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Old 02-17-2013, 10:29 PM   #1
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Weathered Out - I5 - Siskiyous

Your advice please...

We are heading to Death Valley (to escape the gray and the wet) later this week. Our intended route, down I-5, over to Reno via Susanville, then south on 395 looks like it is weathered out with snow. Ashland, Oregon is predicted to have snow in the city for roughly 6 of the next 10 days, so I can only assume that Siskiyou Summit will be packed snow and ice.

Plan B - down the coast, into California, cutting over around Redwood Valley, along Clear Lake, rejoining I-5 at Williams. Has anyone made this trip in the winter? I know nothing about the route.

From there, we can either take I-80 to Reno, if it is OK, or we can continue south on I-5 to Bakersfield, over Tehatchapi and into DV from the south. I am not looking forward to either route, but it beats being in the gray and the wet.

Thanks in advance for all advice.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:25 PM   #2
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The weather forecast looks like there is not a lot of snow predicted. But the freezing weather is still a concern. With lows in the 20s and highs in the 40s, there could be icy bits in the shade, and there is plenty of shade in the Siskiyous. But with all the traffic that goes over that road, the surface stays pretty clear.

From where you are starting, you should be able to get an accurate weather report for the time that you would be going through the Siskiyous. If they don't require chains, I think that I-5 would get you to Death Valley significantly faster.

The coast route will add a lot of time to your trip. The roads are can be winding and narrow, compared to I-5 at least.

I can speak for 101 from Willits south. It is mostly freeway, two lanes each way. Most of the time it is clear and open. North of Willits, it drops to one lane each way. It is scenic, rural California with a mix of rolling hills, open range, woodsy redwoods and the potential for fog.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:57 PM   #3
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The forecasters here in SoCal are saying the snow levels could drop down to the 2,000 foot level during the storm predicted for this week. However, our weather forecasters here in SoCal can be a bunch of alarmists... Ala our weather headlines that often can read "StormWatch 2013... 1/4 inch of rain predicted to fall in the next 24 to 48 hours...". Although, if they are correct this time, all the passes could get snow and ice. If you travel, use caution and carry a set of chains for both the TV and the TT. Be safe and try not to push it too hard if you find yourself in conditions that are deteriorating. Having said that, your trip sounds like a great adventure, take your time and have fun!.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:21 AM   #4
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Don't let the snowy weather hamper having a good time ... we were in 4wd today in the snow and had a great time.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:34 AM   #5
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i-5 in the winter

I've wintered in Arizona 5 times from my home here in the Seattle area. I travel down 5 stopping in Grants Pass, OR for one night where I monitor the weather via internet and make my decision to leave the next morning early. I have never yet been stopped or delayed either direction. if you are delayed you can decide to take the coastal route which will probably add one or two days to your trip, or simply wait a day or two in Grants Pass.

One trip returning, I drove through falling snow from Lake Shasta to the Siskyous but it never stuck on the roadway and wasn't a problem.

I am cautious and would not tow on snow or ice surfaces. it isn't worth the risk.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:41 AM   #6
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I've towed on snow before, that's why I don't want to do it again. We are in Northern Oregon, but I am a native of the Rogue Valley and know what the weather can do to the passes from Canyonville on south. Additionally, the stretch from Yreka to Mt Shasta can be 'exciting' as well.

Hmmmm, I am not sure whether or not to crawl the coast, or just wait for a good window and take I-5.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:23 AM   #7
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The other alternate would be to take I84 out of Portland and cut east along the Columbia gorge and then south on 97 all the way to Weed, California. From you it is low in elevation all the way to Goldendale and a minimum of gain to Weed. You cut out all of the passes in Southern Ore and the biggy at the state line of Ore/Ca which can be a real issue as I have experianced. From Weed south you should have clear sailing with the lowered elevations.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:18 AM   #8
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That's not a bad route, but I think we're getting snow down to 2000 feet in Oregon. I will watch the weather and Tripchek.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:15 AM   #9
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Timing is everything

If, for example, you had left yesterday morning, you would be south of the impending bad weather today.

Looks like the bad weather spell might be around for 3-5 days or so.

Lou
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:44 PM   #10
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I really recommend the free I5 app for IPhone, real time web cams. Siskiyou summit looking clear today.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
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We got lucky. There was a nice window on Siskiyou Summit, so we shot through. Tomorrow, the next storm hits the southern Cascades and Siskiyous. Here's what trip check had to say...

"*NOAA Issue Date: 2/21/2013 03:31:00 PM Heavy snow for the Cascades Friday night ... . A strong cold front will move through the Cascades Friday night producing heavy snow and windy conditions. At least a foot of snow is possible over much of the range ... And favored upslope areas such as crater Lake and Diamond Lake could see as much as 18 inches. Snowfall may be particularly intense Friday evening as the front goes through. In addition ... Strong southwest to west winds will create blowing and drifting snow over exposed locations. ... Winter Storm Warning in effect from 4 PM Friday to 4 AM PST Saturday ... The National Weather Service in Medford has issued a Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow which is in effect from 4 PM Friday to 4 AM PST Saturday. The Winter Storm Watch is no longer in effect. * Snow accumulations ... 12 to 18 inches possible. Some localized areas will see 2 feet of new snow. * Timing Snow will begin Friday afternoon and become heavy at times Friday night into Saturday morning. Snowfall may be particularly intense Friday evening with snowfall rates approaching 1 to 2 inches per hour. * Locations include: Crater Lake ... Diamond Lake ... Union Creek ... Lake of the woods. * Winds Southwest to west at 25 to 35 MPH with gusts over 40 MPH ... Mainly over ridges and exposed areas ... Will produce blowing and drifting snow. * Impacts Heavy snow will make travel hazardous with snow packed roads and poor visibility. Heavy snow and strong winds could also make the snowpack unstable and increase avalanche potential. * For a detailed view of the hazard area Visit Social Knowledge | Online Community Network. Wrh. NOAA. Gov/wrh/whv/?wfo=mfr Precautionary/preparedness actions... A winter Storm Warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. If you must travel ... Keep an extra flashlight ... Food ... And water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."
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