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Driving in wintertime ?risks?
Old 07-23-2013, 08:55 PM   #1
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Driving in wintertime ?risks?

One of my first plans after I retire this year involves driving from St Louis to LA to give my son my old convertible. It would be between Xmas and the early part of January. It is a 2005 Toyota Solara. My wife is convinced that I could wind up stranded in the mountains in a whiteout/blizzard. I don't think there is significant mountain driving going southwest. I suspect the likelihood of serious winter weather beyond Missouri and maybe OK is very low, but need to hear from those who have experience with the drive, or better who have long term experiences living along the route to comment on the winter weather patterns driving Southwest from St Louis thru OK, Texas, New Mexico, AZ and on to LA.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:01 PM   #2
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Never done it but what you describe sounds like no problem. Worst case if the weather gets bad you pull off for a day or two and find a good bar to hang out in.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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I know sometimes Oklahoma has ice storms which can cause a problem if you aren't used to driving in the ice. Also, it you plan on coming in near San Fransisco (which I don't see why you would since you're going thru the south) you might be careful of the pass up there as it is often closed due to snow.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:28 PM   #4
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I have visited OK City area in the winter and remember some ice storms. I am used to driving in snow and ice and while it was a bit tricky, I was more concerned about the other drivers than negotiating the ice.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:48 PM   #5
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Never done it but what you describe sounds like no problem. Worst case if the weather gets bad you pull off for a day or two and find a good bar to hang out in.
This. Just watch the weather channel or weather.com and avoid storms by waiting them out, or even taking an alternate route. 100 extra miles is nothing if it misses a big storm. Don't just drive because if you find yourself in one your options may be limited. Chances are the weather will be fine and even if there is a storm usually they get interstates clear the next day.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:54 PM   #6
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... I suspect the likelihood of serious winter weather beyond Missouri and maybe OK is very low...
Yes, the western part of I-40 is usually not bad. There have been freak storms, but as I remember, they happen more in Feb and Mar.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:56 PM   #7
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Having driven through TX and OK during and after an ice storm, I don't think you need to worry about it. If the ice starts to fall, just wait (in the above mentioned bar maybe) for an hour. Then drive on. You'll have plenty of scenery to look at, as the sides of the highway will be lined with stranded pickup trucks. But you should be able to cruise right on through as long as you don't stomp on your brakes like they all did.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:35 AM   #8
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Also be aware of bridges and ramps which can frost up even when the roads are otherwise ice-free.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:05 PM   #9
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If you were headed to North Dakota you might have something to worry about, but with the tips everyone listed above you should be fine. Of course, do the basics like ensuring tires, headlights, fluids, etc. are in good shape. It doesn't hurt to carry some non-perishable food and water, blanket, ice scraper, etc. either. Enjoy!
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:09 PM   #10
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When you're retired, you don't have to adhere to a schedule. I am sure you'll be able to find a weather window of opportunity during winter, and there's a better than even chance you'll be able to do it whenever you plan. No sweat...
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:12 PM   #11
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I think the riskiest leg will be the Ozarks if you go west from St. Louis. We drove Chicago to Dallas several times and went south to Memphis and then through Arkansas just to avoid the Ozarks. Of course I did hit a storm coming back alone a few years ago in January while still in the Ozarks and it was some of the scariest driving I've ever done until I go to my Hampton Inn.

Just time your trip around the five-day forecast and you should be fine.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:20 PM   #12
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...you pull off for a day or two and find a good bar to hang out in.
Good advice no matter the weather...

As others have said, keep an eye on the weather report, and plan accordingly. Maybe keep a sleeping bag and a few "rations" in the car if you find yourself stranded.

If there's any doubt, stay put (in the aforementioned bar)!
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Old 07-24-2013, 04:04 PM   #13
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We've driven Chicago - Phoenix 4 times. Got stranded in northern az last march. Keep an eye on the weather and you should be able to find a window in jan to make it to LA. if you're taking I-40, the flagstaff area will be your biggest concern.
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Old 07-24-2013, 04:28 PM   #14
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If you limit your driving to daylight hours(the warmer hours) you should be fine. Watch the weather closely especially between Albuqueque and the Arizona/California border. There are lots of mountains and those are no fun in ice or snow. If the forcast shows rain don't drive unless the temp is over 35 degrees. Ice and mountains don't mix. Good luck.
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Old 07-24-2013, 06:00 PM   #15
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How much would it cost to ship the car?
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Old 07-24-2013, 06:42 PM   #16
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What mountains? Unless its the Blue ridge, Smokies, Sierras, Green Mountain range, your talking "hills". Just watch the Weather channel as others have suggested. That drive should be a "class 1 or 2". If hills were rapids.
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Old 07-24-2013, 06:44 PM   #17
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......Unless you meant "Los Angeles" instead of the state of Louisiana.?
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Old 07-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #18
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The OP asks about "driving Southwest from St Louis thru OK, Texas, New Mexico, AZ and on to LA." That would be an odd route to Louisiana.
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Old 07-24-2013, 06:48 PM   #19
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The OP asks about "driving Southwest from St Louis thru OK, Texas, New Mexico, AZ and on to LA." That would be an odd route to Louisiana.
Not if he was darned determined to avoid any mountains doing it!
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:31 PM   #20
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In Jan it is possible to get stopped by closures on even I-10 in the hill country. In 2007 I-10 was closed for about 200 mi west of San Antonio. (I don't recall if US 90 was closed). Also futher west it is possible to get snow as well, both in Tx and Before Tucson, Az as I-10 gets to over 6k feet there. (It would likely be only the day of the snow although the 2007 storm closed i-10 for 3 days because it did not get above freezing. (They closed I-10 because the 18 wheelers were sliding all over the road and the shoulders). I would suggest dropping south on i-55 to i-12 and then west, as the chance of getting stopped by weather is less, and then watch the weather and hole up if bad weather is coming, across west Tx its a long way with few people on I-10, so getting stranded could be inconvenient at a minimum.
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