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  1. #1

    Default Moving to Philly from LA!

    Hi Fellow Roadtrippers!

    I've just stumbled upon this forum so apologies if this has been asked before...

    My family (wife, 2 kids (3 & 17!) + cat) and I will be moving back to Philadelphia, PA this summer, and I was wondering about particular places to stop, overnight and quick stops. I will be driving a 16ft Penske truck, towing the family car and the rest will be flying.

    My route will be:

    Day 1: LA to Meteor Crater, Winslow, AZ (535 miles)
    Day 2: AZ to Tucumcari, NM (441 miles)
    Day 3: NM to Tulsa, OK (475 miles)
    Day 4: OK to Effingham, IL (499 miles)
    Day 5: IL to Wheeling, OH (436 miles)
    Day 6: to Philly! (354 miles)

    Back in England I used to drive 550 miles a night as a delivery driver for Walmart so I figured around 500 a day is doable. I have driven across the US twice before, but not this route, and also not alone.

    So I guess my main question is are there any places to avoid or that are must see? Any particular Truck Stops that are nice/clean with showers etc. Also I was thinking about having the cat with me to give the wife an easier time on the plane, but with the high temperatures recently I'm not sure it will be good for him. Any advice?

    Thank you in advance for any help. :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've built a very solid plan that should work quite well for you. I might tweek the first day, maybe only planning to get as far as Flagstaff or Williams, just because things never go perfectly in a move, so you might get a later start than you planned and you'll likely be a little slower that first day as you get used to the rig. Even there, you could keep the rest of your stops the same by just driving a bit farther on day 2.

    If you were in a hurry, you could probably even push your trip down to 5 days by going a bit farther each day, but you've got a nice, comfortable pace.

    The cat is a tough call. I can understand not wanting to fly with the cat, but it would be a bit of a trade of 6 hours locked in a cage, vs. 6 days. The heat shouldn't be an issue, as long as you use common sense and don't do something like leave it in the car for an hour or two while you go exploring or shopping. The biggest things will be that having the pet will limit your ability to explore things along the way, and you'll have to spend just a bit more time looking for a pet friendly motel, but that's not usually too tough.

    Most truck stops are now part of the national chains, like Flying J, Pilot, Loves, T/A, etc. These places will usually be a bit easier to fill up the truck/trailer than some of your smaller gas stations. I'm not quite sure why you'd need showers though? You're going to need to stop at motels, as I can assure you that sleeping in the cab would not get you real rest, and sleeping in the cargo area is unwise and unsafe.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the input Michael!

    Good call about the showers. I was thinking about sleeping in the cab every other night and going to a motel the others to save some $, but you're probably right about not getting enough rest.

    Are there any particular chains that are better thank others? Also, not big on shopping and I wouldn't leave him alone in the cab longer than it takes to pee really, but I'm still leaning towards letting the wife have him. He's never even been on a road trip before, not even to the vet (it's 2 blocks away), so I think the truck journey might send him over the edge! (his name is Skitzo by the way (and for good reason)).

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Better chains for Truck Stops? They're really not all that different. I tend to stop at Flying J, but the same company now owns Pilot. But really, they're all going to offer about the same thing.

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

    Default

    I just put LA to Philly into my software, and it says it can be done in 5 days - with stops in Holbrook AZ, Amarillo TX, Rolla MO, and Columbus OH. Cutting it back to 6 days would put the stops in Flagstaff AZ, Tucumcari NM, Tulsa OK, Effingham IL, and St. Clairsville OH.

    We normally don't make a brand recommendation, but if you are looking for cheap hotels that allow pets, Motel 6 fills that bill. They are barebones hotels with no amenities but simply for a place to get a decent night's sleep, they are generally acceptable.

    Note that the fastest route involves toll roads - I-44 through OK and the PA Turnpike.

    For truck stop chains I'm partial to Flying J, because most of them have a Denny's.

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks again Michael & Glc.

    FYI - The reason behind the 6 day trip instead of a 5 day is just so I can get to Philly with quite a bit of time to spare that day to unload.

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

    Default

    Gotcha - so let's look at a 5.5 day trip, essentially having a slightly short first day and shorter last day. The software says:

    Williams AZ
    Tucumcari NM
    Tulsa OK
    Effingham IL
    Washington PA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Truck stops:

    One thing you're going to use a lot of, is FUEL. On the interstates, the "best" prices for fuel at truck stops are usually at Flying J, Pilot, and Love's. If the Penske takes diesel fuel, you'll find car/pickup diesel pumps right in with the other pumps at those 3 truck stops. Some of the newer ones have separate diesel pumps, with more approach room, off to the side. At the first FJ or Pilot, get a Frequent Fueler card and it will save you 2c/gal on gasoline and 3c/gal on diesel ... it adds up when your tank takes 30 gallons of the stuff every 200-300 miles!

    I think GLC's suggestions for your overnight stops work very well, and the suggestion of NOT sleeping in your truck's cab is spot-on. Those cab seats are not all that comfortable, and you'll enjoy the sensation of not being in the same place for 24 hours.

    As far as cutting the cost of a motel is concerned, you can do two things: check the prices here on the website for hotel rooms, and pick up coupon books at the welcome centers for each of the states where you're planning to spend the night. You can get some GREAT deals on overnights in Tucumcari and Tulsa for sure, because they have lots of motels competing for you to choose them.

    My husband did an 1800 mile trip in a UHaul by himself -- here is his trip report.





    Donna

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

    Default

    Another suggestion to save on gas, especially because you'll be using so much of it, is to do a little research on Gasbuddy.com, and find out which areas tend to have the cheapest fuel. They've got a nice color coded map that show you average prices all over the country. Since fuel prices can jump 20-30 cents per gallon or more just by crossing a state line, you can figure out the best places to top off the tank. In a regular car, it can save you a couple bucks, but in a big truck, those dollars can quickly become 20s!

    The stops you originally listed are just fine, Obviously, you've got plenty of room to tweak them as you see fit, if you want to adjust for a slightly longer day here or a shorter day there. I certainly wouldn't see reservations as a must for this trip.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I certainly wouldn't see reservations as a must for this trip.
    Agreed. If you use the coupon books that Donna mentioned, those are walk-in prices anyway, you cannot prebook them. Motel 6 does not participate in those coupon books, so if you do take the cat you may want to call ahead to check on pet policies at the hotels you may be interested in. The ones that allow them will sometimes require a damage deposit and/or a surcharge. Motel 6 is free with no deposit if I'm not mistaken.

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