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Old 01-16-2011, 09:58 PM   #1
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Traveling I-80 West

My husband and I would like to travel I-80 West from Illinois about the end of February or so through the end of April; we hope to visit friends in the Lake Tahoe area. One of our concerns, besides bears, is traversing the terrain pulling our 34' AS; our TV is a Ford F250 gas. She's in tip top shape, but we have heard some horror stories about mountain trips without a diesel TV. Any input would be appreciated; thank you.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:03 PM   #2
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As far as the sierra Nevada's, You should be fine after you hit utah and beyond. I have driven that road in dozens of vehicles and towed a few different trailers without issue. Its a fairly easy drive. Take your time, and watch the forecast. Us californians like to shut everything down as soon as the snow flies, we never really caught on to winter weather.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:19 PM   #3
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You would be fine. The trucks are pulling that grade at 40 mph.. just hang behind them and take your time on the downside. Its a beautiful drive.

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Old 01-16-2011, 10:27 PM   #4
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Lucy,
In February, I would stay south of I80, some nasty storms coming out of the gulf and aacross the plains'
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:32 PM   #5
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Not a hill problem, maybe a weather problem...

Have driven road more than 20 times, between school and Airstream and other excuses, from SF Bay Area to Pennsylvania or beyond... Only "mountains" you'll notice are descent into Salt Lake (which is long but not too bad) and rise from Reno up about 3,000' to Donner Summit.. As Vinnie said, keep speeds down going downhill and accept that for 5 mile climb west of Reno you may not be able to drive faster than 50 or 55.. In many parts, road widens to 3 lanes with truck lanes, and Calif has a number of large yellow advisory signs for trucks that are useful (like "Let her roll" or "Downshift now-5% downgrade ahead for 2 miles")

Bigger problem might be snow.. Ski season around Lake Tahoe normally runs past Easter, and with all the snow this year it could go until Memorial Day. It has snowed in April and May, and Calif has no flexibility about requiring tire chains if snow or ice on road surface, and includes trailers. It's also possible to see snow on I-80 between Green River Utah and Salt Lake in April.. I believe 1 or 2 campgrounds near South Lake Tahoe (the City..) remain open in winter, but most open in May.. Road around west side of the Lake (US Hwy 89) also opens sometime in April or May, as too narrow and steep to plow in winter south of Tahoe City...
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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Good point.. and if there are chain requirements while your traveling towards the pass they (the caltrans Gods) will require that all braking axles require chains... yikes! I would wait that one out until chain requirements are lifted which happens throughout the day typically.

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Old 01-16-2011, 10:42 PM   #7
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Lucy:

What part of Joliet are you from (East or West side)? I grew up in Joliet and my wife grew up in the area. Both of our families still live there. We were there last summer visiting family. We stayed the first couple of days at Kankakee state park. It was empty and loaded with Mosquitoes. We decided to camp at Martin's campground. Martins was great! We did not care about I-80 being there. We had a dump, electric, and water. It worked out because we were minutes from family.

Kanakakee and Martins were the only places near Joliet. The Empress Casino campgrounds we have not tried. Both our families are on the East side of town.

I don't know which way you want to head west but I have taken 55 through St. Louis when I went west. It was a good drive. Back in the day my buddy and I at the age of 19 drove from L.A. Back to Joliet. It was a good ride and it was farther south.

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Old 01-17-2011, 09:50 AM   #8
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I-80 can be nasty that time of year all the way through Nevada and over the Donner.
We've been stuck in Reno not able to go east or west! We check this site often when traveling...happy trails.

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:59 PM   #9
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Thumbs up I-80 West of Joliet

Thank you all for the excellent suggestions! We are more than excited about the trip, but now have the luxury of time to postpone through to end of March also. I've dealt with a broken foot and cast all winter, so this trip will be way after final cast removed and therapy finished.

Although I have lived in Colorado, chains brought up a new concern we had not considered, and we don't want to need them!! The idea conjures up way too much climate for me to deal with...particularly post-cast =).

@Lothlorian: My husband and I live West of the river in the cathedral area of Joliet; & @Mike: we will "fave" your NTRCI.

The invaluable experience of this website members and their readiness to share is a blessing. Thank you.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:20 PM   #10
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I suspect Lucy will be heading up to Tahoe on US 50 out of Carson City, its a pretty gentle road to the lake, and all around the lake.
Bears: my Silver Dragon came with a bear claw mark in the refrigerator door, got it up by Truckee. I keep a few dishes of strong Pine Sol out in the trailer, and never leave food in it. Going with the theory bears don't like heavy duty cleaning duties.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:04 PM   #11
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I-80 could be a problem as far east as central Nebraska in April. We live 40 miles north of it and about 50 miles east of Cheyenne, WY. The pass between Cheyenne and Laramie, WY can be a problem if there is a snow storm. It can also be very windy at times. Slick roads, wind and a 34 footer are not a good mix.
Your F-250 will do fine as long as you don't want to run up the passes at 70mph.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:17 PM   #12
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Don't worry about the bears, they are all hibernating now.
When they wake up, they come to my trailer....

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Old 01-17-2011, 06:28 PM   #13
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The truck will do it but take your time. Weather is likely to be more of an issue than the TV/trailer combo. Ditto. Chains could not hurt. Drag chains on the trailer as well.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:31 PM   #14
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Smile Nevada, Carol and TGTwinkie

You guys have me frightened! I realize this could be perceived as "city" meets "country;" however, I don't want to come any closer to a bear than the ones I've seen (past tense) in a zoo. Our destination is Truckee, CA. @Carol, why did you have a bear claw mark on your refrigerator? Inside the AS? Where will the bears be in April? @TGT, we traveled thru the US midsection on Rt 40 @40mpg, so we have no fears of being laughed off the road. @NG, we'll tour around the lake et. al. much later in our trip. In fact, from the sounds of it, I may reroute to the Keys!!
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