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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default U-Haul from MO to CA, October

    My husband just completed his fly/drive trip, and here's a brief report about it. He flew from San Diego to St Louis a couple of weeks ago, to help his sister with the estate auction sale of their mom's household goods. While he was in MO, he had the use of his mom's car until it was sold at the auction. But by then he picked up a U-Haul to bring back goods.

    He did very well with the U-Haul rental. The best price was with U-Haul (rather than Penske), and they were easier to get. The local dealerships did not have a 14' ready-to-go for one way, so they rented a 17' for the same price as the 14'. The only thing about that is that the gas mileage was probably worse. Well, it was pretty bad anyway.

    He drove from central Missouri to California in 4 days, using I-70 to I-35 to I-40 to I-15. His first stop was just outside of Oklahoma City (around 500 miles), second stop in Albuquerque (520 miles), Kingman (465 miles) and then home (360 miles). He was into his destination within 9 hours the first two days, and just under 9 hours on the third day. On the last day, he made it home in 7 hours.

    The U-Hauls get horrid gas mileage, but thankfully they take regular unleaded. He stopped mostly at Flying J and Pilots, because they're usually less expensive, have room for a U-Haul, AND we have the discount card. Every night I sent him a text-message telling him where the FJ, Pilot and Love's were for the next day. That was after he'd stopped for fuel someplace and then found an FJ five miles down the road that was selling fuel for 10c less per gallon! Every time he stopped, he had to spend $50-85 to fill up.

    The least expensive fuel he found was $3.17 gallon at the FJ in Albuquerque (before our 2c gal discount with our RV card). The most, as you might expect, was at the Pilot at the Lenwood Exit near Barstow, at $3.69/gal before discount. Most of the time, he was paying right around $3.30/gal.

    Before he left, I printed out coupons for hotels that I found online, so that he wouldn't have to stop and look for the booklets. (My husband is a former long-haul trucker. He only stops for fuel and an occasional pit stop.) His least expensive overnight was the Super 8 in Albuquerque, at under $50. The other two were just over $50. I should add, though, that he always asks for a king sized bed, which often costs extra!

    As for food, for breakfast the first morning, he stopped at an IHOP and had a full breakfast. That night, he had a later dinner at a Denny's. The next few days, though, breakfast wasn't too enticing because of larger dinners the night before. One night he had food delivered to the motel room and said it was pretty decent! That was Venezia's Pizzeria in Albuquerque, and he had the fettucine Alfredo (one of his favorites). Another night, he walked down to a steak place and had prime rib at a local place ... Dambar at Kingman, though they also go under "Fork in the Road Kingman". He said he enjoyed that, too, and wasn't hungry till Barstow the next day (around 9 am in the morning).

    Weather wise, he had NO bad weather except some winds that drove him crazy in NM (head winds, which are NO FUN in a high profile vehicle like a U-Haul). He had a little wind in KS but said that mostly it was tailwind which helped his fuel mileage a little bit. No rain, and definitely no snow which had crossed our minds when planning this trip for him.

    Traffic wise ... I-70 was the usual congestion, which is why we've always stopped at a particular IHOP just outside of Kansas City to ride out the rush hour. Then he didn't hit much until AFTER he'd passed through the LA Mess-tropolis, right around Corona. Oh, he had a little bit in OKC and a little bit in ABQ, but nothing major.

    He brought us a new atlas - - smaller than we usually use, but informative. We probably won't use it to plan larger trips, but it will be nice to keep in one of the vehicles. It's spiral bound. He hadn't taken ANY maps with him, and didn't want to mess with the fold-out maps that he could have gotten at the AAA in central MO.

    We are still unpacking the family items that came back with him. That will be a long process.



    Donna

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

    Default

    I-70 in KC is a mess now, it's under reconstruction. I'm surprised he didn't go south on I-470 to I-435 to get to I-35!

    Hindsight is great, but it's too bad he didn't get a diesel truck.

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

    Default A Unique Field Report

    Donna, that is indeed a unique report... writing up your husband's solo trip. Very interesting reading, and I am sure valuable information for those regular enquiries about driving moving trucks cross-country. In particular the preparation (coupons) and ongoing support from home (texts) may give others some idea as to how to support a family member or friend who is undertaking such a journey.

    Deserves to be a sticky.

    Lifey

  4. #4

    Default No kicks out of Route 66.

    Reading the account of the trip soon made me think Route 66. Flying into St Louis and then taking the modern interstate roads via Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, and Kingman towards LA is the path of Route 66. How times have changed.

    Makes you realize most journeys have a personal agenda. Your husband was after a quick, economical and interstate road yet someone wearing a Route 66 ‘T’ shirt setting off at the same time is now probably still trying to find their way past Albuquerque along the Mother Road.

    Saw a travel program on TV not long ago plotting the route taken along Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. It is no doubt a trip for the dedicated traveller because the route has been officially removed from the highway system. So now it takes effort to keep to the old road. What struck me about the route, as shown on TV, was the general lack of scenery and the lost business to the modern route because lots of small towns and businesses along the way are now suffering because of lost custom. Hope the revival interest in the route can help to restore some of the abandoned businesses/ premises of days gone by.

    There is always someone worse off that you are - the price of fuel. Here in the UK the price of ordinary unleaded petrol is slightly over $10 per gallon when currency converted. Our only consolation, being a small sized country, means our trips are not long ones.

    I took my driving test in the days of crash gear boxes, double your clutch and all that - bet some of the younger readers are wondering what I am blathering on about. This means I am of an age where I was grounded in the use of road maps. A skill I still retain but as an aid to a map I have grown to like the GPS. With common sense it can be a great benefit to a road trip. Any doubt and the map wins.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default The Advantages of a Penske Rental

    I just moved a bunch of gear and household furniture from one state to another and I too compared costs of three companies. I looked at Penske Household Truck Rental, Budget Trucks and U-Haul. Both U-Haul and Budget have a mileage expense -- One rate for the estimated mileage of the intended move and an additional surcharge for overage. Penske Rentals have unlimited mileage and the trucks were diesel-powered. The 22-foot truck I was driving was nearly brand-new and drove like a dream. It had a five-speed automatic with five-speed hold gear set. It was great for hills. Looking at the total expense (fuel, mileage rates, insurance and basic rental) of the three carriers, the Penske truck option probably saved me at least $60. In additional the customer service provided by Penske included three pre-pick-up rental phone calls (checking and confirming the rental pick-up details) and a follow-up evaluation. I've also used a 14-foot U-Haul truck in the last month. The truck was not in good condition and way too expensive with the "required" insurance and fuel expense. I doubt I'd ever use a U-Haul truck again, but the U-Haul packing supplies and boxed were great.

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    The nearest Penske dealership at the starting end of his trip was 50 miles away. U-Haul, OTOH, was about 2 miles from the house. I'm not sure about the Penske dealers here in San Diego County - - there might be one near us - - but the U-Haul dealer is less than a mile from our house. Then Penske's quote (online) was $100 MORE with the same options.

    Hubby declined the insurance. (Maybe that's U-Haul in your area.) He also got 2000 miles with his package, which was more than enough. He was happy with the way it drove and it had 70,000 miles on it ... less than ANY of our vehicles at home. He was personally happy with unleaded fuel rather than diesel as we are pretty certain that diesel would not have improved the fuel mileage and was the highest cost fuel all the way across the country. It would have raised our cost substantially.

    So it's all in your needs, your desires, and the dealerships you find (probably).



    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    we are pretty certain that diesel would not have improved the fuel mileage
    I dunno about that - my son in law rented a 24 footer with a diesel for a move and got between 10 and 12 mpg. The last gas moving truck I rented got about 6.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default About 10 mpg for me too

    ...Besides that, diesel-powered was a lot more fun to drive.

    Only issue... a couple of kids in a Suburu tried to pass me on the right, when I was in a truck lane, I gave them a short lesson in driver courtesy.

    My only point here is that U-Haul is like Motel 6 -- lots of advertising money spent to convince consumers that their product is the least expensive and friendliest out there. It sounds like Donna's husband got a good deal, but I'd be hard pressed to believe that in most cases U-Haul is ever going to cheaper than a company that specializes in leasing commercial trucks. The truck I was driving was 66,000 miles newer than the U-Haul in this example. And I'm not to fond of the graphics on the U-Haul trucks either.

    Just one comment about renting a diesel-powered rental truck. Just about everyone knows about the nature of diesel -- that it foams and clicks off the anti-pollution devices long before the tank is full, but on some trucks with relatively flat tanks, like the DynaStar I rented, you really have to be patient when filling a truck's tank. In the case of the truck I used, when the anti-pollution sensor kicked off, the tank was still under-filled by nearly 10 gallons. Generally you'll need to fill the tank to the mid-level of the filler pipe before the fuel gauge reads full. Any truck returned to the dealer not full will earn a ~ $7.00 per gallon surcharge and so it's worth spending the extra time to top up the tank. And the usual stuff.... use gloves when filling a diesel tank -- the fuel is sticky and smelly and you really don't want that on your hands.

    Mark

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

    Default Been there, done than, got the paycheck

    I've got quite a bit of experience, on both sides of the counter, when it comes to renting moving trucks/trailers. I've done 4 long distance moves, a few more local moves, and several years ago I worked at a store that rented UHaul trucks as part of their business.

    First, when it comes to price, I don't think you can broadly say that Uhaul or Penske will be cheaper. Its just like any other car rental type business, where they frequently change their prices based on demand and the locations of their vehicles. However, if you have a preference of company, typically they will price match each other. The unlimited mileage may give Penske and advantage, however, I've always found Uhauls included miles to be plenty generous to make the trip, with many miles to spare. Uhaul does win in the convience factor in most cases, because they have so many more locations and dealerships. Like Donna, if I wanted to rent a Penske to move from my current home, I'd have to drive 45 minutes to an hour to pick one up, while there are at least 3 Uhauls within 15 minutes of my house.

    With the actual trucks, there are some key differences. The big one is the fuel that has been mentioned, Penske's are more likely to be a diesel which is an advantage, especially if towing. Diesels will typically get a couple miles more per gallon, which does cancel out the extra cost of diesel fuel. I've never seen the extreme difference that GLC mentioned, however, in driving medium sized trucks (17 foot) I've gotten about 12 mpg in a diesel and 10 mpg in a gas power, but diesel does also provide a bit more power. Even saying that, the gas powered Uhaul's generally using V-10 or V-12s that are plenty powerful for the average drive, and my last move did involve a gas Uhaul pulling my car on a trailer, and I took I-70 through Colorado without any real issues. Uhaul used to do more diesels but actually switched mostly over to gas based mostly on customer preference. I suspect that most people don't understand the advantages of diesel, and are like Donna's husband who are happy to be able to use the cheaper per gallon and more familiar regular unleaded.

    Beyond that, there are some physical differences in the trucks. Penske's frequently have a door between the cab and the cargo area, however, that comes at the expense of a 3rd seat which most Uhauls have. The actual cargo area is also different, as Penske's are commercial trucks that are "loading dock" height, while Uhauls trucks sit lower to the ground which can be easier to load in some cases. Obviously, the Uhaul also has the cargo area over the cab that Penske doesn't have.

    The age of the trucks isn't as clear cut. In many cases, its hit or miss, as I've driven Uhauls with barely a thousand miles on the odometer, and seen trucks from both companies that are over 100k. I will say that I think Uhaul gets a bad reputation because their "in-town" trucks do have a ton of miles on them. Once they get to the 100-150k range, Uhaul trucks are retired from one way travel but they are still used for local moves well into the 200k's. I will say that most of the time, its been my experience that Uhaul will try to save the newest trucks for those making the longest distance moves. I believe the truck I had for when I moved from CA to WI had about 40k on it, but the truck I had when I moved from AZ to CA was up around 100k (but I'd also requested a diesel, which ment an older truck).

    Overall, I don't think there is a clear case of one being "better" than the other, and in both cases simply asking a question can go a long way towards getting the truck and the price you are looking for.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Good analysis

    The new Penske Household trucks do have the large 3-seat like the U-Hauls, and an astonishing amount of under-seat storage. I stored all of my tools there and I have .... a few tools.

    But your points are all good ones.

    Mark

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