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  1. Default Moving from Rhode Island to Oregon

    Hello Everybody!

    I am totally new to this forum so hopefully this is an appropriate post and in the right category...

    My wife and I are making the big move at the end of this year, leaving Xmas eve to be exact. I just reserved a 22' Penske truck and trailer for our car. Ideally I would have liked to make this trip during a warmer season, but because I own my own business I need to take advantage of the holidays and get up and running on the other end asap.

    So I have a couple questions and would definitely like to open this up to general advise as well.

    1. Would you recommend that I just plan on taking a southern route to avoid bad weather, or should I play it by ear and go the most direct route if possible? I'd prefer not to get stuck in a blizzard, and especially would like to not encounter inclement weather in the mountains. However going south seems like it would add a lot of miles and I'm not sure exactly what interstates would be best.

    2. I've been looking into diesel additives, mostly to improve fuel economy. Optilube looks good. Has anyone had experience with such additives and would you say it is worth the trouble? Wondering also if I should go for the winter formula vs. standard.

    3. Any advice with insurance and protection plans? So far I plan on just purchasing the limited damage damage waiver from Penske, but not sure if I should add anything else. I might need to look into what my car insurance covers, if anything, and also any benefits from my credit card company.

    So I guess that's really it. I'm going to try to make the best time possible but I wouldn't say I'm great at long distance drives so I'll probably take 6-7 days to get there. Hopefully a route change or weather will not impact that too much. The size of the truck especially with the trailer behind is somewhat intimidating, but I think once I get out of Providence and onto the highway I'll be ok.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Winter Basics

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first rule of thumb for winter travel is the best route is usually the shortest. The less time you are on the road, the fewer opportunities you'll have for seeing a storm, and the more time you'll have to wait for conditions to improve if the weather does turn. Every cross country route sees storms during a typical winter - even routes across southern New Mexico and Arizona - and by "going south" you wouldn't increase your odds of seeing good weather, but you would decrease your available time to deal with a storm.

    In fact, for your trip, there is a good chance that going farther north could be a better bet. I-90 is actually at a relatively low elevation across the west, so that might be a better choice than I-80/I-84. However, you should be checking weather forecasts when you are actually on the road to find out where the conditions are most likely to be clear. I am assuming you're heading to somewhere around Portland. If you're heading elsewhere in Oregon, there could be other routes to consider.

    6 days really is the minimum for a trip like this while pulling a trailer, and having a 7th or 8th day available where you can wait for conditions to improve would be a very good idea, especially since a truck/trailer combo is going to be much more difficult to control in even relatively mild winter weather.

    I would not consider any "additives." They are unlikely to provide any significant benefit, and more importantly, you could be setting yourself up for a problem, because it's not your truck, and the Rental company could come back on you if you have any engine problems after using some sort of additive on their vehicle.

    Contacting your personal insurance company and credit card company is the best place to start for advice about insurance.

  3. Default

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful advice. I should have been more specific about my destination. It is Bend, OR, so a few hours southeast of Portland.

    Excellent thoughts about the weather. I'll plan on going the most direct route then. Actually, it's an interesting thought about going further north too. I had originally hoped to swing through the LaCrosse area of Wisconsin to see my family for a night, but then I figured it might get me into trouble going that far up. But that would put me right at the I-90 so maybe that could work out. I'm only imagining treacherous mountain passes once I get further west, but that could be entirely unfounded.

    Good point on the additive too, it probably isn't worth the risk to save a couple hundred bucks in fuel.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default If Money is an Object

    It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but you could actually save quite a bit of money on this trip (far more than any additives might have saved you) by adding some miles to your trip. The most direct rout from Rhode Island to points west, including La Crosse, would be to take I-90 to Chicago. But that includes the Mass Pike, the New York Thruway, the Ohio Turnpike, the Indiana Toll Road, and the Tri-State Tollway in and around Chicago. All toll roads and I shudder to think what the fare will be for your truck/trailer rig. A somewhat longer routing would have you heading for Hartford and I-84 to Scranton PA, dropping down on I-81 to I-80/I-76 to west of Akron, then dropping south again on I-71 to I-70 west to Indianapolis. There you start hooking wide around Chicago on I-74 and I-39 through Bloomington IL and Janesville WI to join I-90 at Madison.

    Now, as noted, the downside to such a route is that it adds about 160 miles to your trip. But I think the two major plusses outweigh that. The first plus is that you save all those tolls. The second plus is that you avoid all those miles in the lee of the lakes and the lake effect snows that go with them. As an extra added bonus, you avoid having to drive through Chicago, a nightmare in a sedan let alone a heavy, unwieldy rig.


  5. Default

    Genius! You guys rock, thank you. I absolutely hate driving through the congested areas of NY and NJ so that's great I can bypass it and save on tolls in doing so.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    There will be a toll on I-39/I-90 between Rockford and Beloit. No easy way to avoid this. It's going to be less than 5 bucks.

    To get to Bend from I-90, take US-395 at Ritzville, go through Kennewick to I-82 to I-84. Take that west to US-97.

  7. Default

    Excellent, thank you. I've practically got my whole route planned out thanks to you guys.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Re: diesel additives: I agree with the advice given above. Penske might have something to say about it!! FWIW, we have a diesel engine and our regular mechanic says not to use additives. Chances are, if you are getting into some freezing temperatures, you'll see two things: places to plug in an engine, and inside the engine, you'll see the plug that will keep that baby warm. Ask Penske about that when you pick up the truck, if they don't tell you about it.


  9. Default

    Hey guys. The trip is coming up in 2 weeks. How does this route look?

  10. Default

    Hi all,

    The big move is coming up in a week and a half. Last week I tried to post a Google link of my route to get some final input but it for some reason it got flagged as needing moderator approval. I'm not sure why that happened, but I'd love to get some pro eyes on the route before I take off.

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