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Old 10-09-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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Hi, new here at the forums and have some Montana-Specific questions regarding traveling thru the state.

We are leaving Minnesota for Portland, OR on Oct. 19th with a 26' rental truck with car trailer behind hauling our Volvo. Looking at two different route options on Google Maps...

one has us going thru Montana on I-94 and I-90 and the other, trying to avoid major highways, has us going on US-12, MT-200, US-10, US-12, etc thru Missoula.

Looking ahead [but that's not too dependable] at weather, it looks good for avoiding snow... but my question is:

Knowing we aren't going to be driving any faster than 45 to 50mph [due to the size of truck, load weight and car carrier behind], would it be safer to avoid the major highway option and do the smaller routes thru this area? Or would the reverse be true?

Gotta be honest, any advice and calming of my nerves would be MUCH and greatly appreciated... pretty nervous about driving the truck, with everything we own, and me/my wife & daughter onboard too, thru mountains w/the possibility of snow.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:25 PM
 
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I-90 and I-94 would be the safer and faster option for you and your family. You won't have traffic to deal with (generally) and these are the roads that are plowed and cleared the most. I wouldn't have any problem driving 45 mph on these roads.

The smaller roads will be more scenic but also are a lot slower, potentially worse driving conditions, and may be closed more frequently due to bad weather.

Your choice.
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtrees View Post
I-90 and I-94 would be the safer and faster option for you and your family. You won't have traffic to deal with (generally) and these are the roads that are plowed and cleared the most. I wouldn't have any problem driving 45 mph on these roads.

The smaller roads will be more scenic but also are a lot slower, potentially worse driving conditions, and may be closed more frequently due to bad weather.

Your choice.
Thank You for the quick reply!! Jesus, my nerves were getting shot over this issue. It's a long story, but last year when we moved from NYC to Minneapolis we had a host of problems with a too small truck rental [even though that companies customer support insisted we needed no larger] and a car carrier... and we had a very close/near miss with our lives [truck + too much weight in it + car carrier=car carrier started driving the truck and we almost flipped the whole deal... parked at a hotel for 4 days mid-move/no larger truck available/running out of our moving nest egg/job waiting for us but we weren't there/finally off-loaded the car and half the contents of our belongings into self-storage in central PA and returned the car carrier to a local Budget place and arrived in Minnesota alive but with half of our stuff + car still in PA... a month later had all of it trucked out to us, a real fiasco!]...

so, knowing we are getting the largest [more than enough room] truck we can get and that poking along at 45-50mph w/our car in tow, my only remaining fears were mountain passes and snow/ice.

The highway option it is then!

Thanks again.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:10 PM
 
Location: In The Outland
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I agree stay on the interstates - safer, quicker (even when not driving fast), better fuel savings.
You can come back on vacation later and enjoy the scenery and historic sites when you have time to poke into the corners and schmooze with locals.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Billings, MT
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Very definitely, if you are going to be traveling slowly, stay away from 2 lane roads! The freeways will be MUCH better.
the forecast is for snow this evening, with up to a foot of accumulation by Sunday, then temps in the 50 by Tuesday. With melting during the day, and freezing at night, the roads may be extremely hazardous. Be careful.
Chains may be required on some passes. Be sure the rental company allows the use of chains on the truck. you will also need chains on the trailer.
Be careful.
Good luck.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:56 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
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I made just about that same drive in mid Oct last year, Minneapolis to Seattle, towing a boat. There was a small amount of snow on the drive out, hardly enough to even slow down for, none on the way back at all. No problems with ice on any of the passes, taking the Interstate the entire way. I would suggest taking the interstate as the other have suggested, if you do run into snow the interstate will be cleared before the smaller roads and if you have to stop somewhere to wait out a storm it will likely be easier to find somewhere on short notice off the interstate, plus easier access if any repairs are needed.

The scenery can be more interesting on the highways and byways, but that's not why you're making this trip.
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:09 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
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Use our 511 system. Call it from any cell phone and it'll give you up to the minute road conditions for any hwy or major secondary road.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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I live in Lincoln so to do anything like go to the doctor, get groceries, ect... I have to drive at least 50 miles to do so. Driving 45-50 you should be just fine. Relax and enjoy the scenery. We usually don't have too much snow in October but you never know. It's snowing right now and next week we will be above 50 degrees lol. One thing to really watch out for is the wildlife. With October being hunting season, hunters are pushing the critters around so there is a bigger chance for them to be crossing roads. Dusk is the worst time because it is so hard to see them and they are on the move for food. Good luck and have a great trip
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Old 10-10-2008, 11:56 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 12,878,095 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magoomafoo View Post
I live in Lincoln so to do anything like go to the doctor, get groceries, ect... I have to drive at least 50 miles to do so. Driving 45-50 you should be just fine. Relax and enjoy the scenery. We usually don't have too much snow in October but you never know. It's snowing right now and next week we will be above 50 degrees lol. One thing to really watch out for is the wildlife. With October being hunting season, hunters are pushing the critters around so there is a bigger chance for them to be crossing roads. Dusk is the worst time because it is so hard to see them and they are on the move for food. Good luck and have a great trip
Yes, 50 miles used to seem like a very long trip before our settling in the Plains, heck now its a trip to the corner market
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,538 posts, read 12,557,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDX_Westward View Post
one has us going thru Montana on I-94 and I-90 and the other, trying to avoid major highways, has us going on US-12, MT-200, US-10, US-12, etc thru Missoula.
What a bunch of others said. You do NOT want to be towing on Hwy 200 when it might snow with you halfway there, especially if you don't have a lot of prior experience towing in winter. Conversely, the Interstates are liable to be pretty good even if the weather isn't, and they give everyone else a lot more room to avoid you if you're going slow. It's not at all like metro areas where the freeway is like a racetrack, and slower vehicles are shunted onto surface streets.

I once damnear got run over by a road grader near the pass at Lincoln, when the highway was clear and sunny... I came around a tight curve and found the grader coming MY WAY in MY LANE!! I had to quick-hop into the oncoming lane to avoid it... if I'd been towing a trailer, or if it had been icy, or if there'd been any oncoming traffic, they'da had to scrape me out of the bottom of the canyon!
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