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Road warrier strategy - Portland on Xmas Day
Old 12-22-2008, 07:55 PM   #1
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Road warrier strategy - Portland on Xmas Day

DW and I have tickets to fly into Portland, Oregon on Christmas and drive to the coast (Manzanita). The weather reports are looking ugly (snow or freezing rain) not only for Portland, but also for the roads over to the coast.

I'm looking for recommendations for things we can do ahead of time to hedge our bets. If the flight is canceled, what should we do to get on another flight soon?

Would it be advisable to book a hotel now near Portland on the chance that we get there OK, but can't drive over the mountains to the coast for a day or so? It looks like one can't reserve a room without a cancellation penalty anymore.

Any tips on the best route to the coast in inclement weather? I found a ODOT site that gives road conditions, but I'm open for suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
Would it be advisable to book a hotel now near Portland on the chance that we get there OK, but can't drive over the mountains to the coast for a day or so? It looks like one can't reserve a room without a cancellation penalty anymore.
I do that for any trips we have planned for winter time....I book a room for the day before our planned departure near to the place we are leaving from....especially if the weather is supposed to get nasty on departure day. That way we're very close to where we need to be, and don't have to drive any major distance.

I also book a room for the day of our return, in case the weather is nasty and we don't want to drive through it to get home. If the weather turns out to be nice when we get in, and the roads are in good shape, I call and cancel the reservation before their deadline which is usually around 6pm. If you cancel before the deadline there is no charge. If you cancel after the deadline, they usually charge for the room whether used or not.

In my experience they usually require your CC info in order to hold the room for you past 6pm (or there abouts).
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:40 PM   #3
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Motel 6 allows no-penalty cancellations up to 6pm on the day of arrival, and there are some right near the airport (I have stayed at the Troutdale Motel 6). In fact, if you telephone instead of reserving online, you do not even need to give a credit card # if you say you are arriving well before 6pm.
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:55 AM   #4
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I doubt you would have any trouble securing a hotel/motel in portland at this time of the year so a reservation wouldnt be necessary.
You might want to ask your rent-a-car company if their cars come with snow tires.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:56 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Any advice on handling a potential flight cancellation? My hope is to just reschedule for next spring if the flight is canceled, though I know the airlines aren't exactly generous with changes these days.........
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:32 PM   #6
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We are 70 miles S of Portland - weatherman tonight reports snow tonight for PDX. Here's a Portland news station for local weather: Home - KOINLocal6.com

PDX does have free wireless and you do need to sign on and agree to to terms before using it. So if you travel with a laptop you can use this site:
TripChill Overview Video to do quite a lot reservation and trip change-wise.

If you have an iphone there is a tripchill app available. Haven't used it yet but it looks amazing. Hwy 26 to the coast has just reopened - and that's your way over....

And that's about all i know..
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:03 PM   #7
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Follow up

Thanks to those of you that offered guidance. I decided to pull the plug because of the weather situation in the mountains between Portland and the coast. The rental cars don't come with good winter tires and coming in on Christmas day, I didn't even have the option to stop at an auto parts store and buy chains. Last winter we crossed these mountains in a snow storm and DW is still shaking.

But amazingly, when I swapped my tickets at Northwest airlines, I talked to a very helpful and patient person who DID NOT CHARGE ME A PENALTY for changing the tickets to an April flight. There was a $50 / ticket charge to "restock" the frequent flier points, but I was amazed that I got off so lightly.
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