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Hi everybody,

I might be making a fast relocation move in the next 6 weeks to take an opportunity in Seattle. It'll require a long x-country drive. I'm debating towing the GW or leaving it behind for a few months then flying back to make the ride in the spring or early summer when my wife and son make the drive out to join up with me after selling the house and school is over.

Online mapping programs all want to route me through the Chicago area, across the Dakotas and Idaho to Seattle. Assuming I'll be making this drive in Mid to late December, is this a reasonable route to take, or will weather be an issue? Am I better off adding 1000 miles to the trip and swing south through TX, NM, AZ, the up through either NV or CA to get to Seattle? FWIW, I have a 4wd dakota that'll be sporting new tires. I hate to tow/ship the GW, but it might be better for my relationship to do that and split the driving with my wife on their trip.

I've read a good bit about some good riding in WA. I'm looking forward to some scenic rides. How's it like riding in and around Seattle itself? In the DC area, it seems to be nearly suicidal in rush hour(s). Are MCs as completely invisible in Seattle as they are in DC?

Thanks,
 

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trip

Hello,
As a former resident of both WV and WA, I have experienced the roads that you would be traveling, in the winter season.
The most direst route could be a problem at any given time, due to snow fall and freezing rain. In the event of snow, many of those roads are simply closed, until they are cleared.

When they close the roads out West, they lock big gates across the highway and you just have to find a place to stay until the road opens again. This can happen at anytime. You have to watch the weather maps and plan your trip accordingly.

Your biggest problems will likely be the mountain passes, Fourth-of-July Pass between MT and ID is often bad and there are several other passes between there and Seattle that can receive heavy snowfalls, during the winter.

The alternate route you mentioned still requires that you cross over mountain passes which can be snowed in and present travel problems.
My suggestion would be for you to travel the shortest route, check the weather forcast frequently and leave plenty of time for waiting for the roads to be cleared and opened.

As to the riding in the Seattle area, you will find many great rides, including down the Olympic Peninsula, down the Washington coast and along the Columbia River. You will need good rain gear to enjoy riding in Western WA. If you leave the bike, you will miss out on some good riding during the early spring in Seattle's milder climate.

Good luck in your new home and ride safe.
 

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I am from Seattle and I would advise you to go back in the spring and get your bike. The northern route you describe is just bound to give you weather related problems. You can find blizzard conditions across the Dakotas anytime from now till Spring. I talked to one of my kids yesterday and she told me it was snowing where she lives. (Lynnwood, South Everett area)
Your commute in Seattle will vary quite a bit depending on where you live and where you work and what time you will be traveling. I rode a few days a week and I know folks up there who commute every day on their bikes and other folks who will not commute on their bikes.
Lots of great riding opportunities, beautiful scenery, lots of water and plenty of twisty roads.
Check out WWW.GWRRA-WAA.org Tim Bowman is CD and would be glad to help you with any info you might require. Chapter A in Wa is one of the good ones. They do ride. I will attest to that.
 

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Oh yeah, if you do come on the bike by all means go the southern route through Az and then Ca and when you get to northern Ca move over to the coast and go up 101. Still kind of a crapshoot but you will take the big Mtn Passes out of the equation. Watch the weather reports and dont be surprised if you get iced or snowed in for a period of time.
 

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Seattle traffic can be some of the worst in the country,but most times the HOV lane is clear,so it can be good on a bike.

We certainly do have some good riding here,and rarely have more than a few days with snow on the ground,but Gerging's are a good idea,and rain gear has a permanent spot in my saddlebag.

Today happens to be one of those days with snow on the ground,we have about a foot here.

Dale's suggestion to contact WA-A is a good one,those folks like to ride,and are all a great bunch of people.Don't be alarmed when they want to hug you!

There are quite a few of us that will be glad to show you around once you get here.Stay in touch.
 

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Welcome to the Seattle area (assuming you come). I agree with taking a more southern route, and from CA up to Seattle on I5 you have only one area of possible concern in northern CA/southern OR (the coast option that was mentioned can be a very slow ride - although a must on the bike sometime).

The snow we currently have is supposed to be gone in another day or two, and it is not at all common in this area. Last year we never got snow in the low lands (below roughly 2000 feet). However eastern WA, northern ID, Montana, etc. - that can be some nasty driving at times and they do normally get snow in the winter.

Motorcycles are just as invisible here as anyplace else. I think you have to operate from that basis anyplace you ride. Riding in Seattle proper is no treat, but the greater western WA area has some of the best riding you will find anyplace in the country (and I've ridden all the contiguous 48 so I speak from experience). You are in for a treat.

Unrelated to the bike and riding, do look into cost of living, housing prices, etc., before you sign a final deal. There are a lot of great things about this area, but cost of living isn't one of them. Also, commuting can be an absolute nightmare unless you live near where you work. I think the average house price in King County (where Seattle is located) is near $400K, higher within the city limits, and there has not been as much cooling off on real estate here as there has been in other parts of the country.

Carl
 

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If you've got the right-colored bike, riding in Seattle is fine. I commute every day to downtown on mine (except during the snow) and have had no problems. Negotiating the downtown streets at rush hour can be interesting, but if you stay in the center lanes until close to where you need to turn, you'll be OK.

It'll also help when you figure out the one-way street patterns.

Good luck w/your trip!
 

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Yup, it's almost December now and ND, SD and MT are so socked in that nothing will move for the next 6 months. :roll:

There is no foolproof route to make a cross-country trip in December. If you talk to the cross-country truckers, they'll say "pick your poison" because the best route at any given time depends on what weather system just went through and what is on the way. Today, for example, there's ice from IL to TX while WA has had awful weather and roads lately. Meanwhile, the roads are fine here in ND. Imagine that! There are a lot of truckers who prefer to route through the colder northern plains of ND and SD because there tends to be less ice.

If I had to choose a preferred route from WV to WA in the winter, I'd plan on I80, I84 and I5. This route carries a lot of trucks in the winter for a reason. This route normally sucks but it's relatively flat, even through the Rockies, plus it's a few degrees warmer than the northern tier. If conditions on that route are poor you can always head north for I90 or I94.

Be sure you carry a winter survival kit and have your vehicle in top shape.

By the way, be sure to come back to the northern plains in the summer, it's beautiful here!
 

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Pick your poison is correct.
I-40 and I-70 are both socked in right now.
I-80 would be a good chioce if you watch the weather and plan ahead.
You have the option to take three different interstates west, surely one of them will be better than the other two.
Good luck and drive safe.
 

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I'd avoid Chicago like the Plague. Take 70 to Indy and take 74 out to the quad cities.
 

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Welcome to Seattle from GWRRA WA-A. Like has been indicated, we like to ride! And, yes, we do hug. Given the poor weather during the month of November (torrential rains followed by Jeff Kelton's deep freeze this week), I've only rode about 3 different days.

Seriously, I'd not even consider riding across the US in the winter months on a Wing (and I LOVE riding). Snow & ice and other crummy weather can be anywhere, anytime. Even if you took a southern route, you still have to come up through the Siskyou's or along the potentially foggy Oregon coast.

If you can't trailer it out when you come this way, I'd recommend riding it out in the spring. There's even a participant in this message board who might be willing to ride it across the country like he did for Dale Simle.

Feel free to PM me and I'll give you my contact information. I'd be willing to help you in any way I can.

Yes, the riding around here is terrific!!! I frequently commute and there is definately lots of traffic. We have mountain passes, twisty backroads, active volcanoes, ferry rides to island getaways, and much more within a short distance of Seattle.

Like has been mentioned, it's a fairly expensive place to live and gas is among the highest in the nation.

Tim
 
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