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  1. Default Moving NY to LA - 26' Truck - Pulling Car on Trailer

    Hi. I put most of it in the Title. I'm moving from NY (Poughkeepsie) to LA starting election day. I wanted to know the wisest route to travel to avoid snow. I was just on the phone with someone in Colorado who mentioned they always have snow by Holloween so I know I must regretably avoid Colorado. I'll miss driving through seeing its unbelievable scenery but its most important I get to LA with this set up with as little danger as possible.

    I had hoped to leave Tuesday Nov. 4 after voting and arrive in LA on Friday Nov 7.

    I don't know if this is possible, but I would appreciate any advice on routes and time estimates you would have to offer.

    Also, advice on how you choose hotels to accommodate a rig of this size and with safety in mind of having your moving truck and your car on a trailer sitting in a parking lot while you sleep.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    If you are avoiding Colorado I would recommend I-78, I-81, I-70, I-44, I-40 and I-15.

    As far as hotels that can accommodate that vehicle - you most likely will have better luck with those directly off the Interstate. I would check with the staff at first since in many places you may have to park across several parking spots. There are motels at many truck stops that you will definitely have room to park this vehicle, but in my limited experience staying at those places I have found them to be a bit shady and unfortunately the motel entrances themself seem to be poorly lit, lending a bit of unease to the stay.

    Now to make this trip in a comfortable time frame you're going to want to allot yourself at least five days; this is especially important seeing as how you will be driving a vehicle that you are most likely unfamiliar with (unless you drive trucks with trailers for a living).

    You can get an absentee ballot so you won't have to stick around to vote. Is election day the only thing keeping you from leaving earlier? I would also guess that you want to get to LA by Friday so you have the weekend to unpack.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default facts and myths

    First of all, yes it is possible to see snow in Colorado in early november. It is also possible to see snow on almost any route that you could take. I always think its a bit foolish is avoid a route several weeks in advance because of the possibility that you might see bad weather.

    That's not to say you have to go through Colorado, but I certainly wouldn't say that it is a route that is any more or less safe than any of your other options. I've driven similar moving truck trailer set-ups through I-70 in Colorado in February without any problems whatsoever. I-70 does have the most elevation change, but on the interstate, that really isn't that big of deal. Personally, I think driving through Denver is a bigger challenge than crossing the mountains.

    Ultimately, there are 3 main routes you can pick from. One is the route that Tim mentioned, going through St. Louis cutting down to I-40 following the path of old route 66, the other is to take I-80 all the way to Utah, and then go down I-15, and the 3rd is to take I-70 across Colorado. Only about 50 miles separates the routes, so the travel time isn't that different. If I was going to pick one as being easiest, I might lean towards I-80, because it has the fewest major cities with traffic, a relatively small change in elevation, and it is a very popular route for truckers going both to LA and SF, so you'll have plenty of services along the way. Having said that, the difference really are pretty small, so I'd personally pick the route that looks most interesting.

    As far as motels go, I put a good padlock on the back of the truck, but that's enough for me to feel secure. The parking is a bigger issue.

    I would make 100% sure you know the situation of the parking lot and if there is enough room for you to manuver before you pull into the lot. There's nothing worse than getting into a parking lot and then not being sure if you'll be able to get out. I stopped at an old route 66 motel in Barstow on that same Febrary move that looked like it had a "U" shaped parking lot, it actually was an "L" shape, and I had to pull off a very difficult "Austin Powers" type U-turn that I would never want to do again. If I had investigated the situation beforehand, I would have parked on the street or found a different motel.

    Finally, I agree with Tim that you aren't giving yourself enough time for this trip. You are going to have to travel at slower speeds than in a regular car and driving will be more stressful (you'll have to be paying attention to more things), we'd typically recommend 5-6 days for a trip of this length under ideal conditions, and considering your situation, I'd say that will be even more important for your trip.

  4. #4


    From NY to La in 4 days. That is apx 2800 miles. You would have to drive about 700 miles a day to accomplish this. Unless you have had a lot of experience long distance driving you are going to be very tired at the end of each day. With the type of truck you will be driving you will be lucky to average 50 - 55 mph. Any route you take there are a number of states with split speed limits for trucks{55mph} and cars{65-70mph}. As a former OTR truck driver I can assure that they are diligent in their enforcement. Ohio and Illinois especially.
    As far as motels, a lot of the mid priced chains,{Super 8, Motel 6,Days Inn, etc.} have truck parkingat some of their locations. You can check them on the internet before you leave. You could also park at a truckstop and untrailer your car and drive to a motel. If you were to do that I would avoid the truckstops in the large metropoloitan areas. The major truckstop chains are all along the interstates. Flying J, Petro, TA, Pilot and Love's are the major chains and most would be reasonably safe in rural areas.
    My take on the 3 routes are,
    1. I 80 to I 15. Less traffic after you get past Chicago. Only moderate size cities to go through{Des Moines, Omaha,Salt Lake City.} Not that much mountainous terrain to drive through, with the exception of Parley Canyon east of Salt Lake. I 80 from Laramie Wyo to Green River Wyo is fairly flat but the elevation is above 7000 ft so snow could be a problem.
    2. I 70 to I 15. By far the most scenic. Driving through Denver is an adventure by itself. When you get in the mountains west of Denver you would have your best chance for snow, of the 3 rts. Colorado has a chain law. Some very long uphill pulls and very long downgrades. Once you pass Grand Junction Colo. there is a stretch about 200 miles with very limited places where you can stop. If you were to break down there, or get caught in a snowstorm, be prepared to wait.
    3. I 70 to I 44 to 1 40. The route with the most traffic, at least untill you get west of OK City. I 44 is a toll road most of the way, thru Oklahoma. Not to much in the way of mountain driving. There are some grades around Albuquerque. West of Flagstaff is a long downdrade, and Cajon Pass on I 15 just north of LA. is another long downgrade. This rt probably has the least chance of snow, but in the mountains around Albuquerque, and Flagstaff you just never know.

    Which ever way you choose to go, just take your time and you will be fine.
    Last edited by johnny99; 10-15-2008 at 03:06 PM.

  5. Default

    Thanks for all the great advice. It's going to take me a little while to absorb. I think the trip is a little more real to me reading your descriptions and its hitting me what an undertaking it is.

    I did realize yesterday from further reading on the site that I should add more time, so I'm leaving Nov. 3 and will do an absentee ballot. I'll only be able to give myself about 5 hours of driving on that Monday due to final details, but that will help.

    I'm going to try to plot out the different scenarios and see which seems to be the easiest.

    I was wondering, when you speak of large uphill and downhill grades, is that going to be especially harrowing in this set up? The truck I'm renting will not be a year old so I'm assuming I'll have good equipment. I'm thinking again of Colorado since you seem to be saying perhaps I shouldn't rule it out on suspicion of snow. I'll have to reread your thoughts to distill them better, however.

    Thanks again

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Interstate grades

    Interstate Highways are built to a standard that limits grades and curves. That means you should be able to drive this combination without any problems. Going up hill will be the biggest challenge, where you'll likely loose some speed, and you'll have to sit with the big rigs in the right lane as you make your way up the hill. Then going back down, you'll want to make sure that you shift down into a lower gear so you don't have to ride the brakes. That's about it though, your truck and trailer should really not have any problems going over the mountains, if that is the route you decide to go.

  7. #7

    Default The I-80 route

    I've had the pleasure of traversing all of Wyoming along I-80 and can tell you it's really "mountains fee" all the way to Salt Lake City, if you so desire and will get off of I-80 about an hour before SLC, as noted below.

    To avoid Parley's Summit on I-80 just west of Park City, UT, simply take I-84 west from its junction with I-80 just east of Ogden, UT. From that junction, I-84 maintains a lower elevation descent down a moderately sloped canyon to Ogden and intersects I-15 there. You can then take the I-215 beltway around the western side of SLC and thereby avoid some of the congestion in that city. The Ogden route is a little longer, I think, but it avoids the climb to Parley's 7,500' elevation and the following 10 mile 3,500' drop into SLC, as well as the relatively greater level of congestion from having entered SLC from the east.

    I don't have any figures at hand, but I would estimate elevations between 4,000' and 5,000', at most, between Cheyenne, WY and Ogden, UT, far lower than what was stated previously as 7,000' in western WY. That's no guarantee of "no snow" status, but should leave you with a far lesser chance of seeing it. There are some 5,000' range elevations around Cedar City, UT, and again just south of Vegas in easternmost CA, but I would remain largely unconcerned about those passes. Just have a look at the forecasts just before and during your trips and be ready to, at most, spend a few hours time waiting it out at a safe, low-elevation truck stop.


  8. #8


    One other thing to consider is whether or not the trailer has brakes on it. Some car hauling trailers have electric brakes and some don't. If the trailer don't have brakes you will have to be very carefull if the roads get slick. The truck will be doing all the stopping while the trailer will still be pushing. This could cause the trailer to jacknife. Unless you were to be in a panic stop situation it shouldn't be a problem as long as you are aware of it.

  9. #9

    Default Surge brakes, at least

    I have yet to see a rental car hauler trailer without brakes, either electrics actuated by the rental truck itself, or surge brakes, actuated by a master cylinder setup integral to the female side of the trailer hitch. Due to state laws governing trailer weight limits above which brakes are required (often 3,000 lbs trailer + hauled car), I doubt it is even possible to rent a major company trailer (U-Haul, Ryder, Penske, etc) which is not equipped with brakes.


  10. #10


    Some of the elevations across I 80 according to the Wikipedia:
    Laramie Wyo, 7165 ft above sea level
    Rawlins Wyo, 6800 ft above sea level
    Rock Springs Wyo, 6700 ft above sea level
    Green River Wyo, 6100 ft above sea level.

    The mountain between Cheyenne and Laramie is 8400 ft above sea level. I have seen it closed sometimes for 2 days at a time due to heavy snow. I sat in the parking lot in Cheyenne at Sapp Bros truck stop in the middle of October once waiting for them to reopen it. I drove this road 12-15 times a year for 30 years. Trust me, there are very few places along I 80 in Wyoming below 5000 ft.

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