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Old 03-18-2011, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Temporarily, in Limerick
2,898 posts, read 5,219,982 times
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Finally moving to Denver from San Diego on Monday. Mapquest/Google/Yahoo maps suggest Rt 15 thru Vegas to 70 thru UT/CO. Last night, I was talking to a group of mid-westerners who are quite familiar with seasonal road closures & they suggested I don't drive 70, saying it's notorious for quick storms & closures... they also suggested chains for my tires. What???

They suggested I drive the southern route as far as possible (40 thru Albuquerque) then head north up 25 thru NM/CO. I'm surprised as many years ago, the worst weather I've ever driven thru (& as a long term northeasterner, I'm quite accustomed to driving thru show & on black ice & nasty roads) was on 40 thru Flagstaff, AZ. In fact, I was snowed into a hotel for 2-days.

I wanted to ask those who live near these areas or know about those roads... does it really make any difference... 40 vs 70? 70's a major highway... it can't be THAT bad, right? Also, chains??? I've driven IN Buffalo, NY & Boston blizzards for years... never saw anyone put chains on tires, ever. I wouldn't even know how/where to go about getting chains & being in CA & heading either towards NV or AZ, I can't imagine they'd allow chains on dry roads.

These people were all adventure seekers & do off-road activities, off-trail skiing & winter camping... I'm guessing they traverse unplowed gravel/dirt roads covered in snow/ice & that's why they need chains... I'm on the highway.

Any ideas on 40 vs 70? Thanks very much. Oh, should it matter, I have a new Honda CRV, 4WD, so the tires are brand new.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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I don't have any specific opinion on 40 vs 70, but I will say even this time of year around Denver you can get huge snow storms that will shut down roads for a day or so. It was during March when I left the house in Johnstown to go to the St. Vrain power plant for work, as I left town there were just a few snowflakes, but never made it to the plant, it really dumped on us - trip was only 8 miles

The next day it melted off.

Just stay updated, find some good news stations and listen, maybe pick up a weather-band radio - if a big storm hits, just find a motel IMHO.

I wouldn't worry about chains, although before next winter you might want to think about buying a set of 4 extra wheels with snow tires. Something like a Blizzak.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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You should be posting this in the Colorado section.

You just need to give yourself 2 days to make the trip. Check the weather foreceast the night before you leave. If there are no large storms predicted the next day, take I70. If there are, take the southern route. But check the southern route too, I've hit some narly storms in Flagstaff, Kingman, and northern NM.

All-season tires won't do you a lot of good when you are trying to stop on a iced covered 30% grade road. So just be careful and don't get too confident in your new all season tires and AWD system, this is why most cars off in the ditch are SUVs.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Temporarily, in Limerick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerMunkee View Post
You should be posting this in the Colorado section.
Why? I'm either driving thru CA, NV, UT then CO or CA, AZ, NM, CO... there's A LOT of highway in-between here & the border of CO.

Quote:
You just need to give yourself 2 days to make the trip.
I'm taking 3... in no rush. Had planned on 1 day in Vegas (if going Rt 70)... if I hear of a major storm coming in, I can stay longer.

Quote:
So just be careful and don't get too confident in your new all season tires and AWD system, this is why most cars off in the ditch are SUVs.
Thanks for the good wishes, but warnings aren't necessary. I'm not driving 80mph or a cocky driver. I'm smart, I'm careful & as I mentioned, I've driven through blizzards & in snow/ice most of my life. In small cars & large, I've seen cars strewn about the medians while I drove 45 thru awful visibility & did just fine.

Just asking about Hwy 70 & frequent road closures, as these people indicated was quite regular... looking at the map, I can't see that 40/25 would be better, but I usually live up near Rt 90/95.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Temporarily, in Limerick
2,898 posts, read 5,219,982 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
Just stay updated, find some good news stations and listen, maybe pick up a weather-band radio - if a big storm hits, just find a motel IMHO.
Of course.

Quote:
I wouldn't worry about chains, although before next winter you might want to think about buying a set of 4 extra wheels with snow tires. Something like a Blizzak.
Living for years in the northeast, I never had snow tires or a problem on horribly plowed side roads, black ice or driving thru storms/blizzards. Maybe CO roads call for them? I'll let that be next autumn's project. Thanks.


But, for now, I'll just stick to Hwy 40 vs 70 & the probability that 70 closes more regularly than 40, as these people I spoke with cautioned. Wasn't asking for weather predictions just to be clear, just which route others who are familiar with those roads would take. Could anyone address that specifically?? Thanks.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
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Not to thread jack, but similar question.

Driving to Fort Collins, CO from Dallas, TX to visit some friends for a couple of days. I was under the impression that the roads going up there would be clear of snow, ice and sleet by now?

Their lows were in the mid/high 30's and avg/high in the 50's and 60s.

Are you now saying I might hit winter weather? What exactly is the realistic prognosis of that happening?

Shortest route in miles (and minutes) for me would just be to head straight up US-287 N, is that a bad idea? Google Maps also suggest US-287 N for most of it, then detour slightly onto I-25 N

Or the longest (by 97 miles) and most time consuming (though only by 20 minutes) is I-35 N then I-70 W.

We only have 5 full days, and plan on starting the drive at 5 pm, when my wife gets off work, and pull an allnighter, hopefully entering Fort Collins no later than 10 am the following morning.

Last edited by TheViking85; 03-18-2011 at 03:30 PM..
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,299 posts, read 45,047,758 times
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The thing about Colorado weather is it can change a lot in a few hours. Snow is *mostly* done for the year but it's possible to have it come back in spades for a day or so. The odds of it hitting now are slim, but the odds of what has happened in Japan were slim too, and it happened. If you are looking at the Weather Channel, and otherwise keeping up to date on weather news, you should not be surprised by a sudden storm, but my anecdote of being clobbered by a March snow near Denver is actual experience.

Real snow tires provide better traction and better braking in snow than all seasons do, particularly when the all-season tire is worn past about half tread depth. They are not, strictly speaking, *necessary* if you are careful enough and if you don't drive in heavy traffic in the snow. If you are in heavy traffic, the guy ahead of you gets on the brakes hard and has snows, and you don't have snows, well, good luck with that. The Denver area gets enough snow that IMHO it's worth having a set of snows, provided you have a place to store them in the off season. Once you get past the capital expense of buying the extra wheels and tires, the carrying cost of having winter and "3-season" tires is not much.

Need to understand that AWD, 4WD, etc. are not really a substitute for real snow tires.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
4,464 posts, read 10,016,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
The thing about Colorado weather is it can change a lot in a few hours. Snow is *mostly* done for the year but it's possible to have it come back in spades for a day or so. The odds of it hitting now are slim, but the odds of what has happened in Japan were slim too, and it happened. If you are looking at the Weather Channel, and otherwise keeping up to date on weather news, you should not be surprised by a sudden storm, but my anecdote of being clobbered by a March snow near Denver is actual experience.

Real snow tires provide better traction and better braking in snow than all seasons do, particularly when the all-season tire is worn past about half tread depth. They are not, strictly speaking, *necessary* if you are careful enough and if you don't drive in heavy traffic in the snow. If you are in heavy traffic, the guy ahead of you gets on the brakes hard and has snows, and you don't have snows, well, good luck with that. The Denver area gets enough snow that IMHO it's worth having a set of snows, provided you have a place to store them in the off season. Once you get past the capital expense of buying the extra wheels and tires, the carrying cost of having winter and "3-season" tires is not much.

Need to understand that AWD, 4WD, etc. are not really a substitute for real snow tires.
You're preaching to the choir when it comes to snow tires. All seasons were abandoned in Scandinavia for a reason.

I'm not buying new winters for a single drive that'll predominantly be in TX/Oklahoma though, so we'll keep an eye on the weather (thank god for smartphones) and be careful if something arise. I just got the idea that snow was likely this time of year, if it's not, we're def making the trip.

Thanks for the clarification.

And yeah, AWD and 4WD help off the line traction but doesn't do anything in the corners or the braking distance, and ultimately, it's the tires grip that decides, not the system that drives them.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,299 posts, read 45,047,758 times
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I was preaching to the OP about getting some snows if she's going to live in Denver - agree with you Viking - given your experience driving in Scandanavia and now living in Texas you almost certainly don't need them.

Do keep in mind though that all-seasons that work quite well in snow with 10 to 12 32nds of tread are not near half that good when they are down to 5 or 6 32nds.

Setting up a smart phone alert for weather would be useful.
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:08 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,377,467 times
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Viking, U.S. 287 is a good route and is the most direct route. Winter weather in the West IS changeable. But, as M3Mitch says, just keep an eye on the wether reports. Hope you have a nice drive and a good visit!
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