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  1. Default Kansas MO to Bakersfield CA

    Hi, I'm new to the forum but would be grateful of any help! Next month I have to drive from MO to CA to collect a vehicle on a trailer and was wondering which would be the best route to take? At the moment I'm looking at the usual Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Death Valley etc but was wondering what people recommended? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Welcome!

    Where in MO, please? How many days can you take for the trip? What type of vehicle are you driving?

  3. Default

    Hi! Leaving from Chillicothe, can take about a week to ten days, driving a Chevy Pickup. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Your Only Other Choice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Between Kansas City and Bakersfield, there are really only two efficient long-haul routes: 1) I-335/US-54 down to I-40, and 2) I-70 all the way west to I-15 south. The second route is only 40 miles and 40 minutes longer, but covers completely different ground. Since this will be a round trip, you might want to look at taking one route out and the other back. My preference would be to go west via I-70 and come home with the trailer on I-40.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I-335/US-54 down to I-40
    I'd recommend I-35 to Emporia then on to Wichita to avoid some tolls - then US-400/US-54. I believe the US-400 construction project through Wichita has been completed.

    You are looking at 3 long days each way just to get there via either route, so you should have some time for sightseeing. I'd do it on the way out, getting off the beaten track with a trailer in tow can be a pain in the neck. Head out via I-70, when you get to Denver you have all kinds of sight seeing you can do in Colorado and southern Utah, and you could include the Grand Canyon too.

    I'd take I-40 back, either taking US-54/400 or stay on 40 to OKC and pick up I-35. Cutting across on 54 saves you about 100 miles, but it's up to you whether you want to stay on the Interstates or use the rural highways. I wouldn't tow through Colorado on I-70 if you have a decent option - it gets up over 11,000 feet and if your truck isn't a turbodiesel it's gonna be kinda painful.

  6. Default

    Many thanks for your advice! Are the tolls that expensive they're worth avoiding?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Partly

    It's certainly worth it to take I-35 out of Kansas City rather than I-70, but the alternative to the Kansas Turnpike between Emporia and Wichita would cost you more in gas and time than you'd save on tolls.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Agreed - I'm just suggesting you take the free alternative between KC and Emporia, it's actually 10 miles shorter. The toll from Emporia to Wichita is about $4 for just your pickup, and (I think) about $8.25 towing a double axle trailer.

    I'm assuming you know the KC area, but if you don't, the best way through is the I-435 bypass around the east and south sides.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Hmmm....I do a similar route about every other year, since we have family in Columbia, MO.

    I second AZ Buck's suggestion, with a caveat: When not towing weight, use I-70 all the way through to I-15 and into CA. When towing weight (from CA to MO?), use I-15 to get to I-40, straight across to Oklahoma City. Then head north on I-35 into Kansas City. Tolls on the KS and OK turnpike are not nearly as expensive as the PA turnpike, and probably would cost less than the fuel.

    I would also agree with him that I-70 in CO, west of Denver, with a non-turbo diesel, is PAINFUL. It means going up the passes at 15 mph and getting 8 mpg if you're lucky. My husband felt we could have crawled Vail Pass on our hands and knees faster than our 1993 diesel was towing our trailer, years ago.

    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I-40, straight across to Oklahoma City. Then head north on I-35
    Cutting across on US-54/US-400 will save you about $40 in fuel when towing and won't take any longer.

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