Route through the mountains in late March - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-27-2021, 06:48 PM   #1
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Name: Nancy
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Michigan
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Route through the mountains in late March

Hi all,
My search has not found this topic, but please feel free to direct me to one if I have missed it.
We are planning a trip from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Utah in late March 2022. Given our location, we are very used to driving in snow, yet have no desire to head over the mountains with our Compact Junior on icy or snowy roads. We also plan to avoid busy freeways and be very flexible in our route in order to avoid bad winter driving conditions.
What I'm looking for are some possible routes over the mountains that are less likely to be completely snow/ice covered. For instance, we will avoid Colorado even though it might be more direct.
Any suggestions or am I asking for the impossible?
Thanks!
Nancy
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Old 10-27-2021, 08:16 PM   #2
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I personally would use the interstates in the winter. The western states have very good road maintenance crews and excellent road condition and weather condition reports. I am always ready to hunker down if weather conditions are bad, I've never had to stay because of weather. I have has some instances when I choose to drive longer to stay ahead of potential storms. The state departments of transportation update weather and road conditions several times an hour if things might get bad. I'm wishing I could do a trip like you are planning early next year.
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Old 10-27-2021, 09:23 PM   #3
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I-94 and I-90 through southern Montana are kept well cleared in winter, then drop down into Utah on I-15. There are a couple good shortcuts to I-15 well before the Butte hill. Montana hwy dept has great road reports complete with frequent cameras. Use mdt.mt.gov for that. Usually if there’s REALLY horrid weather it’s good within 24 hrs. Not warm, but open!
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Old 10-27-2021, 09:47 PM   #4
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Name: bill
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I travel out west every winter, I leave NC in late January, and end up in UT. It all depends on the weather. One year weather was really bad, I had to go down to Mobile, AL to join up to I-10, took I-10 all the way through AZ, then up to Vegas, and backtracked to UT.

Another year, I was able to take I-70 all the way to UT. My challenge was a 2WD F150, not exactly the best vehicle in snow. CO has terrific website for I-70 with live camera feeds and up to date road conditions.

Coming back in March, I have gotten similar to worse road conditions. One year I took. I-40 through Texas, where I saw single digit temperatures and eventually went further south to I-20. Also got a terrible ice storm in Dallas on I-20.
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Old 10-28-2021, 11:44 AM   #5
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I dont know where but I 70 has some closures.
I have traveled south for our winter holidays several times and agree with using interstates, better maintained. Good tires and I always make us easy to pass when towing, have had no problems.
Late March,,, could be best and worst weather,,, same day! lol
Fred
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Old 10-28-2021, 01:15 PM   #6
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Name: You can't call me Al
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To availd mountains, use the site flattestroute.com.

Here's a route you can explore:
https://www.flattestroute.com/Kalkas...Salt-Lake-City

You can zoom in and see where the ups/downs are and move your path as needed to get as flat as you need..

Hover over the lower two charts and see where on the map those areas are.
You can see that basically, all of Nebraska is uphill.
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Old 10-29-2021, 10:43 AM   #7
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Name: Nancy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
To availd mountains, use the site flattestroute.com.

Here's a route you can explore:
https://www.flattestroute.com/Kalkas...Salt-Lake-City

You can zoom in and see where the ups/downs are and move your path as needed to get as flat as you need..

Hover over the lower two charts and see where on the map those areas are.
You can see that basically, all of Nebraska is uphill.
Alan-Thanks! This is really helpful. I am always amazed at what is available online if you know where to look for it!
Nancy
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Old 10-29-2021, 10:44 AM   #8
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Thanks!

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. It looks like we may need to rethink our aversion to the Interstates, at least for some of the trip. This will be our first long journey, so I suspect we will learn alot!
Nancy
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Old 10-29-2021, 12:00 PM   #9
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Do you have to go at that time? Can't wait 2 weeks?
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Old 10-29-2021, 04:55 PM   #10
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It's all dependent on if we can get a permit to the Wave. We will try for late March. If we don't get the permit, we will then try for April. We want to avoid being in Utah the week before and after Easter, to try to avoid crowds. Although spring breaks may be all over the board next year since Easter is so late.
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Old 10-29-2021, 10:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRED SMAILES View Post
I dont know where but I 70 has some closures.
I have traveled south for our winter holidays several times and agree with using interstates, better maintained. Good tires and I always make us easy to pass when towing, have had no problems.
Late March,,, could be best and worst weather,,, same day! lol
Fred
I-70 is open all the way across the state. It is down to one lane each way at this time in Glenwood Canyon for repairs. It is a short distance. They could close it temporarily if it rains or snows hard due to possible mud slides. We just went through there this weekend on a train and saw the damage and repairs. Usually I-70 is only closed in the worst weather and I wouldn't want to be out in it ever. Don't do I-70 on Friday, Saturday or Sunday due to ski traffic. It is terrible.
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Old 11-03-2021, 10:21 AM   #12
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Spring Break

It is very difficult to avoid spring breakers in the SW as normally spans about a 30+day period. Lots of beautiful sandstone features almost as good as the wave and a lot less visited. Do some searching. Avoid the federal protected places to avoid most of the spring break crowds. I used to backpack for years and the spring break shoulder season is not the best time to go, JMO.
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Old 11-03-2021, 10:29 AM   #13
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Name: Fran
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Wind- as well!

Snow and ice are of course two winter hazards to avoid. But please donít forget to add *wind* to your watch. Wind over the open plains or through a gorge can be forceful. I have been across I80 in Wyoming with electronic signs telling you to pull off. Or the DOT occasionally shuts it down to all traffic.

Iíve also seen the carnage left over after a gust flips a trailer with its leading vehicle. Witnessed in WY, MT and along the Columbia Gorge between WA and OR.
Not a pretty sight.

Remember this past spring in Twin Falls, ID, the truck hanging over the gorge bridge with 2 people and their dog inside hanging by just the trailer chain? If I remember correctly, freak gust of wind and lost control.

Be smart & safe. You can still have fun!
Fran in Ideeho
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:02 PM   #14
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If you want to avoid interstates and high passes and minimize contact with snow, I would drive due south to Alabama and then across Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, then north to Utah.

It will add distance, but this southerly route is likely to be warmer, especially in late March, and there aren't major mountains to cross as there would be in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Plus, there are many non-interstate highways such as 82 or 380, which passes through Roswell, America's UFO capital. The main downside is possible alien abduction.
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:23 PM   #15
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Great question. We go over the mountains all year, but I have alternate route plans B and C, keeping an eye on weather. We have occasionally needed alternate routes for closures; sometimes had to wait a day while avalanches are cleared and roads plowed; other times drove very slow. Black ice, shady canyons holding ice on blind curves, and "sudden" late storms are to be expected. Carry traction devices (legally required over some passes). Enjoy the drive! We're going to SLC in March, too, planning I-70 but might go South of Colorado depending on road conditions.
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Old 11-03-2021, 12:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4cornersjohn View Post
It is very difficult to avoid spring breakers in the SW as normally spans about a 30+day period. Lots of beautiful sandstone features almost as good as the wave and a lot less visited. Do some searching. Avoid the federal protected places to avoid most of the spring break crowds. I used to backpack for years and the spring break shoulder season is not the best time to go, JMO.
When would you say is the best time to go?
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:11 AM   #17
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Yes, I prefer to stay away from the crowds. But it's tricky because all the internet searches I can find, so can everyone else! Hoping to connect with some locals while we are there that might be forthcoming with lesser known spots. We were in the area once before in late April and fortunately brought our snowshoes, as one of the highlights was Cedar Breaks where we were all alone except for the coyote we watched hunting.

We are pretty tied into that time frame. We wouldn't mind earlier as we are very used to snow but don't like pulling the trailer through wintry conditions.
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:12 AM   #18
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Good point- thanks for the reminder! We will avoid the northern tier once we get out of it!
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:16 AM   #19
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Name: Nancy
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Fortunately for us to head south, we would already miss Alabama and Mississippi. We are very intent on watching the weather and rerouting as necessary. I don't think the aliens would want us! ;-)
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:17 AM   #20
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Name: Nancy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc.Kev View Post
Great question. We go over the mountains all year, but I have alternate route plans B and C, keeping an eye on weather. We have occasionally needed alternate routes for closures; sometimes had to wait a day while avalanches are cleared and roads plowed; other times drove very slow. Black ice, shady canyons holding ice on blind curves, and "sudden" late storms are to be expected. Carry traction devices (legally required over some passes). Enjoy the drive! We're going to SLC in March, too, planning I-70 but might go South of Colorado depending on road conditions.
Had not thought about the traction devices as they are illegal here- Thanks for the reminder but hope we don't have to use them!
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