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Old 02-06-2013, 07:40 PM
 
Location: PDX
53 posts, read 36,199 times
Reputation: 50

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Hello,

Relocating to Indiana and will need to drive my compact, newer model coupe, from Portland to Indianapolis.

The recommended route is via I-84, I-80 and then onward. I realize there are some other alternative routes through Montana according to google maps.

I'm not so much worried about the last portion of the trip, however the first portion and specifically I-80 is causing me some anxiety.

Here's the basics.

This would occur at the end of february to possibly mid march. I would like to complete it in three days but there isn't a specific time limit to do so.

I plan on driving three shifts. 9-12 hours each. Extra time as needed.

Plans are flexible- may deviate from departure date +/- few days and stay extra time at hotel en-route.

I'm looking for advice here on what I-80 is usually like for the unseasoned trans country driver such as myself, and specifically in winter at the end of February and the first week of March, and if this drive will be stressful on my car (civic coupe) with Mountain passes etc.

Thanks so much!

Last edited by brianbar; 02-06-2013 at 07:42 PM.. Reason: Add Info.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 25,985,320 times
Reputation: 6248
Start tracking weather patterns at NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Don't leave until there is a clear break in the weather for at least 3 days. It will get you through the worst of the mountains. 10 hours days on the road are brutal. It is better, and you will arrive more refreshed, IF you maintain your normal sleep and morning routine. Don't push yourself. 12 hours driving sounds really good on paper until about the 7th hour. The next five feel five times longer. It did to me, and it was still 600 miles per day. If you figure you will drive 50 miles per hour you calculations will be correct. The 50 miles takes into consideration gas stops, pit stops, fast-food stops, and rest stop to walk and exercise. Long hours of driving without exercise is very hard on legs. If you take any kind of medicines keep it in the original container in a place of easy access. Make sure your car is ready. Have it checked by your local mechanic. The radiator fluid must be ready for bitterly cold temperatures. I keep mine at -80 in the winter. The battery should have a full charge or replace it. Replace old hoses. Clean battery posts. Maintain a full tank of gas all the time. Don't wait until you see E. Little things do make a BIG difference when traveling a long distance.


According to every thing I have read, and people I have talked to, the mountains can be very treacherous between October and April. If I were making this trip I would do the following. BTW, I've done a lot of cross-country driving. BE PREPARED for the worst. If you are, the trip might be hair-raising but more likely it will be a walk in the park.

Extra blankets for warmth, large metal coffee can, votive candles, 9volt flashlight with extra batteries, bottled water, and packaged food in a small cooler where you can reach it. I would also have an large extra empty coffee can. A package of 13 gallon garbage sacks/ties will be handy too, and don't foget paper towels. If you should be stranded you should be prepared. Additionally I bought a truckers map. They are large, spiral bound, with plastic coated pages. Each state lists emergency numbers and other useful information. I bought an AC/DC NOAA weather radio with all bands. As you move from one region to the other, it will automatically find your lastest forecast. Be sure to buy the correct batteries for it. Use it from the time you start into the mountains until you get out. You can charge it at night in a motel.

I also bought a CB and a good whip and had it installed. Portable whips are useless when you are moving. Trucker's CBs are more powerful and have a much wider range of contact. The drivers moving west while you are moving east can and will tell you about road and weather conditions, accidents, etc.. that you can expect ahead. I also bought a car charger for the cell phone.

Do not keep trash or open food containers in your car. Large, hungry, forging animals can turn your car over very quickly. You may never one except in a zoo, but on the other hand, the mountains are their home.

Keep your gas tank full. Do not pick up strangers. Do not ever leave your car in a storm. If you are stranded, pull off the road; turn on emergency lights. Get on the CB and cell phone. Do NOT leave the car and try to walk anywhere.

Be prepared, be safe, and enjoy the trip. America is a beautiful place from sea to shining sea. You will find more traffic, more truck stops, and more towns, and more help if you need it on I-80 than you will on a side road or short Interstate route.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,216 posts, read 12,655,064 times
Reputation: 21945
Linicx gave you EXCELLENT advice. I've driven across the country by myself several times (New Hampshire to California, California to Massachusetts, New Hampshire back to California, California to Michigan, Michigan to New Hampshire) and for me the biggest problem was boredom.

Absolutely have your car checked out before you leave. That would be the scariest thing to me, having car problems somewhere along the route. Luckily my trips were never in the midst of winter.

I did drive 12-16 hours a day and it wasn't fun (and I was in my 20s for most of the above trips) ... did 800 miles in one day but that was because I knew I was close and just didn't want to stop. Definitely not something I would recommend.

Best of luck to you!!
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:03 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 25,985,320 times
Reputation: 6248
Default And don't forget

BTW, check I-74 from the IA/IL border thru IL to INDY. It may save you some time and miles. It is good road.

Be sure to carry extra matches for your candles. It is annoying when you need a light and discover the Bic died. It probably wouldn't hurt to carry a gallon or two of bottled water, and some type of no-hands light you can use under the hood, pliers, non-magnetic screwdrivers, hammer, side cutters, electrical tape and scissors. Don't forget a proper car jack (I would by the scissor jack) and something to remove wheel nuts if you have to change a tire. Pray you don't have one of the little tires that can only be driven 50 miles at slower speeds. Shovel, salt and sand. You will need the extra weight in snow. I have a 2x4. I normal have 400-600# over those rear tires in the winter. It sucks gas, but I haven't been in a ditch in 30 years, and I don't do wheelies on black ice.

If you live long enough you learn a lot of trivia. One thing I learned about jacks is placement. ASK your mechanic the safe places on your car to use a jack. You can do serious damage with a jack. And its expensive.

Get your stuff together now and plan where everything will be placed. Contents should be easy to quickly remove if necessary; bag it and tag it. It means you don't bury the tools and shovel under 57 pieces of luggage. And you don't leave anything in plain sight except a map.

I usually stay at Best Western because they have security. I've been known to park outside the door, too. They are clean, roomy, accomodating with breakfast.

Eat properly, sleep well and enjoy your trip. Water equals Montesuma's Revenge. Drink bottled water, pop, juice and cold Starbuck's or buy a six pack of it at the grocery store. Start now so your system can adjust to it. And forget ice!

The biggest problem with cross-country driving is that the gas station that is open when you need one may be 50 miles down the road. It is particularly true after 6pm. One other thing.. you will cross at least two time zones, possibly enter a third, and the Continental Divide before you arrive. Set your watch two hours ahead when you leave. You will arrive on schedule. Do let us know how your trip goes.



Quote:
Originally Posted by brianbar View Post
Hello,

Relocating to Indiana and will need to drive my compact, newer model coupe, from Portland to Indianapolis.

The recommended route is via I-84, I-80 and then onward. I realize there are some other alternative routes through Montana according to google maps.

I'm not so much worried about the last portion of the trip, however the first portion and specifically I-80 is causing me some anxiety.

Here's the basics.

This would occur at the end of february to possibly mid march. I would like to complete it in three days but there isn't a specific time limit to do so.

I plan on driving three shifts. 9-12 hours each. Extra time as needed.

Plans are flexible- may deviate from departure date +/- few days and stay extra time at hotel en-route.

I'm looking for advice here on what I-80 is usually like for the unseasoned trans country driver such as myself, and specifically in winter at the end of February and the first week of March, and if this drive will be stressful on my car (civic coupe) with Mountain passes etc.

Thanks so much!

Last edited by linicx; 02-08-2013 at 03:12 AM..
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,837 posts, read 14,349,419 times
Reputation: 30688
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianbar View Post
Hello,

Relocating to Indiana and will need to drive my compact, newer model coupe, from Portland to Indianapolis.

The recommended route is via I-84, I-80 and then onward. I realize there are some other alternative routes through Montana according to google maps.

I'm not so much worried about the last portion of the trip, however the first portion and specifically I-80 is causing me some anxiety.

Here's the basics.

This would occur at the end of february to possibly mid march. I would like to complete it in three days but there isn't a specific time limit to do so.

I plan on driving three shifts. 9-12 hours each. Extra time as needed.

Plans are flexible- may deviate from departure date +/- few days and stay extra time at hotel en-route.

I'm looking for advice here on what I-80 is usually like for the unseasoned trans country driver such as myself, and specifically in winter at the end of February and the first week of March, and if this drive will be stressful on my car (civic coupe) with Mountain passes etc.

Thanks so much!
We drove I 80 and I 84 from St. Louis to Portland in June. The only mountains we climbed in our car were in OR. The Blues. You know the stretch where the bus ran off the road and killed a bunch of people? In good weather this isn't terrible. But in bad weather, I wouldn't want to do it.

You will travel the length of Wyoming. I don't remember driving over mountains, but the country is sparsely populated. Your cell phone might not work, although you might be able to text. Even in June we could see thunderheads and feel the wind. If you turn south to Denver to pick up I70, you could still encounter bad weather anywhere along the way. Eastern CO and Kansas can be awful if the weather is bad. The snow fences and gates you see by the side of the highway are there for a reason.

We traveled about 300 miles per day. We stayed in Comfort Inns along the way, where the parking lots are lit.

If you could postpone your trip by several weeks, I'd do that. I think you need to plan on driving more days than you want, for safety's sake.
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