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  1. Default Tips for Safe Trip, w/small moving trailer, PA to AZ in Dec. 2016

    Hello RoadTrippers!

    Looking for some advice for our young adult fam moving from Stroudsburg, PA area to Prescott, AZ area later this week! The weather looks a little frightful in some parts so we don't want them to go the wrong way.

    They are a young couple w/ a dog traveling in a pick up truck carrying a small UHaul trailer of all their worldly possessions.

    Goal is to get them to AZ (1) safely, (2) economically, and (3) as quickly as possible - keeping it safe and on the cheaper side for them. They are not taking time to vacation along with way, but anything fun or pretty scenery they can see while not going too far out of the way may interest them.

    Any tips? Both of them can share driving. They plan to stay in motels/Courtyard type places along the way.

    Thank you in advance for all your expertise!


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    For routes, things are pretty straightforward. The Direct Route would be I-80 across PA, I-76/I-71 to Columbus, I-70/I-44 through St. Louis to Oklahoma City, and then I-40 onto AZ. There are a couple variations at the start of your trip that would impact where you get on I-40, you could take I-81 straight down from PA and get on I-40 in TN, or you could go over to Columbus and continue south on I-71/I-65 and join I-40 in Nashville.

    The first route, through St. Louis is the shortest, and taking one of the other routes adds about 100 miles. Any of the routes could see good weather, or bad weather, so you'll have to look at the forecasts for the days they are on the road. Once they are on I-40, there really isn't any other option, as any detour would add so many miles, it would not be worthwhile.

    They're looking at a trip of 2400-2500 miles, which means when factoring safety and the fact that they are pulling a trailer, they need to plan for 4 overnight stops. 500 miles a day, considering the fact that they are towing is going to be a full day on the road. Towing will make weather a bigger factor, both from wind and snow/ice, so it will be even more important than usual for them to have an extra day or two available in case weather slows them down, and if there is a snow or ice storm, they really will be best off pulling off and waiting for conditions to improve.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Welcome to RTA!

    I would suggest to them that they steer clear of I-80/90 and the PA Turnpike. The 80/90 is going to get the lake effect, which can cause them issues with that weather. The PA Turnpike, with a trailer in tow, is going to cost a pretty penny. I'd suggest that they get themselves over to I-81, take that south into TN and then turn west on I-40. From what I have seen of the storm maps, I-40 isn't supposed to get the brunt of that weather front moving in! Both 81 and 40 have some pretty scenery.

    With a dog (or even without one, for that matter), they'll want to stop every couple of hours so that the humans can stretch, pup can walk. If a rest area is closed, there's always a truck stop/travel center down the road, and most of those have pet areas too. Get a decent start every day, and pull in before dinner (and dark) to get good rest for the next day. If they keep up a driving pace of about 10-11 hours, it should take them about 5-6 days to cross the country. (This allows for the slightly slower speed limits for safety for U-Haul type trailers.) They might want to have another day available, "just in case" that snow moves further south than the current predictions.

    One motel chain that is pet-friendly *and* budget-friendly is Motel 6. There are other mom-and-pops that seem to be pet-friendly.

    Prescott is beautiful....


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default As Always

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The standard, and best, advice we can give for winter travel is to take the most direct, all-Interstate route. That puts you on the best possible roads, minimizes the amount of time you'll be on the road, costs the least in gas, and leaves you the best option in the event that you do have to sit out a winter storm - enough time to do so. In your case that's I-80/I-76 west into Ohio, I-71 down to I-70 at Columbus and then on to St. Louis, then I-44 to Oklahoma City and I-40 to Flagstaff AZ. I-17 and AZ-169/AZ-69 then complete the trip.

    At best, you might be able to complete this trip in four days, but a truck pulling a trailer and carrying a dog is not the best case scenario, so plan on five days. That would leave you time for a few short R&R breaks each day, especially necessary with the dog, and builds in a little extra time in case you do need to sit out a storm. It's not necessary and probably counterproductive to make reservations. There will be plenty of near-empty motels all along the way and you'll want the flexibility to adjust your schedule on the fly. Still you should keep in mind roughly where five evenly-spaced days on the road would put you just so you know how you're progressing. Those would be approximately Columbus OH, St. Louis MO, Oklahoma City OK, and Moriarty NM. Again, those are just markers rather than places to plan on staying. Just as important as knowing about where you have to get to each evening is the confidence that keeping up that pace is all you need to do and thus avoid the impulse to push on into the evening after you should be off the road and getting the rest you'll need to do it all over the next day. As for specific motels, Motel 6 is both an economical and fairly pet-friendly chain, so I'd suggest that you bookmark their website and know where their franchises are along your route.


  5. Default

    Thank you all for your quick responses!

    I will pass it on to them - so thankful for your expert advice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'm with Donna on this - the weather late this week is going to be ugly and the quicker you can get south, the better off you will be.

    I'd take PA-33 down to I-78 to I-81 to I-40.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Don't forget to pay careful attention to the instructions for putting sufficient weight on the tongue of the trailer. Else the trailer could get to swaying so badly as to put them off the road.

    It's important!

  8. Default

    Insufficient tongue weight will cause fish tailing which is extremely dangerous. Too little can cause handling problems. You should have 10 to 15 percent of the loaded trailer weight on the hitch.

    Here is a link to U-haul's trailering site that describes this and other safety concerns.

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