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Old 10-12-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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I have developed extreme sensitivity/allergy/asthma (god knows what noone can diagnose me correctly) to mold and damp weather in the Bay area and decided to move to another state.

I am planning on driving to denver in the first week of November. My biggest concern is snow. I have Honda Civic and I am not very skilled at snow driving. Any advice? Should I take Arizona route instead of Nevada-Utah? How many hours should I drive each day? Where should I stop for rest?
What other inexpensive options do i have to transport my car to CO?
thanks
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:20 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
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Originally Posted by magnolia_tree View Post
I have developed extreme sensitivity/allergy/asthma (god knows what noone can diagnose me correctly) to mold and damp weather in the Bay area and decided to move to another state.

I am planning on driving to denver in the first week of November. My biggest concern is snow. I have Honda Civic and I am not very skilled at snow driving. Any advice? Should I take Arizona route instead of Nevada-Utah? How many hours should I drive each day? Where should I stop for rest?
What other inexpensive options do i have to transport my car to CO?
thanks
You are less likely to hit adverse winter conditions by driving I40/I25 (the "southern" route), but there are no guarantees--I25 from northern New Mexico into Denver can occasionally have nasty winter conditions from now on until late spring. I70 has already had winter conditions this fall, and they can happen anytime from now on until late spring. The early winter season storms can be very hazardous because temperatures can hover just below freezing, which is when any ice that forms on the roads is the absolute slickest. Check the weather forecasts and road conditions--carefully. It is absolutely possible for the road to be dry with sunshine, say, in Glenwood Springs and have a raging winter storm in progress on top of Vail Pass or the Eisenhower Tunnel. The Colorado mountains are no place for unskilled winter drivers in a winter storm--that is exactly why there are so many crashes on Colorado roads during bad winter driving conditions.
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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Wink Bay Area to Denver - in November

Your Honda Civic will be fine in the snow, but if you are inexperienced with driving on snow, do not. At least not on that trip. You'll have the occasion and need later in Colorado, but best to gain some sense of it and learn somewhere other than on a public road.

So watch your weather windows. No way of knowing save a few days or hours in advance, but each state, at least California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, each offer online access to their road departments with fairly current road conditions. More broadly you can rely on your local television weatherman; most of these storms come off the Pacific and head east, so if nothing major is brewing you have a fair shot. With the caveat that previous storms may have left difficult conditions in places, although in early November that less an issue. But if you can be at all flexible, but the change of a few days forward or later can make all the difference between dry or wet roads, and an experience you'll wish you didn't have to learn from. That might sound melodramatic, but particularly if less than practiced with driving on snow, it can be a very long way across in a storm.

Unless freaking about this, having a car transported, not to mention associated airfare, etc., is expensive. Besides which, you'll need to drive it at some point at the far end in Colorado anyway. Then also, it can be a quite lovely and interesting drive from California to Colorado. But if driving do take a few routine precautions. Have the Civic serviced and in good working order, which would include proper anti-freeze levels for colder climates. Also include possible emergency items such as extra warm clothes, some food and water, a small shovel, etc. But most of all insure that your Civic has proper tires. They can be either dedicated winter tires, or a compromise with all-season mud and snow tires. But do your research, as all are not created equal despite marketing claims, and this above all else what any vehicle requires in snow. Have these from California onwards, as one can never exactly know what conditions will be encountered. If happening upon a patch or two of snow, above all else slow way down. Meaning probably slower than other idiots passing you.

All that said, it will probably be a pleasant trip you will fondly remember. The most direct and best route is more or less due east from the Bay Area to Denver. If weather conditions seem questionable, then the option of skirting south to I-40, thence north from Albuquerque to Denver on I-25. This route can be scenic as well in places, but from the Bay Area a big detour unless you really have to. Flagstaff, AZ is a good midpoint stop, with good options in food and lodging, but a healthy 12 hour drive from the Bay Area, and that much as well on to Denver. So you may consider locations such as Bakersfield, CA, Albuquerque, NM, etc. as well as, or instead, towards shortening each driving day. It is a long drive any way you go, and tiring unless one is accustomed to long distance driving. On the better part of this southern route, you will have fairly ready access to services such as fuel, food and lodging. But do remember, particularly if through Nevada, that these are long distances through a rural environment, so especially with fuel know your mileage, where the next town of any size is, and do not run on a nearly empty tank. Also realize that if less chance than on a northern route, that I-40 can at times experience snow and difficult driving conditions as well.

A brief note on lodging before covering the particulars of the preferred northern route. It is possible to drive straight through to Denver without stopping for much more than fuel, assuming one is ready to devote roughly 24 hours to it. More usually this is not preferred, so lodging enters the equation. If on a tight budget one can become creative with some quite strange places. But if valuing simplicity, comfort and safety more, then best to stick with name-brand corporate mid-level hotels, such as, in example, Hampton Inn. It can be fun to wing it and stop wherever one's mood happens to land, although remember that at that time of year the days are shorter, and one may not want to be out on the open, unknown road well after dark wondering where they might alight. So the internet can be your friend, with advance booking the next nights stay. Know yourself, be conservative, and if arriving a bit early at the next nights stay when in the moment you might have gone further, just consider it a vacation. One could book all lodging in advance, but that can be quite limiting if when actually on the road you find your preferences in time and distance differ. In the summer, in some places, it might be a good idea to book well in advance, but most motels and hotels will have plenty of space come November. So you can more usually just show up, or do no more than book the room in advance that morning, when some idea of where you'll likely be come nightfall.

From the Bay Area it is a bit of a jog northeast to Tahoe, but then fairly due east the rest of the way to Denver. The most direct route, arguably most scenic, and surely the preferred all else being equal. It can be done in two roughly 11 hour days, but the same caution that it is a lot of driving if unaccustomed. If in two portions, then the eastern Nevada town of Ely makes a good midpoint. It is large enough to provide all the services you'll need, as well as at least two decent options in lodging.

In brief, your route could be I-80 to Sacramento, thence US 50 to Tahoe, thence continuing on US 50 to Salina, UT, thence I-70 to Denver.

Getting to Sacramento may not be much fun, unless taking the scenic route, but US 50 from there to Tahoe is a lovely route once in the mountains. There might be some snow in the Sierra Nevada come early November, but if it comes to it US 50 will be little different than Donner Pass on I-80, possibly easier. You will need chains in California as required, and a good idea to have them even if more only an emergency option in Colorado. Some snow you might hazard, and at the right time of day find largely gone again; if substantial then you might consider that southern route.

In consideration of I-80, it is possible to follow that interstate all the way through Wyoming to cut south for Denver on I-25. Some will prefer such a route, being an interstate. But it is not as scenic or direct a route, with more truck traffic. Also arguably, such as in Wyoming, no place to be in a storm. Although if it comes to that, and unsure in snow, probably not on I-70, either.

If the time and inclination, South Lake Tahoe can make a pleasant way stop. If wishing to be that much further east, then Carson City offers any number of services. East of there you are almost on the open road. Fallon, NV is about 60 miles farther on, and truly the last place of any size (and services) until one reaches Austin, NV, and that town if interesting is basic when it comes to fuel, food and lodging. Eureka, NV is only appreciably larger. Neither of these towns is the place where one would want to count on an open gas station at 3am. With Ely, NV, you can.

For the record, the two significant mountain ranges and passes to be traversed on this route are in the Sierra Nevada, and then central Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Your best chance of encountering snow will be there. But eastern Nevada is one series of small mountain ranges and passes after another. Some up and down elsewhere, interspersed with long, fairly flat valleys. Serious mountain driving on I-70 begins at Vail, continuing until nearly Denver. With two major passes to be traversed: Vail Pass (elevation: 10,617 feet), and Eisenhower Tunnel at Loveland Pass (tunnel elevation: 11,158 feet). But it can reasonably snow from just east of Sacramento all the way to Denver. Clear and dry, or snow-packed, so know in advance which it is.

From Ely, NV the next town of any size with services is Delta, UT, and 153 miles distant across at least one pass and a lot of flat nothing. From Delta pay attention, as there is a slight jog in the road. The best route is to continue on US 50 (with a turn to the right beyond, so pay attention) to the frontage road at I-15. Turn left to drive the short distance north to merge onto I-15/north. From there it is about 15 miles to Scipio, UT, where one exists I-15 to continue southeast on US 50 to Salina, UT. Scipio, by the way, offers some basic lodging, and more importantly the possibility of fuel 24/7. Salina is about 27 miles beyond, and the junction with I-70. It is large enough to offer several options in food, lodging and fuel.

Fuel being a good idea there, or at least checking it, as if the next 107 miles to Green River, UT scenic, there are basically no services. Green River is roughly comparable to Salina in number of services. It is not quite as empty from Green River to Grand Junction, CO, but at some distance the next possibility of services is Fruita, CO.

Grand Junction will have everything you might want, and from there to Denver services are offered at fairly regular intervals.

US 50 through Nevada terms itself the 'Loneliest Road in America,' with some truth. From Fallen, NV to Delta, UT it is mostly wide open spaces, and little traffic. Which can be fabulous. But for those seeking company and services at regular intervals the better option would be an interstate such as I-80.


If with some planning and forethought, this can really be a wonderful excursion. But do try and avoid any snow.
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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I would not recommend the route suggested by Iduun (sorry). I-80 is an interstate and you can blast right through Nevada and Utah. Plenty of lodging opportunities (we stay in Super 8's). Yes, there are a lot of trucks, but they are easy to pass on a four-lane highway. Only problem could be high winds through Wyoming.

Highway 50 is two lanes through the range and basins of central Nevada. Peppered with small towns with limited lodging. It may be the loneliest road in America, but you can go for miles behind a slow vehicle waiting for an opportunity to pass.

As far as snow, OP, keep an eye on the weather reports and use each state's transportation department website for current road conditions. You may have to spend an extra night or two along the way. As others have said, even the “southern” route can get snow in Arizona and Colorado.

Aren't there plenty of areas of California that don't have the same mold and damp as the Bay area? Why the decision to move to Denver in the winter?
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:29 PM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
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I-80, I-70 and I-40 all range from 21-25 hours, not much of a difference in the big scheme of a move. I would plan on 3 days of driving, that way you can drive during daylight hours and not have to push yourself with 12 hour days. I would also plan out each route, with hotel stops and then see how the weather looks for your trip and then choose. Most hotels have a 24 hour cancellation policy, so you can book everything and then cancel what you need.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
I would not recommend the route suggested by Iduun (sorry). I-80 is an interstate and you can blast right through Nevada and Utah. Plenty of lodging opportunities (we stay in Super 8's). Yes, there are a lot of trucks, but they are easy to pass on a four-lane highway. Only problem could be high winds through Wyoming.
Apparently you have never seen I-80 in Wyoming in a bad early winter storm. I have--in fact, I've had to drive it under those miserable conditions numerous times. Blizzarding and severe winter road conditions can happen on I-80 just about anytime from now until May. People get deceived by I-80's relative "flatness" through Wyoming. In fact, most of I-80's length through Wyoming is over 6,000 ft. elevation, a lot of it over 7,000 ft.--more than high enough elevation to get bad winter conditions early and late in the snow season. Combine that with the wind and the large number of trucks on I-80, and it can be one hazardous road. Playing bumper cars on a slick zero-visibility highway in a 3,000 lb. car with 80,000 lb. semis can be very dangerous. People also assume that those big rig drivers are all experienced winter mountain drivers if they're on I-80 in Wyoming. Wrong. I've seen plenty of idiot truck drivers on I-80 who are as incompetent in handling winter driving conditions as some 22-year-old chick from Florida who has never seen snow in her life driving a Mustang with highway tires on an ice-covered road. At least she isn't driving 40 tons of truck careening all over the Interstate.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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I've been on I-80 several times and I broke my own cardinal rule the last time I was on it. And that was trying to get home from Sheridan before a cold front hits the Wyoming border. A year ago last January I visited a long time buddy there. Driving early that morning was a piece of cake, even going over Muddy Pass, which is between Casper and Rawlins. Then I came up on Rawlins and faced a worst case scenario. The forecast didn't call for snow till that next morning but that didn't mean I-80 wasn't under assault already-it was.

Picture yourself in a mixing bowl of whipped cream with your Hamilton Beach blender on medium, and with you sitting on the bottom of the bowl. That's what a blizzard on I-80 looks like, to me anyway. The stretch on I-80 from Rawlins past Rock Springs can get nasty in no time. Why? Because it's not the storm that will be coming through, it's the snow that's already on the ground with the winds howling steady, sometimes a couple hours at a time, at 40 to 50 m.p.h. And it whips up the snow effortlessly. Visibility? Bad, only a few hundred feet at the most.



One thing I had going for me; pulling out of Rawlins I knew I had only 24 miles to go where I hit mile marker 187, where state highway 789 drops south and eventually comes into Craig. And trust me, you might not see the exit sign until you are right at the turnoff (which is why I remembered 24 miles). And once I get a ways south on 789, conditions improve. The thing is though, the further south you go, the higher the snow gets. It's not uncommon to see 2 feet of snow in the town of Craig in the middle of winter, not uncommon at all.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,899,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnolia_tree View Post
I have developed extreme sensitivity/allergy/asthma (god knows what noone can diagnose me correctly) to mold and damp weather in the Bay area and decided to move to another state.

I am planning on driving to denver in the first week of November. My biggest concern is snow. I have Honda Civic and I am not very skilled at snow driving. Any advice? Should I take Arizona route instead of Nevada-Utah? How many hours should I drive each day? Where should I stop for rest?
What other inexpensive options do i have to transport my car to CO?
thanks
The desert routes (US-50 and I-70 in Nevada and Utah) will be fine in November. The only issue with this route is that it iss very isolated. You may feel nervous about being about in the middle of nowhere with very little traffic and huge distances between towns. So, apart from that the main problem with this route is Sierras and the Rockies. I don't know typically what the Sierra snow season is, but it starts snowing in September in the Rockies. The problem is, Colorado mountain weather is very unpredictable, even in the winter. It can be dry and clear for 1/2 the day, then a blizzard the other 1/2. Or it can be dry and clear two weeks in a row, and then snowy the next. Normally I advise driving up to the Rockies (Grand Junction on I-70) and stopping to listen to the weather forecast. Then make your decision based on the forecast, whether to drive through the Rockies on I-70 or avoid them by going down into New Mexico and over to I-25 in Albuquerque.

Some people will advise the northern I-80 route, but even though much of this route goes through the flat, desert-like country, it tends to get nasty blizzards. Wyoming is one of the coldest and snowiest states.

Last edited by 80skeys; 10-17-2011 at 09:40 AM..
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
It can be dry and clear for 1/2 the day, then a blizzard the other 1/2. Or it can be dry and clear two weeks in a row, and then snowy the next. Normally I advise driving up to the Rockies (Grand Junction on I-70) and stopping to listen to the weather forecast. Then make your decision based on the forecast, whether to drive through the Rockies on I-70 or avoid them by going down into New Mexico and over to I-25 in Albuquerque.

Some people will advise the northern I-80 route, but even though much of this route goes through the flat, desert-like country, it tends to get nasty blizzards. Wyoming is one of the coldest and snowiest states.
Today is a great example. Here in western Colorado, it is a beautiful morning--temperature in the 50's, blue sky with very few clouds, sunshine. An associate of mine just phoned from up on Vail Pass--snowing, road slushy and wet--all indications that it was a real mess last night. CDOT still showing chain law in effect for commercial vehicles, though he said it's not that bad now. Last week, I drove all over the southern part of Colorado and into northern New Mexico on business--gorgeous weather and dry everywhere, with temps in the 70's, even in the higher mountains in the afternoon.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:23 AM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
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We did have a heck of a storm blow into Vail this morning at about 3am, thunder, lightening and hail. It looks like the snow line is about 9,000 feet, the passes are messy, but the valleys are fine and the sun is breaking through. Normal Colorado day, wait a few hours and the weather will change.
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