Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

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snackdog
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Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by snackdog »

Am planning a trip from Chicago to Portland around Dec 1. Tentative route follow Hwy 90 through Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mammoth Hot Springs, Butte and Spokane.

Am looking for your suggestions on the routing and things to see/do along the way. Time is flexible. Not sure how much snow will be on the roads but will have snow tires on the car. Open to ideas for winter outdoorsy things to do and see in SD, MT, WY.
Shallowpockets
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Shallowpockets »

Good that your timeframe is flexible. You don’t want that route in a blizzard. Interstate could be closed, as in a gate across the road. Big open spaces, be prepared. Have some extras in your car. Sleeping bag, tow strap, jumper cables, outdoor clothes. You have harsh winters in Chicago, so think of that weather in the middle of nowhere.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by WoodSpinner »

OP,

Here are some interest places to stop along the way.....
  • National Bison Range
  • Yellowstone — Lamar Valley
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield
  • Deadwood
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Badlands National Park
  • Wall Drug Store
  • Minuteman Missile Visitors Center
  • Dignity Statue
** Note: I have not done any of these in Winter (or in Covid times) so please check the weather and make sure places are open and safely accessible.


WoodSpinner
Silverado
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Silverado »

WoodSpinner wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:46 am OP,

Here are some interest places to stop along the way.....
  • National Bison Range
  • Yellowstone — Lamar Valley
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield
  • Deadwood
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Badlands National Park
  • Wall Drug Store
  • Minuteman Missile Visitors Center
  • Dignity Statue
** Note: I have not done any of these in Winter (or in Covid times) so please check the weather and make sure places are open and safely accessible.


WoodSpinner
What, no love for the Corn Palace? (No idea if that is even still a thing...covid or no covid)

Definitely agree with being flexible a requirement. Maybe even have some alternative plans that route down on 80 some, though that is no bargain either based on a mid December trip we had to take once.
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mhc
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by mhc »

Badlands NP in the winter is pretty nice. You will have the park to yourself.

If you have kids, go swimming at Evan's Plunge in Hot Springs. We always stop there for a few hours of swimming when we pass through. It's really a nice way to break up a road trip.

Devils Tower just west of Rapid.

Butte has the large copper mine, but it is not a very nice town. It has seen better days.

The dinosaur museum in Bozeman is really nice. I believe it is part of MSU.

As you know you are taking the northern route. I'd be ready to drop south to the I-80/84 route if necessary.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by lthenderson »

WoodSpinner wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:46 am OP,

Here are some interest places to stop along the way.....
  • Yellowstone — Lamar Valley
** Note: I have not done any of these in Winter (or in Covid times) so please check the weather and make sure places are open and safely accessible.
I don't know about the rest but in December, almost all of Yellowstone's facilities and roads are closed and you need to bring your own skis or snowmobiles. I think there is a small portion of road open around the NE entrance all year round.

Having lived along interstate 90 for many years, when a blizzard comes along they simply drop the bars on the entrances of the interstate and you can't get on it until it has been cleared. So if you are going that way, definitely have a very flexible schedule.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Winnie »

I am suggesting taking I-94 starting at Tomah, WI to Billings, MT. At Billings you will pick up I-90. There are plenty of places to stop and the towns tend to be on the interstate versus off,2-3 miles. Either route will require flexibility for winter weather conditions. Make sure you have an appropriate emergency kit for your car.
You can check out Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western ND. Drop down to Mammoth Hot Springs at Livingston, MT. Check out the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.
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snackdog
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by snackdog »

Good suggestions! Mammoth Hot Springs doesn't open for winter until 15 Dec, so probably skip Jellystone side trip. Rushmore, Devil's Tower, Badlands and the Museum of the Rockies all on there. Need to find an open hot springs on the route.
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familythriftmd
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by familythriftmd »

Definitely agree with the flexible time frame. I would make sure to plan relatively short distances each day as you could have great driving or terrible driving.
Agree that continuing on I-90 at Tomah, WI would be a more pleasant drive than going up I-94 to and through the Twin Cities. Plus South Dakota seems so much more scenic on I-90 than ND I-94.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by muddlehead »

I'm a city guy. Love going to 'em. So, I'd do something like this. Chicago down to St Louis to KC to Denver to Salt Lake City to Boise to Portland. Just me, I know. Have a great trip.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by One Ping »

snackdog wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:18 am Am planning a trip from Chicago to Portland around Dec 1. Tentative route follow Hwy 90 through Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mammoth Hot Springs, Butte and Spokane.
Winnie wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:38 am I am suggesting taking I-94 starting at Tomah, WI to Billings, MT. At Billings you will pick up I-90.
mhc wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:54 am As you know you are taking the northern route. I'd be ready to drop south to the I-80/84 route if necessary.
If bad weather forces you to move south, it will be tough going cross country through the prairies or Rockies from 94 to 90 or even 80 to find better weather. If it was me, I'd keep my options open up until I leave and then pick the route that looks best over the next 3 (or whatever) days and take that one. From a strictly 'avoiding potentially isolated or icy mountain roads' perspective, I would probably go with mhc and take 80/84. If the weather is good then do 90. I'd avoid 94 just to reduce the risk of getting caught in an Alberta Clipper.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Valuethinker »

snackdog wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:18 am Am planning a trip from Chicago to Portland around Dec 1. Tentative route follow Hwy 90 through Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mammoth Hot Springs, Butte and Spokane.

Am looking for your suggestions on the routing and things to see/do along the way. Time is flexible. Not sure how much snow will be on the roads but will have snow tires on the car. Open to ideas for winter outdoorsy things to do and see in SD, MT, WY.
Are there any movement restrictions in place between US states at this time?

The rules here are complex but basically in you are in England you are not to visit Wales Northern Ireland or Scotland for all but essential journeys until Dec 4 at least.

Nor to travel to visit a second home.

Also not to fly overseas unless for essential business purposes.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by ofckrupke »

Valuethinker wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:16 pm Are there any movement restrictions in place between US states at this time?
No papers, state to state (beating OnePing to the punchline).
OK, Hawaii now requires arrivals to self quarantine...but Borodin wasn't going to be driving there in his recreational vehicle anyway.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by jlawrence01 »

I have driven cross country a minimum of ten times in the last decade. I do not like to travel during the winter months as road conditions are extremely variable. I remember one trip through Arkansas where the roads were cleaned and dry ... until the last two counties where the roads were completely iced up. I have run into flash floods in Texas and mountain snows outside of San Diego. Fifteen years of driving through Chicago snowstorms on relatively flat routes is a breeze compared to many parts of the west. And remember, each Chicago suburb of any size has more snow removal equipment than you will find in most states out west

What truly complicates issues is the state of modern radio. MOST radio stations are run by robots and offer very little in the way of accurate LOCAL conditions. Often, your only source of road conditions come from the state departments of transportation. Even those are hours old.

If you are going to do this trip, I would STRONGLY recommend that you prepare an emergency box of everything that you will need should you be stranded on the road for two to three days (which has happened in the past). I do remember a 4-H exhibit at the Nebraska State Fair that covered this very subject and exhibited the emergency kits made up by 4-H members. A Google search would give you a list of what you need. Imagine if you are stuck on the side of the road in Eastern Montana for SIX hours at -10F, could you survive?

I would STRONGLY recommend a PAPER map. GPS units can get you into all kinds of trouble directing you to "shorter routes" and leading you onto roads that are closed during the winter months. I had this happen in SOCAl last December where the GPS did not route us via the safer interstate routes.

In the rural plains area, you better fuel up when you have the opportunity. if you see a sign "Next gas 30 miles", you do not know whether that gas station will be open when you get there. Seriously. You don't know if that gas station will be 2-3 miles off the interstate on some unplowed roads.

Got chains? You might be required to have them to head over mountain passes. Know how to use them?

Good luck.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Silverado »

ofckrupke wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:37 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:16 pm Are there any movement restrictions in place between US states at this time?
No papers, state to state (beating OnePing to the punchline).
OK, Hawaii now requires arrivals to self quarantine...but Borodin wasn't going to be driving there in his recreational vehicle anyway.
OP needs to be careful not to end up iced in in SD and have to say 'I would have liked to have seen Montana'
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by rob »

ofckrupke wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:37 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:16 pm Are there any movement restrictions in place between US states at this time?
No papers, state to state (beating OnePing to the punchline).
OK, Hawaii now requires arrivals to self quarantine...but Borodin wasn't going to be driving there in his recreational vehicle anyway.
Depends what you mean - e.g Maine jumps out as needing self quarantine or a recent negative test but not sure the full state to state scope as not traveling.... but it's not exactly the old USSR and it's mostly on trust.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by One Ping »

ofckrupke wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:37 pm
Valuethinker wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:16 pm Are there any movement restrictions in place between US states at this time?
No papers, state to state (beating OnePing to the punchline).
"No papers, state to state"
:thumbsup :sharebeer
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Last edited by One Ping on Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Watty »

You will be going through some of areas that are being hit the hardest by the pandemic right now. I would really consider flying instead even though that has its own risks.

That is a fantastic drive in the summertime and you could make a wonderful multi week road trip out of it when there is not a pandemic. If you need to drive that in the winter time then I would just wait until it looks like you will have a stretch of halfway decent weather and drive though with as few stops as possible before the weather changes.

I have never driven that rout in the winter time but even in the summer there are are very long stretches where there are no services like food, gas, or hotels. I'm not talking 20 miles either, as I recall there were places where it was an hour or more between any services. When these exist they are sometimes just a few buildings at an exit without much else that is around there. Between the winter and the pandemic there is a good chance that some of these may be closed.

The few hotels that you may find may be fully booked up so make sure you have reservations ahead of time in the sparsely populated areas. When there is bad weather ahead LOTS of experienced travelers will stop at a hotel so they will fill up quickly when there is bad weather 100+ miles ahead. When the weather starts looking like it might get bad stop early so you can find a hotel where you can get a room.

There will also be very long stretches through a lot of that rout where you do not have any cell phone service. That can make checking on road conditions or making hotel reservations a lot more difficult
snackdog wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:18 am Not sure how much snow will be on the roads but will have snow tires on the car.
Some passes may require that you have tire chains when it is snowing. It would be to get a set of those and make sure that they fit and that you know how to put them on before you start on the trip.

Even when you are through the Rocky Mountains there will still be some bad stretches. In particular Deadman Pass in Oregon is pretty hair raising even when the weather is good.

https://www.dangerousroads.org/north-am ... -pass.html

Even near Portland the Columbia River Gorge can have terrible road conditions since there is often freezing rain there.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Kagord »

WoodSpinner wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:46 am OP,

Here are some interest places to stop along the way.....
  • National Bison Range
  • Yellowstone — Lamar Valley
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield
  • Deadwood
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Badlands National Park
  • Wall Drug Store
  • Minuteman Missile Visitors Center
  • Dignity Statue
** Note: I have not done any of these in Winter (or in Covid times) so please check the weather and make sure places are open and safely accessible.


WoodSpinner
Make sure to look for the minimal signage so that you don't miss Wall Drug Store, you might miss where to turn off.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by familythriftmd »

Kagord wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:17 pm Make sure to look for the minimal signage so that you don't miss Wall Drug Store, you might miss where to turn off.
Haha yeah :D
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by AlphaLess »

Valuethinker wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:16 pm
snackdog wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:18 am Am planning a trip from Chicago to Portland around Dec 1. Tentative route follow Hwy 90 through Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mammoth Hot Springs, Butte and Spokane.

Am looking for your suggestions on the routing and things to see/do along the way. Time is flexible. Not sure how much snow will be on the roads but will have snow tires on the car. Open to ideas for winter outdoorsy things to do and see in SD, MT, WY.
Are there any movement restrictions in place between US states at this time?

The rules here are complex but basically in you are in England you are not to visit Wales Northern Ireland or Scotland for all but essential journeys until Dec 4 at least.

Nor to travel to visit a second home.

Also not to fly overseas unless for essential business purposes.
No one cares about rules in US.
This is USA. The land of the free.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by AlphaLess »

familythriftmd wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:18 pm
Kagord wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:17 pm Make sure to look for the minimal signage so that you don't miss Wall Drug Store, you might miss where to turn off.
Haha yeah :D
And the iconic 5 cents coffee.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by anonsdca »

snackdog wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:18 am Am planning a trip from Chicago to Portland around Dec 1. Tentative route follow Hwy 90 through Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mammoth Hot Springs, Butte and Spokane.

Am looking for your suggestions on the routing and things to see/do along the way. Time is flexible. Not sure how much snow will be on the roads but will have snow tires on the car. Open to ideas for winter outdoorsy things to do and see in SD, MT, WY.
I am doing the same, almost same date but coming from ATL. I am going to be by myself so I have been stressing the weather a bit. I am seriously thinking of dropping down to do the 40, to Vegas and up to WA. I think that would add significant time and I hate to do that. Good luck with your trip. I am nervous about mine.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by TravelGeek »

Bring emergency supplies (food, water , blanket/sleeping bag, flash light, ...) and winter gear (warm clothes, good tires, chains). Don’t get in an accident or find another reason to need emergency medical care as the hospitals in parts of your proposed route are at capacity with covid patients. Expect partial or full shutdowns (OR will start a partial on the 18th, for at least 14 days) impacting access to restaurants, rest rooms, museums, and other sites.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by matti »

I'm a road trip junkie, so I'm jealous of your trip. As others have mentioned, winter weather can turn things bad in a hurry. I drove from Minnesota to near Missoula, MT the third week of October and got snowed in an extra day in Bozeman. Montana is a beautiful state!
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Pdxnative »

As others have mentioned, public health restrictions in OR/WA are ramping up. Cases are increasing and these states are serious about slowing the spread. You’ll want to be prepared to self-quarantine for 14 days. In the Portland area I’d expect indoor dining, museums, gyms, etc., to be closed through the end of the year (currently in a two week freeze but the Portland metro counties will likely extend beyond that due to case numbers).

If this is a pleasure trip you might want to postpone until next year.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by shess »

jlawrence01 wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:42 pm Got chains? You might be required to have them to head over mountain passes. Know how to use them?
I grew up in the upper midwest and later moved to the west coast, and this is strong advice. Yes yes yes, we know you already know how to drive in snow. Still, get chains, practice installing them, and at least read up on how to drive with them on. If you want the full experience, when you're practicing install arrange for someone to spray you with freezing water the entire time, because you always end up installing chains at the point where everything is slush.

I think I'm just going to stay home, and maybe put on another blanket.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Kagord »

shess wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:10 am
jlawrence01 wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:42 pm Got chains? You might be required to have them to head over mountain passes. Know how to use them?
I grew up in the upper midwest and later moved to the west coast, and this is strong advice. Yes yes yes, we know you already know how to drive in snow. Still, get chains, practice installing them, and at least read up on how to drive with them on. If you want the full experience, when you're practicing install arrange for someone to spray you with freezing water the entire time, because you always end up installing chains at the point where everything is slush.

I think I'm just going to stay home, and maybe put on another blanket.
I don't think there's many discussions on BH on this, so noting, if you have AWD and a V8/Turbo engine, you don't really need chains.

/s
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Silverado »

Kagord wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:13 am
shess wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:10 am
jlawrence01 wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:42 pm Got chains? You might be required to have them to head over mountain passes. Know how to use them?
I grew up in the upper midwest and later moved to the west coast, and this is strong advice. Yes yes yes, we know you already know how to drive in snow. Still, get chains, practice installing them, and at least read up on how to drive with them on. If you want the full experience, when you're practicing install arrange for someone to spray you with freezing water the entire time, because you always end up installing chains at the point where everything is slush.

I think I'm just going to stay home, and maybe put on another blanket.
I don't think there's many discussions on BH on this, so noting, if you have AWD and a V8/Turbo engine, you don't really need chains.

/s
I agree with the AWD part, but engine size has no bearing on snow driving. Even the smallest engine has more torque than there will be traction.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Pinotage »

Silverado wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:40 am
Kagord wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:13 am
shess wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:10 am
jlawrence01 wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:42 pm Got chains? You might be required to have them to head over mountain passes. Know how to use them?
I grew up in the upper midwest and later moved to the west coast, and this is strong advice. Yes yes yes, we know you already know how to drive in snow. Still, get chains, practice installing them, and at least read up on how to drive with them on. If you want the full experience, when you're practicing install arrange for someone to spray you with freezing water the entire time, because you always end up installing chains at the point where everything is slush.

I think I'm just going to stay home, and maybe put on another blanket.
I don't think there's many discussions on BH on this, so noting, if you have AWD and a V8/Turbo engine, you don't really need chains.

/s
I agree with the AWD part, but engine size has no bearing on snow driving. Even the smallest engine has more torque than there will be traction.
I believe the /s means “end sarcasm”
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Silverado »

Pinotage wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:50 am
Silverado wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:40 am
Kagord wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:13 am
shess wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:10 am
jlawrence01 wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:42 pm Got chains? You might be required to have them to head over mountain passes. Know how to use them?
I grew up in the upper midwest and later moved to the west coast, and this is strong advice. Yes yes yes, we know you already know how to drive in snow. Still, get chains, practice installing them, and at least read up on how to drive with them on. If you want the full experience, when you're practicing install arrange for someone to spray you with freezing water the entire time, because you always end up installing chains at the point where everything is slush.

I think I'm just going to stay home, and maybe put on another blanket.
I don't think there's many discussions on BH on this, so noting, if you have AWD and a V8/Turbo engine, you don't really need chains.

/s
I agree with the AWD part, but engine size has no bearing on snow driving. Even the smallest engine has more torque than there will be traction.
I believe the /s means “end sarcasm”
I do see the tag now...they need to help and give me an open tag also...

But my experience is that AWD, in fact a small sedan with front wheel drive, works perfectly fine for any time you actually should be on the road. The roads out west that tilt up of course are going to require them in bad weather for known rough passes, so if you must drive, for sure have them and know how to install. And there is the chance you are somewhere in the middle when it gets bad. But if I had good flexibility I’d ask myself why am I trying to move right now...
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snackdog
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by snackdog »

Great advice on planning for winter conditions along the way. If there is a major snow storm we will ride it out, for sure. My understanding is that I90 is kept sanded and plowed and is quite passable except when it's snowing hard and thereafter until crews return it to service. If things look especially horrible we can always dip south as far as I10, although it adds quite a few miles to the trip.
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Watty
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by Watty »

Silverado wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:05 am
Pinotage wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:50 am
Silverado wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:40 am
Kagord wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:13 am
shess wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:10 am

I grew up in the upper midwest and later moved to the west coast, and this is strong advice. Yes yes yes, we know you already know how to drive in snow. Still, get chains, practice installing them, and at least read up on how to drive with them on. If you want the full experience, when you're practicing install arrange for someone to spray you with freezing water the entire time, because you always end up installing chains at the point where everything is slush.

I think I'm just going to stay home, and maybe put on another blanket.
I don't think there's many discussions on BH on this, so noting, if you have AWD and a V8/Turbo engine, you don't really need chains.

/s
I agree with the AWD part, but engine size has no bearing on snow driving. Even the smallest engine has more torque than there will be traction.
I believe the /s means “end sarcasm”
I do see the tag now...they need to help and give me an open tag also...

But my experience is that AWD, in fact a small sedan with front wheel drive, works perfectly fine for any time you actually should be on the road. The roads out west that tilt up of course are going to require them in bad weather for known rough passes, so if you must drive, for sure have them and know how to install. And there is the chance you are somewhere in the middle when it gets bad. But if I had good flexibility I’d ask myself why am I trying to move right now...
Just FYI, at least in Oregon and California when chains are required there will sometimes be a state trooper standing in the road checking to make sure you have the right equipment.


As long as you stay on the interstate you will likely be fine 90%+ of the time, you just need to be prepared for the extreme situations that can happen.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by RudyS »

This will vary by state and road, but in various locations I have seen the requirement to be chains or AWD. But that may turn into chains required if/when conditions worsen.
anonsdca
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by anonsdca »

Is there a decent weather app when in route? I typically use Google Maps and I don't recall weather being a feature. Same with Waze. Ideally, it a state specific app, perhaps I will look at the various state DOTs and see if they have anything.
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by TravelGeek »

RudyS wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:30 am This will vary by state and road, but in various locations I have seen the requirement to be chains or AWD. But that may turn into chains required if/when conditions worsen.
Here are the rules for OR.

https://tripcheck.com/Pages/Chain-Law

Basically, as I read it, AWD is not sufficient.

Tripcheck is a good site to bookmark as it has road status and weather information for OR roads and highways. Also provides access to road cams.
shess
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by shess »

TravelGeek wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:47 am
RudyS wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:30 am This will vary by state and road, but in various locations I have seen the requirement to be chains or AWD. But that may turn into chains required if/when conditions worsen.
Here are the rules for OR.

https://tripcheck.com/Pages/Chain-Law

Basically, as I read it, AWD is not sufficient.

Tripcheck is a good site to bookmark as it has road status and weather information for OR roads and highways. Also provides access to road cams.
Maybe I should have put a sarcasm tag on my post about doing chain practice. My point was mostly that having learned to drive in icy conditions and actually spent like over years getting annual heavy-winter-driving practice, I still needed to figure out chains when I moved to California and visited the Sierras in the winter. Part of this is that mountains are not plains, both because of elevation, and because when you spin out you don't end up in a ditch. But also because they are a requirement, and saying "I grew up in MN and don't need your stupid chains" is not going to get you past the state trooper.

Honestly, I have no idea if the actual driving is actually more dangerous. Certainly the way that conditions change mile by mile in the mountains is VERY different, so I'll grant plausibility.
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MrBobcat
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by MrBobcat »

Take a detour off of I-90 at Anaconda MT (approx 30 W of Butte), drive through Georgetown lake Area, Discovery Ski Basin is there too, drive over the hill to Phillipsburg, have a beer at the brewery, head back to Drummond and hit I-90 again. Now if you have a bit more time you might look up Fairmont Hot Springs (just outside Anaconda) because there is nothing like sitting in a hot springs outside in winter weather.

Even if you decide not to stop anywhere, it's a beautiful drive through the Pintars.

https://www.fairmontmontana.com/

https://www.philipsburgbrew.com/

https://www.skidiscovery.com/

http://georgetownlakemt.com/

Oh, if you do like beer and microbreweries, there are a bunch in Missoula, Big Sky, Kettlehouse, Bayern, and there is a great one in Wallace Idaho we always stop at the City Limits Pub and Grill.
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MrBobcat
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Re: Winter Driving Trip - Chicago to Portland

Post by MrBobcat »

snackdog wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:59 am Great advice on planning for winter conditions along the way. If there is a major snow storm we will ride it out, for sure. My understanding is that I90 is kept sanded and plowed and is quite passable except when it's snowing hard and thereafter until crews return it to service. If things look especially horrible we can always dip south as far as I10, although it adds quite a few miles to the trip.
I-90 is usually kept pretty good, there are times right after a storm that it can be very icy in parts, but really not bad overall. Just drive slow (think like 20-30mph) if you run into a bad batch.
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