Thursday, February 9, 2012

Planning a Road Trip in the Winter?

Planning a road trip to the Methow Valley in the winter is a great idea!  The shimmering snow and crisp, crystal-blue skies are definitely worth the drive.  Twisp, Winthrop, and Mazama are magical winter time stops for a road trip.  Follow Hwy 20 in to Twisp. You may want to make Glover Street Market (on Glover/Main Street) your first stop.  They have really tasty food and an excellent juice bar. Swing in to Winthrop where you can go ice skating or skiing for the afternoon.  No gear? No problem!  You can rent it all right in town!  Stay overnight with us at the Pine Near.  We are just one block above Main Street in Winthrop.  Meander down to the Rocking Horse Bakery in the morning where there will be espresso and an assortment of breakfast goodies waiting for you. While you are in the Methow Valley take a breathtaking drive right on up to Mazama.  Rent some snow shoes and spend the morning exploring in the snow.  We recommend you stop by Mazama Country Store for a homemade bagel.  They are to die for!

Now, here are some tips for Winter-time Road Trips...

Tires and Traction: You should have at least 1/8-inch tire tread depth and proper inflation. Cold temperatures have a lowering effect on tire pressures—check frequently to maintain adequate inflation. Carry chains or invest in winter tires (for mud and snow). In some states, you can use studded snow tires, but they are illegal in others. Traction devices often greatly increase your stopping distance, so control your vehicle carefully. "All-season" tires are not your best choice for poor conditions outside the sanded, sheltered streets of a city—make sure you have good lugged snow tires if you are traveling through heavy snow country.
Know the difference between standard brakes and ABS brakes, (click here for more about this) and how to use each. When using ABS, press the brake and hold it. Do not release the pressure. With standard brakes, use threshold braking. Press the brake pedal until the wheels begin to lock, then release just enough pressure to get them rolling again. It is important to have your brakes serviced so they do not pull to one side or the other.
Recommended Equipment:
  • CB radio
  • Cell phone
  • Scraper and brush
  • Folding shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow rope
  • Sand or cat litter (for traction)
  • Flares
  • Blankets
  • Cold weather clothing (like insulated coveralls)
  • A good flashlight (cold kills batteries, make sure they're fresh and carry spares)
  • High-energy food (see sidebar)
  • Drinking water
  • Medications for longer trips.
  • A can of lock de-icer (don't use hot water on glass or locks—it will only make things worse)
This is no time to get stuck with a flat tire, so make sure you have a jack, lug wrench and an inflated spare tire in good condition.
Get last minute information on weather and road conditions— The Department of Transportation (DOT) Web site is the best place to start. Washington Department of Transportation You need the latest information—weather FORECASTS (like those in newspapers) are notorious for unreliability! Ask about any potential avalanche conditions along your route.
Last but not least: Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to arrive.


See you at the Pine Near RV Park and Campground :o)

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