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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles - moving back to SW Iowa
    Posts
    3

    Default Los Angeles to SW Iowa in a Hearse!!

    Hello!!
    Need some advice! Moving from LA to SW Iowa In Mid-October 2011. We (my hubby & I) are driving our 66 Cadillac Millermeteor Hearse as our moving vehicle pulling a trailer. We drove it before as our mover when we moved to LA from Iowa going straight to Denver then down to Albuquerque, NM and then straight over to Los Angeles.

    But now with the added pull of the trailer and a need to really watch our funds, I need to know the best route to take. I am a little concerned about the mountains and want to take as flat a route as we can.

    Initially we wanted to drive up to Sacramento (to see family) then take I-80 all the way...seemed simple, but I don't know what the roads are like, especially at a time of year that can bring some slippery weather. We only intend to drive while it is daylight for added safety, so places to stay might be helpful!

    Thanks!!!
    Dez

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I have to say, I don't think I'd recommend pulling a trailer with any model of 66 car, assuming you want to keep the classic in top shape. Pulling a trailer cross country is going to add a whole lot of extra strain to the moving parts, and that's really not good when you are talking about a 50 year old car. I would strongly suggest you look at either shipping your extra stuff, with a company like U-Pack, or you rent a truck and pull the car.

    Regardless of what you drive, you are right that from Sacramento, I-80 would be your best choice. However, there is one significant grade you could easily avoid near Salt Lake City. Instead of sticking on I-80 which takes you over Parley's summit, detour on I-15 and I-84 which adds a few miles, but is much less of a climb. Even if you do stick with I-80, all interstates are designed to be a gradual as possible with limited grades and curves.

    From Sacramento to Council Bluffs, you could make the trip in as little as 3 days, being on the road for 8-10 hours a day. Rough stopping points would be West Wendover NV and Cheyenne WY.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles - moving back to SW Iowa
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thanks so much for the info. It may be helpful to know the hearse has a brand new motor and drive train. Plus we have about 5-7 days to get there so we can take our time.

    Any hotels along the way people can suggest to stay at...preferrably under $100/night would be great!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    This forum really focuses on personal recommendations, and as such, we usually are not a great source for specific hotel recommendations. There are thousands of possible places to stay, and that's even more true when you've got a pretty flexible timeline and you've got a few dozen cities where you could potentially stop.

    $100 a night should get you a pretty nice room at a mid-level to upscale chain in most any city along your route.

    You can check out RTA's reservations section which will allow you to see what hotels are available, at what price, and find reviews and detailed information about each property.

    I'll be honest, I still wouldn't use your car to pull a trailer across country. You can certainly do it, and do it safely, I just wouldn't want to have to go and replace the drivetrain again! Whether putting that kind of wear and tear on that kind of car is worth it to you, is your call, however.

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

    Default

    You should have no problem at all finding budget hotels at many Interstate exits in the smaller towns and on the outskirts of the larger cities. I'm usually happy with Motel 6/Super 8/Days Inn, but $100 will generally get you something nicer such as a Holiday Inn Express. You can get a general idea of rates using our hotel booking facility - look under reservations in the top green nav bar, or on a site such as hotels.com.

    My sister and I took a week long trip early last October from San Diego to Denver, via Sequoia/Yosemite/Yellowstone, and the only place where we paid over $100 ($110 including tax) was just outside Yosemite. We *were* planning on staying in the Curry Village tent cabins, but it was pouring rain! All the rest of the hotels were from $50 to $90 and included Motel 6/Super 8/Days Inn/Best Western and a couple mom and pops.

    Stop at the first rest area after you enter each state and pick up the free hotel discount coupon books. They can frequently save you a considerable amount on a walk-in. I got a room in a Super 8 outside Toledo, OH for $39 with one last year.

    One advantage to the more upscale hotels is frequently a full hot breakfast. The cheapos generally have nothing or a very basic "continental" breakfast. Keep that in mind if a breakfast is something you are going to eat anyway. Motel 6 doesn't even have in-room coffee makers, you have to go to the lobby to get a cup of coffee.

  6. #6

    Default On the down-low

    Hi Dez,

    Just adding a couple of comments and details to what Midwest Michael said as to routing:

    From Donner Pass on the CA-NV line, I-80 descends to the floor of the Great Basin, where it remains essentially flat (zig-zagging between mountain ranges) at elevations around 4,000' above sea level. There's a single ridge between Wells and Wendover, NV which gets you up to just under 7,000', then flat as a pancake across the Great Salt Lake to the outskirts of Salt Lake City.

    There you'll want the I-215 belt/bypass to I-15 north, to Ogden where you'll pick up I-84 to Echo Canyon. At Echo Canyon, you've reached only 5,200' so have avoided the hassle of downtown SLC and the 10 mile grade to Parley's Summit at 7,016'. It'll be your preference to do this jog north at any time other than late afternoon rush hour.

    From Echo Canyon, UT to Rock Springs, WY you've got a few long grades, but no elevations over around 6,000'. Rock Springs to Rawlins is gently rolling. Rawlins to Cheyenne is more rolling with elevations between 7,000 and 7,500' and one large grade exists between Laramie and Cheyenne, where I-80 reaches 8,640'.

    Cheyenne is back down at 6,000', and it's literally all downhill to Omaha from there, where I-80 occupies the Platte River floodplain all the way from North Platte to Grand Island, NE. You can't get any flatter than that.

    Be aware that as I type this on August 30, 2011, the popular shortcut from I-80 to near Hamburg and Sidney, NE 2 to IA 2 is closed by flooding. There are at present some expectations of IA-2 and nearby sections of I-29 within IA and MO remaining closed for a long time after the waters recede, where damage to the pavement and roadway grade are severe.

    Does your hearse have a transmission cooler? If not, might be something worthwhile to add. All sorts of aftermarket pickup/SUV catalog sellers offer them. That's probably the only concern I'd have about the hearse. Well, that and the slow speeds you'll probably have to travel. I've run just under 18,000 miles on 3 cross-country trips since July 2010, running no more then 72-74 mph to conserve fuel. The traffic blowing by at +80 mph can be a little disconcerting. That said, the trailer you'll be towing pretty much shouts "slower traffic ahead", particularly if it'll be a recognizable rental such as U-Haul, etc. That said, I'd get used to popping on the 4-way flashers when I saw traffic closing at a high rate of speed. Can't hurt to do so.

    Safe travels and enjoy your hearse RoadTrip!

    Foy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    A 66 Cadillac hearse should have a big strong V-8 engine (425?) and a THM 400 transmission if the driveline is stock or stock replacement. The THM 400 is almost indestructible, I wish today's automatics were as beefy. That was the towing transmission of choice in GM trucks for many years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles - moving back to SW Iowa
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    A 66 Cadillac hearse should have a big strong V-8 engine (425?) and a THM 400 transmission if the driveline is stock or stock replacement.
    We have that tranny and a Cadillac 472. (Had to ask the hubby 'bout the tranny, couldn't remember what we had)

    Really appreciate all the tips everone! If we can find some clean places to sleep around the $50 range, that would be ideal and I know they are everywhere...just like to make sure I don't end up at a rodent motel. ;)

    I think we're gonna be staying with a family member in Colorado...and I have made that treck from there to Omaha many times...and yes, it is FLAT! Almost as flat as Kansas. And thanks for the warnings about the Iowa/NE/MO borders... I have family & friends there & have been following it closely. I know it well & will check it as we get nearer to the travel date.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Check it out first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezzie View Post
    ...just like to make sure I don't end up at a rodent motel. ;)
    Don't forget that you have the right to check out the room before committing to it. As one who generally stays at the cheaper establishment, I always do. Make sure the bathroom and bed are clean, the smoke detector has not been disabled and that you can secure the door from the inside, such as with the little chain.

    Lifey

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