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Old 12-31-2012, 05:34 PM   #1
needSubiePower
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Member#: 157059
Join Date: Aug 2007
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Vancouver, WA
Default I5 Vs. 101 in the Winter, OC to PDX

In a couple of weeks I'm flying down to Southern California and driving back in a Nissan Altima towing a small trailer. It's not really a good set up anytime, but in the winter it's gonna be sketchy. I had no choice in the decision making, I just get the pleasure of doing the driving.

Anyway, what would you guys recommend between I5 and the 101? I5 is about 200 miles shorter, but the passes in Northern California/Southern Oregon are worrying. I've done the trip on I5 (not in the winter) and have driven on the 101 between Gilroy and Pismo (also not in the winter, but that shouldn't make a difference). Generally I would choose the I5 because of the higher speed limits, but with the trailer, we'll probably moving a little slower. Some people have recommend taking the 101 to avoid the snowy passes. If that is feasible, where would be the best place to cut over from the coast? Would doing the 126 into Eugene or the 18 be good options? The way I see it is, if the drive takes a little longer, it's better than getting stuck in a blizzard in Northern California for a night (or longer). It should also be a much nicer drive, and safer if I can avoid really bad weather.

Thanks for any info.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:02 PM   #2
Sw20matt
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just take I5. there are a couple of passes that get snowed but DOT is all over them with plows and defrost. I have taken the trip with worse weather and never had to put on chains because they were so fast to clear the pass.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:10 PM   #3
sleepy_doe807
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Location: Port Orchard, WA
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Over the past 15 years, I've made the trip between Kitsap County and the bay area over 35 times. Only once did I5 get closed between Redding and Yreka. That turned my 12 hour trip into a 22 hour journey cutting across to 101 and back to I5.

Just check weather forecasts a couple days before you plan to travel. Also, please keep to the right lane with the trailer in tow.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:40 PM   #4
Flowmastered87GL
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Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland Oregon
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Note that towing a trailer you are supposed to go 55 on the freeways here, not 70 in CA and 65 in OR. If the forcast looks decent, do I-5... if its going to be cold, take 101. I seem to recall Hwy 18 has a pretty low pass height. 26 and 6 get pretty high (for the coast range anyway)
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:13 PM   #5
needSubiePower
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Location: Vancouver, WA
Default

Thank you all for the input!

Last year a friend of mine was going from AZ to Seattle and ended up getting stuck in Yreka overnight during a blizzard, I've stopped there and don't really have any intention of doing it again. If mother nature has other plans, I guess I'm stuck.

I'm definitely gonna hang in the right lane, people who don't understand that slower traffic has to stay right should be publicly chastised. I'm also gonna keep it around 55, even if that wasn't the speed limit, I don't wanna try going any faster with such a small tow vehicle.

Anyways, thanks again. Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve!
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:21 PM   #6
Flowmastered87GL
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The wheel bearings / tire size on the trailer also may work to keep your speed down. Smaller tires = rotating faster = cooked bearings
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:37 PM   #7
tpeterson4237
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I'm not too sure about the pass in California, but I would definitely go I5 over 101. But make sure that you've got really good light output with your heads/fogs because the road into Oregon from the border to Grants Pass is okay, but once you're past that, DOT really lacks maintenence of the road lines and it's really hard to see when it's raining.

Best of luck with the road trip!
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:04 PM   #8
ImNOrobo
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We are about embark on a 3700 mile journey across the US with a 17' truck towing the subie . When we get to cali, we planon taking the I-5 to get to Oregon. The hills on 101 and being two lanes total kills any chance with a trailer. Like others have said you are better off going I-5 all the way. Good luck to ya.
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