Driving across the US on I-80 in Winter

I got a job in Portland, Oregon and I need to drive across the country to get there. I've driven across I-80 before but I have never done it in February (or later than September). I'm hoping the GWJ hive mind has some tips or advice about any potential trouble spots along the way. I'm thinking about crossing the Rockies in particular. I am really hoping to avoid going south (I-10 or I-20) as that would add multiple days to the drive.

Does anyone know of any cross-country driving in Winter resources?

I can only offer some general winter driving tips. Have a good set of jumper cables, either tire chains or some sort of traction mat, extra clothing/blankets. Those are all part of a complete winter car kit. Make sure to do a full service on your car in preparation.

Thanks! Good advice all of that. I always have jumper cables in my car, and I have tire chains as well (but have never had to use them). And I took my car in for an oil change, check brake fluids & tire pressure tuneup this morning and everything checks out.

The stretch across Wyoming is largely flat-ish, or at least just hilly, but the wind can really roar through there. It's supposed to be lightly snowy in the Park City area, along I-80, later in the week, but conditions can turn one way or the other very quickly and with little warning.

Around the middle of the country, you will come to a land called "Iowa". Tis very boring. Don't fall asleep.

iaintgotnopants wrote:

Around the middle of the country, you will come to a land called "Iowa". Tis very boring. Don't fall asleep.

Consider it a warmup for the most boring stretch of highway in the United States: I-80 across Nebraska.

Farscry wrote:
iaintgotnopants wrote:

Around the middle of the country, you will come to a land called "Iowa". Tis very boring. Don't fall asleep.

Consider it a warmup for the most boring stretch of highway in the United States: I-80 across Nebraska. ;)

QFT

Edit:

Practice putting on your tire chains once before you leave. Huddled on the side of the road in blowing snow, in a line of other trucks and cars, with state troopers who won't let anyone go further without traction, is not the time to learn how they work.

Oh, an old rug or an extra floorboard mat is nice to lay on when you're doing chains, so you're not just lying in the snow.

I can vouch for what others have said about driving across the "Flat Lands" of the Midwest on I-80. I am a "professional" truck driver (read: I am a dude that drives as safe as I can and tons better than some of the goobers behind the wheel of a big rig.) and drive more locally now around Indiana, but I used to do a TON of over the road driving for a short amount of time. I got used to I-80, but MAN is it a slog sometimes! Load up on podcasts and maybe Audible (.com/GWJ if they're still doing that sponsorship, our lovely Hosts have gotsta get PAID!).

But mainly, driving across the US on I-80 in the winter, be prepared for the haul around Wyoming and Colorado or even Nevada into California (Donner Pass into California from Reno, I have had MULTIPLE times whenever that section is shut down Mid winter and had to add an extra day onto my trip!).

Be safe and stop if the snow picks up and blows across the Interstate, white out conditions can happen *very* rapidly.

But for the most part, enjoy yourself and the open road! I loved driving long haul, but just couldn't keep that lifestyle up.

P.S. Stop in at the I-80 truckstop and check it out whenever you cross into Iowa from Illinois. It's America's largest (maybe World's, not sure anymore?) truckstop and a pretty cool place to check out to break up the monotony of the road!

Safe travels!

How much winter driving experience do you have? I assume you've got at least a bit.

Echoing LiquidMantis, do pack some gear with emergency survival in mind. You probably won't need it, but it's better than even the slight chance of being stranded in the Rockies without the proper clothing or supplies. Or Iowa...being stranded in the middle of the prairie in winter is no fun.

Then there's my friend who ran out of gas in Alberta on the way to a hockey match. They had to dig the car out the next spring.

Druidpeak wrote:

I had the good fortune to be on patrol on Chinook Pass in Washington when we made it chains required several times. One night was especially fun when they shut down Snoqualmie Pass(I-90), and our windy stretch of 2 lane(Highway 410) stayed open. Many people decided to swing south and try to get to Seattle via 410. The first State plow to show up slid into the ditch before it could even make it to the top of the pass. The 2nd truck, a sand truck without a plow, started up the pass before he realized he hadn't removed an important trap door in the bed of the dump truck and wasn't dumping any sand. A coworker of mine had the great experience of hopping in the back and shoveling aside gravel until they could reach it.

I spent a fair amount of the night walking along the side of the road with a shovel, scooping gravel/dirt out of the ditch, and sanding switchbacks in the road by hand. At one point, early in the event, I slipped over the pass to get a couple cars out of the ditch. One car was a front wheel drive honda, and he refused to roll his window down so that I could tell him to stop laying on the gas and spinning his tires. I'm curious what he had going inside there, he definitely wasn't interested in talking to a cop, but I didn't have time to be curious since I could see a huge line of traffic coming up the hill. If any of them stopped, there was a good chance the whole line would be stuck, and my vehicle was in the middle of the lane. Rather than try a K turn and slide into the ditch myself, I threw it in reverse and hauled ass with the convoy coming at me for about a 1/4 mile to a pull out, pulled a sweet 180 and stayed ahead of the herd so that I could start getting gravel on the dicey spots.

0.o Okay, that's just insane?! On an Interstate?! I wouldn't be able to deal with that crazyness! You are a better man than I, kudos!

Scaphism wrote:

Thanks! Good advice all of that. I always have jumper cables in my car, and I have tire chains as well (but have never had to use them). And I took my car in for an oil change, check brake fluids & tire pressure tuneup this morning and everything checks out.

I had the good fortune to be on patrol on Chinook Pass in Washington when we made it chains required several times. One night was especially fun when they shut down Snoqualmie Pass(I-90), and our windy stretch of 2 lane(Highway 410) stayed open. Many people decided to swing south and try to get to Seattle via 410. The first State plow to show up slid into the ditch before it could even make it to the top of the pass. The 2nd truck, a sand truck without a plow, started up the pass before he realized he hadn't removed an important trap door in the bed of the dump truck and wasn't dumping any sand. A coworker of mine had the great experience of hopping in the back and shoveling aside gravel until they could reach it.

I spent a fair amount of the night walking along the side of the road with a shovel, scooping gravel/dirt out of the ditch, and sanding switchbacks in the road by hand. At one point, early in the event, I slipped over the pass to get a couple cars out of the ditch. One car was a front wheel drive honda, and he refused to roll his window down so that I could tell him to stop laying on the gas and spinning his tires. I'm curious what he had going inside there, he definitely wasn't interested in talking to a cop, but I didn't have time to be curious since I could see a huge line of traffic coming up the hill. If any of them stopped, there was a good chance the whole line would be stuck, and my vehicle was in the middle of the lane. Rather than try a K turn and slide into the ditch myself, I threw it in reverse and hauled ass with the convoy coming at me for about a 1/4 mile to a pull out, pulled a sweet 180 and stayed ahead of the herd so that I could start getting gravel on the dicey spots.

Ahhhh, fun night. Enough story time, and on with some advice I guess.

Practice putting your chains on before you head out. I've helped a number of folks with their chains when they needed them, and a few minutes practicing at home could have helped them immensely. Not getting it right can do serious damage to your vehicle, and possibly render some important things inoperable. I've seen brakes taken out of commission from improper chain use. I still white knuckle when I'm winter driving at times, so make sure you're taking breaks if needed.

Have fun, take it easy if things get slick, and enjoy Portland. I really enjoyed my time there.

Edit to add: I've never driven I-80, but I've made a fair number of trips on I-84 through the columbia gorge if you're taking that route to Portland. My wife's worst winter driving experience occured there when she was trying to make it home to Montana for Christmas a few years ago. If there is a winter storm event, that section can be pretty bad. She spent most of a day just getting from Portland to Kennewick Washington where she had to get a room for the night. That whole section was compacted to ruts for her, and she chained up early. At one point there was a toyota pickup riding her butt, who decided to finally pass, and all she saw was a flash of headlights as he spun out, barely missing her. Any time I think of that stretch in winter time, I always see the red gravel/sand/clay they use for traction through there.

Yeah, I-80 is rough. The one time I drove it, I drove it in a pretty heavy snowfall. I remember roadside signs reading "STOP AND PUT CHAINS ON."

Did I mention it was mid-June?

You're right to prepare. I'd also check the various DOTs in the states you're rolling through. A lot of them have up-to-the-minute info on road closures. And if the weather's looking iffy, start thinking about a southern detour.

Good luck in Portland and with the new job!

One very important thing; when you cross Exit 246/Dodge Street going through Iowa City, wave at the big building on your right, it's where I met my wife.

Farscry wrote:
iaintgotnopants wrote:

Around the middle of the country, you will come to a land called "Iowa". Tis very boring. Don't fall asleep.

Consider it a warmup for the most boring stretch of highway in the United States: I-80 across Nebraska. ;)

Hah. I've driven this route many times in the past so I know exactly what you're talking about.

Druidpeak wrote:

Practice putting your chains on before you head out. I've helped a number of folks with their chains when they needed them, and a few minutes practicing at home could have helped them immensely. Not getting it right can do serious damage to your vehicle, and possibly render some important things inoperable. I've seen brakes taken out of commission from improper chain use. I still white knuckle when I'm winter driving at times, so make sure you're taking breaks if needed.

clover wrote:

Practice putting on your tire chains once before you leave. Huddled on the side of the road in blowing snow, in a line of other trucks and cars, with state troopers who won't let anyone go further without traction, is not the time to learn how they work.

Oh, an old rug or an extra floorboard mat is nice to lay on when you're doing chains, so you're not just lying in the snow.

Got it. This is exactly the sort of thing I need to know, so thank you both. I will learn how to put my tire chains on properly tomorrow.

Le0hart85 wrote:

But mainly, driving across the US on I-80 in the winter, be prepared for the haul around Wyoming and Colorado or even Nevada into California (Donner Pass into California from Reno, I have had MULTIPLE times whenever that section is shut down Mid winter and had to add an extra day onto my trip!).

Be safe and stop if the snow picks up and blows across the Interstate, white out conditions can happen *very* rapidly.

But for the most part, enjoy yourself and the open road! I loved driving long haul, but just couldn't keep that lifestyle up.

P.S. Stop in at the I-80 truckstop and check it out whenever you cross into Iowa from Illinois. It's America's largest (maybe World's, not sure anymore?) truckstop and a pretty cool place to check out to break up the monotony of the road!

Safe travels!

Thank you for the tips as well. That's the stretch I'm worried about, and hoping to avoid delays, but if I need to take a more southern route I will.

Apparently the Weather Channel does have a driving conditions trip planner tool.

Druidpeak wrote:

Edit to add: I've never driven I-80, but I've made a fair number of trips on I-84 through the columbia gorge if you're taking that route to Portland. My wife's worst winter driving experience occured there when she was trying to make it home to Montana for Christmas a few years ago. If there is a winter storm event, that section can be pretty bad.

Yeah I have driven I-80 across most of the country followed by I-84 into Portland and I am concerned about that part, so I'm considering just taking 80 all the way to the northern California and then taking I-5 North the rest of the way. Any suggestions on where to check road conditions for that area (besides the Weather channel site)?

Gremlin wrote:

How much winter driving experience do you have? I assume you've got at least a bit.

Echoing LiquidMantis, do pack some gear with emergency survival in mind. You probably won't need it, but it's better than even the slight chance of being stranded in the Rockies without the proper clothing or supplies. Or Iowa...being stranded in the middle of the prairie in winter is no fun.

I've lived and driven in Oregon, Maryland and Virginia which all get snow, but not tons of it. I grew up in Southern California (i.e. NO SNOW) so I didn't absorb a lot of winter driving advice that I assume people from e.g. Minnesota do while they're young. I'm a cautious driver with a spotless record (never been in an accident, 1 speeding ticket in 15 years of driving) but I've never needed to drive during heavy snow.

I do have a kit that is always in my car which has a hand crank radio, thermal/foil blanket, gallon jug of water, flashlight, etc... And I'm bringing most of my possessions with me so I will definitely have plenty of winter clothing along as well.

And just like the guy Druidpeak mentioned in his story, I'm driving a mid 90's front-wheel drive Honda (Acura Integra). It's not exactly a snowbeast, but it's been very reliable and is generally in great shape (and if I told you how many miles were on it you would never believe it's actually that low).

Enix wrote:

Yeah, I-80 is rough. The one time I drove it, I drove it in a pretty heavy snowfall. I remember roadside signs reading "STOP AND PUT CHAINS ON."

Did I mention it was mid-June?

You're right to prepare. I'd also check the various DOTs in the states you're rolling through. A lot of them have up-to-the-minute info on road closures. And if the weather's looking iffy, start thinking about a southern detour.

Good luck in Portland and with the new job!

Thank you! I love Portland, I lived there last summer and was really sad to move away, but now I get to be happy about going back.

If I'm seeing the aggregate advice here it's that I-80 could be okay but it could just as easily be bad conditions ranging from difficult to undriveable. I'm just not sure what the next best option is since I really do not want to go all the way down to I-10.

Bring extra food and drink just in case you get stuck. Beef jerky, a can of nuts, a gallon of water.

Make sure to keep your cell phone charged and keep your tank above half if at all possible. Getting stuck in a snowstorm is bad, getting stuck in a snowstorm with limited gas in your car and/or no way to call for assistance is terrible.

Scaphism wrote:

Yeah I have driven I-80 across most of the country followed by I-84 into Portland and I am concerned about that part, so I'm considering just taking 80 all the way to the northern California and then taking I-5 North the rest of the way. Any suggestions on where to check road conditions for that area (besides the Weather channel site)?

Oregon has Tripcheck for current road conditions. Idaho is looking bare and dry at the moment here.

Weather channel is definitely more user friendly, but I always prefer the national weather service for my forecasts. weather.gov. Same data, just more official for me I guess.

In 4 years of making the run from Portland to Montana for vacations, reunions, weddings, etc between my wife and I there was only the one trip with horrible road conditions. Aim for the fastest interstate route, keep an eye on the weather, and accept that there may be delays is my recommendation. As long as it's just some moisture with flurrys, and not a full blown blizzard, you'll be fine.

Wind advisory along 80 near Cheyenne WY.

They say all the snow falls in Wyoming and lands in Nebraska.

High Wind Warning
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHEYENNE WY
156 PM MST SAT FEB 16 2013

...HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 11 AM
MST SUNDAY FOR THE WIND PRONE AREAS OF SOUTHEAST WYOMING...

.A STRENGTHENING TROUGH OVER THE HIGH PLAINS WILL PRODUCE A LARGE
PRESSURE GRADIENT ACROSS MUCH OF SOUTHEAST WYOMING TONIGHT AND
SUNDAY MORNING. CONSEQUENTLY...WEST TO SOUTHWEST SURFACE WINDS
WILL BECOME STRONG AND GUSTY...ESPECIALLY FOR THE WIND PRONE
AREAS. THE WINDS WILL SLOWLY DIMINISH SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

WYZ106-110-116-117-171200-
/O.NEW.KCYS.HW.W.0012.130217T0300Z-130217T1800Z/
CENTRAL LARAMIE RANGE AND SOUTHWEST PLATTE COUNTY-
NORTH SNOWY RANGE FOOTHILLS-SOUTH LARAMIE RANGE-
SOUTH LARAMIE RANGE FOOTHILLS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...BORDEAUX...ARLINGTON...ELK MOUNTAIN...
VEDAUWOO...BUFORD...PUMPKIN VINE...HORSE CREEK...HARRIMAN...
WHITAKER
156 PM MST SAT FEB 16 2013

...HIGH WIND WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 11 AM
MST SUNDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHEYENNE HAS ISSUED A HIGH WIND
WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 11 AM MST
SUNDAY.

* TIMING...WINDS WILL BECOME STRONG AND GUSTY THIS EVENING
AND CONTINUE THROUGH LATE SUNDAY MORNING.

* WINDS...SUSTAINED WEST TO SOUTHWEST 35 TO 45 MPH WITH GUSTS TO
60 MPH.

* IMPACTS...TRAVEL WILL BE HAZARDOUS FOR LIGHTWEIGHT OR HIGH
PROFILE VEHICLES ALONG INTERSTATE 25 FROM CHUGWATER TO
WHEATLAND...AND ALONG INTERSTATE 80 BETWEEN CHEYENNE AND THE
SUMMIT AS WELL AS THROUGH THE ARLINGTON AND ELK MOUNTAIN AREAS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT IS EXPECTED
OR OCCURRING. SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS OF AT LEAST 40 MPH OR GUSTS
OF 58 MPH OR MORE CAN LEAD TO PROPERTY DAMAGE. THE LATEST ROAD
CONDITIONS PROVIDED BY THE WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
ARE AVAILABLE BY DIALING 5 1 1 OR ON THE INTERNET AT
WWW.WYOROAD.INFO.

&&

$$

JAMSKI

Hazardous Weather Outlook
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHEYENNE WY
156 PM MST SAT FEB 16 2013

WYZ101>119-172100-
CONVERSE COUNTY LOWER ELEVATIONS-NIOBRARA COUNTY-
NORTH LARAMIE RANGE-FERRIS/SEMINOE/SHIRLEY MOUNTAINS-
SHIRLEY BASIN-CENTRAL LARAMIE RANGE AND SOUTHWEST PLATTE COUNTY-
EAST PLATTE COUNTY-GOSHEN COUNTY-CENTRAL CARBON COUNTY-
NORTH SNOWY RANGE FOOTHILLS-SOUTHWEST CARBON COUNTY-
SIERRA MADRE RANGE-UPPER NORTH PLATTE RIVER BASIN-SNOWY RANGE-
LARAMIE VALLEY-SOUTH LARAMIE RANGE-SOUTH LARAMIE RANGE FOOTHILLS-
CENTRAL LARAMIE COUNTY-EAST LARAMIE COUNTY-
156 PM MST SAT FEB 16 2013

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR EAST CENTRAL WYOMING...
SOUTH CENTRAL WYOMING AND SOUTHEAST WYOMING.

.DAY ONE...THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT

GUSTY WEST TO SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 40 TO 50 MPH WILL DECREASE
SLIGHTLY THIS AFTERNOON...THEN INCREASE ONCE AGAIN TONIGHT AS
A SURFACE TROUGH DEEPENS OVER THE HIGH PLAINS. SUSTAINED WINDS
OF 35 TO 45 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH ARE EXPECTED FOR THE
INTERSTATE 25 AND 80 WIND CORRIDORS INCLUDING ARLINGTON...
VEDAUWOO AND BORDEAUX. A HIGH WIND WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM
8 PM THIS EVENING UNTIL 11 AM SUNDAY.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY

STRONG AND GUSTY WEST TO SOUTHWEST WINDS OVER MUCH OF SOUTHEAST
WYOMING WILL DIMINISH SLOWLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON. A COLD FRONT
AND WEAK UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE WILL BRING A CHANCE OF LIGHT
SNOW TO THE HIGHER TERRAIN SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY...WITH
ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES.

A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE ACROSS THE REGION
WEDNESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY. WHILE WIDESPREAD SNOWFALL WILL BE
POSSIBLE...AMOUNTS ARE UNCERTAIN AT THIS TIME.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION WILL NOT BE REQUIRED THIS AFTERNOON AND
TONIGHT...HOWEVER REPORTS OF HIGH WINDS WILL BE APPRECIATED.

&&

THIS PRODUCT...ALONG WITH OTHER WEATHER...HYDROLOGIC...AND
CLIMATE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON THE WEB AT...
HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/CHEYENNE

$$

You're probably not going to want to purchase Winter (Blizzacks or some other studded) tires for one trip, but make certain you at least have good all-season tires. Do try to cross Wyoming in the Winter with poor treads.

Congratulations! I made this drive 8 months ago without any real difficulties, but it was also July so any advice probably won't be that helpful.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

One very important thing; when you cross Exit 246/Dodge Street going through Iowa City, wave at the big building on your right, it's where I met my wife.

Just wave at Iowa City in general. It's one of the coolest cities in the Midwest (granted, there isn't a lot of competition).

EPIRBs are generally only used and monitored over blue water, but I imagine there is some kind of an emergency radiolocator that you could rent for the trip if you are truly paranoid. Even purchasing one for about $600 might be worth the cost if you end up in a snow drift someplace in dark cell phone territory.

edit:

sheared wrote:

You're probably not going to want to purchase Winter (Blizzacks or some other studded) tires for one trip, but make certain you at least have good all-season tires. Do try to cross Wyoming in the Winter with poor treads.

I replaced my tires in November and they're decent all weather tires, so I'm not looking for new ones but feel pretty good with what I have.

Paleo, I appreciate the suggestion but I think that's more extreme than I need. Good to know the option exists though.

FWIW I've driven across the country (coast to coast) 6 times in the last 10 years so I'm comfortable with the drive, but I have never done it in the Winter months. I did take the time to puzzle out the tire chains today and I'm very glad I did. The instructions were printed on plastic-y paper that had frozen and it was basically useless. I found instructions online and watched a video and sat down to actually put the chains on myself in 25 degree weather in my parking lot here. Not fun, but at least I sort of know how to do it now and have printed instructions as well.

I'm planning to leave tomorrow morning and take 5-6 days to get there. I start work the following Monday so there isn't as much of a cushion as I would like, but it should be enough.

Scaphism wrote:

Paleo, I appreciate the suggestion but I think that's more extreme than I need. Good to know the option exists though.

I sort of figured. The only reason I even thought of it was because of the trip I took last summer to Vail and the signs I saw about the continental divide passage being closed during the winter months. It was the middle of August and there was snow and permafrost up there. Gorgeous, but I imagine it would have sucked to be stuck up there in the winter.

Yeah, I plan to stick to the interstate. No back roads or sightseeing this trip.

Scaphism wrote:

Yeah, I plan to stick to the interstate. No back roads or sightseeing this trip.

You should be fine on the interstate, but I'd also make sure to pack a road atlas in case you have to make a detour. Google Maps can get a little weird out in the lonesome back-country. Like the time we ended up taking the back road into Fort Davis at sunset, through unlit roads that had more wild boars than people...

And if you run into that crazy dude at the gas station, just turn around and go home.

IMAGE(data:image/jpeg;base64,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)

Paleocon wrote:

And if you run into that crazy dude at the gas station, just turn around and go home.

That is one *intense* image link.

Well, winter seems to be surrendering a little bit. The days are warming a fair amount.

My general trip for any lengthy road trip is to plan that for every 12 hours of road time, you should have 100 dollars planned for a hotel/motel stay. It may not be a snow storm, but thunder storms, heavy rains can be as bad or worse. So if you are doing east coast, to Pacific North West, figure on 2-3 hotel stays, and worst case scenario is that you have extra money because you did not have to make those stops.

Maybe make a plan to stop in Chicago for a meal. It will be the last time you see something that is not a corn field until you hit Utah. Same deal with Salt Lake City, stop off for dinner or something.

Welcome to Portland. I suggest you stop at the first Les Schwab and pick up some chains just in case. They will help put them on, if needed, and you can return them at the end of the season if you don't use them.

Also you can flip off the Country Kitchen in Coralville, IA. I was an assistant manager there back in the day and it sucked.

I love Les Schwab. I got a flat a few years back and brought it in at 4:30 pm afraid that they either wouldn't get to me that day or would try and sell me 4 new tires. Instead they patched my tire up in 20 minutes and sent me on my way. For free.

Instant customer loyalty and I happily tell anyone who asks to go there.

I also love Portland, lived there last year but had to move. Very happy to move back.

Day 1 was driving from DC to Toledo, OH. Besides some minor construction in PA no trouble at all. A bit of snow on the side of the highway throughout PA and eastern OH, but none on the interstate.

It's supposed to rain overnight here and the temperatures might dip below freezing just before morning, so I will be careful in the morning that the roads haven't iced over.

All told day 1 was a breeze though. Tomorrow I head for Des Moines, with instructions to stop at the world's largest truck stop at the Iowa/Illinois border, wave at the big building off of exit 246 in Iowa City, and not fall asleep while driving in Iowa (or Nebraska).

Fun times ahead!