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Old 12-15-2014, 12:05 PM   #1
Len and Jeanne
 
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route advice, please: Spokane-Death Valley

They say men don't like to ask for directions, so this is Jeanne here.

We are planning a trip in early March, to Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks. We will leave from Spokane, Washington with a quick stop at Airstream of Spokane. At this time of year, anything inland from the coast and north of about St. George, Utah can experience snowstorms and icy roads. We know enough not to try to drive through bad weather, but are wondering which route would best (a) maximize warmer weather and minimize mountain passes, as they are more apt to be snowy, and (b) minimize heavy traffic on California urban freeways.

Two years ago we made the trip via I-84 east to I-15 south where it hooks up in northern Utah (I-15 via I-90 through Montana being too high, wide, and lonesome, and I-84 has only one real mountain pass.) We had a reason to go through central Utah that year, which we don't have this time, and it seems a bit out-of-the-way.

We've looked at route 95 through Nevada (too lonesome if something goes badly?,) the coastal route from Portland (slow, and how do you get over the mountains to Death Valley?), I-5, and various permutations.

I hope anyone who has done this trip or who lives in states along the way or who has better information technology than I have can help us out!

We have lots of time to make the trip-- we just prefer not to spend it hunkering down beside an icy highway somewhere, if we can help it.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-15-2014, 12:40 PM   #2
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We typically do I-5 from Portland, down to Mt Shasta, then through Susanville & Reno to Fallon. South from there. Into the park from DV Junction, as it is not as steep as coming down from Beatty.

If there is weather on the way to Reno, then done to Bakersfield, over Tahatchapee (spelling), then up to DV Junction via Shoshone, etc.

Be careful around Stockton. The freeway is in bad shape there.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:06 PM   #3
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Thank you! We'll get out the maps and trace your route.

I might add that the concern with mountain passes isn't towing the trailer (with a Tundra,) but just that in general, the high elevations tend to get more snow, and not be plowed out as carefully as the roads in and around the population centers.
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:28 AM   #4
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Jeanne, just watch the weather, and be ready to either change route or plans if conditions get sloppy. Use the state DOT highway websites for highway conditions.

The route through Susanville is usually kept in very good shape.
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Old 12-16-2014, 11:50 AM   #5
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While you're in Death Valley, you might want to take a (non-towing) day trip over to nearby Saline Valley. There are some fantastic wild hot springs over there. I haven't been in years, so you should probably do some research.

There are hot springs all down the 395, if that's something you're interested in.

I like Devil's Postpile, as well!
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:25 PM   #6
Len and Jeanne
 
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Good advice Suzy and Drathaar.

I love hot springs. Len does not, so our compromise is that he's OK with me soaking away for as long as I want, so long as I don't pressure him to join me.

We plan to drive north through Utah in April via the above-mentioned I-15/I-84 route (and may even chance HY 95 through Nevada, as a lot of Arizona snowbirds drive north along this route in April.) Spring snow storms are still possible in April, but decreasingly likely.

We still have some spare time to kick around in southeastern California and environs in late March, so will check out the other places that the area has to offer. We are more interested in natural settings than in urban/resort ones.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:50 PM   #7
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From billings we go to idaho falls, to twin falls then down 93 to ely then 6 to tonopah, no traffic and you can stop any where...
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Old 12-16-2014, 08:37 PM   #8
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Joshua Tree is Da Bomb. My favorite campgrounds ever is the Indian Cove campground which can easily accommodate your 19FC. You might want to consider it. Have fun!!!!
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