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Old 03-11-2013, 12:52 PM
 
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We are driving from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon in about two weeks; should we use Rt 80 to 84 orRt 70 - 84. I am very concerned about the weather
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:43 PM
 
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Just follow the weather reports closely.

Also the CDOT webcams will prove useful.

Weekend ski traffic on I-70 can be insane. Having driven I-80 across WY a few times I can tell you that it doesn't have the scenery of I-70 but it does provide a more level highway without the high mountain passes. If you drive on a weekday in clear weather, by all means try I-70 and consider stopping in Glenwood Springs or Vail for lunch.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
431 posts, read 834,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacific130 View Post
We are driving from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon in about two weeks; should we use Rt 80 to 84 orRt 70 - 84. I am very concerned about the weather
Washington, DC to Portland, OR - Google Maps
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:48 PM
 
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Wink Likely not Colorado

Quote:
We are driving from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon in about two weeks; should we use Rt 80 to 84 orRt 70 - 84. I am very concerned about the weather

Continuing west on I-80 to intersect I-84 makes more sense. I-70 represents a sizable detour south then north again, so only worth it for the scenery.

Per the weather, you'll probably be okay. But anything can happen that time of year. Try and time this trip to skip any major storms, and be prepared to stop somewhere if running into conditions that warrant it. Carry chains, and know how to use them (as in having fully put them on—the auto in question—yourself once). The usual winter gear as well: blankets or sleeping bag, food, water, shovel, etc. Needless to say, the auto should have at minimum decent all weather tires.

I-80 across Wyoming is not near as scenic as I-70 through Colorado. Also without the high passes, and that encountered with mild grades. The exposed nature of the landscape and wind in conjunction with drifting snow are your biggest possible hazards. If it is truly nasty, just stop and wait it out. Otherwise it will be a breeze.

BTW, also know that while the mountain states do not, those on the West Coast do require the use of chains on snow packed roads (unless with AWD equipped with dedicated winter tires). One place you could run into this is the divide between La Grande and Pendleton, OR. The snow is generally wetter and slicker than that drier in Colorado or Wyoming. As case may be, they may even have the highway patrol out stopping all autos, and insisting one use chains.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Cole neighborhood, Denver, CO
1,123 posts, read 2,331,680 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacific130 View Post
We are driving from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon in about two weeks; should we use Rt 80 to 84 orRt 70 - 84. I am very concerned about the weather
80...unless you have some reason to stop in Denver.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:19 PM
Status: "I voted!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
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Idunn wrote: BTW, also know that while the mountain states do not, those on the West Coast do require the use of chains on snow packed roads (unless with AWD equipped with dedicated winter tires).

Just wanted to add that Colorado law does require commecial vehicles to have chains on snow packed stretches of I-70 (and other roads), but in a passenger car, it's true that the chain law does not apply. (That was my nit picking post of the day).

I can't count the times all the way up to May when I've been stuck on the wrong side of Vail Pass because of a jack-knifed truck or whatever. Take I-80. Your nerves and your temper will thank you.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:24 PM
 
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Here are the facts: Colorado's "chain law" can and does apply to non-commercial vehicles--including cars--under certain conditions. The first level is "chains or adequate snow tires." It pretty much means what it says. The highest level is "chains only," under which all 2WD vehicles are required to chain up. 4WD vehicles are exempted from the "chains only" requirement.

Here is the Colorado State Patrol FAQ--read for yourself:

Colorado State Patrol - Frequently Asked Questions
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:57 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,844,180 times
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Wink Chains

If conditions warranted "chains only," I wouldn't want to be on the road—and in most cases surely would not be.

Still, news to me, and seemingly I've missed some of the excitement. Yet in years of Colorado driving I do not recall an instance when I needed chains or they were required. Commercial vehicles obviously being an exception to this, and thus my error in assuming these chain laws applied only to them (being definitely so at times).

On the other hand, I do know that one could run into the CHP near Truckee, CA insisting that everyone without AWD and winter tires put on chains before proceeding on over Donner Pass—or turn back. This on a snow packed road, and snowing, although one commonly drives in Colorado in such conditions sans chains. But of course the snow is different and wetter there, more requiring the extra caution.

So, one will likely not end up using chains in Colorado. But wise to have them on hand, just in case. And if it comes to that, perhaps in never dealing with them as having remained home by the fire.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:31 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,125,069 times
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In four decades of driving in the Colorado mountains, I can count on my hands the times that I've had to chain up. That said, for many of those years I drove 4WD vehicles and still do some of the time. I also have learned when it is smart to stay put in bad winter conditions--I might be perfectly capable of driving in pretty awful conditions, but the knotheads out there on the road with me?--well, not so much.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
431 posts, read 834,146 times
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They'll close the roads in CO before they require non-commercial vehicles to chain up.
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