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Old 12-26-2018, 02:38 PM   #1
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Question heading south re US93/318

Next week will will head off south to AZ for the usual couple of months boondocking and exploring. We often go via I5, (my least favourite drive almost anywhere in the world). Have gone via I84 and I15 which is easy but boring and going through Salt Lake is never enjoyable.


I was thinking of going the I84/15 route, but taking US93 and maybe 318 from Twin Falls via Ely to I15 north of Las Vegas.

I know there is snow coming, but assume they keep 93 clear and maybe 318. Any thoughts on this 93/318 route would be welcome.


Other option would be 395 from Laurier to Barstow, but looks like the Sierra Nevadas maybe snowed in shortly.
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Old 12-26-2018, 03:30 PM   #2
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Route to AZ

We will be picking up our E21 in Sumas in 2 1/2 weeks and heading south to CA desert on I-5 as quickly as our little wheels can carry us. I would definitely not even consider using the routes you mentioned in the Winter. Out of the way, longer in time and distance and much greater risk of snow and ice covered roads. On I-5 at Grants Pass, OR, you can decide whether the road conditions are OK to go over Siskiyou Summit and if not, you could head out to the coast route to bypass. That is our plan anyway. I am actually dreading the drive north to Sumas through SLC and Twin Falls despite not towing anything and having a 4 WD truck. Snowing hard here at 6000' in northern NM at the moment and I am expecting the drive will be difficult.
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Old 12-26-2018, 04:05 PM   #3
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From Grand Forks BC to Rodeo, AZ, I5 is the long route, both time and distance wise. As long as the roads are cleared winter temps and snow is not a major concern, just have not driven the 93 before so not sure how high passes may be and how diligent they are clearing snow etc.
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Old 12-26-2018, 05:18 PM   #4
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Chama, One quick thought for your trip north. When you are in SLC check ahead for I90 from Spokane to Seattle as this often has heavy snow. If I90 is bad take 84 to Portland then I5 north.
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Old 12-26-2018, 06:08 PM   #5
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Columbia Gorge route

>>>One quick thought for your trip north. When you are in SLC check ahead for I90 from Spokane to Seattle as this often has heavy snow. If I90 is bad take 84 to Portland then I5 north.<<<

Thanks! Yes, that is our plan. We have made that driven from NM to OR and WA many times. Snoqualmie Pass can be horrible (or closed) in the Winter. We have crossed it other times in Winter and the road was bare and dry. We are hoping for the best but planning our bail out route via the Columbia Gorge if we need to. Of course, we have to get down Cabbage Hill first which can be nasty.
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Old 12-26-2018, 07:29 PM   #6
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We have more than once had to make a late winter, early spring trip from Prescott, AZ to Portland, OR. Normally we drive through Las Vegas-Reno-Susanville-Klamath Falls-Eugene-Portland. That area is a snow magnet and we have found I40-93-I15-93-I84. It may be as high as the coastal range but is drier and far less likely for snow. We have changed our plans on a 2 hour notice at times on which route. We have also been trapped in Reno for 2 days with passes closed north and west.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:12 PM   #7
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We did this route in early November and really enjoyed it - quiet, nice scenery. Around Ely is very high altitude so will be cold and may be snowy. Great place to stop is Pahranagat Wildlife Preserve about 60 miles north of Las Vegas. Free camping on a beautiful lake that is a migratory stop for birds.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BajaZephyr View Post
We did this route in early November and really enjoyed it - quiet, nice scenery. Around Ely is very high altitude so will be cold and may be snowy. Great place to stop is Pahranagat Wildlife Preserve about 60 miles north of Las Vegas. Free camping on a beautiful lake that is a migratory stop for birds.
Thanks for that tidbit of knowledge. We love the Great Basin Highway route, and information on suitable overnight stops is useful. We have camped in the parking area behind the Ely Hotel in Ely a couple of times for free. Highway 93 is much more restful as it avoids the traffic on the I-5 and is also less expensive, as gas costs more in California. Although there is less divided highway, there are plenty of passing opportunities as the road is pretty quiet most of the time.
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:01 PM   #9
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This is all good information. We have to go down but I5 now as have to visit a friend outside San Francisco, but will surely come back via 93.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:31 PM   #10
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>>>One quick thought for your trip north. When you are in SLC check ahead for I90 from Spokane to Seattle as this often has heavy snow. If I90 is bad take 84 to Portland then I5 north.<<<

Thanks! Yes, that is our plan. We have made that driven from NM to OR and WA many times. Snoqualmie Pass can be horrible (or closed) in the Winter. We have crossed it other times in Winter and the road was bare and dry. We are hoping for the best but planning our bail out route via the Columbia Gorge if we need to. Of course, we have to get down Cabbage Hill first which can be nasty.
The last pass to close, is White Pass. I used to live within hearing distance of Hwy 12, White Pass and in the winter, when you could hear truck after truck roaring by, you know that at least Snoqualmie was closed. White Pass goes from Yakima and connects with I-5 just south of Chehalis, WA. It is only a two lane so is easier for crews to keep the snow under control. You might consider it as another alternative. They keep it in pretty good shape because there is a ski area at the summit.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:57 AM   #11
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The last pass to close, is White Pass. I used to live within hearing distance of Hwy 12, White Pass and in the winter, when you could hear truck after truck roaring by, you know that at least Snoqualmie was closed. White Pass goes from Yakima and connects with I-5 just south of Chehalis, WA. It is only a two lane so is easier for crews to keep the snow under control. You might consider it as another alternative. They keep it in pretty good shape because there is a ski area at the summit.
Slowpat, thanks for the tip on White Pass. Been over White Pass many times and would have thought it would have been the first to close with snowfall. We'll be coming up from the tri-cities so we could just as easily go over White Pass and Snoqualmie.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:38 PM   #12
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We have gone both ways with our 5.0TA. Road is quicker from Ely and you would probably run out of any chance of snow after 50-75 miles. Some camp spots along the way, as well.
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:13 PM   #13
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I just went south on I-5 from US border to border (almost).
It is a terrible surface around the urban areas. But through the mountain passes you will have no other choice with a tow.
One app I found that helps is Weather Underground. You can select the pass areas and scroll down to see the local traffic cams.
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:25 PM   #14
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We have done the 93 route from Vegas to Boise both directions and went this way on our ETI pickup in Nov of 2015. Only way I'd go now, really enjoyed it and traffic was very minimal. We stayed at the Ely KOA in one of their cabins on the way up sans trailer and it worked very well.
We lucked out and had perfect weather but a caution that it has snow fences and gates to close the highway on the N end that look like it could really get a major blizzard and shut down for a bit. I would make sure I had enough water/food/propane before going through there in the winter that we could hunker down if necessary.
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