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  1. Default Regina SK to Palm Springs, CA

    I am moving house at the end of December, from Western Canada home to SoCal.

    My car is just not built for steep mountain terrain: the engine runs hot and I have to crawl up at 35 mph while busloads of blue-haired ladies zoom past me and scream "GET OFF THE ROAD!" And that's in the summer months. Anything that says "Chains recommended, next six miles? No way. (Maybe the air filters are clogged?)

    In addition, I am bringing all my furniture down in a U-Haul trailer behind me! It's not much, but it's mine. My car can deal with that okay, even up hills, but going up and down mountains all the time? No way can I do that in the dead of winter.

    I was considering going I-25 southbound from Cheyenne to Albuquerque, then going to Yuma, then north along the Salton Sea to Palm Springs. But I can amend that.

    A truly flat route would add 17 hours to my trip... advice please?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Not the way to start out.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If your vehicle is half as bad as it sounds I think you will be better off leaving it behind ! I do not know the technical side of things but I wonder if it will pass California's strict emissions tests? The very least you would need to do is to get a qualified mechanic to check your vehicle over and sort out any issues. Apart from the reliability it doesn't sound as though you have maintained the vehicle at all (overheating, clogged filters ?) so there could be major safety issues with brake wear, tyre age and condition and steering/suspension components. Then you plan to tow a trailer with it ? If it can't get up a hill without overheating at 35mph how is it going to pull a loaded trailer ? Once it's had a major health check you can then decide whether or not to take it with you or cut your losses but travelling any kind of distance in an non roadworthy condition is asking for trouble. You also need to check it's tow capacity.

    If you get sorted out then really all you can do is take the shortest Interstate route which looks to be I-15 as Interstates are designed with gradual grades and curves for the largest of rigs. If you think your car is worth taking but it's small/underpowered (what is it?) then you should consider renting a U Haul truck for your gear with a trailer for your vehicle.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default which is hyperbole?

    Honestly, your post reads like you are using a liberal amount of creativity, so it is hard to tell what is real and which is an exaggeration. But, If your car is really as bad in the mountains as you claim, then I can't imagine your car would be in any condition for a cross country trip -much less a cross country trip where you are towing anything. There is no modern car, that is operating as designed, that should struggle to get up a mountain and can only go 35mph while going through mountains.

    For that matter, towing will be much harder on your vehicle than mountain driving, so saying your car can't do mountain driving, but it can tow a trailer also just doesn't make sense.

    There is also the reality that it is impossible to get from Regina to Palm Springs (or anywhere on the opposite sides of the rockies) without going over some mountains. I don't have any idea what route you're thinking when you say "a truly flat route would add 17 hours," and if such a route existed it might be worth taking based on what you told us. However, I'm not aware of any such "truly flat" route and the reality is that doing this trip will mean at least some mountain driving, and as such some mountain driving with a trailer - which you claim your vehicle can't do.

    Step one will be to take your car to a mechanic - since you made it pretty clear in your post that your vehicle hasn't been maintained and you don't know what's wrong with it. Until you do that, you shouldn't even think about making this drive. Only after your vehicle has been inspected and repaired should you think about making the drive with this car, and only after you talk to your mechanic about the condition of your repaired car should you even start to think about making the drive while towing. Because, based on what you told us, it will be impossible for you to complete this trip as you described, without taking those steps.

  4. Default

    I am taking the car in to my local people sometime in the next few weeks.

    I am exaggerating slightly: there were three places I stopped the car and crawled along. The first was crossing the mountains between Yuma and San Diego. The second was somewhere around Lake Elsinore--in both places there are signs telling drivers to turn off A/C and there are radiator water barrels every mile, so it's not just me--and the third was Monida pass, which is 6000 feet. Everywhere else, even Montana, I just went on and on and on, and Montana and then up to Saskatoon, SK. Montana is just one mountain after another. Very pretty but gets tiring to drive.

    Over the summer I drove the car from San Diego (home) to Charlotte, back to San Diego, and then up I-15 to Montana. It did alright. And yes, my car has been extremely well-maintained! It's just old. It's from 1996 and if I could afford to get a new car, I would. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards until I move back to Cali.

    Flat method: Minot, take highway 83 straight down to Abilene, pick up the 40 to El Paso, skip along the border to Yuma, then skirt the Salton Sea up to Indio.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    What kind of car are we talking about here? What's its tow rating in good condition? When you're talking about a car that's more than 20 years old, and based on your description is in fair to poor condition, trying to make this trip while towing could very well be the straw that breaks the camels back and permanently disables your car. I would think very hard about how important your furniture is - and if buying cheap new things in Cali wouldn't be a far better option than trying to tow with a vehicle that's not capable of it, and quite likely breaking down along the way - when as you say, you don't have the money to replace your car.

    Even your "flat" route involves going up to 5,000 feet on I-10, if you struggled with a 6,000 ft pass without towing, I can't see how you'd even be able to get over that while towing. Similarly, I-25 shouldn't be a problem for a car in good condition, but I'm not sure how you'd get over Raton Pass at nearly 8,000 feet along the CO/NM border if you were to go via Albuquerque as you originally proposed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Whether you are towing or not, I'd stick to Interstate highways as much as possible.

    I would take SK-6/MT-16 to I-94 to I-90 to I-15 to I-215 to I-10. This adds about 100 miles to the fastest/shortest route but would be an easier drive.

    Please do post what exact car you have. It may not be advisable to tow anything with it regardless of age or condition.

  7. Default

    I have a 1996 Kia Sportage. (I bought it new.) It can tow 2000 lbs. The last time I towed was about ten (?) years ago, in a fairly hilly area, with no problems. It is well-maintained: every mechanic I have ever gone to shakes his head with approval at the fact that it goes so well. I was planning to stay at the major routes because of possible breakdowns and places to eat and sleep along the way.

    Thank you for the alternative route, GLC!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default ahh, that makes so much more sense....

    Now that you explained that you own perhaps the worst car made in the past quarter century, your posts make so much more sense!

    Seriously, I owned a mid-90's Sportage myself for about 6 months, and took a bath just to get rid of that horrifically bad machine (although I think I still saved money in the long run by not paying for repairs every 2 months). I'll agree with your mechanics that it is amazing you've kept that piece of garbage on the road for 20 years. It also is the one exception I'd have to my original statement that "There is no modern car, that is operating as designed, that should struggle to get up a mountain and can only go 35mph while going through mountains. "

    Being that it was actually designed as a Truck (body on frame), it should handle towing relatively well, but remember, you've got another 10 years of wear and tear on a vehicle since you last towed - and that's on a vehicle that wasn't even designed to be on the road for 10 years in the first place! I still would think long and hard about if towing is your best option - and selling your stuff and buying new, or finding a relatively low cost shipping option, even if it does cost a bit more than a trailer, isn't going to be cheaper for you in the long run.

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

    Default

    Kia has come a long way since 1996 - my granddaughter has a 2006 Sportage that's been excellent, so has my stepdaughter's 2011 Sorento. However, they both have V-6 engines, your 2.0 liter 4 cylinder is a pretty wimpy engine.

    That said, note that a 4x8 enclosed Uhaul trailer weighs 850 lb empty, a 5x8 weighs 900 lb, a 5x10 weighs 1250 lb, and a 6x12 weighs 1950 lb.

    I would recommend you find out how much a Uhaul truck and car carrier (trailer, not dolly) would cost you. You may tow with a 10 ft Uhaul box truck, but nothing smaller.

    Michael, I don't know why yours was so bad, but I just found out that the early Sportage was based on a Mazda chassis and had a Mazda engine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Take your time.

    If you get the all clear with your vehicle you should plan on a minimum of 4 days towing a trailer and keeping at a steady pace to 'nurse' your car along. Travelling in December means you have a risk of seeing some weather disruption, so having an extra day or 2 available if need be is really handy. If all goes well you may arrive in Palm Springs by lunchtime on day 4, but you should certainly plan for at least 3 overnight stops.

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