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Old 10-01-2020, 12:07 PM   #1
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Winter Route Planning to Washington

Hello all, Patty and Matt in Palacios Texas. When we originally ordered a 5.0TA, we were given an early July 2021 completion date. Since placing the down payment, we have been offered two earlier dates; 1st March 10th, and now February 9th. We accepted the earlier date.


My dilemma is, that I don't have any experience doing 'winter driving', and though excited to retrieve the 5.0, I'm quite anxious and not looking forward to driving to the Pac NW in February.

My question to the forum long time travelers is, has anyone taken a southern route to the west coast on I10, and then North through Ca?
Are there high mountain passes on I10w that ice in around West Texas/East New Mexico?



It's far too many years since this old guy has traveled that way, (early 1980's) and I'm certain many changes have taken place since my early wanderings. Thanks for any input, Matt
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:35 PM   #2
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I've done I-10 coast to coast but a little later in the year so I can't help on that part.

We routinely drive I-5 from Vancouver to AZ in late Jan. or early Feb. It's very doable. All that's required is to pay attention to the weather. Worst case scenario is that you have to wait out a passing storm for a few days. Usually the roads, especially I-5, are cleared pretty quickly as it's the lifeline of commerce on the West Coast.

The area of most concern is Siskiyou and the other close by passes. No biggie, you can stay at a place like Rogue River for a couple of days if necessary. From there it's a clear shot through Siskiyou and the other passes into the warmth of CA.

Ron
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:51 PM   #3
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I know Fred Morón and Dave Allen from TX picked there's up about that time of year, and drove straight South to the Quartzite gathering in AZ after pickup, checking weather forecasts all the way.
We are headed up that way at the end of this month and are hoping the weather cooperates with our plans. I just ordered a set of chains for my pickup just in case.
At least all the fires should be out by the time you go.
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Old 10-01-2020, 01:43 PM   #4
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If you're leery about winter driving with your new rig, why not opt for a delivery option? I see the San Francisco hub is "only" $US800 or LA is $1,100. Might reduce some stress and you can start your Escape 5 adventure in nicer weather.
https://escapetrailer.com/usa-delivery-special/
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Old 10-01-2020, 01:56 PM   #5
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If you're leery about winter driving with your new rig, why not opt for a delivery option? I see the San Francisco hub is "only" $US800 or LA is $1,100. Might reduce some stress and you can start your Escape 5 adventure in nicer weather.
https://escapetrailer.com/usa-delivery-special/
Owning and using your Escape makes memories and that's the name of the game.

I wouldn't ever suggest that it wouldn't be a problem for a new owner to pickup their trailer and head South if I thought that the conditions in the Winter would make it unsafe for them. The only thing that I'd be adamant about is that it not be done on a strict schedule where you have to travel each day no matter the weather.

If you do pick up your own trailer and drive I-5 you'll make some good memories. My view is that it would be a shame to miss your first chance to make some memories by letting newbie anxiety rob you of the chance. I know that still, after all the years of driving that route, we still make new memories.

I should add two points: one, we have never had to sit out a day because of weather and two, you're not alone doing this route in the Winter. There are many other RVs heading South at this time of year, including Escapes we meet along the way.

Ron
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Old 10-01-2020, 03:32 PM   #6
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Ron
Thanks so much for your I5 suggestion and your Jan Feb weather appraisal/experience. We are not new to towing, trailer RV camping or planning for an extended trip, and look forward to this journey. As we are both wonderfully retired, our plan is to spend 4 to 6 weeks on the return trip to our gulf coast home with no particular itinerary. We will of course stay tuned to weather forecasts and travel accordingly. Once we have the 5.0, it'll be a great 'shake down' trip for it and us. I guess I had visions of traveling through the frozen tundra, and let that get the best of me.



Checking our U.S. Atlas, I40 might also be an option for us heading west for the pick up, again, weather permitting. It's still four months away, so we'll have great fun planning the excursion. Matt
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Old 10-01-2020, 06:06 PM   #7
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I guess I had visions of traveling through the frozen tundra, and let that get the best of me.

Checking our U.S. Atlas, I40 might also be an option for us heading west for the pick up, again, weather permitting. It's still four months away, so we'll have great fun planning the excursion. Matt
I must confess there have been times when snow was on the ground. This is the worst case that we've ever experienced and it in no way was a problem. Stopped for the night North of Portland with snow on the ground. I-5 was clear and dry. Portland had some only partly plowed sections of road with compacted snow but it was soon left behind.

I should say that my comment was directed to the many folks who seem to write off the chance to pick up their trailer in anything but the good weather months.

Sometimes I think that I see more Escapes heading South than I see driving around BC.

Yes, driving out while not towing and ending up doing a circle route is our preferred way to travel.

Ron
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:42 PM   #8
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I can give you some ideas to consider. I have not driven those roads at the time in question, but I can pass along some good common sense tips.

1. Don't be in a hurry. If conditions change, do not feel like you have to move. Stay put until the roads clear up. Usually it takes about two days of Sun in Colorado.

2. Know what weather you will meet. Know what you are driving into and if it is snow and ice, look for a bail plan. Do not get caught not knowing what the weather is doing.

3. Know your elevation. The lower the better! The higher elevation, the greater chance the roads will be colder and may retain snow. They are the first to go bad when the weather turns. If you have passes in your drive, know where they are, and do not approach them if snow or ice is happening at higher elevations.

Do not spend time at elevation if you can get to lower elevations if bad weather is moving in. Pass roads get nasty quickly.

4. Take your time and only make smart moves. Do not drive into something you are not sure of. It is way more icy in the morning than the afternoon.

These are just tips but I always use them.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:04 PM   #9
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Winter in WA

Ron and Uncle Tim are "spot on" about the concerns, Matt and Patty. We've driven from La Conner, WA to Phoenix for several years, much of it on I-5 and usually in December or January, and, though we've never been puling a trailer, we've kept a weather eye and been cautious.

We got the chance to move up our 19 completion date and it's now mid-to-late December. Sure, we could pony up the $1300 to take delivery in AZ, but we'd be missing the chance to return to the PNW and maybe make a couple memories.

Thanks, Ron, for the reminder of how important it is to get out and do it!

One additional suggestion for transiting the high passes: make sure to have chains aboard. We've never used them, but always had them packed. We've gotten them from Les Schwab and, since they weren't used, returned them in the Spring...which they not only don't mind, but encourage.

Good luck to you and safe travels, Matt and Patty...have fun!

Jon & Jena in AZ
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:23 PM   #10
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One additional suggestion for transiting the high passes: make sure to have chains aboard. We've never used them, but always had them packed.

Jon & Jena in AZ
That's something that I don't do. I've certainly used chains when not towing but I've made the decision that if conditions are temporarily that bad I'll wait it out. The thought of a broken chain doing a number on the f.g. scares me.

To put the situation in perspective; you can sit in Rogue River, hooked up to power if it's cold, have a leisurely breakfast, double check the weather and road conditions, leave mid-morning, do the 200 miles to Rolling Hills in Corning and arrive in mid afternoon. All done after the sun is up or darkness falls. There are alternatives but that's our typical pattern, we're creatures of habit.

Ron
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:09 AM   #11
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Are you retired? If so, just take your time and drive 101 down the coast. The elevation can't get any lower. Temps will generally be above freezing and you'll have much less chance of snow and ice.

I've lived in Minnesota all my life and snow is never a problem if you stay mellow and calm. Drive speeds you're comfortable with and don't slam on or stay on he brakes. The harder you press the brakes the more trouble you get into.

Learn to pump your brakes. Practice reaching for your brake controller and pressing/modulating your brakes. I start out every trip/morning by using the trailer brakes to stop at a few stop signs without locking them up. Again, be mellow and calm.

The coast is beautiful any time of the year. Get off 101 and drive the true Pacific Coast Highway as much as you can. You should easily find electric sites. We took over a month to drive our 5.0 down the coast in November and had a wonderful time.

Take your time and get to know your new home!

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:16 AM   #12
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Moderator, please remove post number 8. Thank you.
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Old 10-02-2020, 08:47 AM   #13
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The coast is beautiful any time of the year.
The one caveat here is that winter storms can be very windy at the coast. My mother and stepfather drove their class A from Mt Vernon, WA to Yuma, AZ every year for about 15 years, always leaving Mt Vernon between Xmas and New Year's Day. Due to a bad experience with wind while driving across New Mexico early in their RVing days, they kept a weather eye out for wind as much as for snow. Their route south usually alternated between I-5 and 101. They became pretty familiar with all the routes between the two in Oregon and NorCal.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:07 AM   #14
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That's something that I don't do. I've certainly used chains when not towing but I've made the decision that if conditions are temporarily that bad I'll wait it out. The thought of a broken chain doing a number on the f.g. scares me.

To put the situation in perspective; you can sit in Rogue River, hooked up to power if it's cold, have a leisurely breakfast, double check the weather and road conditions, leave mid-morning, do the 200 miles to Rolling Hills in Corning and arrive in mid afternoon. All done after the sun is up or darkness falls. There are alternatives but that's our typical pattern, we're creatures of habit.

Ron
Often here we are required to carry chains even if the road conditions are currently fine and we have AWD. So I own some. I've never put them on and I went back and forth to California on 5 for 25 years, every Christmas. Hit snow once. But I was usually able to delay travel if needed, and once left early to avoid an incoming storm.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:01 AM   #15
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The one caveat here is that winter storms can be very windy at the coast. My mother and stepfather drove their class A from Mt Vernon, WA to Yuma, AZ every year for about 15 years, always leaving Mt Vernon between Xmas and New Year's Day. Due to a bad experience with wind while driving across New Mexico early in their RVing days, they kept a weather eye out for wind as much as for snow. Their route south usually alternated between I-5 and 101. They became pretty familiar with all the routes between the two in Oregon and NorCal.
Doesn't matter where you go in the US in the winter, conditions change. One needs to look at the weather and adjust your travel plans. If the coast was windy, we would just cross the mountains and go inland till the weather subsided.

We drive interstate highways as little as possible, to enjoy the scenery, slow down, and see how others live.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:11 AM   #16
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I hate driving 101 in the winter- it is an alternate I'd consider only if there was an ice storm on 5. It rains. It rains and rains. Roads wash out. Mudslides. Sinkholes. Did I mention rain? I actually hydroplaned on 101 in an AWD due the wet road. And then there is the aforementioned wind. That's how I lost the poptop to my Campster.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:12 AM   #17
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On a related note, not about the weather but about all the passes, I highly recommend a service called Mountain Directory. They have books and apps for your phone, I use the app. It has very detailed info about every pass, which helps not only with regular towing but also when considering towing in inclement weather. It is awesome and well worth the cost! I will often use it when choosing a route, for example when looking for the smallest/easiest pass...
https://www.mountaindirectory.com/
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:44 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
That's something that I don't do. I've certainly used chains when not towing but I've made the decision that if conditions are temporarily that bad I'll wait it out. The thought of a broken chain doing a number on the f.g. scares me.

To put the situation in perspective; you can sit in Rogue River, hooked up to power if it's cold, have a leisurely breakfast, double check the weather and road conditions, leave mid-morning, do the 200 miles to Rolling Hills in Corning and arrive in mid afternoon. All done after the sun is up or darkness falls. There are alternatives but that's our typical pattern, we're creatures of habit.

Ron
Ron,
I believe they were referring to chains for the tow vehicle, not the trailer. I know in some states they will set up a road block and only those vehicles that have chains with them are allowed to continue. It happened to me in California in the 70's, fortunately, I had a set in my trunk.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:55 AM   #19
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I hate driving 101 in the winter- it is an alternate I'd consider only if there was an ice storm on 5. It rains. It rains and rains. Roads wash out. Mudslides. Sinkholes. Did I mention rain? I actually hydroplaned on 101 in an AWD due the wet road. And then there is the aforementioned wind. That's how I lost the poptop to my Campster.
Yup, I also wouldn't drive 101 if it was raining and raining. Like I stated in my previous post, "Doesn't matter where you go in the US in the winter, conditions change."

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 10-02-2020, 11:00 AM   #20
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$499 delivery to Eugene OR. I’d do that and pick up there! I5 is an easy drive south from there into good weather. Towing your brand new Escape is not the time to learn how to drive in winter conditions.
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