Victorville, CA to Medford, OR for Christmas

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Dena2401

New member
Joined
Dec 7, 2023
Posts
1
Location
Hesperia CA
Hi All,
I am planning a trip from Victorville, CA to Medford, OR leaving 12/14/23. I has a 35 ft 5th wheel towed by a 2005 Chevy 2500 Duramax deisel. I want to avoid steep grades, snow and ice, and high winds as much as possible. I am new to this and only have a few trips under my belt. Any suggestions on best routes?
 
Avoid I-5 Siskiyou Pass in Oregon. Take the coast route, Highway 101 to Crescent City and then head inland to Grants Pass to Medford.

 
Hi All,
I am planning a trip from Victorville, CA to Medford, OR leaving 12/14/23. I has a 35 ft 5th wheel towed by a 2005 Chevy 2500 Duramax deisel. I want to avoid steep grades, snow and ice, and high winds as much as possible. I am new to this and only have a few trips under my belt. Any suggestions on best routes?
Welcome! Easy route USUALLY with no issues. But a bit hilly over the Tehachapi Mountains. I -5 was such a bad road the last time I was on it, south of Sacramento, especially in the Stockton area, I would not even consider driving on it again unless I hear it has been repaved. I would take Hwy 99 and get on I-5 north of Sacramento. And take I-5 from there all the way to Medford but AFTER you check for snow. It's a good road up north. I have been on all of these roads in the last year.

Wind and weather is guesswork in some of these areas. I have seen Hwy 58 extremely windy as well as totally calm. Check the weather in these areas before you go. You can check the wind here for the Mojave area. And check other areas in route before you go.

I think that the Mojave area is the most likely place to get extreme winds on your route.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
There are chances of snow both in Tehachapi Pass and the I-5 Siskiyou Pass in Oregon. However, there are live online cameras along both routes, so I would just allow myself an extra day and keep an eye on the weather. Also, try to time it so you go over those passes around noon to 2 pm, for the warmest weather.

If snow and heavy winds are expected, just find a place to stay for the night and try the next day.
 
Tripcheck for Oregon. It could be dry and dusty or white and crappy, really no way to tell.

Cutting over to 101 would add ~120 miles. Then there is the section on 199 for about 15 miles or so that scare the crap out of some. It is narrow and twisty with the risk of fallen rock and trees along the road that have battle scars. Pretty drive though.

I-5 does have several grades and couple you need to use caution. Steepest is dropping into OR it is a 6% grade for around 6 miles.

You should know that both CA and OR require that chains be carried during snow season. And it includes both your power unit and your trailer. They do check, but I have never seen them check a non-commercial vehicle. But if you get crossed up when chairs are required the fines are rather steep.

Have supplies for a few days and enjoy the show if weather turns bad.
 
You should know that both CA and OR require that chains be carried during snow season.
I don't know about OR but in CA only when it is announced--when there is a strong possibility of snow for those hours on the section of that road.

And for CA, you check for that here. It will tell you when you must carry chains as well as when you must use them. AFAIK, cars are never required to carry them except for when they must be used. Trucks often must carry them (and are checked to make sure they do) even when chains are not required to be used. But only when announced in the above link. Also, with a lit-up sign on the road. At least on I-80 over Donner Summit which I hear is the most closed interstate freeway in the USA (because of snow at the 7,240' Donnor Summit). Right now, there is a chain control there--but only for the west bound.

But the OP has no need for I-80 anyway, but I believe the chain requirements for other roads work the same way in CA.

For this very minute on I-80:

[IN THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA & SIERRA NEVADA]
**For Westbound traffic: Chains are required on all vehicles except 4-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires on all 4 wheels from Donner Lake Interchange to 4.7 mi west of Kingvale (Nevada Co)

Westbound trucks are being screened 5 mi west of Reno /at Mogul/ (Washoe Co) - Drivers must have maximum chains in their possession in order to proceed - Permit loads are prohibited

Please research chain control locations as Caltrans is currently working to update chain control descriptions for consistency with internet mapping, like Google Maps & Mapquest

There is a dense fog advisory in effect from the Solano/Yolo Co Line to the Yolo Sacramento Co Line - Motorists are advised to drive with caution."


BTW, "All Terrain Tires" count as being "snow tires" in CA.

I often have to deal with above to get to my Auburn house from here in Reno. But I usually just wait for better weather, especially if I am going via motorcycle.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
Last edited:
We spent an unplanned day and overnight in Baker City, Oregon a few years ago heading to Portland. Our truck didn't meet the Oregon chain law requirements. Had the 4 wheel drive and traction tires (3PMSF) tires on our truck and had chains for our TT. Oregon requires chains on both the TV and TT. We shopped all through the auto parts stores in Baker City, but couldn't find chains for our 35 inch flotation tires. The next day we went around the chain law enforcements to Washington State.
 
Any time chains are required I would park and wait for conditions to improve. Especially if you're inexperienced driving in snow and Ice. Doubly so if you're inexperienced and towing a 35 ft. trailer.
 
For vehicles under 10,000 GVWR in Oregon traction tires are defined below.

We're in a blizzard right now (not Oregon) and it's sometimes a very long wait. Over the weekend forecasted to continue. We have family in both Northern California and the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Route changes upon conditions. Sometimes going over the Tehachapi Mountains is best.
Screenshot_20231208-111251_Chrome.jpg
 
Last edited:
Any time chains are required I would park and wait for conditions to improve. Especially if you're inexperienced driving in snow and Ice. Doubly so if you're inexperienced and towing a 35 ft. trailer.
That could be a very long wait on I-80. Many days and nights or even longer, at times. What I would do is go in the opposite direction and find a place to stay at the lower elevations.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
That could be a very long wait on I-80. Many days and nights or even longer, at times. What I would do is go in the opposite direction and find a place to stay at the lower elevations.

-Don- Reno, NV
Why would you take I-80 going from Victorville to Medford, OR (the OP's question)?
 
From Victorville to Medford via Highway 395 through Reno is the same distance as going up Highway 99 and I-5 via Bakersfield. I wouldn't recommend it in December though. More steep grades on 395.
 
Why would you take I-80 going from Victorville to Medford, OR (the OP's question)?
You must have missed where I said:

"But the OP has no need for I-80 anyway, but I believe the chain requirements for other roads work the same way in CA."

I was just using I-80 as an example, a road I use often.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
From Victorville to Medford via Highway 395 through Reno is the same distance as going up Highway 99 and I-5 via Bakersfield. I wouldn't recommend it in December though. More steep grades on 395.
I also avoid that route in the winter. But in the late spring, if no snow possible, it's a very scenic route. Also have to keep an eye on the wind in some areas on 395.

-Don- Reno, NV
 
Cutting over to 101 would add ~120 miles. Then there is the section on 199 for about 15 miles or so that scare the crap out of some. It is narrow and twisty with the risk of fallen rock and trees along the road that have battle scars. Pretty drive though.
Ditto for 299, a bit south of there. Very hilly with sharp curves and lots of big trees right next to the road to run into. Very hard to make sharp hairpin turns when you did not know who was coming towards you. I drove it once on a weekday when big logging trucks would come barreling along the curves at an incredible speed!! My rig was brand-new, and one characteristic of this road was similar to 199, in that there are absolutely no shoulders on the road. Plus, when the pavers encountered a redwood tree which was slightly in the road, they just paved around it. One of the most terrifying drives I have ever made.

Makes the "Million Dollar Highway" from Ouray to Silverton look easy.
 
Hi All,
I am planning a trip from Victorville, CA to Medford, OR leaving 12/14/23. I has a 35 ft 5th wheel towed by a 2005 Chevy 2500 Duramax deisel. I want to avoid steep grades, snow and ice, and high winds as much as possible. I am new to this and only have a few trips under my belt. Any suggestions on best routes?
There is no best route in winter.

Having lived in both Southern and Northern California for 38 years, but that was 30 years ago. I suggested the coastal route to avoid snow and ice, but then these are redwood forest highways. It sounds like they haven't improved much of anything since we drove them often enough.

We had a major 18 vehicle pile up today on our nearby Interstate 70 due to winter conditions. It's still closed west bound. When it happens close to your home, it makes you think whether it's worth wrecking your truck and trailer. Steep grades, snow and ice here just like on Siskiyou Summit. I've towed over Siskiyou Summit in winter conditions. Same as here. Stay put when it's bad outside.

 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
131,491
Posts
1,380,147
Members
137,351
Latest member
wv coalminer
Back
Top Bottom