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winter travel from redwoods to salt lake city


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We have been camp hosting in the Redwood State Parks near Eureka, Ca. for April - June, 2015. We plan to head toward Michigan in July and the route I am planning to take is 101 South to 37 just North of SF then I-80 East. I am pulling a 34' fifth wheel and although this route is 70 miles longer it avoids steep passes. The Mountain Directory West is very useful for trip planning.



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I will be a Weott CA in the Redwoods and live in WI so have driven in winter a lot. I have a Class B campervan towing nothing. I am not going all the way back to WI though just to Salt Lake City area and am unfamiliar with mountain passes in that neck of the woods.


I have driven over the cascades in Washington in the winter before it was as big a highway as it is now.

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Interstate 80 is the major east-west route and it's your best bet for clear pavement. There aren't any other major roads crossing the west side of the Great Basin until you get into northern Oregon.


The major pass on I-80 is Donner over the Sierra Nevadas. It can have chain restrictions during and immediately following winter storms. From there on east I-80 follows mostly flat water channels across the Great Basin to Utah. It follows the route of the original Transcontinental Railroad, which followed the flattest route across the country. You cross the Rocky Mtns east of Salt Lake City.


Be sure to check the weather, though. People are saying next winter will be an El Nino season, with higher than normal precipitation. Good news for the western drought, not so good for winter travel.

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Some good advice. I have done I80 (the best route) in that time frame. Do watch the weather/road reports. Between storms there should be no problems. Hang out in a lower elevation till there's a break (usually a day or 2) then cross the Sierra. As was stated, with an RV you have wheels and self-containment. Can't be better than that. And do use good judgement. A day later is better than a Coach-Net tow.

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