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Old 10-08-2014, 04:36 PM   #1
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Hwy I-5 winter travel questions B.C. to Palm Springs

We are RV newbies and with a few trips under our belt are planning a February trip to the Palm Springs area from Vancouver for a couple of weeks stay. We have lots of horse trailer towing experience but none of in winter conditions. We have driven cars and trucks for years in the snow having grown up on the prairies before coming to the coast. We have questions about winter travel on the I-5 from Vancouver towing a travel trailer (GMC 2500HD Duramax 4X4 with proper winter tires towing 24 foot bumper to hitch travel trailer 2014 Jayco White Hawk 20MRB with original tires):
1. Are chains required by local laws of WA, OR and CA for truck or trailer through the mountain passes we will traverse?
2. Are the ordinary trailer tires sufficient on the travel trailer under local laws of WA, OR and CA?
3. In which passes can we expect snow and which are the worst/easier?
All help appreciated.

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Old 10-08-2014, 05:00 PM   #2
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Washington state has a good page of info here: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/faq.htm

Oregon here: http://www.oregon.gov/odot/comm/page...erdriving.aspx

I live in WA and they can require chains BUT in my experience by the time weather is foul enough for a chain requirement, you should not be towing, imo. Most passes have chain up areas and inspection points. No chains (if required) = a stay in the chain up area until conditions are passable.

It's worth noting that major roads are pretty well maintained but winter squalls come up quickly. In my work, I drive over over Snoqualmie pass (I-90) about once per month (not towing). In the past ten years, I've spent the night on the side of the road twice when it was closed due to snow.

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Old 10-08-2014, 05:02 PM   #3
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Check pass conditions and requirements before traveling. The first pass you will hit is in Southern Oregon.
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:56 PM   #4
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I drive an 18 wheeler for a living. If conditions are bad enough to require chains my advice is to park somewhere safe and wait it out. It is not worth risking your life or your families over trying to drive in winter weather that bad. It may not be you who has a problem driving, it could be the guy in front or you beside you or behind you any of whom could take you out in a second. Unlike BC, in the States there is usually a warning sign advising if chains are required or not. At the OR/CA border there will be a DOT inspector to check if you are properly chained if chains are required. No go if not chained legally. You can dial 511 in each state and check current road conditions and chain requirements. Going up the mountain is the easy part, it is coming back down that is really hairy. Braking will wipe you out... Jackknifes happen in a split second. Once it starts there is no recovery.
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:02 PM   #5
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A friend of ours travel to Az each Feb. They usually take the coast hiway.
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:06 AM   #6
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As said before park it if it is snowing too much... On my trips from Sask to the PS area I find they are really good at keeping the Interstates clear after a snow storm.
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Old 10-09-2014, 10:38 AM   #7
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I drove for a living (18 Wheeler) for 30 years, many of those years between LA and Seattle. If it snowing in the mountain passes you would be better off to wait it out but at least have "drag chains" installed on 1 axle of your trailer in addition to the chains on your tow vehicle. You may also want to back off on the power on your brake control a bit. Go slow and leave plenty of room in front.

Consider avoiding the Grapevine in southern CA by taking 58 east out of Bakersfield to 395 at Kramer Jct then south on 395 to 15 at Victorville. That avoids all the nutjobs and LA freeways. The likely tail wind you will have going east on 58 thru the desert will really help the fuel mileage.


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Old 10-09-2014, 11:17 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your excellent information. As an RV newbie I am so very pleased at the neighborly and helpful nature of nearly everyone we meet in our RV travels. We have certainly selected a great way to tour Canada and the USA. Thanks again!
Gary, Sharon & Black Lab Abby
2002 GMC 2500HD Duramax 4x4
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:07 PM   #9
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X2 On taking 58 East!

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