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Dave&Kris

Tampa to Tacoma, our first long haul

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Hello all! My wife & I are about to become full time RVers. She is a travel nurse & just got an assignment Tacoma, Wa. We currently live in Tampa, Fl & this will be the beginning of our life in "Millie", our 31ft TT. We won't be in a hurry, but we won't have a lot of time either, during our 3100 mile trip. "Crazy" is a word that comes up a lot in conversation, along with "couldn't find something further away??" We've done our research, and have a full roll of duct tape, but would love some shared wisdom for this trip. Google maps has us going through Atlanta, Chattanooga, & Nashville. Up to St Louis, Kansas City, then Sioux Falls where we take I-90 the rest of the way. We need to be there May 9, & plan on leaving May 1. Thanks for your input & happy trails to all!

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Have a safe journey and above all enjoy the trip. Fulltime is all about the travels and not just the destination. 

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9 hours ago, Dave&Kris said:

We need to be there May 9, & plan on leaving May 1.

Welcome to the Escapee forums!

Do you realize that you could very well run into snow-covered roads when traveling that route so early? The next alternate route which is nearly the same distance takes I70 across Kansas, I25 north from Denver to Cheyenne, I80 west to I84 and then north would also have that risk but slightly less and more likely to be quickly cleared of snow if that does happen. It would be unusual for either route to get no snow at all in May and really rare if they didn't get any in April. You need to allow enough extra time with either route to be able to sit and wait for snow removal for at least 2 or 3 days if need be. I'm not sure how familiar you are with travel on snow-covered roads, but as one who traveled Wyoming for 18 years in my job, I do not travel in those areas when there is snow on the roads. With 8 days to travel, you will need to go 390 miles per day on the average. Watch the weather closely and if possible, plan to leave yourself a few more days, just in case. That is late enough in the year that snow will be off of the roads pretty quickly but you still need to be able to wait for a day or so if need be. I have seen I80 closed for snow as late as June, but in May it should last less than a day if it should happen. Be aware also of the fact that wind conditions can be hazardous on either of those routes can experience dangerous wind conditions when crossing SD & MT or NB & WY so just be aware of that. You can do this but keep a close eye on each state's highway reports. Most any truck stop along either route can advise you on road conditions. 

Edited by Kirk W
sn

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First off welcome to the Escapee forums Dave! Lots of experience here.

With the strange weather lately no telling but in May you should be OK. However you don't have any wiggle room as 3100/9=344 miles/day! What is your tow vehicle for your 31' TT?

Looking forward to your answers and future comments here Dave!

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Because you need to allow a couple days for potential weather delays you will need to average 500 miles per day driving time. That's a lot when pulling an RV. This is not likely to be a pleasure trip. You can do it but plan to be cranky. :)

Linda

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I agree that you've got too optimistic of an itinerary. If you can leave a 2-3 days sooner, it will give you some needed flexibility. Consider that your average speed will be 55 mph or less (probably 50 mph). Last June I drove from Virginia to Colorado in a passenger car and found that 500 mile days were very fatiguing. It's usually worse in a large RV. Best of luck. Please keep us updated on your progress.

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As previously stated, I think because of the possibility of poor weather taking the northern route can be risky.  Also, going over the Rockies at those locations can be tricky for reasons already stated.  Why not right up I-75 to I-10, then west to I-5 and take that right to Tacoma.  Much less likely to run into poor travel conditions.  I'm assuming that since you know that you aren't leaving till May 1st you aren't giving yourself much leeway for situations that may occur not under your control.  That kind of driving over that short a period of time is going to be taxing on you, your wife and the tow vehicle.  If May 9th is the day you must be there by it doesn't provide much time for your wife before she has to begin working.

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Driving across KS east to west is no fun.  I've done it twice and will NOT do it again.  Ever.  The effin wind is RIDICULOUS!!!

8 days to drive that route is WAY too short, IMO.  If she needs to be there on 9 May, I suggest she fly and you drive at a more realistic pace.  Your drive time, setup and breakdown time will be VERY fatiguing.  

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The first thing that came to mind for me was it sounded like a pretty tight schedule for that distance.  The second thing that I immediately thought of was tires.  Newer fivers and TTs are notorious for coming from the factory with either underrated tires or cheap unreliable tires.  The last thing you need on your first long run is a blow out in some mountain pass that tears up the side of your new home.

I would at least run your RV across a scale and take a good long look at what tires you have.  Investing in a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) would also be a good idea.

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I knew I came to the right place, Thank you all! Our itinerary is being changed for more time (and less stress). The original route seemed questionable too. We tow with a Dodge 2500 hemi (I wish it were a diesel). Having been a mechanic for 26 years, I've made some upgrades for reliability (coolers mostly). We're towing at just under 80% of the trucks spec including all of our gear + full water & fuel tanks. We plan on carrying little water, 10-20 gal, or even no water in the tank to help.

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31 minutes ago, FL-JOE said:

The first thing that came to mind for me was it sounded like a pretty tight schedule for that distance.  The second thing that I immediately thought of was tires.  Newer fivers and TTs are notorious for coming from the factory with either underrated tires or cheap unreliable tires.  The last thing you need on your first long run is a blow out in some mountain pass that tears up the side of your new home.

I would at least run your RV across a scale and take a good long look at what tires you have.  Investing in a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) would also be a good idea.

I just put a full set of Goodyear Endurance ST's on (load/speed rating 117/112N). The original tires were not long for this world. (the spare is new too). I also keep a small 12V air pump in the truck & check pressures religiously (I'm one of those type of mechanics)

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I may have missed it, but you have somewhere to stay already in the Tacoma area?  Because it really isn't an RV friendly area.   I agree that you're short on time going any route.    If you decide to go the I-10 route, let us know, as several of us have suggestions for getting around (1) Phoenix and (2) LA.

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I would be concerned about the almost 400 miles per day for eight days. I could never enjoy a trip like that in an RV. We almost never travel like that. We take at least 7 or 8 days for our trip to the UP of MI for the 1400 miles. Be safe and have a good trip.

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16 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

Do you have a place to in Tacoma?

We have reservations at Gig Harbor RV. Kris will be working in Puyallup into Aug. & all other places we contacted were booked for that time (at least in a month to month basis).

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Yes, it is next to impossible to find places from Olympia north to Mt Vernon.  Most arks near any of the cities are now ANNUAL only!  

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Dave,

Sounds good as far as prep goes. You are way ahead as you actually know your weights and limits. I can't help with RV parks there because we are retire USAF and stayed at either McChord AFB or Fort Lewis Military FamCamps. They are now a joint base but I believe both RV parks are open. You also have the option to fly your wife in and join her later after a more leisurely and warmer trip up with the rig. Gig harbor rents RVs maybe they have a cabin to rent? But one month later is more assured of good weather. Then you could do Southern route and head north as the weather gets better. Florida to I-40 west to wherever you want to head more north. It pays to take your time first time out.

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On ‎3‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 9:52 AM, Dave&Kris said:

I just put a full set of Goodyear Endurance ST's on (load/speed rating 117/112N). The original tires were not long for this world. (the spare is new too). I also keep a small 12V air pump in the truck & check pressures religiously (I'm one of those type of mechanics)

Sounds like as long as your trailer weight is below 11,000 pounds those tires should be good to go.  I suspect that size TT your weight would be below 11,000 but I have never owned one so I really don't know.  I know we haul an extra 3,400 pounds of food, clothing, tools, etc. as full timers.

The reason I mentioned getting a TPMS for the trailer was so you could monitor your TT's tires psi and temp as you go down the road.  The system will  sound an alarm if there is a rapid loss of air or the air builds over a certain pre-set psi.  It is very important to know exactly when a tire fails.  It is very difficult to always know when a tire has failed without a TPMS and if you go very far it will come apart and certainly either damage your TT or maybe even damage the next tire in line.

Believe it or not, but having a properly working TPMS is my #1 piece of safety equipment on my RV and always has been.  Safe travels.

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Did you find the Bowman Hilton park ?(253) 845-2442

Much better location for working  in Puyallup.  Her commute from Gig harbor park will not be easy.

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