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  1. Default Moving from IN to NC with a Penske 26ft truck (advice, suggestions, ect...)

    This could be kind of long, but I'm kind of excited about the drive. So I'll give you all the information so you can give me all the advice and such as you can knowing all the particulars.

    My long term girlfriend and I are moving from Indianapolis, IN to Greenville, NC so that she can pursue her full-ride PhD from East Carolina University in Clinical Behavioral Medicine.

    We'll be loading up a 26ft Penske Truck (any tips/tricks/ect. about these would be appreciated) on August 12th with our contents and towing her 2003 Audi TT on the Penske car trailer (not a dolly). My vehicles will be arriving a week later delivered by exotic car transport. I've got a Garmin Nuvi 205 that I plan on using for the trip and setting it to stick to just highways for the trip. I also have a CB with a window mount antennae that I will be taking with us. More so just to listen to the chatter than to use.

    One of the big tips I picked up was, after refueling you pull forward instead of going into pay first so the guy behind you can pull in and start the long task of filling up. Something I otherwise wouldn't have thought about.
    Also have heard that to stay on the safe side I should enter any and all weigh stations that are open.

    What can I expect as far as a cell phone signal in the mountains? I've got a AT&T Blackberry Bold through work, but I've heard that I shouldn't expect much of anything to work in them, my girlfriend has Verizon.

    I've got a goose-neck style lock that uses a key for both the truck door and the trailer. Any tips as far as making sure they trailer stays secure (even while stopped at a hotel for the night), or will a lock be sufficient?

    Any tips/info on truck stops? The Garmin has us going through Indiana of course, a bit of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and then North Carolina. I've heard some of the truck stops in the mountains can be a really pretty place to stop for lunch.

    Anything else that would be of good use to me, or something I should know. Looking for anything and everything that can help this trip be less stressful than it already is in moving 850mi from our family and friends.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default some ideas

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first thing I'll say is that I'm glad you've mentioned a hotel stop. The shortest route is 720 miles, which under normal circumstances is a very long day, but possible if its just a one shot trip where you don't need to keep driving the following days. However, since you're going to be driving a big combination truck/trailer, it is going to take you more time than usual and its going to be more stressful driving than usual. You'll do yourself a very big favor by making this a 2 day trip.

    For refueling, I would recommend stopping at truck stops. Most of the big ones have large fuel islands that will be easier to get through with a trailer. Most places these days are pay at the pump or prepay, so you're pulling forward idea isn't going to be all that important, and I wouldn't really worry about it unless it is really busy. More importantly from a practical standpoint, with a trailer, you're probably not going to have the room to pull forward too much.

    Gearwise you should be in good shape. For my moves, I've just grabbed a regular padlock to secure the back of the truck and felt fine. As with anything, if a thief really wants your stuff, they'll find a way, but most of the time, a criminal is going to look for the easiest possible target, and even a simple lock is going to be a deterant. Cell phones are usually pretty good along the interstates, but there will always be the occational dead spot.

  3. #3

    Default Welcome to North Carolina

    Hi Bezers,

    I took the quickest of glances at Mapquest and my guess is keeping south on I-75 from Lexington, KY to Knoxville, TN will add little to your total distance. Once on I-40, you'd run it to Raleigh, thence US 264 to Greenville. Along the way you'd pass Greensboro, where the I-64/I-77 route dumps you out, so it's just between Lexington, KY and Greensboro, NC that the routing suggestion is different.

    I admit it's been 7 years since I drove it, but in 2002, I-77 between Charleston, WV and Wytheville, VA was a goat trail. And I-64 between the WV line and Charleston was no day at the beach, either, as the truck traffic was severe through that industrial corridor. South of Charleston, lots and lots of long, steep hills (likely the max allowable Interstate grade %), and the roughest concrete pavement I've ever been on. By contrast, I-40 crosses the Appalachians pretty much in a narrow spot, between Newport, TN and Old Fort, NC, just east of Asheville. About 15 miles of it are rather curvy, especially for an Interstate, and there's about a 7 mile downhill grade footing out at Old Fort, including some tight curves, but that's about it in terms of rather mountainous terrain.

    Yes, pulling forward after fueling (most truck stops have no "pay at the pump") is standing courteous procedure. I wish more 4 wheeler motorists realized it, but I digress. Regardless of routes, the cellphone should work pretty much everywhere--perhaps a handful of dead spots south of Charleston along I-77 and a similar number along I-40 west of Asheville.

    It's been a really long time since I traversed I-75 between Lexington and Knoxville, but < 2 years since running I-40 from my Raleigh home all the way to California. The NC welcome rest area not far from the TN line is OK but is crowded in narrow valley with the highway. I think there's a pretty nice one between Knoxville and the I-40/I-81 split near Newport. I recall there being a pull-off (but not a rest area?) at the top of the Old Fort grade east of Asheville (giving a nice view from the Blue Ridge down into the Piedmont).

    You might do some online checking various states' DOT websites before depending on rest areas to be available. An article in a recent edition of the Wall St Journal noted many are closing. In particular, Virginia is closing nearly half of theirs starting next week.

    Welcome in advance to North Carolina. Travel safe and enjoy your RoadTrip.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default different purposes

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    (most truck stops have no "pay at the pump")
    Its a small point, but I'd be hard pressed to think of even one Truck Stop I've been to in the past 5 years that didn't have pay at the pump available in the gasoline islands, including the diesel pumps that will often be located in that section of the truck stop.

    I know its different from the Truckers fueling lanes (where the $75 limits put in place by MC/Visa would make it kind of pointless anyway), but for the average amateur driver, including one driving a moving truck, pay at the pump should be available about 95% of the time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    With a rental truck, you don't want to use the truck side of a truck stop to get fuel, use the car islands unless there's no diesel at the car islands and the rental is a diesel. The truck islands are for professional truckers with semis.

    I have never used a weigh station with a rental truck, but you may want to check each state's laws on that. Here is a thread on another forum discussing that. It looks like to be safe, you should pull in, most likely they will wave you through the bypass lane.

  6. #6

    Default Good points, but.......

    ........I thought he'd mentioned a diesel rental truck. Re-reading, obviously not (must have been remembering a recent, unrelated post about a diesel rental truck?). Even though some travel plazas or truck stop automotive areas have diesel fuel, a 26' truck and a car trailer is going to be a handful to get in to and out of the automotive side of things, particularly here in the East, where travel plazas & truck stops tend to be on the cramped side, space-wise. I can't think of but one or two "truck diesel" lanes I've used in the East which had pay at the pump.

    That said, I can't recall seeing gasoline available at any "truck diesel" lanes, so if it's a gasser, best look way ahead for where to enter to fuel.

    Certainly the truck lanes for diesel are intended for OTR professionals, but sometimes us diesel pickup owners (and rental truck drivers) towing long trailers have nowhere else to go. For that very reason, adherence to the courtesy of pulling forward after fueling is important. I just wish that was a universal courtesy, but then again I wish those not actively passing would see you approaching behind them and get the heck out of the left lane, but that's a completely different rant.


  7. Default

    Thank you for all the replies thus far!

    The 26ft Penske trucks are all 2007 or newer International 4300's with the DT466 and an Allison Automatic transmission. The truck itself, including the cab is 32ft long and 13.1ft tall at the box I wanna say and the GRW is 26,000lbs. So adding a car trailer to that is probably a minimum of 10ft. I think that I'll be taking the truck side to get diesel from. I'm not looking to hold up an OTR driver where time is money, but I'm also not looking to cause havoc on the car side (I'd take up atleast 2 pumps, possibly 3 if they had them). The truck has a 50 gallon tank on it, so in the grand scheme of what semi's usually take to fill as far as time...I'd imagine my little 50 gallon tank is a drop in the bucket compared to a 200 gallon tank.

  8. #8

    Default A real truck

    Captain, you're going to love that Cornbinder DT466 and Allison. No way you're going to be relegated to the auto side of things. My tandem-axle car hauler is 18' including a 2' dovetail, so with 5' of tongue, she's 23' overall. Taking into account the ramp overhang off the tail of the trailer and the crew-cab long-bed pickup, I'm around 46' on the hoof towing a car. I'm betting your rental trailer will be at least 16-18' overall length. Hit the truck fuel lanes without remorse--there isn't anywhere else you can go. Just follow the fueling SOP. A 50 gallon tank will fill in around 1 minute at WOT in most truck stops. The real trick will be avoiding taking a diesel shower as it reaches "full". Ask me how I know.

    Besides, leaving Indy full of fuel, you probably only have to stop once if I'm doing the fuel burn and distance math correctly. That being the case, you still might want to take on diesel somewhere between just east of Knoxville (by my suggested routing) or by Huntington or Charleston (by I-64/I-77) in order to ensure sufficient range to get through the mountains and not suddenly find yourself low on fuel with cramped fuel stops. Your burn rate will jump up in the mountains along either route. On this side of the mountains, just east of Greensboro, there is a Flying J and a Hess at Exit 150, just east of the Graham, NC exit. A Pilot truck plaza is at Exit 152, and a Petro plaza just east of there, at around Exit 157 or so. They're all good, modern truck/auto plazas, (common fast food, convenience stores, and fuel, and very spacious for manuvering the rig) and all are very, very well marked by lit-up fuel price billboards miles ahead of the exits. Raleigh and points east are notorious for absence of truck stops if you're headed east on US 264 off of I-40 (the US 264/I-95 junction area being a notable exception) so if you'd need diesel between, say, Greensboro and Greenville, I'd top off by the Exit 150-157 series of stops. There is, of course, plenty of diesel to be found east of Raleigh, but the aforementioned plazas are sort of the last EZ in, EZ out all the way to Greenville.

    Lastly, take the I-540 northern outer beltway from I-40 between Durham and Raleigh. It connects directly to US 264 east of Raleigh without going through town. And avoid passing through the Chapel Hill-Durham-Raleigh area during evening rush hour unless you like driving very slowly with tens of thousands of your best buddies.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-15-2009 at 05:34 PM. Reason: block quote not needed -- in-line responses

  9. Default

    Yeah, I'm betting either at or just shy of 50ft in overall length. What is a semi truck typically? About 52ft? I'll use the courtesy "pull ahead" maneuver, but didn't really see any other way around just using the standard semi truck fueling lanes and parking spots at truck stops. The really bad thing is, the townhouse of our that is being packed is at the intersection of 16th and North College in Indianapolis, thats literally part of downtown. Could be an interesting drive from the Penske Service Center to the townhouse to help me get used to my new best friend for 850mi or so. Haha.

    I also figured I'd have to stop once on the way, and then top it off before turning it back in (figuring an average of 9.5-10mpg). However I didn't think about fueling up regardless of need before hitting the mountains, which I think is an excellent suggestion! One that I'll be sure to make use of. I was hoping I'd get to Charleston the first day of driving, but I'm not setting any goals. I'm just going to drive until I'm tired of doing it or 4pm comes around. Whichever comes first. We'll be leaving at 6am that morning, so 4pm would be 10 hours of driving. I'll also need to stop and stretch, she'll need to use the facilities several time ect. So Charleston might be a little over zealous. Regardless I'll stop there for fuel before hitting the mountains.


    **Edit** We flew into Raleigh int he middle of May and headed to Greenville via 264 when we were in search for our housing. Was a really nice relaxed drive with beautiful trees and scenery like we don;t have here in Indiana.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default fueling, cont...

    Using the largest sized truck with a trailer does mean it could be easier to use the trucking fueling lanes.

    Having driven a moving van and trailer cross country several times, I've only once used the trucker lanes for fuel. And in that one case, the clerk acted like I was an alien and seemed puzzled that I would want to use a credit card to pay for my fuel. It also was a bit odd getting using a pump nozzle that clips onto the outside of the tank!

    At truck stops I've rarely had problems getting around the gas section, although I've always been in a slightly smaller (17foot) truck. I will say that I often like using Flying J in these cases, because many times they will have a special island for large RVs and Moving Trucks thats still in the "cars" section and doesn't block space for Truckers, but far enough away that you can still move around easily.

    Another tip to get things started on the right foot, see if you can pick up your trailer separately from the truck. That will let you park downtown and pack up your truck without having to worry about the trailer. Then when you are all ready to go, you can drive your car separately down to Penske, and connect and load your trailer there in a less congested area.

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