General Question

MissAnthrope's avatar

Do you see any problems with this route?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21491points) November 2nd, 2009

I’ll be driving across the U.S. to move back home to CA after 10 years—yay! Never having taken this route before, especially not pulling a trailer, I’m wondering if there will be any issues.

I’ll be driving a ‘93 Subaru Legacy Wagon (front-wheel drive, I think, but not AWD) towing a trailer, and it’ll be around December 20. My main concerns are snow + mountains.

This is the fastest route.

This is the next-fastest, avoiding the Sierra-Nevadas which may not be good for the whole trailer thing, not to mention maybe snow?

I’m trying to balance speed with maximum scenic value, since there are a lot of places along the way I’ve never seen before. I’d love to hear from people who live in or are familiar with any of these areas who know what conditions usually are like there at this time in the year, as well as people with experience towing trailers. I’ve only done it once, and it was only from MN to WV, very flat and easy.

Thanks. :)

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13 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

A fully loaded 4 cylinder vehicle with a fully loaded trailer is asking for trouble going through any mountainous area in the winter. You might consider taking route 66 through to southern California and making your way north if you don’t mind taking a scenic route.

Flatlands are your friend here. If you’re going through the Rockies, you will have problems.

Lafayette eh? Life has been good to you if you’re moving there.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I can only chime in for the Chicago to PA part of the trip. I did that drive twice this summer—it’s nothing but smooth and flat and full of being smooth and flat. Even if it ices, there are ginormous piles of salt alongside the road. So my assessment for the IL to PA portion of the trip is: easy driving!

Dog's avatar

I cannot contribute to the question itself but as a Southern Californian I wanted to be the first to say ” WELCOME HOME!”

MissAnthrope's avatar

Thanks!! I’m very excited. :)

Hmmm.. I had kinda wanted to see Wyoming and SLC, but it seems impossible to avoid the mountains by any other way than south. :\

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@MissAnthrope It’ll take you longer to get there, but you’ll get there. The southwest US is pretty fantastic in spots.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I hear that about the full car and full trailer, I’m a pretty cautious person and I want to be safe. Thanks for affirming my concerns. :) I was kind of excited about seeing the northern states because I came across the southwest on my drive to the east coast. Looking at the map, though, I see it can’t really be avoided, so I guess it’ll just have to wait for another time!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would would stay out of the north and head as south as you can, even if the route is longer. Warmer = less likelihood to be stranded on the highway.

Dr_C's avatar

Like @Dog said.. welcome back to Cali!

Strauss's avatar

Over the years I’ve traveled all these routes, and given the time of year and the vehicle, I would opt for this route. You will miss the high passes in the northern (Colorado or north) Rockies, and will stay well to the south of most snow. Be careful in theMemphis area, because every time I’ve traveled through that area in the winter there was the threat of an ice storm. (If that happens you might want to visit Beale street and stay a day or two while the weather clears up.) The only other place where the weather surprised me was Flagstaff, AZ, where I saw snow as late as mid-April.

Whichever route you decide upon, make sure you have your roadside service up-to-date (AAA or the like), and take some time to enjoy the trip!

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Yetanotheruser – Thanks.. with your route, you don’t think I should be concerned about traveling over the mountains, both near SLC and crossing over from Nevada? It looks like the route from Nevada goes through Donner Pass, which I associate with snow because of the story of the party that got trapped there. I’d love it if I could take this route, though. :)

Strauss's avatar

Any mountain pass holds the possibility of snow during that time of year. But that far south it would only be a matter of a few days at the most, usually only a day, until the roads are clear again. The Donner Party tried to navigate the pass without the advantages of modern highways and weather technology, so unless you’re backpacking it, I wouldn’t worry. I would, however, put a day or two of flexibility into the travel time, for weather-related delays, or just to enjoy the local scenery/nightlife/whatever.

Strauss's avatar

BTW,University of Colorado at Boulder has a Donner Memorial Dining Room

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Yetanotheruser – Oh, wow. That’s just wrong. Haha.

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