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  1. Default Chicago to Phoenix- advice needed please

    Good Morning!

    I am in need of some advice. I am relocating to the Phoenix area at the end of January from Chicago. I will be driving a 16 foot moving truck with a car dolly behind it. I was wondering what the fastest and safest route to take is going to be. I overhead someone at a restaurant the other night saying how bad the drive is during the winter driving through the mountains. It made me a little nervous as I will be driving a moving truck. I looked up in my GPS and its wanting to take me the following way:

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help!
    Last edited by dheinrich20; 12-07-2015 at 09:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Ditch the dolly

    Welcome to the RTA Trip Planning Forums!

    Winter driving with an unfamiliar 16-foot moving truck, pulling a car dolly is slightly more challenging than driving in the summer, with dry pavement, but you are going to be fine.

    One suggestion, ditch the car dolly and rent a trailer for your car. You will have more control and your car will be in much better condition if it is on a trailer and not on the car dolly.

    Most of your intended route is what I would suggest -- except I wouldn't leave the Interstate 40 highway at Holbrook and drive the mountainous route through Payson and down to Phoenix. It is not much further to stay on I-40 to Flagstaff and then south on I-17 to Phoenix. Very good chance that will have snowy conditions in Flagstaff -- but I-40 and I-17 will have better road maintenance.

    The biggest issue on this trip is that you need to build in some time flexibility -- El Nino weather patterns are suggesting a very good chance of stormy weather (rain, sleet and snow) along much of your route in January. And the safest way to travel in such conditions is to not be on the highway when the going gets tough. Travel only during the "warmer" daylight hours 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and let the highway departments do their thing opening the roads the rest of the time.

    Other tips for winter driving...

    Bottom line, you will be fine. Thousands of drivers make a similar journey every year in the winter months.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Making enough time.

    The fact is that there will be no way of knowing what the weather will be like up until you get the forecast a couple of days before you set out. The most important thing is to make sure you have plenty of time available so that you can be flexible in the event of a storm. There will be no need to book lodgings in advance at this time of year so you could leave the overnight stops to change. It's going to be a minimum of 4 days while towing with a truck and I agree with Mark, it will be much better to tow a trailer than a car dolly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Road Condition Intel

    One of the things you can do, is to check the wUnderground trip planner page a couple of days before you leave. The Trip Planner page combines current weather prediction data (8-10 days in advance) with mapping software and can provide some good information about the kinds of weather you might be seeing on the road, the days you travel.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by dheinrich20 View Post
    I looked up in my GPS and its wanting to take me the following way:
    It's probably worth the reminder of the importance of using real maps - and not just electronic tools - to plan your trip. Electronics just can't show you your options nearly as completely as paper maps.

    This is especially important when towing - and even more so if you continue using a tow dolly, where you can't ever go into reverse - You need to know where you want to go, and use electronic tools help you follow the route you want to go. If you just blindly follow a GPS, you could easily end up going down a road where you shouldn't travel in winter or shouldn't ever take a truck - especially in a situation where you won't be able to easily turn around if it does direct you to take the wrong road.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would bypass downtown St. Louis using either I-270 or I-255. Traffic is a bit less on 255, which is the southeastern bypass.

    I-44 is toll through OK, and they do not accept I-Pass. Cash toll when towing can be a bit steep. Take I-44 through downtown Tulsa, it's not worth the toll bypass. To get through OKC, take I-35 to I-40. The Kilpatrick bypass is actually a better bet, but it's toll and exact change sometimes required.

    I would not take the "shortcut" from Holbrook if you are towing, stay on I-40 to I-17.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I third the motion NOT to take the "shortcut" through Holbrook, Payson, and the like when towing. Yes, it's a beautiful route. However, the maintenance isn't as fast as it is on I-40 to I-17.

    And I second the motion to get paper maps. You NEED them.

    And I third the motion to use a car trailer, not a dolly, for precisely the reasons given above: you have better maneuverability with a trailer and can backup if need be.


  8. Default

    Never reverse!

    I am 99.9 % sure that you can NEVER go into reverse with a dolly attached. Extensive damage can occur. You need to unload the car and disconnect the dolly. This is mentioned on the U-Haul website along with other warnings including whipping.

    Imagine the time and frustration involved if you only have to do this once. If you have to do it twice, you might be tempted to chance it and go in reverse anyway.

    Just another reason to consider a trailer.

    Have a safe trip.

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