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Old 12-01-2011, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,415 posts, read 17,378,768 times
Reputation: 14073

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdp_az View Post
Agree with others that Wyoming will be the crux of the trip. Often they only plow one lane of travel in each direction on the interstates in WY....

I've lived within a mile of I-90 in Wyoming for more than 40 years and can say that would be very rare on any Wyoming interstate highway. I'm not saying it never happens, as snow plow blades aren't wide enough to do both lanes at the same time, but "often" is simply not true.

Certainly one lane is often better than another, and that's true most anywhere.

The statements about wind on I-80 across Wyoming are very true. It's usually wind that closes the interstate, and I-80 across the state gets more than its share of strong winds. It can cause blizzard conditions, even when it hasn't snowed for a few days, and it can cause black ice from blowing snow across the road. The brilliant folks who decided the routing for I-80 were warned by locals that it would be impossible to keep it open over their planned route, but that's the federal bureaucracy for ya.

But winter conditions are by no means limited to Wyoming in December. Black ice and heavy snows are more common as you travel east. I grew up in Iowa just a few miles from I-80. I owned property there many years, have visited family there all my life, and my sister and her husband have farmed adjacent to I-80 for as long as the highway has been there. Dangerous black ice is very common on that stretch of road. It can take days to clear the roads of it.

Storms travel from west to east, so as MrRational suggested, get between the storms and stay between them all the way across. Hopefully you won't get surprised by one that swoops down out of Canada and across the Great Lakes.

I've seldom had problems with interstate winter travel, but once it took me a week to get across South Dakota and half way across Iowa.
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Central Mass
1,969 posts, read 2,463,128 times
Reputation: 1956
Quote:
Originally Posted by irman View Post
If it does not snow while you drive thru Wyoming, do not fall asleep from boredom.
The only scenery that changes is the yellow line in the middle !!!
If there is one !
Ever driven across Nevada on 80? Much worse than Wyoming!

But I'd agree, Donner, the drive between SLC and Park City, and between Laramie and Cheyenne are the worst parts. 80 never gets too high or too steep (because it follows the railroad).
Nebraska and Iowa can suck with the winds.

Another option would be to take 5 to 10 to 20 to 40 to 81 to 66 to 95 and miss most of the weather all together. It only adds a couple hundred more miles (when your already taking 2800 miles, another 300 miles isn't much)
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:15 PM
 
6 posts, read 12,442 times
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Thank you all so much for your help! I'll be leaving on Monday and will try and post an update!
I am traveling with a partner that can take over some of the driving and I am taking I 84 to I 80.
I will be sure to have every thing that I need plus some stuff that I probably won't. Just in case!
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:01 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,652,720 times
Reputation: 7720
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeRoSeSs View Post
Thank you all so much for your help! I'll be leaving on Monday and will try and post an update!
I am traveling with a partner that can take over some of the driving and I am taking I 84 to I 80.
I will be sure to have every thing that I need plus some stuff that I probably won't. Just in case!

Looks like you're going to hit it perfectly. The National Weather Service shows you'll have mostly clear and dry, but butt-ugly cold part of the way.

The only dangerous weather I see for you will be around Elk Mountain, west of Laramie, WY. The forecast for Monday night is freezing fog, with temps in the
-20 range. That's right....MINUS 20, and a high the next day of 15. After that, it's clear and cold, warming up as you go east.

Freezing fog in the darkness is about as treacherous as it can get because, if it sticks to the road, it leaves a sheen of pure, clear ice that you can't see. Your only clue, sometimes, is what looks like a little sleet between the tire tracks or over on the extreme outside edges. It just sort of looks white.

But, I say IF because I've been across that stretch of I-80 in almost exactly those same conditions more than once and I've found that for some reason, when it's that cold, the fog will stick to everything BUT the road surface! I can't say why. Maybe they treat the surface with something like they do up in Minnesota, but most of the time, the pavement itself will just be damp while everything around you gets thicker and thicker with ice. I've seen the times that happened and, though I didn't have traction problems, the CB antennas would grow to 3 inches thick.

One thing you do have to watch out for in conditions like that is your engine water temperature. The ice will coat the radiator grill and cause the water to overheat. If you see the temps climbing, just stop and knock the ice off the grill and go on.

But, you probably won't make it that far the first day anyhow.
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:24 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,652,720 times
Reputation: 7720
So...how did it go?
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Old 12-20-2011, 07:37 AM
 
6 posts, read 12,442 times
Reputation: 10
I decided to sell my car and fly. Thanks for all of the help!
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,972 posts, read 12,478,001 times
Reputation: 8702
I'm doing a cross country starting March 9th from Portland, Or. to Massachusetts. If I take this route I-84 to I-80 I would go right thru Wyoming. Is it just as bad in March, or is the outlook for less severe weather better then than early winter. I had been planning on going out of the way and taking I-40. Its been recommended that would be a much easier, and safer route in winter to cross the country. With the price of gas really going up so fast, I have been toying with the idea of the most direct route. I-80. Although to be safe maybe I-40 would be easier and safer in early March. Even if its going out of the way and more in gas. Thanks for any advice.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 11,798,947 times
Reputation: 4425
On occasion the freeways thro Wyoming are closed to traffic due to snow and wind making visibility horrendous and driving conditions impossible. Just something to bear in mind.
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