I just moved to Las Vegas NV a few months ago. During Christmas, my girlfriend and I are planning on going back home to Northern Minneota. On our way down here, we took, I believe I15 through the mountains from Denver. That took us longer than we had expected it to take.
As we plan for Christmas break...we are thinking of driving back home and are looking for an alternative route...or the best route to get back home. Im wondering if I15 is the best way...or if I can go south and avoid most of the mountains.
Basically, we dont know what the mountains are like in the winter...and the way we took...there were lots of twists and turns and Im just looking for a faster way to get through them.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
Jow dude if you have to travel trough the mountains in winter you have to prepare properly. I've lived in Austria for the last 3 winters and believe me even while some people don't wanna buy snowtires, you certainly need them!!!! Yeah they'll cost you a few extra bucks but as long as you just use em in the snow and on journeys through the mountain you can use them for a few years. Also be sure you have got chains for your tires. Especially with the twists and turns because you'll start sliding on snow and ice. Drive slower than normally and keep double as much distance to other cars and trucks. ALso test how your car is reacting to conditions by doing short breaking once in a while on a straight part of road. Gear down if you go down the mountain to let the car slow down on the engine as much as possible to prevent sliding to much. Also check the weatherreport before you leave and take a look at which route you want to follow.
I don't wanna make you scared, just follow these guidelines and you'll be fine.
Well, if you went from Denver to Las Vegas (or vice-versa) that means that you took I-70 out of Denver, then connected to I-15 south into Las Vegas. It's the most direct route, but also the most mountaineous.
An alternative (going the opposite direction--that is from Las Vegas to Minnesota) is to take I-15 all the way north to Salt Lake City, then connect up to I-80 east. You'll hit the mountains big time just east of Salt Lake City for about 50 miles, but then its all high plauteau (meaning flat) the rest of the way. Because this is across the northern part of the country, you still need to be checking your weather map and worrying about snow. However, I-80 is the major cross-country road for the entire US, so the highway patrols in Utah, Wyoming, and Nebraska work hard to keep this road open as much as possible (mostly so the truckers can transport goods back and forth).
The other alternative is to take U.S. Hwy 95 SE to I-40, then take I-40 east to about the eastern part of New Mexico. At this point there is a diagonal highway (I think it's U.S. 54 that cuts northeast and goes into Dodge City), then go east from there to Wichita, where you can connect up with I-35 east to Kansas City, after this you can get the interstate that goes straight north to Minnesota. This way is the longest of the three options, but the least likely for you to hit bad weather--and has zero mountains.
Forgot to mention--if you stay north on I-15 going out of Salt Lake up to Ogden, then connect to I-84 east you can even avoid the really bad mountains east of Salt Lake. I-84 cuts through a canyon east of Ogden and you merge into I-80 just about 40 miles east of Ogden. This will be about a 15 mile farther journey, but fewer mountains to cross.