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Old 12-07-2015, 05:11 PM   #21
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Re: Phoenix to Bend in Winter.

They work that pass pretty frequently so if there hasn't been any weather in the several days before you go then you're probably fine realistically. I have driven it in a Jetta many times in the winter without issue. I will say though, I don't remember if they do a blanket chain requirement or anything for the duration of the winter. Worst case you stop in at a Les Schwab in Yreka and get a set then return them on your way back. Might not hurt to just have a set of chains tho given the fairly minimal cost. I think I just said "no, maybe, yes" all in at once there...
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Old 12-07-2015, 07:46 PM   #22
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Re: Phoenix to Bend in Winter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viva
Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
I've been to/ through/ around the Grants Pass/Medford OR area two or three times in winter and have driven through mandatory chainup on the highways. I used 4x4 but it was dicey and everybody else was on chains.
I have a question for you: I'm planning a trip from AZ to Portland, and will likely take I-5. I don't have a set date I have to leave, so will be watching weather window for best window over Siskiyou Pass. Presuming I hit a nice, sunny weather window, would chains be mandatory? Or is that just when the weather might call for them (clouds/snow)?
Carrying chains is mandatory. Using chains is condition dependent. Tripcheck.com is you winter travel friend. They have a mobile "app" too which is really just a bookmark to their mobile site. Chain specifics are here: http://tripcheck.com/Pages/chain-laws.asp
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:07 PM   #23
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Re: Phoenix to Bend in Winter.

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Originally Posted by Vindisl
I'm in a 2WD. Yes, hwy 97 south of Bend can be a little dicey some winter days. I'm not familiar with roads in NV and would like to try them.

SMB is stock 7.3L PSD. 450-mile range for trip planning purposes, w/ reserve.

I'm thinking: Phoenix to Vegas to Elko to Winnemucca. Then hwy 95 and via Steens hwy, approaching Bend from the east.
You are talking about my back yard here!

Phoenix to Vegas, no problem! Vegas to Elko to Winnemucca a different story -if there are storms in the area. You'll be going from about 1200 ft elevation to valleys that are over 5,000 feet elevation and passes between 7,000 and 8,000 ft. But if you time it between storms, no problem. Thing to remember is if in a 2-wheel drive - if the Nevada Highway Patrol determines that conditions warrant they activate the "Chains Mandatory" signs then you either chain up or find a place to hole up until the roads are clear.

From Winnemucca to Denio and Frenchglen (the Steens) on up to Burns can be a great drive if the roads are clear. There is very limited snow removal - and very little traffic. Anywhere in Nevada away from the major cities be aware there is generally NO cell phone service - and if you manage to get a call in to AAA it may take them a long time to get to you! It is 100 miles from Winnemucca to Denio and absolutely nothing in between. There are NO services in Denio, the service station there was shut down about two years ago. Warning sign on NV Rt 140 leading to Denio:


30 miles or so north of Denio in Oregon in the tiny settlement of Fields there is a place that sells gas when they are open but that's during daylight hours only. Not sure if they have diesel. Same with Frenchglen. The road from Frenchglen to Burns can be prone to heavy fog during the winter because it runs through the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge which is lake and marsh. But it's only about 250 miles from Winnemucca to Burns so if you fuel in Winnemucca you'll be fine.

Just check the weather maps - if there are no storms during your time frame you will be fine. This is lovely but lonely country! If it's stormy, stay with the more traveled routes.
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Old 12-08-2015, 12:40 PM   #24
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That's good info, carringb. One thing I wonder about: A couple of years ago I went south on I-5 over Siskiyou (during sunny weather due to watching for a good window) and I didn't notice anything saying I needed to carry chains (there was not chain-up weather). Maybe it's a law you are just supposed to know? I would have been required to have one set on the drive wheels of my SMB, and one set on my trailer (trailer had brakes). Maybe I just got a pass since it was not chain-up weather and I was ignorant.

I am confused about one thing though. Now I am officially "medium duty" for the tow rig (over 10,000 lbs. GVWR), so I see I carry one set of chains on one of the rear wheels on each side. I get that. But for the trailer (different trailer this time) it says this:

"When towing, chains must also be on one tire on each side of one axle of a trailer that is equipped with a brake."

Does this mean that if my trailer has one axle, single tires, and NO BRAKES (it's a small utility trailer) that I don't need chains on it at all? I can make myself read that passage more than one way.

If that is true, then I guess I would just need one set of chains - one chain for one rear wheel on each side of the main rig (E-350 dually).

So I guess cars all carry a set of chains in this country in winter, even on nice days?

Live and learn!
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:04 PM   #25
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The "Carry Chains" usually correspond with Snow Park permit season, which is NOV-APR. The signs will be posted on the yellow changeable SNOW ZONE signs. The state does have to the option to post that at any time however. It's not seasonal by legislation, but its always posted on every mountain pass all winter by practice.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:08 PM   #26
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Also... as for chains note that the law says "Gross Vehicle Weight" and not GVWR. This means a smaller class B could be ok with snow tires, but some heavy SMBs would technically be over that definition.

For me, I basically follow the signs when I'm towing, because it's $$$ if they stop you and they do stop folks with trailers regularly. Its something like $450 last I heard. You did read correctly that it applies to trailers with brakes only. The big catch is that Oregon's trailer brake law is performance based, so if you got in a wreck and did not have chains on your trailer because you didn't have brakes, they'd probably just cite you having no brakes instead.
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Old 12-08-2015, 09:03 PM   #27
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Thanks for the additional info and clarification. Also the catch about GVW vs. GVWR. My GVWR is 10,500 but I'll probably still be a bit over 10,000 on this trip, especially including tongue weight. Ironically one of the things I want to do after I get to Oregon is weigh! I just love your open-to-the-public weigh stations - especially the smaller ones on side highways. Not only do I get to weigh, but I can usually do driver/passenger sides separately, plus fiddle with trailer and tongue weight, etc. (because I usually have the place to myself). Best weigh stations ever!

Can I ask you or other natives: What's the best way to watch for a weather window/weather at Siskiyou Pass. I don't mean like a "here it is now" webcam, but rather a forecast to look for a good window to head up and over. I looked up Yreka, and Holbrook, for example, but they are each only at around 2,500' Figured maybe you had a good way to watch weather/window there (?)
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:33 AM   #28
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Thank you Deserteagle and CarringB. Exactly the sort of info I needed.
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