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Old 10-25-2010, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
18 posts, read 29,158 times
Reputation: 32

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Hey all,

My husband interviewed in Boulder today - company flew him out for the weekend to look into the area, and we've decided on an apartment in Westminster if they give him an offer this week.

The biggest hurdle now (provided he gets the job) would simply be: the move.

We currently live in Southern California. What would the drive be like through the mountains near the end of November? Could we make it in two sedans and a moving truck if we're careful? Or would we be better off going below the mountains into New Mexico, and then heading up?

Obviously I'd rather save the time if we can, and enjoy the view, but I'm not sure how harsh driving conditions can get up there... wanted a bit of insight so we can make some preliminary contingency plans.

Thanks, much appreciated!
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Avondale, AZ
1,209 posts, read 4,246,256 times
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Watch weather reports until the last minute. We've done the drive to Southern California or Las Vegas a bunch. When we moved in June of 04,we used the southern route because it's much easier than the high passes on I70 and only takes 2-3 hours longer. In Nov you could have bad conditions either way though. On our way home from Las Vegas in Nov 2008, we had to use I50 from Grand Junction to Pueblo because I70 was closed due to numerous accidents from a storm. The worst part was getting from COS to Monument, only a few miles, but traffic on I25 was at a standstill. We ended up using a few sideroads and some were not yet plowed. Luckily our Acura has AWD.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:39 PM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,208,400 times
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as above, the weather is highly variable at this time of the year.

I made the Boulder --San Diego trip numerous times at Thanksgiving, and it was prudent to wait until the last minute to determine which route was likely to have the least adverse conditions on the road.

You'll then be able to determine if the roads are clear on the shortest route, or if you need to stay on Southern roads before heading North on I-25. Even at that, I've seen the entire SW at higher elevations get hammered ... Flagstaff AZ area can be a mess, then a possible respite as you head to the Albuqq area, then a mess as you head North around Santa Fe. The pass area at the Colo/NMex border can be messed up, too. Alternatively, heading to LasVegas and then North to SLC can have it's higher elevations in severe conditions, too ... as you head to I-70; that's some pretty remote country you'll drive through heading Northward.

OTOH, I've done this trip some years in 15 hrs on clear roads the whole way .... and that was before the interstates were completed for the route.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
18 posts, read 29,158 times
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Thanks guys, very helpful! Yeah, looks like we'll just have to keep a weather eye on the horizon and have a back-up route in place.

Crossing my fingers he gets the job, because this is one adventure we've been wanting to embark on for years now.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:56 AM
 
1,120 posts, read 2,276,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noiseforyoureyes View Post
Hey all,

My husband interviewed in Boulder today - company flew him out for the weekend to look into the area, and we've decided on an apartment in Westminster if they give him an offer this week.

The biggest hurdle now (provided he gets the job) would simply be: the move.

We currently live in Southern California. What would the drive be like through the mountains near the end of November? Could we make it in two sedans and a moving truck if we're careful? Or would we be better off going below the mountains into New Mexico, and then heading up?

Obviously I'd rather save the time if we can, and enjoy the view, but I'm not sure how harsh driving conditions can get up there... wanted a bit of insight so we can make some preliminary contingency plans.

Thanks, much appreciated!




I grew up in Colorado and I have also lived in Utah.

You should probably take the southern route.

If you go the northern route through Vegas, everything is basically Ok until you get to St. George, Utah. Then you might encounter some problems driving from St. George north and then east.

St. George has a low elevation like Vegas but then the elevation increases dramatically as you drive north.

In late November a few years ago I drove on I-80 through Cheyenne on my way to Seattle.

I got caught in a snowstorm just west of Cheyenne. I was lucky that it had just started to snow quite heavily. I-80 had not been closed but a lot of cars were beginning to get stuck. They were going too slow to get through the drifts.

At the time I had a front-wheel drive car, and I decided to increase my speed to about 75 to get through the accululating drifts of snow. I was able to plow through and in a couple of miles everything got better.
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Colorado, Denver Metro Area
1,048 posts, read 3,981,065 times
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Weather in CO is changing and changing often. If possible have a family member who has online access (or if you have a cell with internet) check on road conditions even after you start the trip as road closures in the mountains can happen anytime. Often times it does not need to be 'much' snow for a couple of accidents to close the road.

cotrip.org Road Conditions, Speeds, Travel Times, Traffic Cameras, Live Streaming Traffic Cameras, Road Closures and Road Work Information provided by Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) a branch of Colorado Department of Transportation is your new best friend!

If you are making the trip when you know the conditions are bad, I'd just take the southern route than risk the band conditions and possibly getting stuck due to closures. If you have no snow experience then I'd put even more emphasis on the southern route. Learning to drive on snow in the mountains is not the best place to get that done.

Hope he gets the job and all goes well! Best wishes to you and your husband!
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:13 PM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,742,357 times
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The I-40 route is definitely much longer (by about 3 1/2 hours), so if you're clear all the way on I-15 / I-70 then it is a preferable route (although watch out for ski traffic). You need to keep checking cotrip.org and other sites as storms may impact your route choice substantially, even at the last minute. If you have a smartphone I'd just keep checking it every few hours on your phone.

The I-40 / I-25 route, as mentioned, is not without its trouble spots, but the Flagstaff, AZ area, Glorieta Pass, NM, then Raton Pass, NM is certainly less troublesome than the equivalent problem spots on I-70.

The other thing to remember on I-70 is ski traffic. Do NOT under any circumstances plan on arriving in Denver either Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon. The ski traffic you will encounter will more than negate any possible benefit you may have gained by taking I-70.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,346 posts, read 3,223,156 times
Reputation: 1293
I concur with others who suggest the I-40 route. It is longer, but the possibility of running into hundreds of miles of poor road conditions is generally less of an issue given the much more southern route. Flagstaff can be just as treacherous as anything in Colorado, but it's a relatively short span of interstate when compared with Utah and Colorado. Sections between Santa Fe and Raton Pass getting into Colorado can be no picnic, either, but taking into consideration Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel (both of which can be a nightmare even in mid-summer with all the ***hole drivers).. I'd pick it any day, regardless of weather conditions.. and especially with a moving truck.

Wait until the last minute to decide which route to take. That's part of the splendor in driving - you can adjust your route as you go. If you're lucky enough to have clear roads through Utah and Colorado, you'd be treated to spectacular scenery, but like others have said, try and avoid [especially] Sunday afternoon.

With any route you choose to explore, take it slow and easy and you'll get here just fine. If anything feels unsafe or beyond your comfort level, pull over and wait it out. I've spent many an unexpected night in the mountains because of unpredictable winter weather.. although winter weather in the mountains is never unpredictable. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Always.

*Hoping your husband gets the job! Good luck!*
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Superior
724 posts, read 1,681,314 times
Reputation: 372
We always take the I-15 to the I-70, every winter. It's a two day drive, the first day you can get to Richfield before sundown, and that's generally very clear. The second day is all the mountain driving where the ice and snow tend to be more of a concern, but you can get through it while it's light outside. We normally end at Breckenridge, so if you're going further I'd opt to make it a 3-day trip. Of course, we HATE the desert, so we've never tried the southern route.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
18 posts, read 29,158 times
Reputation: 32
Thanks for all the info, guys! Because of the moving truck, I think we're just gonna play it safe and take the 40. In the future (for trips back and forth) we'll try the 70 when we've had a bit more practice driving wintry mountain roads... and no big truck trailing along.

Husband did get the job, btw! We're moving 11/28!
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