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  1. Default Boston to East LA in 6 days (I need your advice)

    My Fiance & I are moving back to Cali at the end of Mar 07. A buddy is flying to boston & joining us in our road trip. We are more concerned about safety than scenic routes, but we all love little towns & scenic america & of-course we have to stop at 1 or 2 bars. We are renting a 26 foot penske truck & my camry will be hanging in the back. We plan on putting our futon matress right behind the seats inside the truck & also a cooler & possibly a heater small tv. I will take my pocketpc with built-in GPS & tomtom software & we will add all flyingJ truckstops on the GPS. We plan to sleep inside the truck at safe truck stops. None of us have ever drove any big trucks.

    We love scenic routes, but safety & under 6 or 7 days is important.
    Do we need to avoid certain underpasses ?
    what are must have items?
    how many hours drive per day? I was thinking of taking turns 4 hours each
    Benefits of regular gas or diesel?

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

    Default A Few Issues

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I do have a couple significant safety concerns about your plan.

    First, I think you are overestimating the size of a Penske truck's cab. From what I remember, there is very little extra room inside. Certainly not enough room to put a mattress and/or a tv. While the 26 foot truck has room for 3 people, it could be a little crammed for 3 adults on this long of a trip.

    The biggest safety concern I have however, is your plan to sleep in the truck. While sleeping at truck stops is usually not a bad idea, the only way you will be able to sleep in the truck is to sleep in the cargo area - and that simply isn't safe. The only way to lock the cargo area is from the outside, and without a lock, a moving truck can be a big target.

    As far as Gas/Diesel, According to Penske's website, the 26 foot truck only comes in a Diesel. Personally, I like that because I think you get a little more power and a little better mileage out of the Diesel. The downside is that lately Diesel has been 40 cents or so higher per gallon than Regular.

    I would also recommend that you get a full sized trailer for your Camry. Whle there is nothing wrong with using a two wheel dolly, I find the full sized trailer is a little easier to move and control. Most importantly, you can back up with a trailor if you work into a bad spot. With a 2 wheel dolly, you can not back up, and must unhook your car before you can move in reverse.

    With your time limitation of 6-7 days, you will be limited to a direct freeway route. This trip usually can be done in about 5 days, but you will be limited to a 55 mph speed limit - which is important to follow because of your inexperience and your greatly increased stopping distance. You will also probably want some extra time simply because driving a large rig requires you to be more alert than usual, which can lead to fatigue quite a bit faster than if you are driving a regular car.

    Sticking to the Interstates will also be a lot easier to drive. You don't have to worry about things like tight turns, overpasses, or even major mountain grades. On the Interstate, all of those things are designed for big trucks, so you won't have to worry about them. You also don't have to worry as much about traffic, because you can stick to one lane and let everyone else go by you.

    Moving like this can be almost overwhelming, especially when you aren't used to driving trucks, but once you get used to it, its not that bad. Take things slow, especially at first, while you get used to how much room you really need to manuver the truck and trailer, but once you get the hang of things, it should get easier. By the time you get to California, you might even enjoy driving the massive beast!

  3. Default

    Thanks for your advice MidwestMichael

    I thought the 26&22 Penske had a door between the cab & the cargo area?

  4. Default

    DANG! your'e right I called penske & there is no door between the cabin & cargo. It makes me want to cry. where do we sleep? I will be taking my pocketpc with tomtom & It gives me a directory of hotels, but it's no longer going to be fun, the whole idea was to make this a fun hitchhiker camping type of trip.

    Is there any pocket pc or windows or mac software that I should take?

    This is quickie copy & paste from google maps

    I-90 W
    Merge onto I-90 W via exit 170B to Toledo
    Take the I-80 W
    Slight left at I-76 S toward Denver
    Merge onto I-70 W
    Take the exit onto I-15 S toward Las Vegas
    Take the exit onto I-10 W toward Los Angeles
    Merge onto US-101 N - stop by & visit Cheech & chong

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Creative camping

    Quote Originally Posted by ggomez
    It makes me want to cry. where do we sleep?
    Maybe you should try a different philosophy : one of the greatest part of a road trip is the unexpected. You shoud embrace it instead of trying to plan everything ahead. I rarely made reservations on road trips and I never had to sleep on a park bench yet, so just relax and enjoy the ride!:o)

    Ok, so obviously you guys are running on a budget. I highly recommend you get yourselves a copy of this guidebook which emphasizes on cheap lodging, restaurants and attractions. Also check out these tips on how to save money on the road.

    Since you won't be able to sleep in the cargo area maybe each of you could take turns at the wheel until you all decide you need to get some rest. You could save one or two motel rooms right there but please, get yourselves a room as soon as you feel too tired to drive or get on each other's nerves.

    Personally, I don't sleep so well in a moving car and I prefer to spend a couple of bucks on a cheap but clean motel room to get some rest. Unexpensive accomodations can be found at some truck stops (browse through your directories, even some Flying J have rooms), Mom & Pop operations (get coupon booklets and bargain), youth hostels, YMCA's or cheap motel chains (ex. : Motel 6, 1st Inn, Budget Host Inn). I know that some motel chains offer rebates if you book a room via internet even just a few hours before you show up.

    Quote Originally Posted by ggomez
    but it's no longer going to be fun, the whole idea was to make this a fun hitchhiker camping type of trip.
    Of course, it'll be fun. And, if you absolutely want to camp, you could still do some winter camping, but you need some high tech equipment.:o))

    Good luck!

  6. Default

    Thanks Gen,
    I'll take the trip as it comes, & you are 100% correct, I prefer to pay 40 bucks to stay at a motel so we won't get on each other's nerves.
    Man! today I found that it takes about 7 hours just to get to Buffalo NY.
    A buddy told me that the route that takes me through Buffalo NY was taking me way off & I should follow a different route?

    Which route should I take?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default It really is faster....

    Quote Originally Posted by ggomez View Post
    Man! today I found that it takes about 7 hours just to get to Buffalo NY.
    Maybe, you could... -- it is about 455 miles and it might be possible to make it in seven hours, (with a police escort) but the rest of us will take at least 8.5 hours to drive between Boston and Buffalo.
    A buddy told me that the route that takes me through Buffalo NY was taking me way off & I should follow a different route?
    I bet your buddy has only looked at a map? It is true that I-90 bends to the north and if you were a bird or a plane or superman, you could fly a straighter & shorter path from Boston -- but the NY Thruway is still faster than any other road in the area-- if you try and take one of the other roads, it will be longer in time!


  8. Default

    How about this route I found in this forum which avoids Buffalo?
    Is it more scenic ? or does it take way too long?

    I-90 & I-84 to Scranton
    I-81 to drop down to join I-80 west as far as Akron
    I-76 & I71 to drop down to I-70
    I-70 would carry me through the midwest & rockies
    I-15 in Utah for the final drop down into Cali

    I'm confused, maybe I should just pick up a map at AAA instead of google maps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Plan for a long ride

    You certainly won't make it to Buffalo in 7 hours. In fact, considering the moving van and trailer combination, I would guess it will probably take you closer to 10 hours or more.

    Remember, you need to go slower when pulling the trailer, and from my own experience, Your first day will probably be even slower than the rest of your trip, simply because you'll be getting used to driving the large vehicle. Also, since there will be 3 of you packed into the cab, you will probably want to stop and stretch on a fairly regular basis. So because of all of those factors, I wouldn't expect to cover ground much faster than 45-50 mph during your trip.

    However, with 6-7 days, that shouldn't be a problem. Even at a slower speed, you should be able to cover the ground without feeling too rushed.

    As far as your route goes, I don't know if I would take the Thruway in your shoes. It probably would be the fastest, but personally, I might look at taking a route that isn't a tollway. The NY Thruway isn't cheap to drive, and it will cost you even more because you'll pay the 4 axle rate.

    One option would be to take I-88 and I-86 through NY. I haven't driven it myself, however, and I'm not certain that the route is completely up to Interstate standards, yet. My map shows some of the route as still being "Future I-86" with a couple of small gaps where the road is not yet a Freeway.

    Another option, which I would be most likely to use myself, might be to get to I-80 a little bit sooner. You could take I-84 to Scranton, and then take I-80 across PA (via I-81).

    I might also look at avoiding the Ohio and Indiana Toll Roads by using I-71 to Cut down to I-70 in Ohio. You could take that all the way to Utah, or once you get to St. Louis, you could follow I-44 and I-40 out to California.

    You won't be totally able to avoid tolls, no matter which route you take, but avoiding them might be able to save you a little bit of money, and the overall time of your trip shouldn't be that much different.

    Just some of the many options you have to consider, but thankfully, there really is no wrong answer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Beat me to the punch!

    Quote Originally Posted by ggomez View Post
    I'm confused, maybe I should just pick up a map at AAA instead of google maps.
    I started writing my last post before you responded, but clearly we're on the same page. The route through Scranton and St. Louis is probably the route I would take if I were going to make this trip.

    Regardless, you absolutely should pick up some paper maps. You can either go through AAA, or you can pick up a basic Rand McNally atlas for $5 at your favorite big box discount store. Computers are nice for some things, but I still turn to the good old paper atlas when doing any serious road trip planning.

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