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Old 08-23-2009, 11:07 PM
 
3 posts, read 9,603 times
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My partner have just moved to Toronto from Australia and have family friends who live in Salt lake, we are interested in driving there for christmas with our pet dog. How realistic would it be to drive between these two cities in winter conditions? I maped out a rough plan on google maps...it would take us through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, how are the road conditions at Christmas time? I'm happy to do it over 3-4 days... I am also use to driving long distances, I'm mainly concerned with the weather as we are not from a cold climate.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 08-24-2009, 02:54 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,957 posts, read 12,762,403 times
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You might be better to try a different route?

As inexperienced novices to winter driving, we went to the Salt Lake City 2004 Olympics from Spokane WA via US I-90 and then I-15 in a small front wheel drive Ford Focus with snow tires. No chains. Yes, a shorter distance than you are proposing, but one that had a whole lotta winter mountains in the Montana in-between. Nary a problem.

Major highways are kept very well clear of snow. Although I've never done it, I might recommend that you stay on the Trans Canadian Highway 1 west, and then connect to US interstate I-15 south to Salt Lake City. We met plenty of Canadians at the Olympics who had taken just that route and this was in February, the worst of winter. No one had any problems to report.

I would definitely recommend the Canada Highway 1 westbound, connecting to US I-15 south to SLC for this trip in the winter. Mountain passes are minimal. Major trans continental highways are well kept and cleared. Definitely preferable to the convoluted route you have proposed.

We did stop in Deerlodge, Montana on the way home, it was -34F. At these temps gas and diesel fuels will turn to sludge overnight and batteries will die. We noticed a lot of people had electric engine warmers hooked up to their vehicles overnight. You might take this into consideration.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyjpearce View Post
How realistic would it be to drive between these two cities in winter conditions? I maped out a rough plan on google maps...it would take us through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, how are the road conditions at Christmas time? I'm happy to do it over 3-4 days... I am also use to driving long distances, I'm mainly concerned with the weather as we are not from a cold climate.!!

Travelling at Christmas time is a crapshoot. Some years, you will encounter no problems. Other times, you will find a number of the roads close. (Yes, even interstates close at times including I-80 through Nebraska.)

Even if the roads are not blocked, you may encounter delays. I used to commute monthly between Toronto and Detroit which is an easy four hour drive. At leat twice, it took me 6-7 hours.

Driving in the mountains takes some skill and some preparations. You better have a survival kit in case you get stranded. If you are going to pass over mountain passes, you need to carry chains as they are required in a lot of states (including Utah) on particular routes.

Personally, I would find a nice kennel and fly to SLC and really get to enjoy the trip. Southwest is running some phenomenal deals out of Detroit and Buffalo. I think that DTW-SLC was $109OW last week.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Jonquil City (aka Smyrna) Georgia- by Atlanta
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I would not attempt that in the winter. Could be dangerous.
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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Yeah, by all means fly or don't do it, particularly if you are not experienced snow-birds. Could get dangerous, likely to be a PITA.

Beyond challenges to your own driving, rest assured there will be nimble nuts of amazing stupidity cruising along in the snow doing anything but paying attention to their driving...
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Toronto to SLC around Christmas time?

If you're worried about the weather, stay home or fly cuz' it WILL snow on you, somewhere along that route. Maybe all the way.
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:33 AM
 
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After driving truck with my husband cross country for years, I must go with the others and highly suggest find a decent kennel (do take a tour of the facility, I work at one and can give you ideas if you wish to DM me), board your pet and fly down to Salt Lake City.

Even taking the I-15 down you can encounter road closures along the 15 in Montana and Idaho, not due to always the snowfall, but blowing and drifting snow.

Book your flights enough in advance to be able to handle any possible delays. You can ship your gifts out in advance of your arrival or enjoy shopping in Salt Lake. By flying it will also allow you more time to visit with family/friends.
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