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Old 10-31-2012, 08:19 AM
 
24 posts, read 56,133 times
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hi everyone, i'm planning on driving from chicago to san francisco in one week via I-80 sometime in december. i heard it's boring, but direct. i've also heard that in wyoming during the winter, stuff can get pretty real and there are really bad winds/blizzards through the mountains.

can anyone attest to the best route from chicago to sf? i'm planning on going chi > omaha > cheyenne > SLC > reno > SF via I80, but open to more scenic/practical routes.

suggestions?
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:27 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,487 posts, read 62,101,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siva00x0 View Post
...planning on going chi > omaha > cheyenne > SLC > reno > SF via I80
but open to more scenic/practical routes. suggestions?
This time of year you stick close to the main road (I-80) with an eye on the weather.

Quote:
i heard it's boring, but direct. i've also heard that in wyoming during the winter,
stuff can get pretty real and there are really bad winds/blizzards through the mountains.
All true. Have some leeway in your schedule in case you need to park for a day or two.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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I suspect you will be bored. If you find yourself getting sleepy roll down your windows. If you start getting real warm and have the urge to take off your clothes, hypothermia may be setting in. If you can't see the road and everything is white, you are either in a blizzard or on your way to heaven.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:51 AM
 
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haha gengis and thanks mr. rational. all great suggestions. the farthest west i've ever been is colorado for 2 hours and i lived in west texas for a few months. so i'm super excited to see such exotic places like wyoming and utah and nevada.

any tips for mountain driving? i drive a 2009 VW tiguan, without 4 wheel drive. am i screwed, or should i be okay as long as i pack chains?
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Central Mass
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It's long. It's boring. It's desolate. It gets snow in June...

You will need chains. Get them, know how to put them on, and know how to drive with them on. It's easy if you know how, but you don't want to learn on the side of the road at midnight in a blizzard...
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:31 AM
 
24 posts, read 56,133 times
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wikiHow/eHow, here i come. I also have a really good trusted mechanic who will be able to help me with tuning up before i make the journey and teaching my dumb ass how to drive with chains. i've talked to others and heard that I 70/ I 40 are also viable routes. has you or anyone ever driven to SF on those? I know they would be less direct but more scenic/safer, respectively (from what i hear)\


edit: also should mention, i am from illinois. So boring drives are really nothing new to me, even for many hours. I've made the drive from chicago > denver, which is hours and HOURS of BORING NE/IA flatlands, but i'm assuming it gets a lil better after CO.

Last edited by Siva00x0; 10-31-2012 at 12:00 PM..
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
6,552 posts, read 10,257,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siva00x0 View Post
wikiHow/eHow, here i come. I also have a really good trusted mechanic who will be able to help me with tuning up before i make the journey and teaching my dumb ass how to drive with chains. i've talked to others and heard that I 70/ I 40 are also viable routes. has you or anyone ever driven to SF on those? I know they would be less direct but more scenic/safer, respectively (from what i hear)\


edit: also should mention, i am from illinois. So boring drives are really nothing new to me, even for many hours. I've made the drive from chicago > denver, which is hours and HOURS of BORING NE/IA flatlands, but i'm assuming it gets a lil better after CO.
Before I went out and bought a set of tire chains (that you'll likely use once or twice tops), I'd check the chain laws for the states along I-80.

Wyoming's chain law defines two levels of winter driving conditions.
Level 1 is "chains or adequate snow tires" or all-wheel drive.
Level 2 is chains or all-wheel drive vehicles with adequate snow tires.
Chain law

I-80 doesn't enter Colorado at all. If you're trying to stay on the freeway, I personally wouldn't recommend going through Colorado. Coming through here could add a couple hundred miles to your drive because there's no direct way to the Bay Area. You'd have to take I-70 to I-15 and then head north to Salt Lake or take I-15 south to I-40 and then cut across to I-5 to get there. That and I-70 is both much higher (11,000ft vs 8600ft) and more heavily congested than I-80.

The wind & ground blizzards are your biggest worry on I-80 in Wyoming. The freeway itself isn't terribly technical. The high spot is about 8,600 feet between Cheyenne and Laramie at the southern end of the Laramie Mountains. From Cheyenne the climb is gradual and gentle. The west side is down into Laramie is much more windy and has a steeper grade.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:22 PM
 
24 posts, read 56,133 times
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thank you for that helpful tip. I recognize 80 doesn't go thru CO (and i'm not exactly interested in passing thru there), just had it as an example

what's the speed limit in WY along 80?
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siva00x0 View Post
thank you for that helpful tip. I recognize 80 doesn't go thru CO (and i'm not exactly interested in passing thru there), just had it as an example

what's the speed limit in WY along 80?
75mph
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
10,024 posts, read 10,561,521 times
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Watch out for black ice in the west on the I80. I have seen the wind blow hundreds of vehicles off the road on that super slick ice. If you start to see a few vehicles in the ditch, upside down, on the wrong side of the road etc, SLOW WAYYY DOWN!!!!
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