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  1. Default Visalia, CA to Chicago IL in late Sept/Early Oct

    Hiya all,

    My boyfriend and I are moving to Chicago from Visalia, CA (near Fresno) and I am looking for advice on the best route to take IF we are hauling a 4' x 8' U-haul trailer? We are planning to leave in late September/early October.

    We would prefer to do it without the U-haul, but are finding it hard to cull our belongings into simply could fit in our Isuzu...

    We were looking at I-15N then the I-70E/I-76E and finally I-80E (The "Pioneer Trail"?) as it looks to be the least amount of miles, but I am worried about the elevation through Colorado? Is it a gradual climb? I have read about the Eisenhower Tunnel at 11,000ft elevation and I am worried if it will be too hard while hauling?

    We would love to take in some sights that aren't too far off the beat and path, but our main priority is making it there safely without putting our car through too much (if it can be helped).

    Any advice on routes, elevations and/or sights would be most welcome :D

    Thanks in advance,
    Jasmine
    Last edited by jazierae; 09-17-2011 at 12:16 PM. Reason: left out information

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    I wouldn't tow with a car across I-70. Take 99 to Bakersfield, then 58 to I-40/I-44/I-55. This only adds about 100 miles. With no sightseeing, this is a full 4 day drive. If you can add a day or two, you could break up the trip with some sightseeing such as the Grand Canyon.

    Note that I-44 in OK is a toll road, figure about 15 bucks or so.

    If you do it in 4 days, your overnight stops should be Flagstaff, Amarillo, and Springfield MO.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Which Way?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your choice of routes is probably the best. The only other viable option is to take I-40/I-44/I-55 through Albuquerque, Oklahoma City and St. Louis, but that adds about 100 miles and a couple of toll roads to your trip. The downside to the I-15/I-70/I-76/I-80 route is that it climbs to 11,000 feet in the Rockies of Colorado, but that is mitigated by the fact that all Interstate highways are built to the same criteria which limit the steepness of any grade to 6%. That should be well within the capabilities of your Isuzu, even if pulling a small trailer.

    While I suppose you could refer to the Platte River (I-80) stretch of that route as the "Pioneer Trail", you could just as easily refer to it as the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, or the Pony Express Route. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of history along that general route. Once you branch off through Colorado and Utah, attractions become more scenic with Rocky Mountain National Park, Arches National Park, and the parks of southwestern Utah heading (but not completing) the list.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Unless your car has a V8 engine and a complete towing package, I would definitely use the I-40 option suggested. We've towed west to east on I-70 in a car, and in an older diesel. In both cases, those 6% grades had us going very slowly in the truck lanes through Colorado, and some of the 6% grades in UT were not fun either.

    The I-40, I-44, I-55 option is good. You could also take I-70 in IL and take I-57 north (rather than 55). Reason: it's a better road quality these days. However, the "plus" for I-55 are some of the sights you could see along I-55, including parts of Old US 66.


    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You could also take I-70 in IL and take I-57 north (rather than 55).
    It all depends where in the Chicago area you are going. I'd only take I-57 if you are going to the southern suburbs or downtown. I-55 is a better bet to the western and northern suburbs.

  6. Default

    Thanks for all the advice and input - it is mucho appreciated.

    After taking a closer look, and considering the elevation of the CO route, I think we will go with the I-40 option. However, now we will be stopping of in TX for a family visit, which means our route will be: I-40, I-44, I-57, I-70, and finally I-94. The route leads us through AZ, NM, TX, AK, TN (Memphis), MO, and up to IL.

    Does anyone know if there are elevation issues on this route? I saw that a few of you mentioned tolls--is that an issue on this roads? I have heard about "checkpoints" possibly in the border states--is this true and what can I expect?

    Also, any other thoughts or experiences you have had on any of these roads or the route would be much appreciated.

    Thanks again.

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

    Default Not to Worry

    Your maximum elevation along your chosen route will be on the order of 7,000-8,000 feet in northern Arizona, but the grades are fairly gentle. You would not even notice when you cross the continental divide, except that there is a sign.

    The route you describe by highway numbers dies NOT go to Memphis. Instead, it goes from Oklahoma City up through St. Louis to Chicago. If you follow the route you've listed, then you will have two toll roads to contend with, the Turner Turnpike from Oklahoma City to Tulsa and the Will Rogers Turnpike from Tulsa to the Missouri state line (I-44). However if you follow the general description then you'll stay on I-40 east from Oklahoma City to Memphis before turning north and thus avoid both the toll roads.

    You will be subject to a couple of 'inspections' as you travel east on I-40. You will have to stop near the California/Arizona line for an agricultural inspection. This is to prevent the transfer of bugs and diseases between two of the principle growing regions of the country. You may be subject to a Border Patrol stop at random. In both cases you can expect to be asked (at most) a couple of simple questions and then be on your way.

    AZBuck

  8. Default

    Good to hear about the elevation!

    I think I must have described the route wrong (sorry!), so I shall try again. We are planning to head south from Amarillo on the 287 to Fort Worth, TX and then through Dallas on the I-30 up pass Little Rock and then to the east of Memphis, cutting up to the I-55 then branching off onto the I-57 up into the northside of Chicago. So from what you have said I will avoid the toll roads? I saw some discussion about the I-55 vs. I-57--would it be better to stay on the I-55 and go through St. Louis rather than branching out onto the I-57? It appears to add an additional 45miles or so though, so I am trying to determine if it's worth the extra miles if we go this route?

    Additionally, I could backtrack a lil in TX and go north up the 75/43/69 (not sure which as it isn't an interstate?) to meet up with the I-44 east of Tulsa, staying on through St Louis and then taking the I-55 north up through Springfield? This doesn't add any extra miles (apparently it is a tad less), but I am not sure about the 75/43/69 (?) as we are trying to stay on the interstate given that we are hauling a u-haul trailer. Thoughts?

    Thanks for the heads up on the inspections and possible Border Patrol stops also.

    ~ Jasmine

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

    Default

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the agricultural inspection is only for vehicles entering California? I'm also not aware of any Border Patrol checkpoints on I-40.

    Exactly where in the Chicago area are you going? I lived there for 35 years and am intimately familiar with the best way to get from point to point, and I have many round trips between Joplin and Chicago towing a trailer. I can just about give you turn by turn directions between here and there. I also take I-44/I-40 back and forth from here to California every year.

    As I said before, towing a trailer your tolls through Oklahoma if you take I-40 to I-44 would be about 15 bucks. NOT worth staying on I-40 to Memphis to pick up I-55. You will be adding 200 miles to the trip, which is an extra 4 hours, and you will use a lot more than $15 more in gas.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default why

    Why are you planning to go all the way down to Fort Worth and Dallas? That doesn't make any sense to me.

    I agree with GLC that going to Memphis would be a whole lot more hassle than its worth anyway because it adds 200 miles, but that's assuming you were sticking to I-40. Going all the way south to Dallas adds almost 100 miles more on top of that (a 300 mile detour total)!

    Tolls are annoying, but not as annoying as needless adding an extra half day of driving to your trip!

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