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Old 10-24-2017, 03:15 PM   #15
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The AllStays app is good for finding RV parks.

Maggie
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Old 10-24-2017, 03:45 PM   #16
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Can't comment on much regarding the trailer side of things but I can give you some locals experience on winter weather in the ID area. It Sucks.

The main route across WY from Boulder to SLC is often closed intermittently throughout the winter months. If you are headed that way and see all of the Semi Trucks parked, stop and do the same. The wind blows hard across southern WY and black ice along with snow drifts and extreme wind make that route very dangerous in the winter. As others have said 70 through the center of CO is not a lot better. My Brother drove truck for a few years and would often route way south during the winter months to avoid crossing WY.

The Blue Mountains in east OR are another area that regularly closes the route from Boise to Portland in the winter months. Now some years winter is winding down in mid February, last year it was just starting. We had months of snow storm after snow storm after snow storm. Over a foot dropped overnight multiple times. Think we kept the kids home from school and did not go into work on 6 separate days last year...all of them after mid January....and into March. Many city streets were impassable with snow and ice for weeks...road crews could not keep up.

Boise also tends to get winter inversions...It sits down in a bit of a valley and it looks like fog/smog for weeks on end. Not to be discouraging but it sucks here in the winter. If I could spend winter (November till May) anywhere else I would. And this winter is getting an early start...low temps are already below freezing most mornings, snow in the foothills and some very high wind nights.
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Old 10-24-2017, 09:06 PM   #17
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I'm thinking an air bnb in each city might be your best best. It's only 3 months. Get a trailer later.
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:49 PM   #18
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The posted picture is beside I80 about an hour East of Salt Lake. We hit sand and chems about an hour to the East. But if you never see any, so much the better. Best way to insure that is to stay parked in such weather.

Looking at specific park web sites helps with planning. The opening and closing dates are usually posted. Take a bit of care on general sites like RV Parky. We like it, but got some bad info and wasted some time looking for closed parks. Some parks close earlier than advertised so check with a call.

Boulder, CO
SLC, UT
Boise, ID
Seattle, WA
Reno, NV
and lastly
Bay Area, CA

Run the list in reverse. Head directly for San Francisco by way of either I10 or similar Southern route. You will learn a few towing lessons along the way.

It's a four hour drive up to Reno from the Bay area. If weather is bad, you can dead head with just the tow vehicle.

Then run up the Coast to Seattle. It's warm along the coast and interesting scenery.

By that time you have bought yourself some better weather. Head to Boise, then Salt Lake and last of all run over to Boulder.

Pick your weather windows carefully.

Also, look at Portland, OR - nice place to raise a family and Missoula, MT - the banana belt of that area.

Good Luck with your planning. Pat
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Old 10-25-2017, 12:05 AM   #19
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We are familiar with several of your destinations and would not do this trip in winter towing a trailer. Winterizing is important. You might get by in an RV park without winterizing, but you'd have to tow with your furnace running when daytime temps do not get above freezing. It's safer to winterize and you can camp that way, but then the RV gets a lot less habitable for a family.

When you're moving you won't be in an RV park, so do think about your water lines then.

The main problem would be driving on icy, snowy roads. Yes, one should remain stationary and just hole up during such conditions, but sometimes in the West this is a lot less feasible than one would hope, if the weather should change on you, due to long distances between exits. I drove that stretch of I-80 in Wyoming in winter once and it was a frightening experience due to severe ground blizzard conditions. The skiers and truckers routinely use I-70 in winter, but it can be serious winter driving.

I grew up in snow country and drove a lot in winter conditions, but nevertheless once had an accident on I-80 east of SLC in a stretch where rain in the valley turned to snow in the mountains, and the pavement turned into a skating rink.

The roads will either be salted or icy when it snows. Oh, and beefy snow tires are essential, not the "all weather" tires sold in the South.

Maybe there is an RV park near Boulder now, but there wasn't one anywhere close by when my son lived there. I should think it would get a bit demoralizing making do with Walmarts and Flying J truck stops.

Sorry to sound so discouraging, but hey-- if you're going to be an Airstreamer, we don't want to lose you.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:39 AM   #20
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. . .
Run the list in reverse. Head directly for San Francisco by way of either I10 or similar Southern route. You will learn a few towing lessons along the way.
. . .
Bingo!

This is the best approach IMO. Let the weather be your guide from SF. North to Portland and Seattle with the trailer, with dead-head options to go east as needed.

Have fun!

Peter

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Old 10-25-2017, 09:15 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
The AllStays app is good for finding RV parks.

Maggie
Thanks! Great app.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PKI View Post
Run the list in reverse. Head directly for San Francisco by way of either I10 or similar Southern route. You will learn a few towing lessons along the way.

It's a four hour drive up to Reno from the Bay area. If weather is bad, you can dead head with just the tow vehicle.

Then run up the Coast to Seattle. It's warm along the coast and interesting scenery.

By that time you have bought yourself some better weather. Head to Boise, then Salt Lake and last of all run over to Boulder.

Pick your weather windows carefully.

Also, look at Portland, OR - nice place to raise a family and Missoula, MT - the banana belt of that area.

Good Luck with your planning. Pat
Another great post, Pat. Thanks. The reverse is a simple yet smart idea. I had never considered it.

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I'm thinking an air bnb in each city might be your best best. It's only 3 months. Get a trailer later.
I am researching this alongside the 'airstream way'. Ill compile a pros and cons list in a few weeks and deliberate.
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:08 AM   #22
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Well said, Bob.

" . . . before the cell phone era . . . ?"

Hi

Yup, once upon a time children there were no cell phones. In some ways it was poetic justice. My job at the time was in part to help make the cell phone era get here a bit sooner.

=======

One of the issues running through the mountains, you will not always have cell service. We get *very* used to having it as a backup when things go wrong. Even out here in the east there are gaps in coverage as you twist this way and that between mountain shadows. Gaps with this provider likely are not the same as gaps with another provider ....

Cell coverage gaps are not just an issue for emergency calls. A lot of things like Google Maps depend on cell data. The magic apps that give you weather or the next campground likely do as well. Cute things like truck (RV) compatible gas stops ...same thing.

No, cell coverage isn't any worse in the winter than in the middle of the summer. It's more of an issue of how badly you might need the things it provides.

Bob
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Old 10-26-2017, 10:30 AM   #23
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Right. Many cell phone dead zones in the mountains.

I would also point out that in a lot of the mountain West, Verizon is the only cell phone service provider. If you have a plan with another company, you won't be able to pick up Verizon but would need a separate plan with them.

I dunno, bacon612, especially with two little children, it seems like you're taking a big risk. You might hit it lucky and have no severe winter weather and clean pavement, but you could just as easily get into a big problem in a white-out with slick highway conditions. Controlling for a skid is hard enough in an SUV with winter tires, but it's a lot less forgiving towing a big trailer.

As others have said, you can keep a weather eye out for the driving conditions (including via state transportation departments) but even so, the forecasts can be off in the mountains, as we know from living in the Kootenays in BC. Probably something to do with distance from weather stations. In Wyoming on I-80 you can have perfectly clear overhead skies but considerable ground blizzard due to the wind.

We want you and your family to be safe.
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Old 10-26-2017, 11:05 AM   #24
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Oh, just one more thing bacon612 if you are convinced that you need to do this type of trip with a new baby, is that on long stretches of cold highways, it is important to dress for the weather outside, not for the warm-toasty temperature inside your vehicle. If you have to get out for any emergency sort of reason like a flat tire or if your vehicle quits on you, it's important to be wearing warm boots, hats, gloves, & winter jacket. For the kids, definitely warm snow suits.

We routinely travel with a shovel, bucket, and sandbags in the back end of our truck once the snow flies. Sand bags positioned near the tailgate help with traction, and then the sand might come in handy if we get stuck somewhere.

Sorry to nag, but we want you and family to be safe.
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:42 PM   #25
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Oh, just one more thing bacon612 if you are convinced that you need to do this type of trip with a new baby, is that on long stretches of cold highways, it is important to dress for the weather outside, not for the warm-toasty temperature inside your vehicle. If you have to get out for any emergency sort of reason like a flat tire or if your vehicle quits on you, it's important to be wearing warm boots, hats, gloves, & winter jacket. For the kids, definitely warm snow suits.

We routinely travel with a shovel, bucket, and sandbags in the back end of our truck once the snow flies. Sand bags positioned near the tailgate help with traction, and then the sand might come in handy if we get stuck somewhere.

Sorry to nag, but we want you and family to be safe.
Hi

One strategy that works with small kids: Kids stay bundled up in the vehicle with one adult. The other adult goes for help / does the work. I have data on this ....

Bob
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Old 10-27-2017, 06:09 PM   #26
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Boy you got some great advice from other folks. I want to support their comments and add my 2 cents. If you are going to tow on ice and snow you will need to consider installing studded snow tires on your tow vehicle. They can save you on black ice and you do not need to install chains. I do not know if they make them to fit your trailer. If not please consider getting a set of chains for your trailer and practice putting them on. Hard to learn how in a snow storm. If installed incorrectly they will come loose and beat the fender of your trailer to pieces causing tons of damage.
If you don't have a traction device installed on the trailer and you apply the brakes even a little bit be prepared to see your trailer from a whole new angle as you jackknife and slide off the highway into a ditch.
Please be careful
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:06 PM   #27
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I think you are crazy!

This is high potential for locked off (closed) interstates, ice, blizzards, freezing sleet, and major winds.

Wait until after St Patricks day.

Imprudent to do what you propose, in my opinion.
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Old 10-27-2017, 08:32 PM   #28
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Do they treat roads in the areas I plan to travel as they do in the salt belt? I was under the impression that they didn't.
Many western states do indeed treat the roads. There is a long thread here about the worst case of filiform corrosion that was experienced by a member in Montana who go a shot of mag choride from a passing highway treatment truck. Got home and washed the Airstream but it was covered in Corrosion and was eventually totaled if I recall.

They do treat the roads here in Utah, and I'm quite sure Idaho. I do winter trips with a caveat...if it's snowing, NO GO. Stay put. Find a Walmart, or a Flying J, or a rest stop, whatever...just get OFF the road asap. I don't want salt or other corrosives on or under my trailer, not to mention, and this is much more important= if they're out laying it down, that means it's snowing...so you SHOULD NOT be towing anyway. I wait for dry roads. Safer, and no wet salt residue. If I do experience any, I hit a self car wash ASAP.

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I am about to begin to look at travel parks in the areas of interest that offer winter camping with hookups. Does anyone have a recommended resource for this or am I best to pick up the phone and call around? I checked with goodsamclub.com and unsurprisingly, their search feature doesn't allow me to query 'winter' camp sites exclusively.
You'll have to search around using various resources. For SLC, there are a couple of RV Parks down there that I think are open, but there is an excellent one up the hill near Park City, in Heber City. Would make a great base of operations. http://mountainvalleyrv.com/ . Open all year, and have weekly/monthly rates. Full hookups, beautiful individual bathrooms/showers, exercise facility, etc. It's THE place for SLC area, believe me. (I have no affiliation with them).

Good luck, with careful planning and preparation, flexibility, patience and respect for Mother Nature, and a sense of humor for the myriad of possible challenges that have been mentioned...this *could* be a great adventure for your whole family. Or a nightmare. I can't stress enough how important being prepared will be, as I'm sure you are aware. But especially with the challenges of cold weather towing. A failed furnace in a non-winterized trailer in 10 degree weather will result in incredible plumbing damage, and it can happen in a matter of hours without you even realizing it. And yes, be prepared in the event of a cold weather breakdown, although that applies whether you are towing an Airstream or not. (Actually, having an Airstream with the furnace running could make for a comfortable place to wait for assistance or a tow.)

Holler at me if you land at Mountain Valley! I store my FC about a mile from there and visit her frequently in the winter, it's only 15 minutes from Park City.
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