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  1. Default Moving from NH to Seattle 1/29

    Greetings!

    Iíve been reading as much info as I can on this forum regarding the trek and mountain passes. We will be driving a 16í Penske truck and towing my Nissan Leaf utilizing a car carrier. We will be leaving 1/29 with the goal to arrive by 2/4. I start my new job 2/7 but need to arrive prior for HR related stuff.

    It seems like route I-90 will be the best bet. Recently (12/20/2021) we drove from Seattle to Leavenworth via I-5 & U.S. 2 round trip. While it was a beautiful drive it was questionable at times going through Stevenís pass as it had snowed the night before. We were driving a Ford Ecosport 4WD. The pass was fine on the return trip and was just a little wet. This experience makes me question attempting the Snoqualmie Pass as well as other 2 (unofficially 3 other passes) with the Penske. Is their an alternative route if it snows? It looks like I-82 to I-84 to I-5 may be a viable option.

    Friends and family were recommending I-40, I-10, or U.S. 66. From reading the post of others on here it sounds like those routes will just add time, miles, and further opportunity for poor weather in states that are not equipped to handle said weather.

    Any input or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

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

    Default Time, Time, Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Let's start by stating a few cold (no pun intended), hard facts. The time you have allotted for this journey is the minimum that I would set aside for this trip in good weather. Even that assumes that everything is packed and loaded, with the car on the dolly, the night before departure so that all you have to do on January 29th is wake up and start your journey.

    Assuming that you're starting from Concord, it's over 3,000 miles to Seattle. At 450 miles per day, that's seven days to Seattle by the shortest all-Interstate route available, and that is all the time you've given yourselves for this trip. NH/VT-9 to NY-2 to Albany then I-90 the rest of the way, or using I-94 between Tomah WI and Billings MT, is pretty much your only option. I would not recommend taking your rig on surface roads at all if possible. Traffic lights will cost you both time and money, but the major reason is for safety. Interstates not only have the smoothest roadbeds and shallowest grades, allowing traffic the easiest way to pass you, but they get the first and best snow removal efforts. If you see any significant snow on this trip, you are not going to make it in seven days. You need look no further than the recent tie-up of traffic on I-95 in Virginia during a snow/ice storm. Also note that you will be driving through some of the worst snow areas in the country including the Great Lakes (lake-effect snows) and the Rocky and Cascade Mountains.

    But even the shortest route in the best possible weather will have problems. First is the traffic as you'll need to navigate several moderate to large cities including Syracuse, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Chicago, and Minneapolis/St.Paul. Then there are the toll$$. I-90 from Albany to Rockford IL is replete with them and they will be particularly high for a truck and trailer.

    My bottom line advice to you is that you really need to budget at least another day for weather and traffic related delays, as well as to account for the fact that your vehicle will be relatively slow moving.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-05-2022 at 07:54 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,766

    Default

    I think you're on the right track in terms of route, but as Buck indicated, Time isn't exactly on your side, yet time is the single most important thing you want on a winter trip.

    500 miles a day is a lot with a trailer, so bare minimum you need full 6 days for this trip, and that's assuming good weather. If you see bad weather, especially with a big truck (and bigger stopping times) and a trailer, you'll really need to keep your speed down and that means you'll need to start adding at least another night to your plans.

    As far as Route, you are correct, going down to I-40 or farther south would not significantly improve your chances of seeing good weather, but it would guarantee that you would need at least a few more days on the road to cover the miles. I also agree with Buck that you should stick to the Interstates as much as possible, both for the best road conditions but also for ease of services. Getting stuck in a too small parking lot or gas station with a big truck isn't fun - trust me - and that's less likely to happen at stops right off the Interstate.

    As far as specific routes, a couple tweeks I would suggest. Depending upon where in NH, it might be easier and save you on tolls to head south to I-84 and then pick up I-80 in PA instead of taking I-90 across NY.

    I would also suggest taking I-80 all the way to Iowa rather than heading up on I-90 at Chicago. The Illinois Tollways absolutely gouges people with trailers - taking I-294 to I-90 to Wisconsin will cost about $50 - whereas staying on I-80 means only one toll in IL that will cost a few bucks. Once you get across Iowa, head back up I-29 to I-90.

    You could also bypass the Chicago area completely, by cutting down southwest in Ohio to Columbus, then take I-70 to Indy, and I-74 back to I-80 at the IL/IA border. That cuts out a lot of tolls, but probably adds more miles than is worthwhile, unless it also helps you avoid bad weather along the Great Lakes.

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