Driving Seattle->Raleigh. Any tips?

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    My wife, dog and I are driving from Seattle to Raleigh, NC on Tuesday. We haven’t lived in this area long, so any tips regarding which way to go would be appreciated.

    I think we are going to take 90 through the Cascades, then to 82 and 84 down to Boise, and SLC to avoid the mountain passes. Then 80 east.

    Anything I need to be concerned about on that route? Any must-see stops along the way? We leave this Tuesday.



    Just don’t get off the interstate of take any “short-cuts” while going through the mountains either the Rockies or the Smokies. It is not winter in the lowlands yet but stuff changes fast at high altitudes.

    Note if you have not driven this route before you will understand why the square states between the mountain ranges is called “flyover country” when the trip is done.

    St Louis… If it is foggy approaching(100 miles on either side) pull over and get a meal and maybe a hotel room until it clears. The locals are insane and regularly end up in big piles in the fog.

    If it is clear, don’t attempt to go slower than 80 during rush hour or you will be rear-ended.

    Have a nice trip and enjoy Wake county.


    When I drove from OR to the East Coast we googled all the health food stores between here and your destination so we could stock up on sometimes local and healthy snacks. I recall Great food co-op’s in Boise, and Iowa City.

    It can get windy in Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. Personally I would stay away from those boring square mid-west states. I like the route you suggested across southern Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa. Really beautiful country, rolling hills.

    Enjoy the trip!



    when the semi’s pull over.. do the same.

    black ice and high wind are a nasty combination



    If it’s snowing hard in the Cascades, you can drive to Portland and take 84 through the Columbia Gorge to Boise, usually avoiding the snow…. Until you leave Pendleton, OR where you’ll have to go over the Blue Mountains. Not a big pass but it can get really snowy.



    And the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center 5 miles East of Baker City is pretty cool, if you like historical things. You can get an amazing appreciation of what people endured on the Oregon trail.



    Don’t let the dog drive until you hit Nebraska.


    tom kelley

    Seeing as how you have to head south sooner or later you might consider heading south before crossing the mountains. This far north your weather problems are just beginning once you’ve crossed. At this time of year the weather on the upper plains can be dangerously brutal. Also, if time isn’t an issue you might want to be aware of the historic sites along your route – few tourists this time of year. When I drove here from Chicago in the spring I visited the site of the Little Big Horn battle field and had it to myself.



    A few years back I did a similar route in reverse but it started in Baltimore, MD and came back here. It was March 1, so like now, anything can happen with weather.

    We chose to go the south route through Virginia (#81)across to Tennessee (#21?), Arkansas (#40), OK, Texas and then NM, AZ, CA (#5) on up. We didn’t do it super fast (4 days)and there was a couple of storms along the way but it turned out great. The weather along the central/northern routes turned out to be brutal and would have cost us at least a day or three.



    I think this time of year Wake has the right idea. It might take a little longer but less issues can arrise from weather. When I drove from Boston it was July so I didn’t have to worry about snow but I did almost get caught in a tornado.




    my granddaughter was jsut in Montana.. and met blizzard conditions along that route.


    if you take I-84 through Pendleton and the weather is at all chancy… make sure that you time your driving to do the hill east of town in the warmest part of the day when it will be well sanded and less icy.

    once you get over the hill it really isn’t that bad.. but that hill is a killer.




    seriously.. what we are seeing here as rain becomes snow and ice as you go further east.

    add arctic air flow from the north and you get freezing rain.

    unless you are very confident driving in blizzard conditions, you might want to choose a more southern route.



    We’ve driven to Colorado more times than I can count. You can hit winter weather anywhere along the route. Watch conditions at Snoqualmie. The Blue Mountains just outside of Pendleton can get very snowy and icy. Try to hit it during daylight hours. I-84 from Twin Falls heading into Utah can get very icy as well. Even though you’re avoiding the mountain passes of I-70, I-80 through Wyoming often is closed due to blizzard conditions. The wind never stops blowing through there, and if it’s snowing, visibility can be down to nothing in an instant and the road become a sheet of ice. Then again, you may have beautiful weather the whole way. We always turn right at Cheyenne and head south on I-25, so I can’t help you beyond there. Just make sure you have warm sleeping bags, plenty of food and water and are prepared to pull off and wait if you have to.


    Thanks for all the good tips. We decided to try 90->82->84 – after we got out of Seattle it was clear and mostly dry, very nice drive. Stopped in Pendleton for the night. Going to wait for daylight until we attempt 84 past Pendleton.

    Thanks again! I’ll post more updates in case anyone else is traveling this way for the holidays.



    exploit that window of opportunity.. you are following bad weather and it is following you :(

    drive safely.



    Yes, good luck on your travels! Would like to know what you run into as you go. Please post as you have time. I have a friend who may need to do a similar west to east trip starting over the weekend. :-)


    Made it to Rawlins, WY (off of 80) last night. We had a little light rain in Idaho, but bare and dry almost ALL day. Very light traffic too… we’ve been very lucky so far. Going to try to make it to Topeka tonight to have some Boston Chicken for Thanksgiving :-)



    Thanks for the update,westseattlenerd, and continue to be safe!




    i wish i could say that i have fond memories of Rawlins, Wy..

    but it is one of those places we generally just pass through…

    good luck with your drive today..

    we are doing everything we can from here to keep that window open for you ;)

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