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Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

Austin, Texas
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Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

My college-aged son is planning a move from Texas to Washington State in January. There are very few options on the timing of the trip. He will be driving a Camry and is not familiar with driving in snow or wintry conditions. What is the best or safest route to take?

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

Austin to San Antonio, then Interstate 10 all the way to Los Angeles, then US 101 all the way to Olympia (the last few miles actually on US 12 and SR 8.) No promises, though; it can snow on the northern California and Oregon coasts, as well as the high country in Arizona, where I-10 briefly hits 5000 feet.

Edited: 10 October 2013, 01:16
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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2. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

Washington State, is a big place as well ... Where ? say, East or West of the Cascades ... Most here would most likely,prefer to advise the driver direct ... carracar

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

The title says Olympia.

Austin, Texas
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4. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

He is going to Olympia. I will be driving as well so the advice is really for both of us if there's a perception that this advice is not being given directly to the driver.

Austin, Texas
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5. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

Thanks. I am from the Midwest and learned to drive in snow but it is not my favorite. My son is a native Austinite who has not driven in snow. I am going to help him move so this advice is for both of us.

Chula Vista...
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6. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

Hi,

You talk about a narrow window on the timing for the trip. Just how many days do you have? That can influence the route.

Zed

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

Just see how the weather is. Maybe I5 is an option without snow. I10 is a good suggestion. You can avoid driving through LA by taking 95 from Blythe to I40. That's all flat and if I5 is bad you always can decide to take 101 after all. 101 through NoCal and Oregon and Wa is a slow drive though.

Washington State
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8. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

There are only a few sections of I-5 that routinely could be snowy in January. If you run into bad weather there, you drive. If it's just slightly snowy or you want some time for instruction, have your son drive. The places on I-5 to be cautious are the mountain passes ~ the Tehachapi just north of L.A. and the Siskiyous at the CA/OR border. Also be ready for morning tule fog in the Central Valley of CA (I-5.)

Of course a big storm can make driving hazardous at any time. Be ready for limited hours of daylight as well. www.SunriseSunset.com

How many days do you have for this drive?

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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9. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

Two suggestions ... Avoid driving through central Phoenix on the I-10 by following the I-8 to Gila Bend... The 85 North(truck bypass) works for me... And yes drive the 95, on the WEST side of the Colorado River. to Needles ... I -40 to the 58 at Barstow To Bakersfield & the I-5... Happy trails ... carracar

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Driving from Austin, Texas to Olympia, Washington in January

The US 101 route between greater LA and Olympia will add around 6-7 hours drive time compared to the I-5 alternative. It will be much more scenic, and if you have a few extra hours, you can add some amazing sights to the trip with a minimum amount of additional hassle - for example the elephant seal colonies along California Highway 1 near the Hearst Castle, or the migrating Monarch butterflies in Santa Cruz or Pacific Grove around the Monterey Bay. January is the peak time for these free nature shows.