less time you are on the road, the fewer days you have a chance of seeing a storm, and the more extra days you have available to sit and wait for conditions to improve if you do see bad weather.

    In this case, I-90 certainly fits the bill. I-90 stays at a lower elevation across the rockies than any route other than I-10. BTW, going down I-5 to I-10 is not a better bet, I-10 still sees plenty of winter weather - and when it does hit, road crews are far less prepared to deal with it, plus you'd have plenty of mountains to deal with along the west coast, and adds another 500 miles - which is a full day on the road all by itself.

    As it is, sticking to I-90 to start, you're looking at 2700 miles and you should plan a bare minimum of 5 days, especially while towing, and having a couple extra days available in case the weather is poor would be a good idea. Also, no matter which route you take you should be aware that there is a good chance you'll see freezing temperatures, and you should properly prepare your trailer to make sure you don't have any water lines freezing up.

  3. Default

    Thank you. Along the i90 E route are there required chain up Areas and what are the rules that apply to RVs

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'm not sure of the exact situation regarding chains on I-90, but a good rule of thumb is this - especially if you are in an RV/Towing/unfamiliar with driving in snow: If conditions are so bad that chains are required on the interstates, then you are probably best off pulling off the road, and finding a nice warm place to wait for a while until the roads can be cleared!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Does your tow vehicle have tires that meet the legal standard for "traction tires"? They need to have "M+S" and the snowflake and mountain symbols on the sidewall, and at least 6/32" tread remaining. Is your tow vehicle 4WD/AWD?

    If the answer to any of that is NO, you should get a set of chains for the rear axle. If it's dual rear wheel, a set for the outside wheels should be sufficient. If the chain law is in effect, there are plenty of chainup sites.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    I just came from Seattle on I-90 to I-25 then came south in snowstorm weather. Did about 400 miles in 4WD hi range. (1985 Suburban with 340,000 mi on it)

    The signs said "Tow vehicles must use chains" - this included pickups towing horse trailers and other trailers. Wasn't just for commercial vehicles.

    Chainup areas sometimes are pulloffs protected from the passing traffic, in other places it's just a designated section of the road shoulder and the smart traffic changes lanes to give them clearance to do their work.

    It would be best if your schedule was flexible enough to choose your weather. Either get going ahead of the fronts, or give them a day or two to pass and let the road crews clear and sand the roads. Immediately following the front where it drops snow is almost as bad as being in the snowstorm as there will be snow packed into ice and the snowplows are just polishing the ice at that point. And the ice can be rough as the truckers' chains chop up the ice surface.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Ex-RV'er here: If you can be flexible, I'd take the above advice to get off the road if you need chains. Since your RV should be winterized, that means if you choose to use the RV to "hole up", you won't have water. You know that means no dishes, no cooking, no potty, no shower, not even hand washing. Frankly, you're better off finding a motel with RV/truck parking available (and a lot of them do) as soon as you see/hear the "chains required". A motel room is a lot cheaper than a cracked tank or broken pipe, believe me!!!!

    I-90 has some very pretty areas. If you want to stop at an interesting rest area along the way, stop at the rest area/visitor information center at Chamberlain, SD. Very nice views of the MO River and interesting displays in the visitor center, and since it's a rest area, plenty of RV parking.


  8. Default

    We are going to Savannah from WA state about the same time so looking at all the answers.

  9. Default

    Thank you all. Is there a recommended site or app to check road conditions along the way?

  10. Default

    Any thoughts if taking 84, 80, 25, 70 would be a little less harsh?

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