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  1. Default Relocating from Raleigh, NC to Poulsbo, Washington


    We are looking for the best possible route from Raleigh to Poulsbo. We are trying to avoid tall mountains (you'll understand later) and the whole Chicago area (due to traffic.)

    We are going to be driving a 22 foot diesel UHaul with a car carrier attached big enough to tow a Buick Park Avenue. We've got 10 days to complete the trip.

    Anyone have any ideas or questions? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thank you!

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Having moved cross country in a Uhaul, pulling a trailer, I'll tell you that the mountains aren't that big of a deal if you are sticking to the interstates. Avoiding major cities especially Chicago is the higher priority in my book. (I took I-70 through the heart of the Rockies, and I think getting through Denver was more challenging, although still not horrible).

    The basic route I'd recommend would be working over to Indianapolis (more on that in a minute) and take I-74 to Davenport, I-80/I-680/I-29 to Sioux Falls, and then I-90 all the way west. I-90 is in general the lowest elevation route you can take.

    Getting to Indy is the part I'm not as certain about. Google recommends I-77 to Charleston WV, and I don't see many better options. From there they suggest US-35 to Dayton, which appears to include some 2 lane roads. Considering you are pulling a trailer, I might still the the interstate and go I-64/I-65 through Louisville.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    There's no way you can avoid mountains. As long as the U-Haul is a diesel, you shouldn't have much of a problem.

    I would probably take I-40 to Winston-Salem, then US-52 to I-74 to I-77 to Charleston. From there, I-64 to STL, I-70 to KC, I-29 to Sioux Falls, and I-90 to Seattle, I-405/I-5 to Tacoma, then WA-16 and WA-3.

    This is 3000 miles and can be done easily in 6 days, so having 10 days will be no problem whatsoever.

  4. Default

    Thank you so much for your quick replies! We will report back with the route we took and how it turned out.

    Thanks again!

  5. #5

    Default Flat' N Low, Raleigh to SEA

    Hello (soon to be) former neighbor,

    I live in Raleigh and have in the last 7 months completed 2 round trips out that way, one with Missoula, MT as the far point, the other to Park City, UT.

    I politely disagree with routing up to I-64, Louisville, etc. The segment of I-77 (including US 52/I-73 corridor at Winston-Salem) from about Mount Airy to Charleston, WV is as up and down of a section of Interstate can be--about 150 miles of long, steep up and down grades with lots of heavy truck traffic. While it's been almost 9 years since I drove it, I vowed never to do it again in a heavily-laden vehicle. In July 2010, there was a fair amount of construction, including bridge construction, at Louisville. I-64 across the southern tip of IN west of Louisville is very hilly and remains so for 60-70 miles through the "Indiana Alps".

    The route I favor, personally used on the last two trips, and will use again in July 2011, is I-40 to east of Nashville, the Briley Parkway beltway around the northeast side of Nashville, I-24 through KY into southern IL, I-57 to Mount Vernon, IL, I-64 through St Louis to Wentzville, I-70 to KC, the I-435 beltway around KC, I-29 to I-90, and I-90 all the way across SD, WY, MT, ID, and WA.

    The hilly/curvy part of I-40 through the Smokies is but 35 miles or so west of Asheville plus the 6 mile grade up Old Fort Mountain east of Asheville. The Cumberland Plateau between Knoxville and Lebanon, TN is rolly-polly but not bad. From Nashville, TN to west of St Louis is about dead flat. St Louis to KC is a bit rolly but not bad. KC to SD is dead flat along the Missouri River floodplain. SD is a little rolly but pretty much flat. Rolly-polly from Rapid City, SD to Billings, MT, then dead flat across most of Montana along the Yellowstone River, the upper Missouri, and the Clark Fork River. There are but two high passes in MT, Bozeman and Homestake, and the grades are mild, 3 lanes in each direction, and the distances involved in the 10-15 miles range. I-90 across MT holds elevations averaging 2,500' to 3,000' lower than I-80 across WY. Once you cross into ID at Lookout Pass, you're low all the way across the ID panhandle and the whole of WA until reaching Snoqualmie Pass just east of SEA.

    From my north Raleigh home, the distance differential to Mt Vernon, IL on I-40/24/57 versus I-40/77/64 is 20 miles. I'd drive that extra, flat 20 miles each and every time to avoid I-77 in WV, and I-64 through Lexington, Louisville, and the Indiana Alps.

    At least as far as Missoula, MT, my favored route avoids large cities excepting St Louis and KC and is as flat and low as any other route. You definitely want to fill up on fuel in TN or KY instead of getting caught in IL needing fuel. MO fuel prices were the lowest found on each of my trips. Large fuel plazas can be found immediately west of St Louis on I-70 and along I-29 all the way to Rock Port near the IA line, so you can top off with cheap MO fuel before entering the much higher-priced western states. Be sure to take care of any food or nature stops east of St Louis and KC, respectively, as getting off and back on in those urban/suburban areas can be a pain in the neck.

    Safe travels.


  6. Default Thank you, Foy.

    Your reply was very informative and timely. I said the route would be from Norfolk, but actually my friend will be driving first from there to here, South Boston, VA, just over an hour north of Raleigh. So it may be more helpful than we imagined.

  7. #7

    Default From South Boston, then.........

    Quote Originally Posted by Seawolf 42 View Post
    Your reply was very informative and timely. I said the route would be from Norfolk, but actually my friend will be driving first from there to here, South Boston, VA, just over an hour north of Raleigh. So it may be more helpful than we imagined.
    You're quite welcome,

    From South Boston, the routes I'd consider are:

    1) US 58 west to Hillsville, thence I-77 north to I-81, thence west/southwest on I-81 to I-40 east of Knoxville.

    2) US 58 to Danville, then US 29 and US 158 south and west to Winston-Salem, where you'd either go out I-40 as previously discussed, or go up I-73/77 to I-81, thence as in #1, above.

    US 58 is 4-lane to a point a few miles west of Stuart. For about 6 miles past the end of the 4-lane west of Stuart, US 58 climbs up onto the Blue Ridge, so that is a very curvy segment and a steep grade (but I believe the uphill side includes a truck lane--tractor-trailers are commonly encountered there). From the top of that grade, it's decent on to I-77 at Hillsville, and striking due west on US 58 is clearly the most direct route. Even given your truck/trailer combo, the directness and fairly short interval of difficulty plays well against the bit of urban congestion and longer distance presented by Winston-Salem and Asheville going on out I-40, so I'd be much inclined to bite the bullet a bit and get to I-77 bound for I-81 into Tennessee by using US 58 if I were departing from South Boston.

    Whatever you decide, avoid US 58 west of Hillsville. From Independence to Abingdon where it intersects I-81, US 58 very much earns the name "The Crooked Road".


  8. Default

    I don't know why I hadn't thought of I-81. Stereotyped thinking, I guess. About a million years ago, I was drilling in the Naval Reserve in Norfolk and going to law school in Nashville so I automatically thought of I-40. I remember driving from LA to Richmond in 1967 and coming up I-81, but I paid no attention to things like grades. That may be the most painless way to get through the Appalachians if it's better than I-40.

  9. #9

    Default Go Navy!


    Thanks for your service. One of my sons is a Seabee, formerly AD, now in the Reserve and drilling with CBMU 202 down at Camp LeJeune, NC. Leaves for his AT today, as a matter of fact. I first discovered the RTA Forums when planning a cross-country drive from Raleigh to Port Hueneme with him once he returned from deployment in 2007.

    Be advised reference is made to I-81 simply as a route to reach I-40 where I-81 ends at it in upper east Tennessee. The way I-40 dips strongly to the southwest from Winston-Salem to Asheville, then jogs almost due north into TN makes jumping north to I-81 to reach I-40 work well. Getting to I-77 on US 58 with a South Boston starting point looks good, too even with the one difficult spot headed up to "Lover's Leap" on 58 west of Stuart. That little tough stretch is better than the additional distance down to Winston-Salem and back up I-77 and is better than Winston-Salem to Asheville, in my opinion.

    Once you get to I-81 at Wytheville, it runs just south of due west for 80 miles of VA crosses into TN, and ends at I-40 not far below Bristol. I haven't figured the distance differential from Wytheville, where I-77 splits off of I-81 (they oddly run together for about 8 miles in such a manner that I-77 North is also I-81 South) to Mount Vernon, IL (where the I-64-I-57 junction is). I imagine it's a bit further, but the relative flatness across TN (excepting the Cumberland, as noted), especially northwest of Nashville along I-24 and I-57 seals the deal for me. Missing Louisville is a good thing, too. I-77 from Wytheville to Charleston, WV where it reaches I-64 is just a rough, up and down drag.


  10. Default

    And for your son's. I found in Vietnam that anything I wanted I could always get from the Seabees. My wife was stationed at Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, before she got off active duty.
    You may not be familiar with this little quirk, but there also may be a way to finesse the Lovers Leap root canal west of Stuart. What if I went to Danville, north on 29 to Lynchburg, west on 460 through Bedford, north on Cloverdale Road to I-81 at Roanoke?

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