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Old 01-01-2016, 06:14 AM   #29
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Taking your post, Tom, as an invitation to look down the weather road . . .

Accuweather.com has fairly reliable longer term forecasts IMO, and the site updates the forecast maps as the actual weather plays out over time. Their general trend maps for the next month are organized by 4 separate lines (ranging from the next 1-5 days to the 30-day outlook), with 2 columns for temperature and precipitation:

United States Temperature, Rain and Snow Maps - AccuWeather.com

[ . . . keeping in mind that the weather patterns tend to move from the west coast to the east coast in about 5-7 days . . . ]

Today is January 1st, with your departure on 1/6 falling at the start of the "6-10 day outlook" line, which forecasts below average temperature, and normal precip. until Arizona with above normal precip. (assuming you are heading south first)

This same map also predicts below normal precip. in the north, and above normal temps as you hit the Mississippi River area, in case you are thinking of heading directly east on I-90 or I-80 once you leave home on the 6th.

The next line (11-15 day outlook) shows a large area of below normal temps, and a correspondingly huge area of below normal precipitation. Presumably this is a new high pressure system with colder dry air controlling the entire middle part of the country.

This is your magic sweet spot IMO for making good time going east on I-10. [approx. 1/11 to 1/15] If the chosen route is to head east ASAP on I-90/80, the good news on this map is that the area of dry weather also includes the northern route on I-90/80/70 as you work your way east and south.

The next line (30 day outlook) predicts above normal precip. in the south, by the end of the month, although the timing is not clear. Hopefully you can stay in the high pressure system referenced above and make good time going east before this new wave of precipitation closes out the month.

The following moving radar map of the SW will track precipitation moving in from the west over the next few days. As you make good time heading east, you can "Zoom out to nation" at the top right of the map, and then zoom in to new areas where you are located by hovering your cursor on the relevant location and clicking on the "Zoom In" grey boxes that will pop up:

Southwest Regional Doppler Weather Radar Map - AccuWeather.com

If new weather systems move in from the west, the precipitation will be very clear as the systems hit the Rockies, and hopefully you will be far enough east to have some early warning of snow heading east.

Will you be able to post here during your trip, Tom? Many other forum members will be happy to provide advice as you make progress.

Happy Trails!

Peter

PS -- As of today's forecast maps, personally I would head south rather than east. A lot can change in the next week, and once you are on the road averaging 300-500 miles a day, but the possibility of getting stuck too far north in bad weather, favors the southerly route at this time IMO. If the forecast looks good on the 5th, and you can make 500 miles or more in a day in a quick sprint east on I-90/80/etc., this route might save you both time and distance. Will you be the solo driver, or are there others who could help front-load the trip with miles gained early on?
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:35 AM   #30
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The following forecast map for the jet stream is good to watch for macro-trends in the air movement aloft, as it drives the surface weather.

Animation of Jet Stream Forecasts for North America

If you hit the Red Stop button in the middle at the top, you can then hit Next to see the next few days' forecast. The last day available right now is January 6th, the day of your departure. Note that the main action of the jet stream is way south, and that the entire middle of the county is set up for that dome of high pressure I mentioned in the last post.

The date for each forecast map is at the top right, with the time being given in the 24-hour clock for Zulu time (the old Greenwich Mean Time more or less) -- about 5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. "06Z 6 JAN 2016" would thus be closer to midnight +/- on the east coast late at night on January 5th, in other words.
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:17 PM   #31
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From one "Kalispellian" to another: Won't offer any advice, as it looks as if you're getting many excellent opinions. Just want to wish you a safe trip and a speedy and complete recovery.
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:57 PM   #32
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Some other considerations...

Tom,
Glad you found out about Les Schwab's deal. I have two sets and just kept them. As you know, if you chain up all four you can pretty much go anywhere, but they are just for insurance anyway (I bought mine when I lived in the Flathead - CFalls - for $59.95/set and just never took them back because they are nice to have all year).

And, as you know, in the winter, sometimes if is better to be east of the divide rather than west of it. So all that weather advice is good but you will have to look at it harder the closer you get to your departure date. What if there are snow showers, storms in Montana (west of the divide) when you want to leave? Or in SoCal-Nevada-Utah?

If it were me, I'd plan out two routes - one for an east side option "if the weather is clear but cold" but skunky here on our side. And the second staying west of the divide if there are blizzards in the plains but our weather is a better option for road travel. For the east-side option, if necessary you could take either Marias or McDonald pass to I-90 to Billings then south to Denver then from there straight south to I-10 or southeast I-27 to get into south Texas.

The west side route would be to Butte but then south on 15 to Idaho. And, then, if you are going to Phoenix, you may wish to cut over to Twin Falls and take 93 south to Las Vegas, which gets you to lower elevations, quicker (from Jackpot, NV). Of course, you can go to SLC but that will keep you at higher elevations and in the mountains until you drop into Mesquite from St. George, if you go that way or even longer if you go through Panguitch and Flag. That route will keep you in snow potential and in the mountains the longest.

And, since you're winterized I'm assuming you will need to stop somewhere and "un-winterize" if you plan on camping when you get to warmer (than Montana) weather. You can get to Idaho Falls or Pocatello the first day if you go that way or to Billings/Sheridan/Buffalo depending on how early you can get away going east. Then depending on your route, Las Vegas is a good place for getting the trailer back up to snuff with dealers nearby, or Denver the other way.

After you get to Texas and east the weather challenges are all completely different and you'll likely just have to leave your chains in the back of that Sierra!

(If you want to discuss by phone, PM me and we can talk- I'm going AZ with our trailer about the 25th of January)
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Old 01-02-2016, 03:36 AM   #33
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In terms of "de-winterizing" the trailer, I would recommend getting east of Texas first, and then using I-10 to go east (not I-40) before you consider turning the water on. We got caught once in a blizzard in Amarillo Texas, one day after turning the water on and having a great chicken BBQ in 65 F degree weather. [edit -- pre-Internet so no good forecasting ability]

When I commented on the quick weather change to the local welder who was beefing up our hitch, he said "Welcome to winter in Texas" because the winter storms can barrel down from the Rockies quickly and ferociously. We were lucky to find a nearby Motel 6 with one vacancy and camped out there for three days. Our rushed (second) winterization at a gas station resulted in a cracked fitting buried deep under the bed at the back of the water heater, which was a real hassle to fix in San Diego, but that is another story . . .

The lesson? The mid-west weather can be fickle, and thus expensive if one is impatient.
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:26 AM   #34
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Trip South /Weather radar

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Taking your post, Tom, as an invitation to look down the weather road . . .

Accuweather.com has fairly reliable longer term forecasts IMO, and the site updates the forecast maps as the actual weather plays out over time. Their general trend maps for the next month are organized by 4 separate lines (ranging from the next 1-5 days to the 30-day outlook), with 2 columns for temperature and precipitation:

United States Temperature, Rain and Snow Maps - AccuWeather.com

[ . . . keeping in mind that the weather patterns tend to move from the west coast to the east coast in about 5-7 days . . . ]

Today is January 1st, with your departure on 1/6 falling at the start of the "6-10 day outlook" line, which forecasts below average temperature, and normal precip. until Arizona with above normal precip. (assuming you are heading south first)

This same map also predicts below normal precip. in the north, and above normal temps as you hit the Mississippi River area, in case you are thinking of heading directly east on I-90 or I-80 once you leave home on the 6th.

The next line (11-15 day outlook) shows a large area of below normal temps, and a correspondingly huge area of below normal precipitation. Presumably this is a new high pressure system with colder dry air controlling the entire middle part of the country.

This is your magic sweet spot IMO for making good time going east on I-10. [approx. 1/11 to 1/15] If the chosen route is to head east ASAP on I-90/80, the good news on this map is that the area of dry weather also includes the northern route on I-90/80/70 as you work your way east and south.

The next line (30 day outlook) predicts above normal precip. in the south, by the end of the month, although the timing is not clear. Hopefully you can stay in the high pressure system referenced above and make good time going east before this new wave of precipitation closes out the month.

The following moving radar map of the SW will track precipitation moving in from the west over the next few days. As you make good time heading east, you can "Zoom out to nation" at the top right of the map, and then zoom in to new areas where you are located by hovering your cursor on the relevant location and clicking on the "Zoom In" grey boxes that will pop up:

Southwest Regional Doppler Weather Radar Map - AccuWeather.com

If new weather systems move in from the west, the precipitation will be very clear as the systems hit the Rockies, and hopefully you will be far enough east to have some early warning of snow heading east.

Will you be able to post here during your trip, Tom? Many other forum members will be happy to provide advice as you make progress.

Happy Trails!

Peter

PS -- As of today's forecast maps, personally I would head south rather than east. A lot can change in the next week, and once you are on the road averaging 300-500 miles a day, but the possibility of getting stuck too far north in bad weather, favors the southerly route at this time IMO. If the forecast looks good on the 5th, and you can make 500 miles or more in a day in a quick sprint east on I-90/80/etc., this route might save you both time and distance. Will you be the solo driver, or are there others who could help front-load the trip with miles gained early on?
OTRA15
I concur with all your data. Looks like it is looking good to head out Tuesday. I have my Verizon Jetpack, On Screen Travel Data thru XM WX satellite ground weather (Hi Res NEXRAD Radar), ONSTAR, Accuweather, Weather channel & a mobile weather radio. Our K-9 Unit rig, wife and AS is set to go with several alternate routes as things change. I will post any interesting results as we are in route.
Again, thank you so much.

Tom, Montana
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Old 01-03-2016, 04:30 AM   #35
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Happy to help, Tom. Looks like you are well prepared to track the weather!

FYI here is one more slice through the Accuweather data, with daily forecast maps for Tuesday and the rest of the week:

United States Temperature, Rain and Snow Maps - AccuWeather.com

The main concerns IMO are the snow and ice maps near the bottom of each daily page, especially as the week plays out. By Friday (see links at top of map), the northerly route seems to have a higher chance of both snow and ice, compared to the SLC/Arizona/I-10 southerly option. The trade-off is that this latter route is probably longer by both distance and time.

If you have time for updates from the road, it would be interesting to know your progress. If not, understood . . .

Fair winds for your journey and the New Year . . .

Peter
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Old 01-03-2016, 07:22 AM   #36
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Looking like a boat might come in handy.....
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:54 AM   #37
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Any chance you can leave early tomorrow, Tom, head east, and beat the new front coming in from the west?

National Forecast Charts

The 1-5 day map posted before looks favorable IMO, as to both temp and precip:

United States Temperature, Rain and Snow Maps - AccuWeather.com

The Kansas City forecast for the next few days is pretty mild, with fairly low precipitation compared to normal IMO.

Weather in Kansas City - AccuWeather Forecast for MO 64106

Have fun!

Peter
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:54 PM   #38
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Normally, a sprint to beat the weather would be the tactic. However, not needing to be in Florida until the 24th gives you the flexibility of stopping to wait for better road conditions. Not suggesting wasting time, but keep the tanks full (not the dirty ones), stay rested, listen to the forecasts and do not let a schedule push you into a bad decision. Take care not to fall prey to black ice. A later start will allow the road to dry and still get you miles down the road at the end of the day. Good luck and travel safe. Make miles when you can and prep/plan when you can't. Pat
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:13 AM   #39
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Provo to tucson I-10

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Bests wishes for a successful procedure and rehab, Tom. I have been through a lot in the last year health-wise, so I can appreciate, and respect, the approach you are taking.

Monitoring the weather carefully will be crucial. If you want to set up a new thread here, I would be happy to track things as you get close to leaving, as would others I imagine. [or just keep this one going would be fine IMO]

Here is a live shot of the weather radar for Utah, for instance:

Utah Doppler Weather Radar Map - AccuWeather.com

You can zoom out or in, and navigate to other states to watch the actual weather and precipitation, as they take place in real-time. There are lots of other online resources available, and helping friends and family plan out trips like this is something I enjoy doing, and which can be very helpful, I have been told. I imagine many other posters here have similar or better meteorogical experience.

As a general overview, check this monthly forecast for Salt Lake City for January.

Salt Lake City January Weather 2016 - AccuWeather Forecast for UT 84111

The projected high and low daily temps. are fairly accurate I have found, and the line graphs at the bottom (will not show in some browsers/devices) do a pretty fair job of tracking how the actual highs/lows compare to the historical norms. On the east coast, our weather has been way warmer than average, and the line charts for here started predicting this trend months ago.

Your can see a monthly overview for any city in the US along your route via the menus etc. at the top of the page.

May your holidays be joyous and your new year happy, and may fair winds follow you to Florida!

Please let us know how we can help.

Peace on Earth . . .

Cheers,

Peter
Peter,
We made it to Provo via - I-15. Missed all the snow. Radar helped a lot. Great driving weather. Just missed the snow in Salt lake today and arrived earlier tonight in Provo.
We are leaving Provo Friday and were wondering if it would be best to get off I-15 South and over to Page, then south to Flagstaff and then to Tucson? We would then continue our route staying on I-10 East?
Appreciate it.
Tom Montana
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Old 01-08-2016, 07:25 AM   #40
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Good news! Will check weather etc. on laptop within the hour and get back to you. On the road now. The main problem with Flagstaff is the altitude. The worst blizzard I ever drove in forced us into a motel for a day in the 1970s! [van only no trailer]. Staying on I-15 may let you avoid higher altitude. As you say the radar will guide the way for snow avoidance.

More in a bit . . .
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:25 AM   #41
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Here is the terrain on Google maps -- hope it shows up south of Provo:

https://goo.gl/maps/oKZVJyFT4HN2

If the weather permits snow-wise, I would go southeast from I-15 just south of Provo at Spanish Fork on:

89 east to Thistle
6 east to Tucker, Helper and Price
191 south to Green River
I-70 briefly eastbound to Crescent Junction
191 south to Moab and Monticello
491 east then south to
Cortez CO
491 south to
Gallup
I-40 east to Oklahoma City
then work your way south to I-10 at some point based on weather.

The above route will save you some distance, and avoids most of the higher elevations IMO, but is of course dependent on snow. I have not been on most of the roads, but I am guessing they are OK.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- This route is a bit complicated with highway number changes, but it will take you east of the mountain range that runs south from Provo to Flagstaff, and west of the main part of the Rockies, into a large flatter valley of sorts (macro scale) which you can see by zooming in and out on the Google Terrain view linked above.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:37 AM   #42
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The moving radar map looks pretty favorable IMO:

Southwest Regional Doppler Weather Radar Map - AccuWeather.com

Happy Trails!

Peter
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