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Old 02-18-2009, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Seattle
101 posts, read 270,167 times
Reputation: 72

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I am moving from Seattle to Albuquerque around March 9th. I planned my route on the Rand Mcnally web site and it says I should take I 84,I 15, US 6, I 70 US 491 and then I 40. I am confident in the driving directions but I have not been able to find info on what the road conditions might be like and am wondering if this is a good time to travel. Does any one have any experience driving this route or know where I might find info on the road conditions? Thanks so much for any info.
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:39 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 25,918,367 times
Reputation: 6240
Go to the nearest truck stop. Every truckers map = they are the ones with the plastic coated pages and ring binders = list a road conditon number for each state.

Unless you really WANT TO DRIVE through mountains in winter - most of the way - take I-5 South to Los Angeles and pick up 1-40 East. You'll go through the desert instead. You will still go through a small mountain range but nothing like the Rockies.

March is spring in the desert and winter in the mountains. The danger of the high altitude driving in the Rocky Mountains is the freak storm that can produce all kinds of nasty problems you do not want including horrendous winds. Been there done that.

Take the easy route. The drive along the coast is beautiful. Enjoy it.

DO check water, oil and fill up with gas and take some bottled water BEFORE you enter the desert. There are no gas stations or motels, or cell service in the desert and it is 100 degrees HOT.

I always drive the desert after midnight because it is several hours and not nearrly as hard on the engine as it is after 6am. Twice in the desert was enough for me.

Now I drive the southern route from San Diego 1-8 tp 1-10 to Las Cruces,NM. There I pick up the I-25 which goes through Albuquerque. If you are not in a hurry stop at the Elephant Butte Lake. It is ao clear you can see the bottom of he lake, Also Socorro is where the big dishes listen for outer space activity. There is a lot of wildlife to capture if you have a camera. I usually stay at the Best Western in Old Mesilla at Los Cruces. The accomodations are very nice. LC is about 6 hours from your destination.

Regardess of the route its still going to take a couple of days driivng. The question is not the driving time as much as it is the weather. The southern route is always good. The 1-40 out of LA is normally pretty good. Its cold, the the roads are normally clean.

I thought of something else. I usually carry a NOAA weather radio with me because I can pick up signals from coast to coast. My unit has three bands and runs on electicity or battery. It is a great $20 investment from Radio Shack.

Got questions? IM me.
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:55 AM
 
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
3,871 posts, read 15,484,327 times
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Linics is absolutely right! I live in Bellevue and have quite a bit of knowledge about going either east or south in our winters. The LAST place you want to wind up from the beginning of October through the end of April is in the Cascades and the Rockies. Winter on the route you've described would include strong winds, snow, ice, probably blizzard and whiteout conditions, and maybe most importantly no help -- the route you got from Rand McNally is fine in the summer but in the winter if you blew a tire or couldn't see the side of the road in a blizzard and drove off into a ditch, it could be days until you're rescued. Not a wise route in the winter. 84 alone is along the gorge: do you know how strong those winds are that whip through the gorge?

The safe way to go is straight down I-5, and hang a left at Los Angeles onto I-40. The more south your route is the safer it will be in terms of weather.

The border between Oregon and California is the Siskyou Mountain pass, the only winter mountain conditions you're likely to encounter. Be certain to have cable chains that fit your tires, and know how to use them. But since I-5 is a critical commercial and trucking route from the interior of British Columbia to the interior of Mexico, it is kept as clear and safe as humanly possible, and during the winter the Siskyou pass area is almost crowded with State Patrol cars to help out anyone who gets into trouble.

You can Google Siskyou webcam and I-5 webcams for Washington, Oregon and California. I'm sure you can also Google I-40 webcams for the states you'll travel through. The cams are operated by each state's department of transportation. You might also want to become intimate with weather.com where you can check 10-day forecasts for every city and town in North America.

Have a great trip!

Last edited by allforcats; 02-19-2009 at 01:14 AM..
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:41 AM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
7,363 posts, read 12,896,172 times
Reputation: 30810
If you want to check once on the road, stop at each state's welcome center. They can get road conditions for you.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:05 AM
 
70 posts, read 311,406 times
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Careful around Flagstaff, AZ if you do the southern route. It is at 7000 feet and winter doesn't end here until April. Last year in early March there was a huge pile up on I-40 just west of town due to blowing snow. Although posters above are right about the southern route being easier than the Rockies, not all of it is desert and 100 degrees in March (actaully none of it is 100 degrees in March). Aside from Flag, I-40 around Winslow & Holbrook can get nasty blowing snow, Gallup, NM to Grants, NM is in eleveations exceeding 6000 feet and subject to winter conditions as well. Take the southern route for sure, but take your time and get that weather radio lincx suggested!
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Seattle
101 posts, read 270,167 times
Reputation: 72
Thank you all for your most valuable information. I doubt that anyone from Rand Mcnally would come to my aid if I was trapped in a blizzard! I have some flexibility in my timing unless a possible job offer comes through so I may just wait. Thanks again, you are all great!
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 25,918,367 times
Reputation: 6240
Default Good idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by kygman View Post
If you want to check once on the road, stop at each state's welcome center. They can get road conditions for you.


The welcome centers useally close around 5pm.
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 25,918,367 times
Reputation: 6240
Default Maybe

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbilly79 View Post
Careful around Flagstaff, AZ if you do the southern route. It is at 7000 feet and winter doesn't end here until April. Last year in early March there was a huge pile up on I-40 just west of town due to blowing snow. Although posters above are right about the southern route being easier than the Rockies, not all of it is desert and 100 degrees in March (actaully none of it is 100 degrees in March). Aside from Flag, I-40 around Winslow & Holbrook can get nasty blowing snow, Gallup, NM to Grants, NM is in eleveations exceeding 6000 feet and subject to winter conditions as well. Take the southern route for sure, but take your time and get that weather radio lincx suggested!
Maybe it takes a while for the desert to cool off? It was 100 degrees at 1am in late November. You're right about Winslow. I stayed there one night in December and thought I'd turn into an iceberg. Wind howled like a pack of hungry wolves all night. I'd forgotten what real cold was, I I even thought the lullaby was okay too.

What surprised me the most about Winslow was finding Denny's. It is the best Denny's I ever visited, the food was great and the service was first class. And I enjoyed talling with the locals. We stayed in a little motel not too far from Denny's. Clean, comfortable and the owner was very nice. All in all it was a positive experiece.
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:16 PM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
7,363 posts, read 12,896,172 times
Reputation: 30810
Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post


The welcome centers usually close around 5pm.
Stop at any welcome center in Kentucky and it's open 24/7. I think Tennessee is the same.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:28 PM
 
Location: Seattle
101 posts, read 270,167 times
Reputation: 72
What about going through Reno in stead of down to LA? I would love to see it on my trip. It's a little shorter than going through LA. Wouldn't that be mostly flat, desert driving?
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