Who's driven a motorhome in the snow?

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Joined
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Midlothian, VA
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Newmar
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2017 Chevy Colorado
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I may be in for a treat in the weeks ahead. Northern AZ is getting quite a bit of snow starting end of the week! I'm not planning to reroute (yet), I don't see why you can't drive a motorhome in the snow (engine brake off of course). Who's driven in the snow and what are the tips? I'll have to plan this like combat missions, wait and see what the threats are when the time comes as I have Sedona in December then Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, then Flagstaff. All in the path of SNOW!!! I wonder if I can get a Chinook booked to take me to Naples!
 
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Flagstaff, AZ
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I have a home in Flagstaff, so I get lots of practice in that area. The annual snowfall averages 100.3 inches (254.8 cm), placing Flagstaff among the snowiest incorporated cities in the United States. For those not familiar with the area the high and low deserts of Arizona can fool folks into thinking the whole state is like that. Flagstaff is located on a north south ridge line (Arizona divide). So for a 40 mile radius West, East and South the terrain quickly rises from 5,000' to over 7,000'. The snow is one problem but the grades in the area make it really interesting for trucks and buses moving through the area. It just started snowing very hard in Flagstaff as I write this. Predictions are for up to 2 feet of snow over Thanksgiving. Time to park for a while in that region.

 
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Neal, I can't say as I have driven a MH in the snow, but I have bob tailed in a semi in the snow. The biggest piece of advice I have is GO EASY with everything. Easy on the throttle, easy on the brakes, give yourself a lot more room ahead too. Air brakes can be a handfull when it gets slippery.
 
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Excellent advice from Mntom! Speed and close proximity are your enemies in slippery conditions. As advised, take it easy (aka "slow"), keep your distance and don't let others push you into doing something you are not comfortable with.

TJ
 
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In my youth I drove not only truck-tractor-semi trailers, but large duty wreckers and buses for Uncle Sam. There was a mountain pass (San Augustin Pass) that could get huge amounts of snow in the winter. Not an especially pleasant experience driving big rigs through that pass or going up there to recover large rigs that had went off the road.

I personally would not drive my Newmar in snowy conditions unless I absolutely had to for some type of emergency. It isn't so much the snow that will get you it is the ice.
 
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I have never driven a Newmar, or any other MH in the snow. Being retired, I don’t foresee ever having to do that. I can wait it out

In my younger days, the family drove from Houston to Chicago area every Christmas for seventeen years for holidays with the grandparents. In the course of all those trips, I have seen literally dozens of large rigs (semi’s) in the ditch. Mostly due to black ice. Our whole family slept on church pews one night in Arkansas, the roads were so bad. I figure if the pros have so much trouble keeping their big rigs on the road, I never want to try it in a coach.
 
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Joined
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WA, MT or somewhere else!
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2014 Honda CR-V
There is much wisdom in just waiting things out. For us, that's one of the major benefits of retirement; no schedule.

We actually had this scenario happen a few weeks ago when we left Montana. Looking at the weather forecasts for Lookout Pass, we could see an early snow week ahead. We left a day early while the weather was still good.

Got to Spokane and saw a weather front coming in, so we just stayed there an extra three days until it passed. Discretion is usually the better part of valor!

TJ
 
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As I work from my coach I have no set schedule and can change as needed. Due to this being AZ and snowbirds the problem is just having reservations and a plan through March. I'll change as needed and certainly call ahead to ask about conditions, research, etc. I prefer to stay on course but will see how things go. I simply did not anticipate SNOW to affect AZ travels. WRONG!
 
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Lots of people don't realize that there is definitely an "alpine" Arizona along with the desert version. IIRC, Flagstaff gets something like 100 inches of snow a year on average. Having lived in AZ earlier in our lives and working a job that required travel throughout the state in all seasons, we became very familiar with the weather differences there.

TJ
 
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As I work from my coach I have no set schedule and can change as needed. Due to this being AZ and snowbirds the problem is just having reservations and a plan through March. I'll change as needed and certainly call ahead to ask about conditions, research, etc. I prefer to stay on course but will see how things go. I simply did not anticipate SNOW to affect AZ travels. WRONG!

Neil, if you are going to roam around the southwest in the Winter, I suggest you carry a pair of AutoSocks on board. They will get you moving when it gets really greasy.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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2017
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Newmar
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40' 10"
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2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Neil, if you are going to roam around the southwest in the Winter, I suggest you carry a pair of AutoSocks on board. They will get you moving when it gets really greasy.

Interesting. First goal will be to avoid the snow of course. I guess this is all part of the RV lifestyle learning that the sun doesn't always shine in AZ :)
 
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Flagstaff, AZ
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2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Interesting. First goal will be to avoid the snow of course. I guess this is all part of the RV lifestyle learning that the sun doesn't always shine in AZ :)
These things work for mud and slick grass too. Almost pulled mine out when were were in the swamp at AirVenture.
 
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Sorry for the long story (sometimes we need some time killers ;-) ):
Definitely stay out of the mountains of NM in the winter with your RV. I had a Toyota Corona (yes before the Corolla) and the snow in the Mtns along I-25 from around Santa Fe over to Las Vegas, NM almost did us in. The snow started falling in bigger and bigger flakes and soon we were in 2 ft of snow. The Corona stalled (had like a 1100cc engine) and would restart but would only run for a few moments. Seemed like it wasn't getting enough air. I looked under the hood with a flashlight and all of a sudden I saw a sticker on the air filter cover that said "move the air filter opening to "here" in high altitude" - BINGO, it started and ran nice but now we were in too deep of snow to move and I had no chains. All of a sudden a semi drove through the virgin snow with chains beside us. Then another and I was able to get our car into the ruts of the semi and get out of the where we were stuck. I decided to buy snow chains at the earliest oportunity as we came down the hill. My car had 13" wheels and we could only find 15" chains.....I ended up buying the 15" chains so we wouldn't get stuck through the rest of the mountain trip. I had to almost wrap the chains 1.5 times around the tire and then it was a rather bumpy trip until I took them off. :cry:
Our goal was to get up into CO and eventually to Ft Collins to see grandma. We made it to Las Vegas NM and started heading north on I-25 toward Raton Pass and we started getting sideways snow just south of Raton pass on I-25. We were on an open plain and open to all of mother nature. We couldn't see the front of the 2ft hood on the car so I decided to pull to the right and off into the grass (2 lanes off the main road) while we could still see it the edge. We sat there a while and I tried to get the car back up on the roadway with no luck due to the ice building up. My wife and I switched seats (her ready to drive now and majorly pregnant - btw, she had to try to get the car up on the road, to no avail - ;-)). The snow was definitely coming down (across) and we sat there waiting for it to stop. We were sitting there and all of a sudden we were rammed from behind, putting the trunk of the Corona halfway into the backseat. We were not injured (wife was fine) and talked about what to do and we decided I would go out into the blizzard and ask for their insurance info. The wind was blowing from right to left hard and I was in the passenger seat so I opened the door, stepped out and POOF I was an instant snowman. I waddled over to the station wagon towing a u-haul trailer, knocked on the driver window and asked him for his insurance info. He replied "I don't have any" and rolled up his window. I waddled back to our car, shook off and climbed back inside. We talked and figured we would ask for his driver license info. I stepped back out, was an instant snow man and asked the driver for his drivers license info and he replied "I don't have one" (they were Mexican - please no haters, it was fact that most illegals were heading there to Denver. By lore, Denver was founded by a mexican family and a white family. The Mexicans settled west of 25) - so what else could we do..... couldn't see anywhere, no cell phone then (1979)....
We sat there and all of a sudden we got rammed again. The first family jack knifed their car/trailer and were sitting across the emergency lane. What we realized then, that we had our emergency flashers on (hey, we're from FL) and we were attracting idiots that were still driving in a zero visibility situation -OOPS. Well, this woman drove up the middle between our car and the trailer slamming right into the side of the jack-knifed station wagon which proceeded to push our trunk into the back seat of our car. So it is about people driving stupidly (maybe happens all the time) while they can only see 1 foot in front of their hood just to get somewhere. We were ignorant not knowing to not turn on our flashers while in a blind snowstorm.
Long story short - I alerted my insurance company to the saga and gave them the license plate of both vehicles. I had to be towed back to Las Vegas NM where the car was totaled. We took a Greyhound bus back home, which took us 3 times the time to get there than it took us to drive to Las Vegas NM.
We had Farmers Insurance at the time and we were reimbursed for all expenses and were reimbursed for the car more than I paid for it. Oh, our baby was fine and my wife wasn't injured during the wreck. BTW I tried to sell the snow chains when I got back to Elpaso to no avail. I was transferred to Sierra Vista AZ and couldn't sell them there either. Brought them back home to FL and ....
 
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