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Old 12-06-2009, 09:02 PM
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My husband and I are taking a road trip from Sacramento to Lansing, MI. The majority of the trip we'll be taking I-80 and I was wondering if anybody had any information about what the weather is typically like at the end of March/early April. I'm a little concerned about the weather in Utah and Wyoming. Would a different route be more appropriate, or is it usually safe that time of year? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:21 PM
Location: Wyoming
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I've driven it in April and seen chain laws in effect in Nevada. Wyoming can get winter blizzards through April. In fact, the biggest blizzards I've seen in Wyoming in the last 40 years were in April. That said, if I were planning a trip from Sacramento to Lansing, I'd plan on taking I-80. And I'd keep one eye on the forecast.

Wyoming normally sees crazy weather patterns in April, from warm and sunny to cold, snow and wind that'll blow trucks off the road. Chances are you'll have no problems with the weather, but you just never know.
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:49 PM
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While most folks think about the winter months of Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar as the snowiest along this route, I've seen I-80 have some of the worst ground blizzards and driving conditions in April, too.

Just a few years ago I did a trade show in SLC and headed East for home. By the time I was just past Evanston, it was getting pretty brutal ... and I'd left a strong sunshine warm day in SLC. By Rock Springs, it was almost impassable. I should have gotten a motel room while it was possible, but continued onward to Rawlins in some incredibly difficult conditions. I was the last car that the Patrol let through before they closed the road at Rawlins; again, I should have taken heed of the situation and stopped there for the night. Instead, I continued onward to Laramie, and was ultimately slowed down to about 25-30 mph due to the low visibility and slick conditions. Trucks and cars were off the road all around me. What normally should have been a couple of hours took over 5 hours to travel, and it wasn't fun at all.

Finally, at Laramie, I-80 was closed. Every square foot of truck parking was taken up in the area, every motel room had long been sold out. I wound up sleeping in my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot on the East end of town, and my car was almost buried in the blowing snowdrift that formed around it. I had to dig it out to be able to reach the plowed area of the parking lot so I could go across the road to a cafe. I-80 was closed for almost 24 hours, and the road to Ft Collins was closed, too.

Had I known that conditions were forecast to be that bad along so much of the route, I would have stayed in SLC for another day or two in my comfortable (and inexpensive at $49/night) apartment on Redwood. It definitely pays to watch the weather patterns for your late winter travels along I-80 and make your plans accordingly. Check the weather frequently if it's even slightly in doubt. Better to be stopping and waiting it out in a comfortable place of your choosing rather than pushing on into a road closure and sold out (expensive) crappy motels that prey upon the stranded travelers.

And then there's the many April trips I've made in sunny and clear conditions, too. But you need to be prepared for whatever the season throws your way for your trip.
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:35 PM
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Well said, Sunsprit! I've slept in that Walmart parking lot, too! In Wyoming, U.S. 30 is a good alternate to I-80, BTW.
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