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Cross-country road trip in February

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My friend and I will be driving from Virginia to Portland, OR at the end of February. We have a couple weeks to drive and would like to stop by fun cities and National Parks along the way. We are trying to decide between these two routes: 1) shorter route on I-70 through Denver and Arches/Canyonlands Nat'l Parks, then up to Salt Lake City and I-84 over to Portland. 2) I-40 with side trips to Santa Fe, Las Vegas and Grand Canyon, then over to I-5 up through CA. For the Northern route, we are worried about snow storms slowing us down and colder temperatures in general, but are there also areas we would need to worry about snow on our 2nd route option? I don't have winter tires or tire chains. Any suggestions or preferences for either route?

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