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Thread: Tampa to Boise

  1. #1
    Lanche Guest

    Default Tampa to Boise

    Hi Everyone,

    I've been browsing old posts, and I'm already getting some good tips.

    My situation: I'm not planning this trip for the sake of a road trip, I'm actually moving from Tampa to Boise and my family is hitting the road on August 1st. I have some questions for some of the more seasoned highway cruisers here. I thank you for any comments or suggestions in advance.

    I have already been playing around with different routes, and from some posts here, I already think I prefer to take I-70 west from Kansas City rather than the shorter route, which is 1-80. I've been told the drive through Colorado is spectacular and the southern Wyoming stretch is mighty boring. I figure Kansas and Nebraska are probably interchangeable. Does that sound about right?

    What is a reasonable amount of miles to expect per day? I figure I can take about 7-8 days to get there if we drive leisurely.

    A big decision for me is whether or not to tow our second car or not. We have an older V6 4Runner (97) and we also have a Camry. It costs over a thousand dollars to ship the Camry across the country, and the rental hitch is quite a bit cheaper. I have to weigh those savings versus the hassle of towing the car, driving slower, and decreased gas mileage over aproz 2700 miles, some of crossing the Rocky mountains. Has anyone here ever towed a vehicle long distance? Good decision, bad, suggestions? It says on U-Haul that the hitch is not supposed to go over 45 MPH, but I was thinking more like 65 MPH.

    I'm also going to be traveling with a child and a baby. (I know, this is sounding less and less like fun as I go on). My current planned route takes I-75 through Atlanta, then I-24/I-57 to St. Louis. I-70 from there all the way to I-15 to Salt Lake and finally I-84 to Boise. Are there any suggestions for any side trips that aren't too far off these major highways that are worthwhile? We're passing through so many cities that it's boggling trying to check all the possibilities. I figure with kids, that breaking up the distance a little with some nice scenery and frequent stops may be the best way to go.

    Another question I have is, that once on I-70 in Colorado, there appear to be two cut offs to I-15 that dramatically shorten the distance to Salt Lake City. Route 6 in Utah between Green River and Spanish fork, which looks to be at least 100 miles, and US-50 between Salino and Scipio, which looks closer to 25 miles in length. Over the whole long trip, these are the only times I'm really considering driving a decent distance over a non major Interstate, and I have no idea how twisty or how much change in elevation these routes have. If I'm traveling with my family and towing a car, I don't want to have to wind through sharp mountain roads, and I have not been able to find a lot of information about these two short cuts. If they are true "mountain roads" I may just take the long way around where I-70 actually intersects with I-15, although that looks to add a few hundred miles to an already long trip.

    My last question is about accomadations. I'm torn on whether to plan out all the stops and arrange hotels, etc ahead of time, or to just wing it. Planning it out is the safe way to go, and I can budget our money better and figure out the miles I need to go every day. The other scenario gives more flexibility for either traveling through an area quicker or lingering if we find something we want to spend some time with. My nightmare is to be driving with the baby screaming at about 1AM in the middle of nowwhere and not being able to find a place to stay. How do most of you do it?

    Thanks again
    Scott

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    While I don't think southern Wyoming is boring, it isn't as spectacular as Colorado. So, if you have time for the added miles, I would agree that going I-70 across Colorado is worth the miles.

    Just for fun, I plugged your route into MS Streets & Trips. If I use the following parameters: start driving at 9:30am, end driving at 5:30pm, and allow for a 2 hour stop every 4 hours, it will take you about 7 days/7 hours to make this trip. This means you are driving 6 hours each day. Is this leisurely? To some of us, it is. To others not. It might be a bit much driving for your kids. Oh, this has you driving about 300-350 miles per day.

    There are numerous threads here about traveling with kids. Please do a search for hints and ideas. A recent thread about going from California to Florida had a lot of good info on these issues. Check it out for ideas. Instead of the 2 hour stop every 4 hours like I plugged into my software (see above), I would actually plan a lot of 15-20 minute stops through the day so the kids can get the wiggles out. Anyway, that thread should give you tons of ideas.

    I've never driven US-50 so I can't comment on that. I have driven 191 and 6 from Green River to Spanish Fork. About half of it is on rather flat road but the other half is basically a pass. You will have elevation gains and some twisty roads through there. It's not a sharp elevation gain with a steep grade. Well, at least it didn't seem steep in my car anyway. It may seem steep when towing....I don't know. For the most part, the road is good with wide shoulders, pull-outs, passing lanes, etc. There are, however, some narrower sections too that might take a bit more concentration. So, it probably should be OK for you if you tow. But don't depend on my recommendation since I have no experience towing over this road. Hopefully someone else will chime in on this.

    As for screaming babies, my kids never screamed until they got to the hotel. When they were babies they would sleep in the car so we often had more problem trying to get them asleep at night so we could sleep than we had while traveling. Seriously....unless it's a holiday weekend or you happen upon some kind of big, local event, you really shouldn't have too much trouble finding a hotel. If you are needing budget accomodations, contact Motel 6, Super 8, Econolodge, Days Inn and request their hotel catalogs. If you have any of these hotels in your area, you can stop by and pick one up. Then you will be able to look ahead and find inexpensive accomodations up ahead where you think you'll want to stop. You can always call ahead and check on rooms and make a reservation that day if you want.

    Join AAA. In addition to their road emergency services (which are great, btw), they offer lots of free maps, guidebooks, books with lodgings, tripticks, etc. AAA discounts apply at many hotels, and at some restaurants and some attractions. Your membership can easily pay for itself just with the free maps, books, and discounts even if you never need a tow. And let's hope you don't.

    As for towing your car....I'm confused about the towing restrictions to under 45mph. Are you sure? Maybe you need a bigger tow-hitch? Does this set-up have auxiliary breaks? You might need those to tow your cary safely? Sounds like you need to do a bit more research on this. I've known many folks who have towed cars and trailers and have safely driven faster than 45mph. Personally, I really disliked towing our trailer. I had no problems driving our truck/camper combo just about anywhere. Yes, I had to go slower up hills and couldn't zip along as fast, but it was easy to drive. Unless you become an expert at backing up and turning while towing, you will always need to carefully consider where you pull off to eat, for gas, etc. Truck stops are better for fuel stops as they have fueling bays designed for pull-throughs. Gassing up at regular stations for vehicles can be horrid when towing. However, lots of people do it without complaint. Just a few things for you to consider.

    You don't mention having a wife along but I assume you will, right? If so, unless she really hate driving, I would consider just driving both cars. Get a pair of FRS radios and make sure you both have cellphones. You can keep in contact with FRS radios unless you get seperated by more than a mile or two. So the cellphones are just for back-up on the few times the FRS radios won't work. Doing this has several advantages, imho.

    Sometimes all of you in the same car for hours can add to tension. This way you can still communicate regularly but also have your space. If someone is really tense and needs a break from the kids, both kids could ride with one driver for awhile. And you could also switch off the kids. Have mom and baby ride together for awhile, and then switch and have dad and baby ride together. This gives each of you some quiet time with each of the kids. This variety might actually help the kids enjoy the trip better too.

    I have done a lot of caravanning with other cars using FRS radios and the nice thing is that you can talk non-stop with each other if you want, or you can choose to not participate in conversations and rock out to your tunes, or listen to talk radio, whatever. In other words, you have company but also more privacy. And no arguing over what to listen to on the radio or what CD to play.

    Your gas expense will be a tad higher but not as much higher as you might think because of the increased gas consumption your 4-Runner will need if it tows your car.

    As for sidetrips....personally, I think there's enough to see right on your route without adding miles and the extra time to go off-route. Explore options along the route itself. If you do some searches, you should get some great ideas here. I'm braindead right now but I'll come back if I can think of something to share.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Yep -- Mountains!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanche
    I've been browsing old posts, and I'm already getting some good tips.
    Hooray! Thanks -- it is so great when a new member does that!
    My situation: I'm not planning this trip for the sake of a road trip,
    Every journey can be a road trip -- it is definition of understanding, not a description...
    I'm actually moving from Tampa to Boise and my family is hitting the road on August 1st.
    You are going to enjoy Boise -- it is a tad "flat" there -- but, oh so close, to really fun places!
    I have already been playing around with different routes, and from some posts here, I already think I prefer to take I-70 west from Kansas City rather than the shorter route, which is 1-80. I've been told the drive through Colorado is spectacular and the southern Wyoming stretch is mighty boring. I figure Kansas and Nebraska are probably interchangeable. Does that sound about right?
    If you are really going to be towing -- I would opt for I-80 (actually I like I-80 -- the western plains and all of that), but if you want the view of the Rockies -- then I-70 is the way to go.
    What is a reasonable amount of miles to expect per day? I figure I can take about 7-8 days to get there if we drive leisurely.
    Given the other parameters -- 400 miles would be about the max, if it were me.
    A big decision for me is whether or not to tow our second car or not. We have an older V6 4Runner (97) and we also have a Camry. It costs over a thousand dollars to ship the Camry across the country,
    Have you priced that using one of the Drive-Away services?
    and the rental hitch is quite a bit cheaper. I have to weigh those savings versus the hassle of towing the car, driving slower, and decreased gas mileage over aproz 2700 miles, some of crossing the Rocky mountains. Has anyone here ever towed a vehicle long distance? Good decision, bad, suggestions? It says on U-Haul that the hitch is not supposed to go over 45 MPH, but I was thinking more like 65 MPH.
    Thousands of people do it every year, but... it is a pain. If you have to -- sure, go for it. If you tow a car and get caught going 65 mph -- the average ticket could easily exceed $300 which could get expensive fast!
    I'm also going to be traveling with a child and a baby. (I know, this is sounding less and less like fun as I go on).
    No, that is the adventure part!
    My current planned route takes I-75 through Atlanta, then I-24/I-57 to St. Louis. I-70 from there all the way to I-15 to Salt Lake and finally I-84 to Boise. Another question I have is, that once on I-70 in Colorado, there appear to be two cut offs to I-15 that dramatically shorten the distance to Salt Lake City. Route 6 in Utah between Green River and Spanish fork, which looks to be at least 100 miles, and US-50 between Salino and Scipio, which looks closer to 25 miles in length.
    Route 6 is a mountain route -- a little radical -- but beautiful views and if you are used to mountain driving -- it will save some time. US-50 is no big deal -- valleys and a nice route.
    If they are true "mountain roads" I may just take the long way around where I-70 actually intersects with I-15, although that looks to add a few hundred miles to an already long trip.
    Yeah, the US-50 route is probably a better choice.
    My last question is about accomadations. I'm torn on whether to plan out all the stops and arrange hotels, etc ahead of time, or to just wing it. Planning it out is the safe way to go, and I can budget our money better and figure out the miles I need to go every day. The other scenario gives more flexibility for either traveling through an area quicker or lingering if we find something we want to spend some time with. My nightmare is to be driving with the baby screaming at about 1AM in the middle of nowwhere and not being able to find a place to stay. How do most of you do it?
    It is really a question about discipline and comfort level. Discipline -- stop every day at 5 or 6 pm you will have no problem finding a nice place to stay, reservations give you security but rarely result in better rates.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-28-2005 at 07:21 PM. Reason: typo!

  4. #4
    Lanche Guest

    Default Thanks for the advice so far

    Hi

    All your help is much appreciated. I'm already getting suggestions for things I never would have thought of, like the Drive-Away service. I just got a quick qoute from them for $545. Heck, gas that distance is almost half that. This almost sounds too good to be true. Has anyone here ever tried them? So do they charge you to just match a driver to the car and the driver pays all the gas? If so, they're making the $$ over there. It sounds like a great idea, but what happens if the driver of your vehicle gets in an accident or breaks down?

    Now two people have said that I-80 isn't that bad. I just figured I'd take I-70 because it's supposedly very scenic and I read quite a few posts about i-80 being completely flat with nothing much to see. I guess I'll have to look at both routes a little closer.

    If I end up towing, I think I'll use the 50 cut-through rather than spend so many miles in the mountains. I've never towed before, so I don't want to get used to it in twisty conditions.

    I looked into the towing rental a little more from u-haul. The reason I mentioned 45 MPH because it's the maximum speed they recommend at their website U-Haul Tow Dolly . To make matters even more confusing, I tried to fill out a form at their site, and they said that my 4Runner isn't heavy enough to tow a Camry. I looked up the specs, and the 4Runner weighs 3600 lbs and the Camry 3300 lbs. The empty dolly weighs 650 lbs. So my total tow weight is about 4000 lbs and according to Toyota, the V6 Camry max towing capacity is 5000 lbs. But U=Haul won't rent the dolly to me.

    Hmm. The more I look into towing, the less I like it. The 4Runner should get about 20-21 mpg highway on it's own. Has anyone here towed a sedan before? How much will my normal highway MPG drop? 5 MPG? More?

    Thanks again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default U-Haul is correct

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanche
    All your help is much appreciated. I'm already getting suggestions for things I never would have thought of, like the Drive-Away service. I just got a quick qoute from them for $545. Heck, gas that distance is almost half that. This almost sounds too good to be true. Has anyone here ever tried them? So do they charge you to just match a driver to the car and the driver pays all the gas? If so, they're making the $$ over there. It sounds like a great idea, but what happens if the driver of your vehicle gets in an accident or breaks down?
    I haven't used them, but we have heard generally good things about the service. You provide the first full tank of fuel and the driver takes care of the rest. The guestions about the insurance liability and accident et al -- you really need to speak with them.
    Now two people have said that I-80 isn't that bad. I just figured I'd take I-70 because it's supposedly very scenic and I read quite a few posts about i-80 being completely flat with nothing much to see. I guess I'll have to look at both routes a little closer.
    I-70 through Colorado and Utah is one of our favorite roads in America. It is an Interstate but it is mountainous.
    I looked into the towing rental a little more from u-haul. ... they said that my 4Runner isn't heavy enough to tow a Camry. I looked up the specs, and the 4Runner weighs 3600 lbs and the Camry 3300 lbs. The empty dolly weighs 650 lbs. So my total tow weight is about 4000 lbs and according to Toyota, the V6 Camry max towing capacity is 5000 lbs. But U=Haul won't rent the dolly to me.
    GVW is not the same as max towing capacity -- that is based on the GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) -- (plus you have to remember that Camry is probably going to be full of stuff -- extra weight). Also you have to include the weight of the passengers and the stuff in the 4Runner -- and no matter what the rating in your manual says -- you need to go to a scale and weigh your 4 runner with all of its normal gear. Then you subtract the loaded truck [weight of the cargo (and people)] from the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) found in the manual and this will give you the payload capacity. This number is the maximum payload capacity of your vehicle. In round numbers to adequately tow a 3300 lb Camry, you would need a vehicle with a GVWR of at least 5,000 lbs -- but the real test is to look at the GAWR for the rear axle of the 4 runner and see if there is any way it can handle the tow dolly and Camry. I can just about guarantee that the Camry will be overweight by at least 1500 lbs. What that means, is that the Camry can easily spin the 4Runner out of control.

    The things that can happen if you exceed the rated tongue weight for your 4Runner include a rapid and premature wear of the rear-end, including the wheel bearings and tires. The real problem is that it will upset the suspension's dynamic balance of the 4Runner and make it harder to steer, stop and tow... Short answer -- this is an unwise idea!


    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-29-2005 at 05:34 PM.

  6. Default Mileage

    I'd trust U-Haul's judgement on the towing limits -- I suspect that Toyota's capacity specification for your 4-Runner is less a recommendation that you should tow that weight than it is an acknowledgement that you might get away with towing that amount down a flat road for a short distance without damage to the vehicle. However, the results on a long trip on roads that DO have some grades could be negative -- resulting in problems with your drive train (transmission, particularly), not to mention the dangers Mark talked about.

    I also think that towing that much weight WOULD have a significant effect on your gas mileage. That little V6 just isn't strong enough to do the job without having to work much harder -- and you'll pay a fuel tax for that extra work.

    What about getting a cheap airline seat back and returning to pick up and drive the Camry yourself? That's probably what I'd do if I could -- is that a possibility for you?

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