New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Driving to Tahoe

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My wife is going to be coming out to ski Tahoe from San Francisco. She's going to arrive the night before into SFO and then drive part the way that evening, so she could go skiing the next morning. She'd love to ski the first day at Kirkwood, but we're a little worried about the driving conditions on I-88. Is it much worse than driving I-80? Either way, is it imperative to get an SUV? She'll be doing the drive in the morning, which is usually much better than having to drive snowy roads at night, but still....help!

steve
post #2 of 22
I would guess that she is renting a car. If you go with just a 2wd car, there may be chain laws in effect, in which she would have to buy chains for the car in order to be allowed on the road. I would spring the extra $$$ for a 4wd SUV. You are still supposed to carry chains with you, but they shouldn't stop her to check. As with anything else, the roads are usually fine if you take your time.
post #3 of 22
BTW, fly is she flying into SFO instead of SAC?
post #4 of 22
I-88? where is that? I drive truck for a living the only I-88 i know is back east.
If she stays on i-80 to Tahoe, she'll be fine. No storms expected today.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Ca 88

Sorry, I meant CA-88, the southern route to Lake Tahoe (and the one that takes you to Kirkwood).
post #6 of 22
88 will often close for avalanche control during storms where 50 and 80 will often be open with chain contols.. Just something to be aware of.

If you are renting a car, and expecting snow during the time you will be driving, get a 4wd or AWD. If you rent a 2wd you better check the policy. A lot of agencies will not allow you to install chains on their rentals. Any damage to a vehicle due to chain usage, will not be covered by any policy the rental company offers.

88 is the route you would take if you were trying to go direct to Kirkwood.. Go east on 580, then onto I 5 north, then hwy 4 east, 99 north, 88 east to Kirkwood.

You go through Stockton, Lodi, Jackson, and then through the Sierras to Kirkwood.
post #7 of 22
Do the smart and economical thing. Reserve two cars with two different companies. One 4WD (expensive) and one 2WD (cheap). Then she just picks up the one she needs when she gets here. Our weather reports aren't always accurate, but usually they're pretty close on whether there will be precip or not by the day before.

If she gets here and its snowing, she picks up the SUV and then drives all the way to K-wood. Bring a sleeping pad and sleeping bag and camp in the Hotel Jeep in the parking lot. She'll get freshies in the am and may be one of the only ones there if the road closes.

Just a thought.
post #8 of 22
If there is any snow at all, 88 can be a mess. 50 from sacramento may even be faster if there is snow. how long is she staying? if more than a few days, expect snow and get the 4wd. few people survive a trip to the wood w/o 4wd.

getting out of the city and through sacramento would be ideal if she stops half way and sleeps. waking up early and hitting the drive again, but having to go through the valley/sac will suck in the morning traffic. try to make it 2 hours and sleep east of sacramento.

also, the wood is a pretty decent climb in elevation (8000 ft) from SF. many people who race up early in the morning with their coffee jitters end up pretty exhausted on the hill by 10am. I'd recommend a hotel half way and skiing the second half of her first day. may make for a better trip in the end.
post #9 of 22
If you get the 2wd rental another option is to get the chains (well cables really) at a Walmart that fit the vehicle and save the reciept. If you actually need the chains you have them and traffic in CA crawls in the snow. Unless you need the space a 4x4 may be overkill to drive 10 mph in bumper to bumper traffic. Chains on a FWD car make even a grocery rocket unstoppable in snow. Having seen the terrible snow driving of some in CA in the snow in 4x4s, you may be better off with chains on a cheap rental.

If it turns out you don't need chains return the unused chains to Walmart and get a refund.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisman View Post
If you get the 2wd rental another option is to get the chains (well cables really) at a Walmart that fit the vehicle and save the reciept. If you actually need the chains you have them and traffic in CA crawls in the snow. Unless you need the space a 4x4 may be overkill to drive 10 mph in bumper to bumper traffic. Chains on a FWD car make even a grocery rocket unstoppable in snow. Having seen the terrible snow driving of some in CA in the snow in 4x4s, you may be better off with chains on a cheap rental.

If it turns out you don't need chains return the unused chains to Walmart and get a refund.
Good theory.

But at least the last time I bought chains at a Walmart (or was it a Kmart?), they were nonreturnable for that very reason.
post #11 of 22
March of 2005 two of my children and I flew into Sacramento late in evening and drove rental SUV straight to Kirkwood via 99 and 88, arrived at 130am, which coming from East meant 430am to my body - ugh, skied bright and early next AM on adrenalin. 88 was fairly challenging in the dark even on a gorgeous, clear night - steep and curvy. I took a wrong turn and wasted 30 minutes. Making an overnight pit stop, for example think there is a Best Western in town of Jackson on 88, then doing mountainous part in daylight might not be a bad idea. SUV was only about $160 for a week rental, a regular car would have been less than $100, both seemed cheap to me, played it safe with SUV, because also drove over to Heavenly, but in end didn't need it for my sunny 4 days. Sinecure's idea to reserve both types of vehicles is pretty clever.

BTW I loved Kirkwood: http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...mode=headlines
post #12 of 22

Sacramento vs Reno

I'm going to Tahoe (staying in South Tahoe) the last week in March. I still have the option of flying to Reno or Sacramento using frequent flyer miles so it does not really matter. I have a couple of questions for the fantastically helpful people here.

1. Where did you find an SUV for 160/wk? Looking at Orbitz yesterday an econobox started at 208 for sunday to sunday. SUV was $400. I would take Sacramento for that deal.

2. My return flights from either airport are just after Noon. Is it realistic to drive back, return a car, and catch a flight after leaving by 8am? Is Sacramento or Reno a better bet for this question?

3. I expect that either way I should watch the weather on Saturday and leave the day before if a storm is expected. Again, any difference between Sacramento or Reno? Reno is somewhat closer, but does one have a really bad pass?

Thanks much!

Bill
post #13 of 22
What day is your return flight?

Is it on weekend (Sunday) or week day?

This will effect the return traffic to Sacramento, since on a weekend it will most likely be light, but on a weekday you can encounter commuter traffic.

It also depends on the weather. They can close 50 (the highway from Sacto to SLT) if it gets too bad. It's also a single lane highway, so if the weather is bad, expect delays and traffic build-up.

I have never driven from SLT to Reno, but I think it is closer by a lot.

In terms of rental cars, have you checked the casinos or the hotel where you're staying for deals?

Have you purchased your flight tickets yet? If not, a lot of times you can find deals that include airfare and rental car.
post #14 of 22
Thanks dookie67, good suggestions. My flight is Sunday, so I won't have weekday traffic to contend with and I should beat the crowd leaving Sunday afternoon to get back to Frisco.

I like the idea of checking with the Casino in SLT. Maybe we could just take the bus from Reno and rent a car there for a couple days of sightseeing. My wife is not an eager skiier so it is kind of a combo trip. One day for her, two or three days of skiing for me and just hanging the rest of the time.

I've read here a few times about 50 being closed/chains only. Is the road to Reno subject to such things as frequently?

Bill
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by integralaction View Post
1. Where did you find an SUV for 160/wk? Looking at Orbitz yesterday an econobox started at 208 for sunday to sunday. SUV was $400. I would take Sacramento for that deal.

2. My return flights from either airport are just after Noon. Is it realistic to drive back, return a car, and catch a flight after leaving by 8am? Is Sacramento or Reno a better bet for this question?

3. I expect that either way I should watch the weather on Saturday and leave the day before if a storm is expected. Again, any difference between Sacramento or Reno? Reno is somewhat closer, but does one have a really bad pass?

Bill
1) Do not think you will find and Suv for $160, maybe a Saturn, especially this time of year.

1a) Since you are staying in South Shore I would fly to Reno. Depending on the connections and flights, but did not sound like a problem. Traffic can be very bad getting to Tahoe from Sac, also the airport is on the west side so you have to get through the sprawl. From Reno to South Shore you will have to go over the pass, but less traffic so not to bad. I have flown from SLC to Reno, you may get a smaller plane (depends on the amount of passangers) but was fine and a quick flight.

2-3) Yes you could expect to leave at 8am and be ok for a noon or later flight out of Reno, the airport is not huge so it is not like getting around San Francisco or Chicago.

Enjoy your trip
post #16 of 22
NEVER call San Francisco "Frisco". :

The least expensive car and SUV rentals are in Sacramento.

Rent cheaper by joining AAA and reserving with Hertz through their system, then pay with American Express. Joining Hertz #1 Club will net additional discounts. I am renting a 4X4 SUV here in Pittsburgh (a fairly expensive market) for $323 for 10 days including all taxes during the Christmas holiday. (the joke is on me, there is NO SNOW in Pittsburgh)

Where to stay: Best route for first timers to Tahoe is US 50 rather than CA-88. There are many accommodations along the way, low risk of closed roads and alternatives for skiing if conditions get gnarly. If arriving late, you can stay at the new Holiday Inn Express in El Dorado Hills; Marriott Courtyard or Residence Inn in Folsom and have a 1.5 hour trip to Heavenly, or 2-hours to Kirkwood in the morning (leisurely pace). Farther up the hill, stay in Placerville or Pollock Pines (Best Western), or drive through to South Lake Tahoe. Kirkwood is South on 89 over Luther Pass then back East on 88 over Carson Pass. This is much easier than the route through Jackson and over the Carson Spur, and the net time difference is only about 20 minutes.

(there are shortcuts to Kirkwood, but you'll need to PM to learn them)

Quote:
Originally Posted by integralaction View Post
Thanks dookie67, good suggestions. My flight is Sunday, so I won't have weekday traffic to contend with and I should beat the crowd leaving Sunday afternoon to get back to Frisco.

I like the idea of checking with the Casino in SLT. Maybe we could just take the bus from Reno and rent a car there for a couple days of sightseeing. My wife is not an eager skiier so it is kind of a combo trip. One day for her, two or three days of skiing for me and just hanging the rest of the time.

I've read here a few times about 50 being closed/chains only. Is the road to Reno subject to such things as frequently?

Bill
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveteles View Post
My wife is going to be coming out to ski Tahoe from San Francisco. She's going to arrive the night before into SFO and then drive part the way that evening, so she could go skiing the next morning. She'd love to ski the first day at Kirkwood, but we're a little worried about the driving conditions on I-88. Is it much worse than driving I-80? Either way, is it imperative to get an SUV? She'll be doing the drive in the morning, which is usually much better than having to drive snowy roads at night, but still....help!

steve
yes, its worse than I-80; narrow, steep, icy.

yes, substantially imperative to have 4wd or at least 2wd with chains.

and, in addition to possible avalanche control closure, there can be a mob of traffic from either direction (Meyers or Pickett's Junction), and the parking lot can fill up real early and if you don't have a space you are SOL. Plan accordingly.

great skiing on powder days, though. really is.
post #18 of 22

Thanks Cirquerider

Sorry about the mis-reference to San Francisco. I've visited a couple of times and found it very enjoyable. No offence intended.

I am going to have to look into the Hertz/AMEX linkup. The quick look using Orbitz for the week in question (late March) gave cheaper rentals out of Reno. Maybe that's only true if you book well in advance.

Bill
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by integralaction View Post
I'm going to Tahoe (staying in South Tahoe) the last week in March. I still have the option of flying to Reno or Sacramento using frequent flyer miles so it does not really matter. I have a couple of questions for the fantastically helpful people here.
Bill
If you are only going to stay in South Lake Tahoe, consider flying into Reno and taking the shuttle bus to SLT. That way you don't have to worry about driving. You can ski in Heavenly and take the day bus to Sierra and Kirkwood.
post #20 of 22
^^ What verdugan said. Especially if there's only one of you.

FYI, the new North Lake Tahoe Express bus is a real good option for getting from Reno to the various North Lake areas, with significant discounts when more than one person books (IIRC, 3-5 people RT are only $10-15 more than a single person). But unless you're slopeside at Squaw or Northstar, or staying in downtown Tahoe City on a good shuttle route, you'd probably miss having a car once you're there.
post #21 of 22
From Reno it's about 90 minutes to SLT, 2:30 to Kirk, from Sac it's 2:30 to SLT and 2:30 to Kirk. From SLT to Kirk is about 40 mins.


BTW, this $160 was two years ago direct from Budget Car Rental-actually received something larger than Escape, rates are very volatile and seem up everywhere this year, best to check orbitz, etc. often:
Confirmation #: 11--------
Pick-Up:
6420 MCNAIR CIRCLE - SACRAMENTO APO,CA - SMF
March 4, 2005 8:30PM
Fastbreak and Perfect Drive Location!
Not a member? Learn more. <http://www.budget.com/deals/index.html>

Drop-Off:
6420 MCNAIR CIRCLE - SACRAMENTO APO,CA - SMF
March 9, 2005 6:45AM

Vehicle: FORD ESCAPE 4DR/5PSGR or similar
Mileage: Unlimited Free miles/kms
Additional Equipment: none

Rate:
Vehicle Rate: 150.09
One-Way Fee none
Additional Equipment: none
Surcharge: none
Tax: 11.63
<http://www.budget.com/email_images/confirmation_images/spacer.gif>
Estimated* Total: 161.72 USD
post #22 of 22
It's easy to remember...Frisco is in Summit County, Colorado!



Acceptable alternatives to San Francisco are: The City, The City By The Bay, Baghdad By The Bay, but yeah, never 'Frisco.



and this is all great info, even for a local like me!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel