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  1. Default moving truck from Iowa to Seattle first week of April

    We have a few concerns about this trip. Never know in what condition the 16’ truck will come (breaks, tires, etc). We don’t have mountainous truck driving experience. Should we take i90 or i80? We’re thinking i90. Is this even doable in early April? Not really an option at this point...moving one of our kids. If anyone would have any tips for us, that’d be greatly appreciated. Planning to just stop once, in Billings, MT.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    320

    Default

    Guessing a start in Sioux City (you didn't say - I just picked a city close to the western border) makes it at least 1560 miles to Seattle.

    In a truck that's 3 days. 500 mi/day given stops for fuel, meals. Driving a rental truck that's strange to you is fatiguing. You probably won't be running the 75 mph speed limit in that rental truck. Weather may also be a factor. I drove thru a whiteout blizzard in northern Wyoming not far south of I-90 last April. Also drove thru one on I-90 eastbound from Seattle first week of November.

    You'll encounter at least one weather front on your trip if not two.


    I-90 is good road. It has mountain passes so you'll want to read the owner's manual about using the transmission to help you control speed while descending hills. (Setting your brakes on fire would kind of hamper the rest of your trip)

    You're going to stop more places than Billings. Google Maps doesn't stop for fuel, for food, or for sleep. Nor does it take into account weather or vehicle capability.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,322

    Default much bigger concerns

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    As NFoCB indicated, the biggest problem you're facing, by far, is the amount of time you're planning for this trip. Trying to do a trip like this with just one overnight stop is far more dangerous and problematic than any issue you'll have with the truck, with the route, or the weather.

    "Iowa" is a giant target, but being that you're considering I-80 as an option, I'm guessing you're a lot closer to Des Moines than you are Sioux City, and at that point, you're looking at closer to 1800 miles, and even doing this in 3 days is really pushing the limit for how much you can do safely. To even do that, you'd need to have the truck completely packed up the day before, get a full night of sleep, and then get on the road first thing in the morning - which is generally pretty tough to do when embarking on a major move. 500 miles is a full day on the road when you're in a big lumbering truck like that - and even professional drivers are limited by law to going over more than about 600 miles in a day because it just becomes unsafe (and sitting in the passenger seat is counted the same as actually driving, so multiple drivers doesn't change that math), so please think about that before trying to convince yourself that you should be able to drive a moving truck nearly 1000 miles one day, and follow it up with another 800 miles the next day.

    If you're starting from eastern Iowa, then a 3rd overnight stop really becomes mandatory to make this trip safely.

    I-90 is generally the preferred route for a trip like this, because it does stay at a lower elevation than I-80, but keep an eye on the forecasts just before you leave - that should give you a better idea of which route will be a better option for this trip. Again, it can't be said enough, none of that matters if you don't give yourself enough time to safely make this trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,988

    Default Worrying about the wrong things.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As mentioned above, stopping once isn't an option as it's just too much to do safely. It would be in a car, never mind a truck rental ! Do not take notice of Google map time estimates as they are wildly optimistic in best case scenarios, you will be lucky to average 55mph over the course of a day making this at least a 2.5 day journey, probably 3 full days depending on start/finish points. So you are worrying about the wrong things, Interstates are safe with gradual curves and gradients for the biggest of rigs and people travel them every day, your main concern should be fatigue. You will need to keep an eye on the weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

  5. Default

    Thank you all so much! We will take all into consideration!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    320

    Default

    A little tidbit I've learned over several trips- Butte will be 10 to 15 degrees colder overnight than either Bozeman or Missoula. This might not matter quite so much for your particular trip but it sure surprised me when I had to start the jeep at minus 25 (or was it 35?) one morning!

    I've avoid overnighting in Butte during winter trips after that!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,802

    Default

    Just completed a one-way move for my daughter and her family, about a month ago, so I will chime in here with our experiences. We had no mechanical issues with the truck (20') or car-trailer that we rented, U-Haul, and AAMOF, the dealerships on both ends of the trip were *great* to deal with. We went from San Diego to the Denver area, so we encountered mountains and winter weather, as well.

    First, other post-ers are correct in their comments that you won't be running that truck at the 75 mph speed limit, except perhaps on the flatter portions of your trip. Uphill, depending on the grade, you may be going a bit slower -- hubby found that our slowest grade was a 6% grade and we went up it at 50 mph. We did hit some areas where we were going 70, but we used fuel at a more alarming rate.

    When you pick up the truck at the distributorship, ask what year it is, what its maintenance has been, examine the tires, look around the truck THOROUGHLY. If you can, ask for an extra day and some extra miles to be thrown in, due to weather. Our U-Haul had that capability and did that for us, though we didn't really need the extra day. (But we DID need the extra miles.)

    Remember when you are planning, you have to allow for at least one full day to pack up that truck, and one day to empty it. Get friends to help you that you can rely on, or plan to hire some help. (Many U-Haul dealerships are prepared with phone numbers of places to call for this, but I warn you, it's not cheap.)

    Do NOT, under any circumstances, think that you can get from anywhere in IA to Seattle in two days. I wouldn't do that in a passenger car, much less a heavy moving truck filled with everything I own!!! It's three days (2 overnights), as has been said above. By the time you get to the 500 mile mark in a moving truck, you are tired even if you don't think you are. We did 550 miles the first day, had a time-zone change to deal with, and came into the motel with two cranky kids and 4 tired adults. (We were driving the U-Haul/Trailer, daughter and family were in their main car, separately.) We wished we'd cut it short at 500 miles. That's what our 2nd day was, and it was MUCH more pleasant for all 6 of us.

    The other thing to realize is that parking a 16' may be rather challenging in some lots. If you are towing a car on a trailer, it can be impossible. You will NOT (repeat, NOT) be able to go through drive-through's in the fast food restaurants, and you may or may not have issues just parking it at many restaurants. So as you are planning your overnights, look at the availability of restaurants nearby. We did OK one night, but another night, we had to look around and actually take the U-Haul/trailer to a restaurant that had parking, as the only thing close-by was McDonald's!

    Good luck with your trip, and please let us know how it goes!

    Donna

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