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  1. Default Early Nov route west to east coast

    Hi, I have to move from bay area California to Nova Scotia, Canada. Never done a coast-to-coast trip before. My longest trip was only 25-26hr with a night sleep.

    I hope to get some suggestions on weather/road safety and lodging.

    I assume that I-80 will be mostly free of snow in the first two weeks of Nov. But I found people suggesting stay south of I-40 in Nov and Dec. Also, I'll be driving a minivan with all-season tires. I have lived in snow countries for years but always on winter tires after around Thanksgiving. Not sure if the all-season can handle the cold pavement.

    We have 3 kids (one is still on formula), so I'm not too ambitious on everyday distance. I'm thinking of 400mi/d, 10 driving days total. It will be difficult to book motels/hotels in advance. We plan to find lodging along the interstates but worry about if motels will allow 2 adults+3 kids in a regular two-bed room. We will take a cot/blow-up mattress with us.

    If the road condition will be too risky, we might consider fly and get the minivan shipped.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,741

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you're on the right track here.

    I-80 being mostly free of snow is a likely outcome, but not a certain one. Once you're into November, snow is a possibility almost anywhere - but especially in higher elevation area, particularly crossing the Sierras and then as you go across Wyoming. That said, even in the middle of winter, the generic "go south" advice is really a fools errand, and you end up adding lots of miles with no guarantee of better weather. The best thing you can do is give yourself extra time and flexibility so if the weather does turn bad, you can wait for conditions to improve. At a planned 10 days, you should be in good shape. Even if you did get slowed up and lost a day due to weather, you could increase your driving to 500 miles a day to get caught back up and still not find it too stressful.

    As far as tires, All Season tires with good tread should be fine. Being that you're moving to Nova Scotia (which might require snow tires in winter anyway? Some provinces do, but not sure if NS is one of them), if your current tires are questionable, you might go ahead and change to winter tires before you go, but it wouldn't be something I would be too worried about.

    I doubt you'll have any issues with 3 children in a hotel room, especially since one is presumably under 2. I also don't think you should have any issues with finding a room without reservations, especially at that time of year - which is a slow season anyway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,132

    Default

    You legally won't have to use winter tires for your move. The only province you may be going through that requires them is Quebec, but not till December 1. They are *recommended* in all other provinces in winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,142

    Default Plan Ahead

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    At a workmanlike pace, this trip would take about eight days, so having budgeted ten days you can plan on making a few short stops each day to keep the kids happy and thus the adults sane. Also, with the 'extra' time you should be able to set your mileage goal for each day depending on how you feel, either calling ahead to make a reservation for that night before starting out or even mid-afternoon during one of your rest stops. As long as you have a cell phone and even 5G connectivity you should be able to find something that suits your tastes and timing and call to see what they have available. I suspect that a single room with two queen beds would be sufficient if you provide for the infant and most motels shouldn't object. If they do you can always keep looking. You might take a good look at the home websites of some of the major chains to see if they have a corporate policy and if they do you can sign up for their rewards program and possibly earn yourselves a free night's stay by the end of the trip.

    As for route, I wouldn't worry too much about severe winter weather in November, even in Canada. In fact, when I first read your departure and destination points I thought of suggesting that you head first to Sault Ste Marie (MI/ON) and take the more scenic Trans-Canada Highway on the north side of the Great Lakes rather than battling through Chicago, Gary, Toledo, Cleveland. Buffalo, Syracuse, etc.

    Anyway, that's my 2˘.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-20-2021 at 04:37 PM.

  5. Default

    Thank you so much for all the detailed replies. I feel much more comfortable preparing this trip now!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,132

    Default

    Note that if you take I-80/I-90 all the way across, the tolls are considerable east of Chicago.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    401

    Default

    I just returned from a run from Colo to Longview, WA and back via I-80. You MUST watch the weather for cold fronts with snow moving across there. Road conditions can change rather quickly and the state of Wyoming doesn't have an enormous amount of snow removal equipment.

    On this trip on the outbound leg I ran into the first snowstorm of the season there (as I expected from the several forecast sources I checked) and was down to 25 mph in 4WD for several hours as traffic crept along on the polished ice from the snow packing down on warm pavement. I understand the road was closed later in the day and hadn't reopened the next day.

    Of course ice storms can close I-40 also.

    In other news, I had CB channel 19 programmed in my scanner (despite my screen name) and the noise there was somewhat informative and also entertaining as one trucker was telling another to get off the road if he was afraid to go faster while the response was "I'll see you in the ditch later on." The latter was likely as there were many, many trucks in the median.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    401

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by floyedtexas View Post
    when is it going to be snow storms ?? these days ?
    In Wyoming it can snow any time between 1 Sept and 1 July.

    The only way to know accurately is to watch the weather forecasts very carefully. They are mildly accurate 7 days out and become very accurate 24 hrs from the date of interest.

    I use FAA/gov prognosis charts. You can advance them using the time box toward the top of the screen to see what aviation weather forecasters think will happen.

    https://www.aviationweather.gov/progchart/sfc

    When I drove across Wyoming I knew what I'd be getting in to. If I had time to delay the trip I would have waited 2 days for the snow to come down and for the roads to be cleared. I'd check the state road condition reports to see when roads were re-opened.

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