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Route 66 in winter?
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November 22, 2014
12:00 pm
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Carol
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November 22, 2014
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Hi Route 66'ers,
We are planning our trip west to east on 2 Jan 2015 and looking for advice and info about weather conditions that time of year. We have 3 weeks and will be renting a Hyundai Santa Fe ( or similar) I have requested the spreadsheet from Wotacroc and will get the EZ66 guide, but will appreciate any advice,please? Your forums offer lots of accommodation suggestions, which I do appreciate, but I have not found anything on doing the route in winter?

November 22, 2014
1:06 pm
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WillC
Oxford
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Hi Carol

Driving the route in winter is not advisable. Not because of the weather as much as the fact that most of the attractions will be closed. Most places are open from around March/April to October/November.

Maybe e-mail key places that you want to visit and ask them if they will be open in January?

Regarding the weather, there are loads of good websites that give climate graphs for places throughout the USA, i.e. showing the climate for each month. You can use this to determine what the weather will be like. Most of the road is probably safe, although I'd worry about some of the more remote sections, e.g. driving towards Oatman. Use common sense, i.e. have breakdown cover, take plenty of water/food, and warm clothing.

I know that there is thick snow at the moment in parts of New Mexico, e.g. the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari has been covered in snow... and we're only in November.

Will

--- Drove Route 66 in August 2012 ---

November 22, 2014
1:08 pm
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WillC
Oxford
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November 22, 2014
1:11 pm
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WillC
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Sorry for all the consecutive posts.

There is some excellent information on Frank's website. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it. Here is the link: http://www.rt66pix.com/travel

Scroll down about half-way to the section titled 'Winter'.

--- Drove Route 66 in August 2012 ---

November 22, 2014
2:27 pm
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Carol
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November 22, 2014
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Dear Will,
Thank you so much for your reply, photo and link to Frank's website, it is much appreciated. We are from Cape Town South Africa and need all the info we can get for this once-in-a lifetime trip. We have done many long road trips in SA and have always dreamt of doing the ultimate route 66 . Because of work we cannot travel any other time of the year, so it has to be January. The list of contact details on Frank's site will help to check what's open on our way, I'm sure there will still be plenty to see and experience. What worries us is the road-conditions, we've been told that driving through snow is fine, but beware of the ice? How do you know you're hitting ice?

November 22, 2014
4:25 pm
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WillC
Oxford
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Hi Carol

That's the problem; it's very difficult to know when the road is icy because it's so difficult to see it, especially from the comfort of your car. In England, we have a real problem with icy roads. One suggestion would be to ensure that your hire car has a temperature reader on the dashboard. That way, whenever the temperature is freezing, you'll know to pay particular attention. You'll need to pull away slowly and try to use higher gears (if your car is a manual, which is unlikely), as that way you'll avoid skidding. Also, if your car does start to skid, you'll need to steer the opposite direction (which is counterintuitive).

That said, with a bit of common sense I'm sure you'll be fine. Just drive at a safe speed and perhaps avoid the more isolated stretches of the road (and, instead, hop on the interstate if necessary, much as it pains me to suggest that!0.

And I agree with you, I'm sure you'll find plenty to do along Route 66 even in the middle of winter. The views will be stunning.

Will

--- Drove Route 66 in August 2012 ---

November 22, 2014
6:30 pm
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Carol
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Dear Will,
Thank you for the advice, we can take it really slow as we have 3 weeks. getting so excited now! Wonder if you have any advice on which tablet to buy here before we leave, ( need games for flights!) that will work in USA, keen on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

November 23, 2014
8:33 am
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WillC
Oxford
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Hi Carol

Technology isn't really my thing, so hopefully someone else will be able to answer your question!

In terms of SatNav technology, you can hire SatNav from the car company but it works out much cheaper to either buy your own while you're out there or to buy one at home and download US maps onto the SatNav.

Glad to hear you're excited about the trip! I'm extremely envious!

Will

--- Drove Route 66 in August 2012 ---

November 24, 2014
7:45 am
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Carol
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November 22, 2014
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Hi Will,
Thanks for the reply.We have a Garmin and have ordered the up-to-date media card of US maps, so that should be fine. Hope there is someone out there who can advise on the Samsung tablet. We have found that link to Frank's website extremely usefull, thanks again for that. Also received Wotacroc's attractions spreadsheet promptly - thanks Wotacroc! This website has been amazing- so may tips and homework done for you, such a time-saver, compared to going out there totally blind!

August 22, 2017
12:41 pm
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kbooth
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Hi Carol

I am busy doing some research on the exact same question that you posted. We are actually also from Cape Town and looking at taking a holiday and driving Route 66 next year January. I would just like to find out if you did do the trip in January and how was it? Do we need to worried about ice on the road etc?

Any advice will be much appreciated.

Kind regards

Kerry

October 12, 2017
11:20 am
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GlennAustralia
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Hi Carol & Kerry, really interested in how you Route 66 Winer trip went as looking at doing it this coming January. Very, very interested if you experiences and feedback. Regards, Glenn

October 28, 2017
10:29 pm
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Sergio
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Hi Carol, also very interested in knowing how was your trip in the winter. I am planning the same thing - west to east in January 2018. It will be a dad and son trip. Just myself and my 13 years-old son. Please share your experience.
All the best, Sergio

November 5, 2017
11:59 am
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frank.mo586
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The route between Kingman and Flagstaff does get cold with Flagstaff averaging 22 inches of snow in January.
Some of the mountain roads will close if there is a heavy snow.
Looks like you’ll be doing all the driving because of the 13 year old with you. He will do all the navigating; hopefully he can read a map and a GPS.
We did this trip west to east in September 2017, three weeks, and had perfect weather.
If you can wait for summer and another driver you will have a better time.

September 25, 2018
4:05 am
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frank
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If you are coming from overseas, and can only do the trip ONCE in a lifetime, I would strongly recommend NOT going in winter. (WillC has already referenced the Travel page of my site in the 4th posting above.)
Many things along the road are closed in winter. Business collapses along Rt 66 from November-March and it's a very different place. The iconic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari NM, for example, turns people away in the summer. But it can't fill its 12 rooms during the winter, and won't re-open until March 1, 2019.
Still, the road can be interesting to see in winter--especially for Americans who live relatively close-by and can visit, at no great cost, between snowstorms.
If you enjoy snow and cold (and you get lucky with travel timing and logistics) some places are beautiful. Santa Fe NM for example--where snow accents the rounded shapes of brown adobe buildings.

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