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First trip in the HDT


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We bought our HDT last month. After doing a few maintenance items and a few improvements I was ready to take my family on our first trip ( follow the work progress on FMB here: http://www.followmybuild.com/jason@chooseopencom ).

We live in central IL and we went to go visit family in western NY. We don't own a trailer yet so we took the truck on the ~1500 round trip bobtail.

At the beginning of this trip I was quite excited to hit the road. The kids were also super excited since they had been participating in the rear seat construction project.


I only have about 10 hours of experience of driving a heavy truck so I was excited, but also nervous since my family was onboard. We really liked how we had had plenty of space for all our stuff. We normally travel in a minivan I was able to stow our suitcases and jogging stroller on the metal storage boxes under the bed, which was pretty cool. We also found plenty of places for coats, snacks, electronic gadgets, etc.


Usually, I hate driving long distances. I just drive for a couple hours then my wife takes over while I sleep, lol. This time, I had to drive the entire way since I am the only one that knows how to drive the truck. We broke the trip into two legs. Day 1 I drove 6.5 hours to Columbus where we got a hotel. And then on Day 2 we got up, and had the hotel breakfast, and I drove the next 6.5 hours to our final destination. My first challenge during this trip was the wind! It just so happened that strong fronts were moving across this part of the country. Something like 40mph sustained with 60mph gusts!! We just slowed down and kept trucking luckily the direction of the wind was affecting the North/South routes moreso than our East/West route. Our mileage for the trip over here was 12.8 mpg.



We stopped at a couple truckstops along the way. Some of these places are definitely better than others. Also, it is a little difficult to herd the kids across the giant truck parking lots and into the building, lol. We got a lot of looks from other truckers as we pulled up in our rig and my wife gets out with our 9, 5, and 6 month old, lol.

For those with infants, keep in mind that it can be pretty tricky to lift the car seat with the baby in it all the way up into the truck. Same goes for getting out of the truck. It is tricky to lift the baby down

We basically need both of us to do it safely



As luck would have it, our first trip also included our first breakdown. We woke up one cold morning and went to go visit family and the truck wouldnt start! The batteries were zapped. I had travelled with a float charger and extension cords, but I neglected to use it that night

Sooo, I walked about a mile to the Napa and bought a real battery charger. You know, one of the big ones on wheels. This type of charger actually has a jump start mode and I was able to get the truck started. Yay!

Unfortunately, the next morning the truck still wouldn't start! And I did use the float charger that night Sooo, I called up the guy from NAPA and had them deliver 4 shiney new batteries. They were super helpful and about 15 minutes after I called, they delivered the batteries to my Airbnb. Big thanks to: Medina Parts Co Inc - NAPA Auto Parts http://www.napaonline.com/ny/medina/store/27506



After to got to our destination, I was determined to take the truck everywhere we normally go. We had a few stressful situations, but it worked out pretty well. It took a few tries before my wife and I got in sync about watching for weight limit signs, low trees, dead ends, etc. She even had to get out once or twice to guide me as I backed out of a driveway onto a busy road.

One thing that we figured out that we really liked was that when we went grocery shopping, it was very convenient to put all the grocery bags into our storage boxes. Very nice!



This morning as I finish this post we are packing up the truck for the ride back home. Fingers crossed everything goes smooth. Happy trucking!

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Jason, You sound a bit like us 15 years ago.... only I ended up with 5 kids. Grew up and live in N-C-IL, up by Lasalle-Peru. Went to college at Houghton, NY. Know what you mean about the space. even with 5! Once, we even forgot the baby in the back corner for 5 minutes...had to run back and get him! (sound asleep, no skin off HIS nose...)


I do want to caution you to NEVER forget you are driving a big truck. They drive so nice its easy to get truckin' along and not be driving slow enough. Especially bobtail. Even with a bed, its easy to get the rear axle walking around the front... I remember one time I was driving a small road to an attraction, running about 50mph, came a round a bend and BAM...stop sign with no warning. Hit the brakes, rear end started sliding...ended up having to let off and go THRU the intersection to keep from rolling the truck. Thankfully no one was there. I probably could have stopped in a LDT.

I would honestly have been a bit scared to take a HDT that far bobtail...Kuddos to you for doing so safely.


Anyway--great to hear the story and have fun, safely!

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It's fun isn't it? We took ours to Florida last winter when we didn't yet own our fifth wheel. I also learned the same lesson as Jeff-C. These trucks drive so smoothly that it's easy to forget how much they weigh and how much energy they are carrying when you need to stop. I have adopted a much longer following distance (especially when bob-tailing or wet conditions) Have a great time and safe travels.

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