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Old 12-10-2007, 02:20 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX - Displaced Michigander
2,067 posts, read 5,317,764 times
Reputation: 824


I helped my son move to Billings in Oct. and now I'd like to take the family cat as well as a few other things out to him.

I live in NW lower MI and I understand that Billings doesn't get as much snow as what we get here, but I am a little concerned about it anyway. There are a lot of miles between here and there! I do have an AWD Santa Fe, so I wouldn't be driving a car that is normally dangerous in winter weather.

Can anyone give me an idea what to expect as far as driving conditions go, worse case scenario would be good. I don't expect to get off the interstates except to gas up and eat.


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Old 12-10-2007, 03:18 PM
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 36,436,737 times
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If your coming in on 90, your good to go. Ain't often that it's shut down. And if it is, it's only for a few hours.

But, if your coming on 94, I can't help you. I've drivin it every week for years, but I drive it between Billings and Foresight. No further East. So I really can't comment on that.

Last year, they closed 90 twice. And then, only for about 4 hours.
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Old 12-10-2007, 04:24 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX - Displaced Michigander
2,067 posts, read 5,317,764 times
Reputation: 824
Thank you! Thank You! THANK YOU!

That is exactly what I needed to know. I will be coming on 90, so I feel much better about the drive now.

Did I forget to say thank you?
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Old 12-10-2007, 05:09 PM
Location: Sheridan, Wy
1,466 posts, read 3,591,891 times
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Last year my family and I moved from Silverton,OR area to Sheridan,Wy which is about 120 miles south of Billings.

We drove through Spokane,WA, Couer D'alene, ID, then through Butte, Bozeman and to Billings.

What I did for several weeks I checked the weather forecasts before we left, I would look at the Road Web Cams on a weekly basis. We also invested in some Two-way CB Radios from Cobra. They had weather Radio also...

I was surprised, they kept the roads very clear in Idaho,Montana and Wyoming.

We stopped in Bozeman because the weather was a little rough from there to Butte one night, then during the day the next day the roads were clear and we made it to Butte. Then the next day it was off to Billings, we were going to drive all the way to Sheridan, but I-90 was closed between Billings and Sheridan. We stayed two nights in Billings and then after that the road was clear and it was smooth sailing down to Sheridan. We went over a handful of mountain passes and never once had a problem. If we saw bad weather we stopped for the night and waited till during the day the next day.

Ya know what is funny, we got stuck only one time with the UHAUL that was towing my hubby's truck. And it was a mile or two from the driveway! LOL.... Luckily our landlord pulled us out and we made it to our place. We still laugh about that...

Also I would carry an "emergency kit" that includes some kind of neon colored Duck Tape or material that can be used as a flag if you get stuck so a snow plow can see you. Emergency warming blankets, some dry food, extra change of clothes, matches, kitty litter for traction, candles ect...

As long as you take time to watch the weather and prepare you should make it fine I think...

Best of luck to you on your move
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:21 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX - Displaced Michigander
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That's great advice Kristy. I'll make a point of doing the same.
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:48 PM
Location: SoCalif
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Not a big deal, no mountain passes so the the weather is quite predictable (as those above stated) so you can pick your spots days in advance. Coming to Montana from the south or west requires serious driving through mountains that make their own weather, that Monida Pass on I 15 always manages to give me 200 feet visibility even when its CAVU (clar and visibility unlimited) 10 miles in either direction.
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Old 12-13-2007, 10:20 PM
Location: SW Montana
352 posts, read 1,006,176 times
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Default MN to Montana

I have made the trip from the Bozeman area to the Twin Cities several times over the years to visit in-laws at Christmas, and most trips have been pretty uneventful. The most interesting was we left Belgrade with 18" of new snow and coming down hard @ 5 a.m. The trip over the pass was snowy but not too bad (Subaru AWD is a wonderful thing) and mostly ran out of the snow by Big Timber. By the time we got to Billings we had light snow and on the edge of an arctic dome of cold.

We stayed overnight in Mandan, ND; got there maybe late afternoon and it was -28 degreesF with a nasty little wind out of the north. Fortunately, our motel room was sheltered a bit from that wind and they had plug-ins for engine heaters. So we went and grabbed a bite to eat and plugged in when we got back. Thing was, so did everyone else and it blew the breakers sometime during the night. I had a fairly new battery in the Sub, and it was about the only one in the lot to start the next morning at -32 degreesF. I could have about paid for the trip if I had charged everyone to jump their cars. Even with that, most wouldn't start (Thanks Sub, synthetic oil, and Exide Super Duty battery). The room wasn't much better, as it barely cleared 45 degrees and we slept in our insulated coveralls with blankets over the door and window to keep out the breeze. Had our little border collie along and we threw her in the mix to help keep warm. Water froze in the room even trickling through the night.

I always pack a ton of keep-warm and survival gear/food/water along; too many years of trips with my Dad, who was always prepared for about anything short of war when we traveled. There are lots of areas without much cell service, though that is slowly changing. I have run into some real nasty winter weather between Sheridan and Billings when I was pulling fuel tankers some years ago; you get in those hills and it can really whip up a fair ground blizzard. I'm sure you've probably read about people who've abandoned their vehicle to strike off cross country for help - not a wise idea most of the time.

Drive safe!
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Old 12-14-2007, 06:30 AM
Location: LEAVING CD
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We ALWAYS carry a couple of MRE's that are easy to get at any army surplus store, blankets,lighter,flash lights and a shovel if I'm going long distance.
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:27 AM
Location: Eastern Oregon
505 posts, read 1,954,746 times
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We carry MRE's too (they never go bad, so they say), all the stuff above too. I always keep plastic garbage bags in my car too (cheap waterproof material), jumper cables, blankets, etc. Out West I always had a set of chains in there too (something they don't allow in Michigan on main roads). If you're going over any big passes, you may look into getting a pair. There's a tire place out West, "Les Schwab", that used to let you essentially rent them free. You could buy them in the fall and return them in the spring if unused. According to their website, that deal is still there.

We live in Northern Michigan too. I'd love to move back out West some day (I really miss it), and Montana is high on my list. Good luck!
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:05 AM
Location: San Antonio, TX - Displaced Michigander
2,067 posts, read 5,317,764 times
Reputation: 824
Thanks guys, you've really helped. I always carry blankets and a flashlight with me, but I don't have jumper cables, and I will make sure to pack some food in the car. I didn't think about the possibility of having to plug in my car. I don't need an engine heater where I am here in Traverse City. Hopefully that won't be an issue.

I'll put in a shovel, and I will already have kitty litter in the car since I'll be transporting a cat.
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