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Old 02-27-2011, 03:33 PM
 
22 posts, read 57,051 times
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We are planning to drive from Minneapolis to Seattle this Thursday.

Is there any problem we need to pay attention to for driving safely?

Do we need to drive over/through mountains? Is it a safe driving?

Thanks
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:52 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
38,788 posts, read 69,746,901 times
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Hopefully it will be better next Thursday than last. Pretty nasty snowstorm all the way from Seattle to Idaho. I-94/I90 is the safest and fastest route but
with snow there are many mountain passes to beware of and chances of snow the whole way. Take your time and carry chains eve with 4WD, also plenty of blankets, flashlights, food and water.

You can avoid most of the mountains by going south on 35 and taking 40 or 10 to CA and up I5 but that could double the time and gas. Some of those areas have gotten snow lately too.
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Between here and there
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I'm going to be making that exact same trip this week! I've done it a couple times before, and bisjoe had good advice. Watch the weather forecast and if it looks like there will be bad weather through the mountain passes, you might want to wait it out. If you're familiar with mountain driving, chains might be a good idea, but even after living out west for a few years, I'm not comfortable driving across the mountains in the snow, chains or no chains.

You won't hit mountains until western Montana, and I've never had any problems there (but again, I don't drive in the mountains when it's bad). I-90 across northern Idaho can be a little scary - the road is pretty curvy and there are several mountain passes. Once you get to Coeur d'Alene you'll be fine until you reach the Cascades, where you'll need to cross Snoqualmie Pass. None of this will be problematic at all as long as the weather is okay.

I did cross Snoqualmie Pass once when it was snowing, and I drove across Idaho once in a combination of rain and snow. I was nervous about it, but I'm nervous about everything, and I didn't have any trouble. Just be cautious and watch the weather forecasts.

Here are some links with info about road conditions in Montana, Idaho, and Washington:

Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information Map
Idaho Transportation Department - Division of Highways
WSDOT - Snoqualmie Pass Road and Weather Conditions
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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Bring chains. Yes, you are going to have to drive over mountains. Lots of them, actually. There is a range called the Rockies that reaches all the way from Canada almost to Mexico.

There are four mountain passes that I can think of off hand - Lookout Pass at about 4500 feet, Homestake Pass and Bozeman Pass at about 6000 feet, and Snoqualmie Pass at about 3000 feet.
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,774 posts, read 27,990,056 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bisjoe View Post
You can avoid most of the mountains by going south on 35 and taking 40 or 10 to CA and up I5 but that could double the time and gas. Some of those areas have gotten snow lately too.
Anybody that even thinks about doing that should probably fly. Better yet, they might as well take a boat down around Cape Horn.

Just be careful OP, and go slow if you have to. People go that route (the direct one) all the time without dying or getting injured.
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Between here and there
159 posts, read 597,702 times
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I'm stealing this thread to ask a related question. I've been following the weather and road reports, and I'm putting together a Plan B in case I can't get across I-90 later this week. I'd also like to avoid White and Stevens passes if they're bad, but I'll go one of those routes if I have no other options.

So, I'm wondering what people think of taking I-90 west all the way to Ritzville and then taking Highway 395 down to I-84 and taking that over to I-5, which would add only a few hours to the trip. It's been a few years since I drove along 84, but I think that might be a better option if the passes are snowy? Am I wrong?
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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If Snoqualmie is bad, White and Stevens will be bad as well. My niece is in Hood River and they have snow there along 84 in the Gorge as well. You'll spend less time crossing at Snoqualmie - the road is never closed for more than a couple of hours.
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