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Old 12-07-2009, 08:46 PM   #1
iLUVdisneyLAND
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Question about driving the Grapevine

Hi Everyone,

1st post here...just wanted to thank everyone for their great info...I have been lurking here for a few weeks. My DH and I are taking our DD (2) to Disneyland this week. Thursday (10)- Sunday (13). We are driving down from the Bay Area.

For those of you who drive I-5 from the north, when do you decide if you are going to take an alt. route. It looks like the last time you have to cut over to 101S is around the 31 to Paso.

Several reports show light snow/rain mix at Lebec on Thursday. We are leaving the Bay Area around 6 am on Thursday.

Any thoughts/suggestions/previous experience would be great. I have only driven the Grapevine once, in July, when I took DD for her first time while DH was fishing in Alaska. So, I have zero experience with it during the winter months. I am from Oregon originally, so I totally get the snow driving thing...but it seems like I always hear about what a mess the grapevine is....

THANKS!!!
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:53 PM   #2
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We are driving it tomorrow and coming home that way Thursday night! I called cal trans today and it wasn't closed . It is the I-5 call 800-427-7623. I doubt there will be any snow left over to close the Grapevine but who know they seem to close it for very minute things due to accidents. I think this week at the most you would have a CHP escort car.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:55 PM   #3
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Other than worrying about snow. The Grapevine is a smooth easy drive. At least I think. A little bit of a climb but not too bad. You can usually cruise it quickly too. The traffic only seems to bottle up right around the Magic Mountain area. It seems like they are always doing contruction there for like the last 15 years!
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:07 PM   #4
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The Grapevine will just close if it snows too much, they don't bother with it, they just close it. We watch the flashing road signs and call the number to check the status. So far we've only had it closed once, that was this past Feb when we went for Presidents Weekend....that was the drive of nightmares....it took us almost 11 hours to get home, and we are about 6 hours away.....
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiewings71 View Post
So far we've only had it closed once, that was this past Feb when we went for Presidents Weekend....that was the drive of nightmares....it took us almost 11 hours to get home, and we are about 6 hours away.....
My son goes to college about 10 miles from DLR. We have driven back/forth many times and only had a problem like this once (last Dec). Drove over the Grapevine at about 20 mph in a near blizzard. It was already closed on the other side and they closed our side just behind us! It ended up being an 18 hr trip instead of the 12 I expected for a quick down/back pick up! It took nearly 3 hrs to drive all the way across L.A. to get from I5 to 101. And then another 7 to get back to San Jose.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:25 PM   #6
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Maybe I'm confused, but it takes you 12 hours from San Jose? Or is that both directions? I'm confused.....
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:13 PM   #7
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Grapevine is currently closed. This was reported as of an hour ago. It is currently 7:13 pm PST.

A mixture of snow and rain have led the highway patrol to shut down traffic along Interstate Five at the Grapevine.

I-5 at the Grapevine was shut down in both directions within the last half hour. Northbound I-5 is closed at Grapevine Road. The southbound interstate is closed at Smokey Bear Road.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:29 PM   #8
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I'm not surprised the grapevine is closed now. We're supposed to get snow here tonight and we're a little lower in elevation than over there.

Also, they seem to close the grapevine more at night than they do during the day. Probably because it snows more often during the night when the temps dip down. I would bet that it will be open tomorrow at least by late morning but you never know so call that number PP mentioned. We drive up and down the 5 several times a year but we've never had to re-route so I don't have any info about that for you. I don't think it's supposed to rain/snow thursday night, is it? I guess the forecast could change though. I think you should be fine but it's good to have a back-up plan, especially if you plan on driving on it at night on your way back up. Good luck and have a fun trip!
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:24 PM   #9
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the story
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:50 AM   #10
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If there's any questionable weather, especially later in the day for your return trip, I wouldn't chance it.

A couple of years ago I was traveling home from DL to Santa Cruz in the afternoon and although we did make it over the grapevine, they closed it in both directions about 30 minutes after we drove through. All those people had to wait stuck in their cars overnight in the snow. I still can't believe how close that was for us

That same trip I took I5 to 46 to 101 and let me tell you, driving in the dark and the snow on 46 was just about the scariest thing I've ever done. There was an 18 wheeler on my bumper and nowhere to pull over...I thought we were going to be meeting James Dean right then and there!

I was unprepared for the weather possibilities and started my drive home w/out a smart plan. Just play it safe and you should be fine.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:23 AM   #11
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Highway 46 is a highway that we avoid. To the locals it is known as "Death Alley"...... They just said the Grapevine should be open soon but who knows it is still so cold outside and I know the temps are cooler up there than they are here. On the bight side it is a beautiful sunny day!!! To those of you that are going to Disney have a safe "magical" trip.........
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Highway 46 is a highway that we avoid. To the locals it is known as "Death Alley"......
I believe it!
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:41 AM   #13
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Yes, highway 46 to Paso Robles is about your only alternate to not going over the Grapevine. I have taken the 101 route home or to LA a number of times & the only bad spot is getting through Santa Barbara. If you see that there is the potential of the Grapevine closing, then just head down 101.
We have had to drive ove 46 to 101 when the fog was so bad on I5, it was insane. We have also decided to take what I call the "scenic route" (101 to Paso) and then cut back over to I5 on 46. Daytime nice weather it isn't too bad.
Keep in mind that the Grapevine is a major artery and they won't close it unless they have to. Those truckers want to get to & from LA just as bad as you do. At least you aren't trying to drive to Lake Tahoe with this weather.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueTGGR View Post
Yes, highway 46 to Paso Robles is about your only alternate to not going over the Grapevine. I have taken the 101 route home or to LA a number of times & the only bad spot is getting through Santa Barbara. If you see that there is the potential of the Grapevine closing, then just head down 101.
We have had to drive ove 46 to 101 when the fog was so bad on I5, it was insane. We have also decided to take what I call the "scenic route" (101 to Paso) and then cut back over to I5 on 46. Daytime nice weather it isn't too bad.
Keep in mind that the Grapevine is a major artery and they won't close it unless they have to. Those truckers want to get to & from LA just as bad as you do. At least you aren't trying to drive to Lake Tahoe with this weather.
The difference is they will simply close the GV and they don't close I80 unless the weather is really really really bad.....I80 they will plow, salt and have CHP regulating traffic speeds.

Edited to add, it was 29 degrees when I left for work today.......and I'm about 9 ft above sea level at my house....LOL
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueTGGR View Post
At least you aren't trying to drive to Lake Tahoe with this weather.
Or flying there

So, we took DGD6 to DLR from 11/28 thru 12/3. As we made the plans, her parents decided they'd like to visit friends in Seattle this last weekend, so could we keep her until Monday? Um, yeah!

In the middle of planning this, Southwest had their big fare sale for $59 each way. So, being clever, I bought tickets for DW and DGD to fly from San Jose to Reno yesterday, do a quick drop off, and for DW to return on the next plane an hour later. Should have been an easy 3 hour round trip, right?

Enter old man weather. First, DSS (step-son) and DDIL got stranded in Seattle. After a bunch of phone calls, we arranged for DW to drop off DGD to her uncle (DSS's brother). Whew! But Reno airport was seriously backed up yesterday. DW eventually got DGD to Reno where her uncle picked her up, but the plane was so late that DW missed the return. Southwest came to the rescue and rerouted her back, Reno->Vegas->San Jose. DW managed to actually get home at 1AM. But at least she didn't have to deal with chain controls on I-80! DSS and DDIL should be retrieving their daughter around the time I'm posting this.

Yes, this weather has kinked a lot of plans!

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