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Thread: NJ to Seattle

  1. Default NJ to Seattle

    I am planning to relocate to Seattle/WA from northern NJ and would be driving my Honda Pilot with a small trailer with my stuff.

    Once drove from LA to NJ in 5 days 20 years ago but it was non-stop and tiring.

    Would prefer taking more time,a couple weeks at most, and seeing some sights along the way,i.e. the Badlands,Yelowstone,Mt. Rushmore.etc.

    How far west can I drive on route 80 until I have to switch to 90/94,etc.,and
    which route would one take after leaving 80 to see the above sights?Can I bypass Chicago with 80?

    Also I am a bit worried about having a trailer and my PIlot filled with my things and theft/security/safe parking.What precautions should I take to not have to worry if I decide to go hiking/overnight stays at motels,etc.?

    Has anyone towed a smallish 4x8 U-Haul-type trailer and any tips would be appreciated as I have never towed anything,though hope to be towing a boat in WA one day.Should I invest in a stronger hitch if I want to eventualy tow a boat?

    Thanks and Happy New Year!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default 10-14 Days Would Be Plenty

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your current trip will be about a hundred miles longer than the one from L.A. to NJ, so if you found that previous trek tiring, you are well advised to take more time for this trip. In addition to major stops, plan to use that extra time to get out of the car several times a day for some short hikes and rests.

    You can't really bypass Chicago on I-80. The Tri-State Tollway (I-294) serves as a beltway around Chicago, but you will be in serious urban and truck traffic along its entire length. If you really want to avoid Chicago, have a look at taking I-78 to Harrisburg, the PA Turnpike and I-70 to Indianapolis, I-74 to Bloomington IL, and then I-39 north to rejoin I-90/I-94 at Madison WI. I'm not sure that will suit you a lot better, but at only 135 miles longer, it's at least worth considering. Follow I-90 from there to see Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone.

    As far as security goes. just make sure that you have a good padlock for the trailer, and keep stuff out of sight. Try to park in well lit areas at motels, preferably near the front entrance where your rig will be visible to either the desk clerk, passing traffic, or both.

    Your Pilot should be up to towing small trailers and boats. Just take it easy. You will need much longer to stop the combined rig than you are used to. Also, with a heavy towed rig, you might be subject to fishtailing. You'll just have to get used to the combination as you drive. Plan on just settling in at the speed limit and taking a bit longer to make the trip than you would otherwise. See if you can practice finding the 'wave speed' of traffic, settling in the gaps between groups of cars, and staying there. This will cut down on the number of cars and trucks you pass and that pass you, and so will keep you from some wind buffeting.


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

    Default easy going

    Towing a 4x8 trailer with a pilot should be a breeze. That's a very small trailer, and I've even seen subcompact cars pull them (not that I would recommend that idea). I've only got a little class II hitch on my small SUV and I can easily pull a larger trailer, I imagine you've probably got a class III (2 inch reciever, 5,000 lbs load) on your Pilot and that will be fine for most anything you'd want to pull.

    Buck is correct that I-80 doesn't really bypass Chicago Traffic, you'll still see heavy volume especially around Gary Indiana. I-74 through Indianapolis would be a decent bypass option, however if you go that route, instead of going north to Rockford/Madison on I-39, I'd keep taking I-74 all the way to Davenport Iowa, take I-80 across Iowa, and then use I-29 to go north and rejoin I-90 at Sioux Falls.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If the Pilot has an automatic transmission, you need to be mindful of its upshifting/downshifting/torque converter locking and unlocking behavior. Running it with constant up and downshifting and converter unlocking is what will destroy the transmission from excess heat. It's generally recommended to lock it out of overdrive when towing, unless you are on reasonably level ground, and it stays in overdrive with the converter locked most of the time.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the great tips and suggestions.Will be going on Mapquest to check out the routes and am thinking of getting into the 21st century and buying a GPS/Magellen unit.

    From other similar road trips I have researched,they all hated all the traffic and tolls around Chicago, so will look at the alternate routes.

    A 4x8 trailer is actually kind of large for what I have to move with but just used that size as it is the smallest cargo trailer U-Haul has and it would cost $332 for a couple weeks from NJ to WA.Half my stuff is in storage in Honolulu and will be shipping it to Seattle next year.Cost $3500 to ship it by ABF Relocube from NJ to HI 2 years ago but I had fun living and surfing in Waikiki.

    Mahalo for the great tips!

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