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Old 09-30-2016, 12:49 PM   #1
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Trip from Chicago to Reno early November

We are newbies - but know how to tow etc - just got a 2016 Classic J and have a Ford F-350 diesel to tow -

We will have a few short shakedown trips before but are looking to possibly go to Reno Nev. in early November - best route looks like I-80 but my question is whether this is too dicey at that time of year due to weather risks.
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:13 PM   #2
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Internet makes predictions easier. My Radar Pro is what I use as a professional. (There are others). You should have an accurate 4-5 day window on knowing what is ahead given attention to weather forecasts.

Have an alternative. And expect everyone else to make that same choice, ha!
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:16 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Airstream community. Congratulations on your beautiful Classic, none finer. And your Super Duty will tow it anywhere you want to go.
I tow my old Classic Limited with a F-350 and have been very satisfied.

I've driven I-80 from Cleveland to Reno before. It's more fun, and more time consuming to take the secondary highways. It's more relaxing for me.

We happen to see the balloon event in Reno when we were there. Fun.

I think early November is getting rather iffy for a long trip across the great plains. You could experience freezing temps, high cross winds, and snow/ice. There may be a period of "indian summer" coming late this year. Hope so. But generally my towing season is over about the first of October based on where I live. I remember freezing my water regulator and cracking it around October 20 in Davenport, Iowa.

Many campgrounds are seasonal and close around Oct 1. This is due to freezing water pipes more than anything else.

But the trip is certainly doable. Watch the weather, and watch the freezing and you should be fine.

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Old 09-30-2016, 07:17 PM   #4
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We traveled from Chicago to International rally in Farmington, NM last year. Southern route through Albuquerque is not that high and would be good that time of year. Easy shot across AZ to Reno. Route 54 is not expressway, but flat and fairly smooth. We have done I 80 during the summer to Gillette International and Boise International, but it gets a little high and potential snow in Colorado that time of year.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:09 PM   #5
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I agree with the above. I would get south as quick as possible. Reno itself can be very cold this time of year.

Good luck!
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:44 AM   #6
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Thanks much - all of this is very helpful - especially the warning about freezing pipes - did not think about that when we booked a month in San Diego this Jan-feb - will definitely get south and fast and I guess for the 500 miles or so I will have to clear out the water pipes?
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:13 AM   #7
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As far as clearing the water out of the pipes, it really depend on the temperature. Personally, I do not winterize because where we live is mostly above freezing throughout the winter and we use the trailer more in the off season. For the times that it's going to be below freezing, I just turn the furnace on to the min temperature. The furnace will force some of its air into the water tanks, and for us freezing has not been an issue. Probably the coldest I've done this to was in the 10-15 degree range. Keep in mind that this is the furnace, not the heat pump on the AC unit.

Good luck!
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:24 AM   #8
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I live 1/2 mile off I-80 in Utah...a trip from here across Wyoming in winter can be challenging! Even if not snowing...winds moving accumulated snow onto pavement, and then freezing, can make driving sporty...been there! Recommend getting south after Nov 1st!
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:24 AM   #9
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Just got back from that area. Starting to get chilly at night.
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Old 10-01-2016, 12:09 PM   #10
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I live in Reno and annually drive to So Dakota for pheasant hunting in mid October.. I guarantee you
I 80 in November is something I personally would NOT do if I could avoid it..... If you do you will encounter frozen highways and every bridge is a risky nightmare when the road is frozen. Last year enroute to SD and not towing anything, thank God, we were going only about 65 on cruise control and
crossed a bridge and all of a sudden the engine revs as I lost traction. Wow, almost sideways at 65 MPH really puckered me !! Fortunately, I steered into the skid and very very fortunately I wasn't towing my 1936 AS !!
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Old 10-01-2016, 01:44 PM   #11
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If the forecast is for below freezing while out, I unhook city water hose at night and let it sleep in the shower. As other posters here, use furnace overnight and you should not have any troubles. Stay south, young man! We traveled to N. Texas last year in late Dec, early Jan return. Weather was no problem. I-80 after Oct 1 is always susceptible to snow/ice. Remember the Donner party?
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Old 10-01-2016, 01:59 PM   #12
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We would winterize and then de-winterize if it wasn't needed in our destination. Most folks on this forum seem to winterize themselves, but we generally do this at an RV service center. The thing is, you could get great weather with all days above freezing, or you could get stuck in cold, foul weather for several days.

I-80 goes high in Wyoming, but does not have any huge mountain passes, compared to, say, I-70 or I-90. Yes, it can snow in November. As 1936RoadWarrior cautioned, if you get part way there and foul weather sets in, just wait it out in your nearest town. Wyoming is also prone to ground blizzards, where it can be sunny overhead, but the wind blows the snow sideways. Then distances are long, and HY crews can't be everywhere at once.

We wouldn't do this trip without serious snow tires-- not the all-weathers meant for light-duty winter driving. We would also dress for the weather outside, not for your heated truck, just in case.

Then constantly check your weather maps on your smart phone-- assuming you don't need to do this in dead zones with no cell service along the route.

You go through Salt Lake City, which often has traffic congestion and delays; but then, you're used to Chicago driving, which is worse.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:17 PM   #13
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The only time I froze a unit (sob) was driving between Flagstaff and Albuquerque. Took 3 days to thaw it.
I live in Reno and November is usually a temperate month. Just be ready to winterize at a moments notice no matter where you are.

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