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Bonnie

Thinking about moving my RV south before it snows in Minnesota

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We are brand-new at driving an RV (although we have a lot of experience towing boats) and want to avoid driving it in the snow and ice, so I'm considering driving my RV from northern Minnesota to Kansas City, MO and storing in for a few months until after Christmas. I know KC has bad weather, too, but at least their roads dry off between storms, unlike those in northern Minnesota.

What do you other RVers from Canada and northern U.S. do to avoid driving on bad roads? Any experiences would be much appreciated!

 

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Lots of trucks still pull trailers around in the snow belt during the winter for work. However, you won't see them on the road during a big snow event.

Know your vehicle, know how it will react and only move when you feel 100% comfortable doing it.

 

NEVER brake on a bridge or overpass when slick! My pet peeve

 

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Thanks to both for your comments. As I'm just getting used to driving my RV, I am perhaps overly cautious. But I'd rather be safe than in a ditch.

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I drive in snow if I’m ok with the conditions. What I don’t like the road deicing materials covering my rig. I always stop asap I get out of the crap and wash the rig especially the underside. What can be a bonus is the snow weather turns to rain as you fly south and you get that first main rinse “free”. 

I use my camper. If I have it winterized when I leave I run the heat once I’m in warmer weather-  like above 0F, and have some bottled water. I flush with antifreeze and don’t re commission the water system until I’m south of -20F Land...

Last year it was not cold when I left AB so no winterizing. I travel the Rockies route so one to two days reduces the risk of stupid cold.

Like chirakawa said I watch the weather ahead, usually government weather services and provincial and state highway cameras to avoid the drama and overblown reporting and forecasting. 

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Like others have said, watch the weather forecasts and pick your driving days. Don't drive your RV on windy days either; 20 mph winds was my maximum and I much preferred lower than that. Do be sure your RV is fully winterized before leaving here but, also, when leaving it in KC, MO. Anything you take with you that might freeze you need to bring back with you. When you leave KC headed on south if you stay places that get at least in the 40s during the daytime you can go down to as low as 20° at night because things will thaw every day.

Linda Sand, another Minnesotan

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! 

Like most others, I don't really advise storing your RV somewhere to avoid winter weather unless you were to take if far to the south and then leave it where you plan to winter. If you keep a close eye on the weather you should be able to travel south on dry roads for the most part. I do not advocate driving the RV on slick roads for most people but that should be avoidable and storing the RV in Kansas City would still leave you with nearly as much risk of snow unless you are willing to wait out the weather. You didn't say if you will be traveling solo nor if you are retired, but I do suggest avoiding travel in any major storm. I traveled the highways in my job so did travel in bad weather and 20+ years of that was in CO and WY so I am familiar with driving on bad roads. Just keep in mind that with your RV you can stop at the nearest RV park and just wait out any bad road situations. 

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45 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Just keep in mind that with your RV you can stop at the nearest RV park and just wait out any bad road situations. 

Not many parks are open along the route at that time of year. It's easier to stay in motels with your RV parked outside while traveling in winter. Mystic Lake Casino's RV park, southwest of Minneapolis, is open year around but it's not exactly on the route.

Linda Sand

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Thanks again for the additional comments and helpful advice. Based on all the comments, it sounds like I should be able to drive the freeways safely in our RV and the extra headache of storing it in KC, Mo can be avoided. And nice to get advice from another Minnesotan. Appreciate it!

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Just be aware that going south doesn't assure you of warm weather.  We stayed just off I-10 in western Louisiana for 4 days a couple years ago because the highway was closed due to ice.  We had 17*f two mornings, and below freezing for two more.  As stated above watch the more reliable weather folks, and by that, I mean the ones who don't depend on advertising to support them.

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I don't think I'd rely on any forecast map until a day or two before traveling.  We all know what the weather has been - very unpredictable.

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For current conditions and great for wind, look at windy.com

The menu on the left has a lot things you display.  I like the rain, thunder view. Very cool to zoom out and see all the wind patterns.

Edited by filthy-beast

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Oh another top tip. Don’t travel anywhere near me and mountains. I’m convinced I can make it snow in summer  by hauling a rv 🤣

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Wave on your way South! We'll be leaving Arizona on Dec 26 and heading back to the Twin Cities to start the 2020 tax season. We have similar concerns in reverse. We winterize at Winstar Casino across the TX/OK line on I-35 with a stop at the Red Roof Inn in Cameron, Missouri. You only need a 2-3 day window of good weather to make the trip without any precip. I will wash our rig and store it inside upon our return to Minnesota.

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One tool for staying current of weather is  the One Stop Shop for Travelers.

 It takes a bit to learn how to use all the tools on the website, however it is as current as the information of each states road conditions website.The Western half of the U.S. has a lot of live road cameras, East half, not so much.

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8 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

The Western half of the U.S. has a lot of live road cameras, East half, not so much.

As far as I can tell, the data doesn't cover anything to the east of MT, WY, CO, or NM. There are many cameras east of that area that I have looked at, but none are listed. A good example of that is the site Kan Drive Roads which has dozens of cameras that you can access, yet none of them show on that program. 

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Pennsylvania has a network of cameras on the pa511.com website. Just go to the web site and select cameras. It's not a real intuitive interface.

 

pa511.com

Pat

 

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

As far as I can tell, the data doesn't cover anything to the east of MT, WY, CO, or NM. There are many cameras east of that area that I have looked at, but none are listed. A good example of that is the site Kan Drive Roads which has dozens of cameras that you can access, yet none of them show on that program. 

I investigated this a bit and found that this website is designed for the Western U.S.

A different address to the map and cameras, without the tools is here: http://oss.weathershare.org/m/?clat=38.27836&clng=-109.07804&zoom=6

I looked further to find contact information to suggest additions to the map, but found none.

Edited by Ray,IN

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California is a participant in the consortium behind the OSS webpage, but they're not "behind" it. There's a collective of western states that all feed real-time information into the other that becomes the website. 

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Hey Bonnie, just a quick question or possibly a hmmmmm type of moment.  You are in Minneapolis and if they are anything like the most of the northern states they have heavy duty equipment, salt, sand etc to combat the road conditions and are accustom  to handling it. The roads will be clear when they are clear and storing your motorhome in Kansas City, you'll have to be able to get there from where you are. So you drive your 'heavy duty, 4x4' down to Kansas City just to have the storm front be going through there at the time. Or you can leave before the storm hits so that the storm comes in as you get on the road with your motorhome. I personally lived in MI and storms went through, I drove when conditions where acceptable, I never parked any vehicle a few hundred miles away in hopes that I could drive it in the middle of winter. Just me but it would not be worth it, from my thinking

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Warm snow and ice not much grip.

Medium cold snow and ice purity good grip. 

Cold snow (-35) good grip, cold ice with skiff o’snow - eek!

Sometimes the “fringe areas” with snow / freezing rain

and temps hanging around freezing are the worst.

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