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Thread: No Snow

  1. Default No Snow

    I want to drive the shortest route from Olympia Washington to Houston, TX and avoid mountains and snow. I know this will take me out of my way.

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

    Default No guarantees

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The only way you can avoid snow is to keep an eye on the weather forecast and travel accordingly, nowhere is immune from it during winter months and mountains, well they ain't going nowhere ! Staying on Interstate as much as possible (if sight seeing is not a priority) where the roads have gradual curves and gradients and guard rails and are a priority to clear is the quickest way. What you need to do to stay safe is to have enough time available to cover the distance and some in hand so that in the event of a major storm you can simply get off the road and stay somewhere until it's passed and the road crews have made it safe to continue. In this case you are really looking at 5 days to drive the route at a comfortable pace, you may manage a minimum of 4 days but you should also allow to have an extra day (6 days total) just in case. I-84/80/25 and exit at Jct 451 to I-40 and then US287 to 1-45 is a rough outline of one such direct route.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Welcome to RTA!

    I am in full agreement with what SWDave has recommended. The fact is, mountains are between Olympia WA and Houston, and you can't pick them up and move them.

    He has given you a suggestion of one route that wouldn't take you too far out of the way. Keep an eye on the weather along that route. Are you flexible as to your departure date? One time, I got in my car a day ahead of time to do a 4 day drive, to avoid a snowstorm. As a result, that storm followed me across the country. I preferred to be ahead of it rather than behind it.

    If you can't be flexible with your departure date, then perhaps you can be flexible with the route. If that route is showing signs of getting a storm as you are driving it, have an alternate route planned.

    Don't make hotel reservations ahead of time for that reason. You can always pull over into a rest area and call a few hotels the day of arrival. Unless you're traveling over a 3 or 4 day weekend (such as President's Day Weekend in February), you probably won't need reservations anyway.

    I can't say this enough: CARRY PAPER MAPS or an ATLAS, and know how to use them. If you have a sudden storm come in, you can use the maps to re-route yourself.

    The last alternative is to fly. Not something I particularly enjoy, and definitely risky with the health issues in the country, but it's another choice. It's also one we don't often recommend here -- but then again, we're a set of road-trip enthusiasts here!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default That Fourth Dimension

    As Dave pointed out, and I'm just reiterating, it's not the route (North/South/Elevation) that will allow you to avoid mountains and snow, it's the fourth dimension, time, that will allow you to do so. Unfortunately, though, even if you had all the time in the world, there is still the fact that directly in your path between Olympia and Houston sit both the Cascade Range/Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains as well as a couple of other smaller mountain ranges. You simply cannot avoid mountains, and whether or not you'll see snow is out of your control. So again, I'll second what Dave had to say: Stick to the shortest all-Interstate route (I-5, I-84, I-80, I-25, I-40 to Amarillo, the relatively straight and flat four-lane divided highway US-287, and I-45) and leave a couple of extra days for your journey, or a minimum of six days at your disposal for this trip at this time of year.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you take the route that has already been recommended, you can cut off 170 miles by taking US-84 between I-25 and I-40. This is a relatively flat and straight 2 lane highway through a very rural area.

    2 other options - take I-90 to I-25, or I-5 to the LA area, then I-10.

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


    Wait until late August or early September to make the run. Only way to be sure.

  7. Default

    Lots of good information and advice has been offered. Realize that any addition time and miles you add to your trip are more time and miles to encounter snow. Itís a Catch 22.

    So, letís assume that no matter what you do, youíll be driving through some wintry mix somewhere. Be prepared.

    Make sure to take along an extra bottle of windshield washer fluid! If you need it, youíll be glad you did!

    Also load a travel app on your phone. I use iExit which shows whatís available at every exit along with Hotel contact information.

    Of course, make sure your car and tires are up to the trip.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Winter Driving Tips

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