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Should I take a road trip in March?
Old 01-22-2013, 06:46 PM   #1
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Should I take a road trip in March?

I'm recently RE and am getting involved in some interesting consulting projects in areas of interest (the kind of thing I love, don't tell me to stop it!). Anyhow, in my background research for one of these projects I came across a course that I would be interested in signing up for. It's not expensive, but involves going to New Hampshire in March for ~ 1 week.

I have quite a few relatives around the Eastern states and if I had my car it would be SO MUCH FUN to visit with them on my own schedule. I suppose I could fly, but I do have this neat new Honda CRV which I really enjoy driving long distance, and there is so much to see out there!

I was thinking that if I drove south towards Spokane, it would be getting warmer and hopefully less icy on the road. I could make my way towards Salt Lake City, visit friends there, go to the Grand Canyon, then through Denver, eventually to western PA where I have more relatives, then up to New Hampshire, before heading to see more family in MA. I might go back via Minneapolis, head north to Winnipeg (my old stomping ground), and west on the Transcanada highway.

Am I nuts? Any suggestions?
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:48 PM   #2
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Go for it!

One of the real perks of retirement is the freedom to go and do as you please, so why not?
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:51 PM   #3
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As you get closer, do a google weather search for at least a day or two ahead on your route. March is mighty early. Grand Canyon south rim is above 7,000' and the north rim is over 8,000.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:10 PM   #4
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We once drove our monster motorhome from TX to Yakima WA to make a Mar 21 factory appointment. We didn't use our normal route (I80/84) but instead crossed the country much farther south, sticking to I-40 and I-10, and then headed north in Western Nevada. It can get pretty snowy in the interior high country (I70, I80 or I90).

Crossing Northern CA and OR was more a matter of watching the weather reports, looking at the highway cams, and timing our crossings to miss snow and ice. We had to carry chains in OR to cross the snow zones because we were a big rig, but we made sure not to drive the roads if there was any chance of snow.

So, watching the weather and planning carefully, it might be a very nice trip.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:33 PM   #5
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An additional suggestion: That is a VERY long drive, especially for someone driving alone, so if possible, allow plenty of extra time. Maybe you can plan to stop for several days somewhere about halfway that interests you, to walk around and do something active and fun other than drive for a few days. Now that you are retired, you have time to take it easy and enjoy.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
I'm recently RE and am getting involved in some interesting consulting projects in areas of interest (the kind of thing I love, don't tell me to stop it!). Anyhow, in my background research for one of these projects I came across a course that I would be interested in signing up for. It's not expensive, but involves going to New Hampshire in March for ~ 1 week.

I have quite a few relatives around the Eastern states and if I had my car it would be SO MUCH FUN to visit with them on my own schedule. I suppose I could fly, but I do have this neat new Honda CRV which I really enjoy driving long distance, and there is so much to see out there!

I was thinking that if I drove south towards Spokane, it would be getting warmer and hopefully less icy on the road. I could make my way towards Salt Lake City, visit friends there, go to the Grand Canyon, then through Denver, eventually to western PA where I have more relatives, then up to New Hampshire, before heading to see more family in MA. I might go back via Minneapolis, head north to Winnipeg (my old stomping ground), and west on the Transcanada highway.

Am I nuts? Any suggestions?
No advice, but Northern Idaho and Western Montana in March can be very unpleasant driving. You might have said when in March, but I missed it. I-90 is not fun during bad weather. If you are going to Salt Lake and Denver, look into I-84, though I am not sure it is better.

I you could drop straight down into WA onto US 97, then US 395 and cross the Columbia at Pendelton OR, and catch I-84 into Salt Lake.

I've done this, and found it more pleasant than Northern ID and Montana. Still, it is a very long drive, and IMO not much fun no matter how you go.

The only time I ever drove from New England to Washington I was in my early 20s, and I still was very glad to see the Pacific and be done with the trip.

Ha
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:47 PM   #7
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Am I nuts? Any suggestions?
Nuts? Not at all. Some of the threads here are giving me a similar interest in road trips. Advice? Take a short road trip first, and for this trip, take your time.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:49 PM   #8
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No advice, but Northern Idaho in March can be very unpleasant driving. You might have said when in March, but I missed it. I-90 is not fun during bad weather.

Ha
I didn't say. I need to be in NH by March 17. I was thinking I would leave BC 7-10 days before I need to be there.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:05 PM   #9
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Any suggestions?
Given the time of year, my suggestion (if you can afford it) is to fly to Pittsburgh, rent a car there and drive to New Hampshire, visiting relatives along the way. Fly back home from Boston. The way I see it, you avoid the long, desolate stretches in the winter and maximize your time in the places where you have family. There is certainly plenty to see and do in the northeastern part of the US.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:10 PM   #10
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I didn't say. I need to be in NH by March 17. I was thinking I would leave BC 7-10 days before I need to be there.
I am not fan of long drives, so if you want to do this, it may be best to listen to someone else. But even if you take the shortest, most northerly and most boring route (I90), you will need to average about 450 miles per day, if you budget 7 days and plan to drive all day every day. And that is if you don't hit truly bad weather. Interstates can have protracted weather closures.


Not exactly a look around and enjoy the sights trip. And forget Salt Lake, Denver, and the Grand Canyon. You'd be ready to be hospitalized.

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Old 01-22-2013, 08:15 PM   #11
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Road trip? All right! A retiree can do road trip any time of the year, really.

However, there might just be a freak storm when you are on the road. And it sounds like an 8000-mile or 13,000-km trip. That's quite a distance to cover in late winter. I really enjoy driving through the western states in the summer, but in March, well, I have some reservation like previous posters said.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:23 PM   #12
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I love long solo road trips but even the idea that I might run into a winter storm would keep me from this one. Fly to the project and do the road trip in May?
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:53 PM   #13
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I would advise against it. If the weather gets nasty, and there's a good chance it will in mid march, your trip won't be much fun.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:19 PM   #14
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I also love long solo road trips, but this is not an adventure I would undertake in March...a drive thru a snowstorm/blizzard mid April over Donner Pass is still too fresh in the memory, and that was 30 years ago. It took my sis and me 20 hours from SLC to just south of Sacramento...700 miles. Normally that is an 11-12 hour trip incl gas, food and potty breaks. Bottom line: I like reading your posts too much to recommend this trip.

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Old 01-22-2013, 09:35 PM   #15
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If you take your time & use the internet to look ahead at the weather, this is doable.

You do need the discipline to stay put if the forecast calls for bad weather. It is quite easy to just want to go for it. But then, a long drive like this calls for discipline in many other areas especially if you're driving alone - frequent breaks, pull over if you even suspect you're getting sleepy, take days off along the route etc.

We love road trips and try to drive one or two days, take a day off to sightsee or visit friends & then drive again. We've driven from Denver to the east coast in late December & it wasn't an issue. However, March is a snowy month in the Rockies.

Whatever you decide. All the best.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:03 AM   #16
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But even if you take the shortest, most northerly and most boring route (I90), you will need to average about 450 miles per day, if you budget 7 days and plan to drive all day every day.

Ha
As Ha says, this is quite a long drive. Half the fun of driving is stopping to see the sights - even if it is only to get out and stretch your legs. This would be a wonderful trip if you had about a month or more to devote to it.

The best I have ever done on a long trip is 400 miles in one day (leave at 7:30 or 8:00; stop at 4:30). The worst: 200 miles. Too many roadside attractions!

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:06 AM   #17
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I love to travel, to see new places and different cultures, and I enjoy driving itself even long trips (lots of time to think) - so it sounds wonderful to me. And I have traveled in groups, with DW and alone, and enjoy them all. If you do it, I hope you have a wonderful time, I know I would!
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:12 AM   #18
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Just reading the title makes me say yes....


Now I have to go read your post to see why you are even asking
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:23 AM   #19
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Given the time of year, my suggestion (if you can afford it) is to fly to Pittsburgh, rent a car there and drive to New Hampshire, visiting relatives along the way. Fly back home from Boston. The way I see it, you avoid the long, desolate stretches in the winter and maximize your time in the places where you have family. There is certainly plenty to see and do in the northeastern part of the US.
This is a great idea. You do not want to be trapped in your car during a blizzard .
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:53 AM   #20
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Personaly, I wouldn't drive over the Rockies anytime between November and April. If you do, watch the weather very closely and try to time it so you go over the mountains during the heat of the day. Give yourself plenty of time so if you encounter very bad weather you can stay put for a day or two. Be safe!
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