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Best route from Boston to SF in the middle of winter?

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Dec 13th, 2011, 08:03 AM
  #1
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Best route from Boston to SF in the middle of winter?

We'll be starting across country next Friday. When we moved to Boston in July we cut right though on the 80. Winter won't be as easy but we figure watch the weather reports and if we know a storm is coming in we and it's a larger distance between cities we'll just stay parked for an extra day. My concern taking the extra day to get to the southern route is now a days there are storms and snow down there as well? Any thoughts, opinions?
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Dec 13th, 2011, 09:22 AM
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I say go for it... driving south along the east coast only increases the chance of hitting bad weather... driving west will have you going through the fronts... stop if you have to, but my experience is that northern states are better equipped to keep the roads clear...

1 inch of snow or ice in the south panics everyone and jams traffic....
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Dec 13th, 2011, 09:53 AM
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Gary has given you some good advice. Just keep an eye on the weather, be prepared to stop if it gets bad and look ahead a few days.

If it looks like several days of bad weather along your route, look for an alternate. Look for some possible routes now.

If you are crossing the rockies in an area where you need chains, have them in the car. Keep all the extra winter safety equipment/food/clothing with you.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 10:45 AM
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Coast to coast driving in Winter not for me. But doubtless you have a destination and/or family in mind. Bon voyage.

Bill in Boston
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Dec 13th, 2011, 11:03 AM
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Carry chains. It's cheap insurance in case of snow.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 11:26 AM
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Drop down to I70 and maybe miss some weather. If you need chains, I'd just hole up. BUT if the chain regulation is in effect, you have to have chains or the correct snow tire, or you'll be turned back.
Just stay in touch with the weather. I had to stop in Kansas once on the way to Denver after sliding off the road--it had rained, then froze. Adventure. Kansas roads were a mess (as was Nebraska that time--I80) but once we hit the Colorado line, they had really taken care of the roads.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 04:42 PM
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I think that I70 in Colorado and Utah will tend to have higher elevations than I80, and a greater possibility of snow.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 04:48 PM
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Have driven it many times years ago (at least the Western part from SF to Denver - usually 24 hrs nonstop - college days - actually stopping every six hours to "burger up" and change drivers) and they usually try to keep the roads passable, absent a huge storm.

Do carry chains, and ideally have snow tires on - and take extra food and WATER - and blankets, flashlights, flares, etc. in case you do have to wait on the road.

These days though - with the much better weather reports - if you had a real good US Map - you shold be able to plan your way around any big proglems.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 05:39 PM
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"1 inch of snow or ice in the south panics everyone and jams traffic...."

Oh, heck! It's gonna be 60 degrees all week. Head out on the route you like and adjust based on weather reports. We get REALLY bad snow/ice storms about once a decade and moderate snowfalls every year or so - that melt in a couple of days. Watch the weather report and plan accordingly.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 05:48 PM
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If you take the northern route be sure you have food, water and blankets in the car - as well as a good snow shovel and something to deal with ice (gravel? kitty litter?). Have a motel reserved for each night and tell them when to expect you - so if you don;t turn up they can notify authorities. Also, be sure never to let your gas go below half a tank and check on the road conditions before starting out each day - and several times along the way.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 06:03 PM
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We took 70 in late january once, we did hit snow in Kansas/Colorado, but they are more ready for it and plow the roads better than they do further south. I guess you'd want to watch the weather forecasts.
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Dec 13th, 2011, 07:16 PM
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It would be a bit safer to use I-84 to I-81 to get to I-80 south of Scranton PA. The I-90 route going through Buffalo and Erie is a bad "lake effect" snow zone.
The highest point on I-80 is between Cheyenne and Laramie WY. If there is a a major storm coming, take I-76 into Denver to hole up for a day. Whenever your gas tank gets below half, stop and fill up in case you would get stranded.
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Dec 14th, 2011, 04:40 AM
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I was looking into it as well, from N.J. to SFO, s little skeptikal in usina good condition 4cyl, 07 accord or renting van, any feedback on that?
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Dec 14th, 2011, 08:56 AM
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You will be fine with your car. Believe me, a lot of people drive in not huge cars!! Our daughter had a Honda when she went to Estes Park for a year.
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Dec 15th, 2011, 04:53 PM
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100% agree with you Gary!!! I appreciate the feedback! We've got snow tires on our Q7, winter emergency kit just incase Thanks again everyone, Happy Holidays!
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Dec 15th, 2011, 06:58 PM
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Lucie - your Accord should be fine, but it sits kind of low to the ground like my Ford Focus althought with good snow tires it was okay as long as the roads were plowed. Not so good otherwise.

If you were to consider a rental, I wouldn't choose a van, but maybe a small all-wheel drive like a Ford Escape or a Toyota Rav4. I've taken both of those vehicles over mountains in the winter and it's the right tool for the job
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