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Truckee, Ca to Howe, In -- Is Hwy 80 the best way


Tahoe Shark

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I am going to Howe Indiana in August to have a couple of things done to our DRV before the warrantee is up. It looks like I-80 is a direct shot into Howe. Good Sam trip planning and my GPS both show toll roads on this route. I have never been this far East on 80 so I am looking for some advice. It looks like about a 6 day trip if I limit myself to about 400 miles per day. Any advice or info would be appreciated.

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Tolls are tolls. Not a huge cost. Road is ok, don't hit Chicago area after about 2pm and you'll be fine. There's a way around, but at the end of the day it's only a few dollars for the tolls.

 

If your ever going to on the east coast ez tags (toll tags) work in ill, ind, ny,NJ and the list goes on. There names change from state to state, but there all good on most if not all toll roads in the east. On line registration and they mail it to you.

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We left Eureka, CA last Sun and are currently heading back to family in Michigan, by way of San Francisco and Shipshewana, In. We are taking I-80 and did not have any issue with Donners Pass with our Chevy 2006 duramax and 34' fifth wheel with GVW at 24k lbs. I tapped the brakes until the trans shifted to 3rd gear and let it run down the hill at 65 and 4k rpm, piece of cake. I did push it going up the hill at 45 mph which ran my temp up to 235 F. We have been doing 300 miles a day running from 6-noon to avoid the mid day 100 deg temp the area is experiencing. As far as tolls, they are only in IN and they are expensive, about $24 for 4 axles to Howe. We always take 94 E. to 20 E. across IN. Highway 20 is a nice road with a mix of 4 lane and 2 lane and is a nice scenic view of Amish country. Found some good campgrounds through PassPort America along I-80. Any questions, just ask.

 

Greg, in Wells, NV

 

Update: Made it to Shipshewana, IN 7/6 after 9 days on I-80 which my wife refers to as a tiresome trip (replaced 2 of our 1 year old trailer G tires on the way). The toughest hill we climbed was East of Salt Lake City, a 6% grade for 10 miles, truck got hot, 260F, but made it and everything is running fine. Chicago was no problem, we hit it about 10 AM on Mon, Il toll was $2.40 and got change from a $5 in the 2 cash lanes. After toll, the best advice is to run the 2nd lane all the way to the IN Exit 16, and then get in the right lane for I-80 East. We saved the tolls and took I-94 East, through some long term construction and never slowed down, then got off at Exit 40 to run 20/2 East and saved the $24 toll. It was also no problem, but I will admit to it being my former stomping grounds.

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The tolls passing through IL and IN are small, not nearly enough IMO to warrant dealing with the IL toll authority. I applied for a transponder, paid the fees + enough to get to Maine from IN. Never did get the transponder, IL toll authority said I did. After we got back from that 5 month caravan trip I re-requested a full refund and finally got my money. If you do buy one, get it from IL, IN charges a monthly fee, IL doesn't.

Just pay cash, it doesn't take much time.

The only really heavy traffic will be near the junction of I 80 and I 65. Sometimes it looks like LA traffic.

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Good lucky coming down the hill from Truckee. That one hill I'd rather not bring an RV down and cook the brakes.

I have lived here since the 1970's and don't find I-80 the least bit intimidating going either way towing 21,000 lbs. I guess everyone has differing opinions but don't let I-80 stop you from exploring the Sierras. Just shift down and put your exhaust brake on if it has one.

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OK, I get it. The tolls are in Illinois and Indiana only. Are there toll booths like we have on the bridges? Sounds pretty easy if that is the case. Since I am just going in and right back I will probably not fool with any kind of pass. Thanks for the tip on the Chicago bypass, I will check that out.

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I only mentioned the grade because a few days ago we came down it and watched as a huge wrecker struggled with a 43ft DP. Halfway down we pulled off to do a bit of train watching. The smell of brake dust was almost overwhelming. To dismiss this grade as 'nothing' is a bit of a worry. Bit like dismissing pulling a 20000# trailer with a half ton truck. Yeah some folks think nothing of it. While others worry about worrying.

Next time I'm going down that grade just make sure you're not doing 65 behind me.

 

regards

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I only mentioned the grade because a few days ago we came down it and watched as a huge wrecker struggled with a 43ft DP. Halfway down we pulled off to do a bit of train watching. The smell of brake dust was almost overwhelming. To dismiss this grade as 'nothing' is a bit of a worry. Bit like dismissing pulling a 20000# trailer with a half ton truck. Yeah some folks think nothing of it. While others worry about worrying.

Next time I'm going down that grade just make sure you're not doing 65 behind me.

 

regards

Since you did not quote anyone else I assume you are responding to my comments about I-80 not being intimidating to me. First off I don't have a 1/2 ton truck, I have a 2015 3500 dually and am under published weights for the truck and axles. I pull my trailer from storage in Sacramento to my home in Tahoe at least once a month and return it to Sacramento after camping. If a persons equipment is not in good condition or over weight don't come up here, you may have a problem and you are a danger to everyone (on any road). I did not ever say the grade was nothing, reread my post. From Truckee to Reno is about 25 miles and the drop is aprox 1700 feet. That is not a big deal. Going the other way (which I am not this time) there are lots of grades up and down (primarily down) and lots of miles to get to Sacramento about 90 miles and 7000 ft drop. Also the speed limit in Ca while towing is 55 which I obey. If I come up behind you and you are doing less than 55 I will pass you, uphill or down. I apologize in advance if I have over reacted to your post but you greatly mis-characterized my comments.

 

Now lets get back to my question about going from Truckee to Howe, In. As long as I go through the Chicago area before 1 or 2pm I should be OK on traffic right? I will be coming through on a Monday or Tuesday and returning home on Saturday. It will be my first trip to that part of the country so we will be sightseeing for the 3 days DRV has our trailer. What does one do around Howe? Maybe see the Great Lakes I guess. Thanks in advance for all of the info on tolls and alternate routes, I appreciate it.

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We recently drove through Chicago and didn't like it at all! We were in a car and not an RV and still found the roads confusing. Plan your route in advance and make sure your GPS actually has the route you picked loaded, ours got confused by the proximity of a couple roads. Use Google's maps to get a look at your route so you aren't surprised by lanes being added or removed. We went through just before noon and there was a lot of traffic but only a couple small areas where it was stop and go.

 

Toll plazas are a pain, bring lots of dollar bills and a roll of quarters for minimal aggravation. Most locations had toll amounts posted ahead of them so you could have the cash ready when your roll up. Look carefully to be sure which lanes are open and closed, not all the lights were easy to see and we sat in line a couple times when another empty lane was actually open.

 

Gloria Jean's coffee is available at some of the rest stops, better than Starbucks and the break will give your nerves time to recover.

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