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  1. Default Suggestions for best routes - Seattle to NC December

    Took the advice of going from NC to St. Louis, SD, Montana, Washington earlier this year and it was awesome. Now need to come back from Seattle WA to NC during December. I-90 scares me a little since it can be shut down at any time due to weather and I'm traveling with a dog so want to plan hotels based on pet friendly, best route, lowest elevation. Please let me know suggestions and planning on a 5 day trip, longer if needed but no sight seeing. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,183

    Default Everything Comes at a Price

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are certainly routes that stay at lower elevation and farther south than I-94 across the Rockies and northern plains. But there's a reason that mapping routines suggest that route. It's shorter and less time consuming than others. I will suggest a possible alternative that meets your requirements but it will be 150-200 miles longer. It's actually a big benefit that you are starting this trip in Seattle because you'll have to cross the Cascades to start but you'll also know the weather for that part of the trip,

    What I'd suggest is that you take I-90 to Ellensburg and then switch over to I-82 then I-84 to and along the Snake River valley and into Utah where it joins I-80 which crosses southern Wyoming and then follows the old Oregon Trail route along the Platte River to Lincoln. A short connection via NE-2 takes you to I-29 south to Kansas City and I-70 east. At St.Louis pick up I-64 into Kentucky. Your route from there will depend on where exactly you're headed in North Carolina.

    There was also a recent discussion that covered a few general things to keep in mind when contemplating any winter trip. It might help you a bit in your planning.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,172

    Default

    Note that I-80 across Wyoming is also subject to bad conditions and closures.

  4. #4

    Default

    Yup, I-80 is subject to high winds even in clear sky conditions. On one trip across I-80 in WY, I thought my vehicle alignment had gone bad for two hours!

    At least while you are driving East you have some flexibility on the departure date to beat a storm East (depending upon how fast the storm is moving).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,766

    Default

    It should probably be pointed out that for low elevation, I-90 is the best choice. It's at a lower elevation than any cross country interstate other than i-10 (which would not be a good choice for this trip because it adds over 1000 miles to your trip and still can see bad weather).

    There is a widespread myth than North is bad and South is good when it comes to winter travel, and that's just not the case. We've got several regular members here who routinely travel the northern Rockies in winter, and they generally prefer i-90, especially because of the frequent high winds on i-80.

    Of course, the weather forecast should be key in your decision, either route could be the better choice depending upon the specific conditions on your specific days of travel.

  6. Default

    Thank you so much for your comments. Pray for safe travels.

  7. Default

    Thank you for your advise. I-90 just made me apprehensive when I see the gate saying "interstate closed" and I assumed that would be because of weather? If that happened, I wouldn't have a clue if I had to get off where to do. I guess I need to dig a little deeper to see what is off I-90. it was beautiful going out there but again, concerned me coming back due to snow. I'm not a great driver because we don't have it (much). Again, thank you so much!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,172

    Default

    I-80 and I-70 also have closure gates.

  9. #9

    Default

    There is a good supply of towns and motels/hotels along I-90. The main thing is to not try getting the extra hour driving west where the storm is coming from as the distance-rate happens so quickly with a storm moving 30 mph and one driving towards it at 70 mph, more or less. But the storms usually don't last too long and the crews up north are prepared to clear the snow off the roads.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    5,758

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    Interstate highways are usually the last highways to close in bad weather, and one of the first to get serviced by snow-removers, de-icers, etc. That is because our supply chain relies on the ability of tractor-trailers to get stuff through. So if you see a gate that says "interstate closed", or have warnings ahead of time, go find a place to stay and wait it out.

    My daughter and grandchildren came across a closed-I-70 this past spring. The interstate was closed westbound at Hays, KS. They were diverting traffic to a US highway, but she had made the error of not taking a map or atlas with her. They waited it out in Hays before deciding to turn around and head back home (central MO). So it does happen.


    Donna

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