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  1. Default Sacramento, CA to Calgary, Canada in Feb with kids

    Hello,

    We are planning a move from Sacramento to Calgary in Feb (end) with 2 kids and thinking of getting a u-haul trailer (6x12) to attach behind our Sienna van. I am looking for advice on how the roads are along the way.

    We can either I80E to 15N (Sacramento -> Nevada -> Idaho -> Montana -> Great Falls -> Calgary)

    Or

    I5 (Sacramento -> Portland (Oregan) -> Spokane (Washington) -> Calgary

    We want to avoid driving through hills and state parks.

    Please advice:
    1) if you have ever driven with a trailer behind your van/car. how easy/hard is it? I have never driven a truck before.

    2) how is the way in either of the options above?

    3) are there any websites which can tell exactly how the terrain is?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Roads Are Better Than You Think

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The fact is that all Interstate Highways are built to design criteria that limit the grade (steepness) and amount of curvature. These roads are straight and level enough that 18-wheelers use them routinely and with great effect. It will take you a while (maybe a couple of hours) to get used to that extra weight behind you and having to take turns a bit wider than you're used to, but it's not that bad if you just try to think ahead about things. But if you're really worried and time is not that great a concern, You'll probably prefer using I-80 to Salt Lake City and then I-15 north to the Canadian border. AB-4/AB-3/AB-2 would then complete your trip along the high flat western plains of Canada. Your other route, while shorter, have you crossing mountainous terrain on two lane roads. One good on-line source of what the terrain looks like along any route is Google Maps which has both 'Terrain' and 'Satellite' mapping options. At large scale, the Terrain option is an excellent blend of topographic lines and shaded relief.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sacdesi View Post
    1) if you have ever driven with a trailer behind your van/car. how easy/hard is it? I have never driven a truck before.
    Maybe it could be a good idea, between now and then, to borrow/hire a trailer for a day two or three times before you leave. It can be most daunting when you have never pulled a trailer. Best you learn with an empty trailer, than put all your possessions to the test. The extra expense may well be worth it. I cannot count the number of Uhaul (and other moving) trailers I have seen in trouble beside the road.

    (Not sure if you have them over there, but we have special driver education organisations which teach the basics of handling a vehicle with a trailer in tow.)

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Before committing to a trailer rental, research the tow ratings and GVWR ratings of the Sienna, and find out how heavy the trailer is along with a load weight estimate. You may find that a 6x12 will put you over one or more of the vehicle limits. If you need help doing this research, a Toyota dealer and/or a U-haul dealer can assist.

    A bit of Googling tells me that you probably have either a 2000 or 3500 pound towing limit. A loaded 6x12 would probably be way over that. The empty U-Haul 6x12 by itself is almost 2000 pounds.

    I'd look at renting a truck instead. It's a lot easier driving a small truck than it is towing a trailer, and this would also avoid a lot of strain on your van. As long as you have 2 drivers in the family, this would be the best way.

  5. Default

    Thank you all for the wonderful advice...now I am wondering if we should do the other way round...drive a u-haul and tow the van, but than we have 2 kids (5 & 2), so not sure if u-haul can hold car-seats. I can't imagine driving alone with the kids (that will be pure suicide, to say the least!!); or driving the u-haul myself!!!

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sacdesi View Post
    Thank you all for the wonderful advice...now I am wondering if we should do the other way round...drive a u-haul and tow the van, but than we have 2 kids (5 & 2), so not sure if u-haul can hold car-seats. I can't imagine driving alone with the kids (that will be pure suicide, to say the least!!); or driving the u-haul myself!!!

    Thanks
    In that case, and considering the long term safety and welfare of your family, why do you not hire a removalist and let the professionals deal with it. One serious mishap along the way could cost you a lot more, and not only in money.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default nope

    A Uhaul truck will have a bench seat with room for 3 people, but it won't work with a family of four.

    If a trailer is too much for your van (and really, a 6x12 trailer isn't that much space for a family of 4), and if you don't want to drive two vehicles, then I really don't think you have any other choice than to look at other options. You might consider UPack, which is one route thats less expensive than going with a full service moving company.

  8. Default

    thank you about suggesting u-pack...I checked online and seems like it is ABF U-Pack, are they any good? the reviews seem to be mixed. the estimates i got from moving companies were around 4-5K, and we just don't have that much money, and the stuff isn't even worth that much! but this u-pack option seems possible, assuming it is safe and we can be a pro at packing!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default unsure

    I've never used them, simply because I've never been able to make it work for one of my moves. Either I didn't have the space to park a semi-sized trailer while I packed it, or I would have had to move all of my stuff first to one of their loading depots - neither of which were really good options. However, price wise, it always seemed like it would be a good deal. I just don't have any first hand experience to say how anything else is with them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You could also look at PODS. They deliver and pick up storage containers.

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