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First Big Trip Advice Please


Vegas Teacher
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My first big trip across country will be this summer. I am going to be driving across the Midwest from Vegas to Michigan and South back to my home state of Kansas. Route will be 15 north to 80 east, will take 80 west back to Chicago where I will head south and the head toward 70, 70 to K.C. and 69 south to Pittsburg Kansas. Then 44 to Tulsa then drop south to Oklahoma city catching 40 all the way to Flagstaff then 95 back into Vegas. The whole way I will be running bobtail and staying at truck stops when we get tired.

Would really like any and all advice anybody can give me. I am a little nervous. 

Later, 

Cory Ossana - Vegas Teacher

P.S. Schools out for summer!!

Edited by Vegas Teacher
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I don't know those routes individually, but if its interstate or US highway, you'll see lots of country.  Since you got the truck all fixed, it should be a none event for ya.  Take pictures, take time to go see the historic sites alone the way. How many miles a day are you planning? And how many days is this trip taking?

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40 minutes ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

I don't know those routes individually, but if its interstate or US highway, you'll see lots of country.  Since you got the truck all fixed, it should be a none event for ya.  Take pictures, take time to go see the historic sites alone the way. How many miles a day are you planning? And how many days is this trip taking?

First day would be from Vegas to Salt Lake City. Second would be Salt Lake to Omaha. Third would be Omaha to Morley Michigan, it is about 75 miles north of Grand Rapids Michigan in the Southwest part of the state. We would stay with my wife's family for a while. The trip from Michigan down to Kansas takes about a day. My home town is Pittsburg Kansas, I grew up about 45 miles from where Jack has RVH life styles. I am about 150 from where the National HDT rally takes place. Going back to Vegas my first leg would be to Gallup New Mexico then into Vegas. That is how we drove with a normal trip, but I have not recalculated with semi. We have also done straight through trips rotating drivers and sleeping in the back of my 4 door tundra or with the seats down in my outback too. But I am not sure if the big truck will slow me down or how much it might.

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If it were me, I would avoid 80 either way around Chicago and NW Indiana. You will most likely hit bad traffic there unless you can time it go thru late at night. On our trip that we are currently on that will take us to Grand Rapids MI and then to Madison WI, I am purposely heading around Lake Michigan thru the Upper Peninsula just to miss Chicago, plus it will be a much more scenic drive and we get to visit some nice state parks. I do not see a good alternative route for you heading east but heading south and west, I would probably run US 31 south from Michigan to Indy, then I465 around the west side of Indy to I70 and then head west. 

Enjoy your trip! 

 

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30 minutes ago, Star Dreamer said:

If it were me, I would avoid 80 either way around Chicago and NW Indiana. You will most likely hit bad traffic there unless you can time it go thru late at night. On our trip that we are currently on that will take us to Grand Rapids MI and then to Madison WI, I am purposely heading around Lake Michigan thru the Upper Peninsula just to miss Chicago, plus it will be a much more scenic drive and we get to visit some nice state parks. I do not see a good alternative route for you heading east but heading south and west, I would probably run US 31 south from Michigan to Indy, then I465 around the west side of Indy to I70 and then head west. 

Enjoy your trip! 

 

I would second the motion to avoid I 80 as much as possible, especially east of Des Moines, Iowa. I haven't traveled through Chicago in a long time, but if my trips south through St. Louis are any thing like Chicago I'd rather drive 300 miles out of the way to avoid, even taking  two lane roads.

Since you are not pulling a trailer you should be fine keeping the time frame you had with your previous vehicles. Remember you can go   1000  miles or more  before having to stop for fuel. Bathroom breaks usually come before the need for fuel, but if you get fuel and bathrooms at the same times you can put a lot of miles on your tires. 

Good luck with the trip. Have fun. 

 

Rod

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1 hour ago, Vegas Teacher said:

First day would be from Vegas to Salt Lake City. Second would be Salt Lake to Omaha. Third would be Omaha to Morley Michigan, it is about 75 miles north of Grand Rapids Michigan in the Southwest part of the state. We would stay with my wife's family for a while. The trip from Michigan down to Kansas takes about a day. My home town is Pittsburg Kansas, I grew up about 45 miles from where Jack has RVH life styles. I am about 150 from where the National HDT rally takes place. Going back to Vegas my first leg would be to Gallup New Mexico then into Vegas. That is how we drove with a normal trip, but I have not recalculated with semi. We have also done straight through trips rotating drivers and sleeping in the back of my 4 door tundra or with the seats down in my outback too. But I am not sure if the big truck will slow me down or how much it might.

Morley ... Our Daughter and her family live a few miles east of the blinker . DW and I are about half an hour north . 

Be advised : Do not speed in Morley . The 'law' will take it's toll . ;)

Like Star Dreamer , we avoid the Chicago asylum . 

You might consider dropping down to Illinois 18 via US39 ( Peru ) . Illinois 18 east through Streator until it meets Illinois 17 east to Momence , IL . Then Illinois 114 , which turns to Indiana 10 at the state line . Take Indiana 10 to US31 . North to US 20 . East to Indiana 13 North , which turns into US131 at the state line . North to exit 125 . 

We've traveled that route in our Monaco more than once . It's a bit longer , but , much more relaxing and pleasurable drive .

 

 

Edited by Pat & Pete
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29 minutes ago, Pat & Pete said:

Morley ... Our Daughter and her family live a few miles east of the blinker . DW and I are about half an hour north . 

Be advised : Do not speed in Morley . The 'law' will take it's toll . ;)

Like Star Dreamer , we avoid the Chicago asylum . 

You might consider dropping down to Illinois 18 via US39 ( Peru ) . Illinois 18 east through Streator until it meets Illinois 17 east to Momence , IL . Then Illinois 114 , which turns to Indiana 10 at the state line . Take Indiana 10 to US31 . North to US 20 . East to Indiana 13 North , which turns into US131 at the state line . North to exit 125 . 

We've traveled that route in our Monaco more than once . It's a bit longer , but , much more relaxing and pleasurable drive .

 

 

Are you close to big rapids, my wife graduated from Ferris State.

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From Michigan to Pittsburg, I would take I94 and 94/80 it is a short bit of I80 to I57 to Effingham then pick up I70.    I 70 in Indiana is some of the worst road in the country.    I have visited friends in Saginaw and find rest stops better than truck stops for layovers IF bobtail park in the RV parking.   

 

Steve   

Edited by Steve from SoCal
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"I would second the motion to avoid I-80 as much as possible, especially east of Des Moines, Iowa".

We live south of Grand Rapids Mi. and spent a Month in Co. and Utah last year.  On the way back we went I 70 to 470 around Denver and picked up US 36 just East of Denver.  HWY 36 was awesome, cruise set at 65 with no traffic all the way to Hannibal MO., then I-72 in Hannibal, north on I-57 to Hwy 24  in Gilman IN.  Once on Hwy 24 you can take Hwy 421 or Hwy 31 north to I-94.  It might take a little longer this way......but all it takes is a traffic jam in Chicago to make it up.  Hwy 36 is a great way to avoid St. Louis and Kansas City and some of it is a limited access Hwy.

We travel to Ryan Park WY. from West Michigan a couple times a year.  We are unable to avoid Chicago, so we travel through Chicago between 11 pm-4 am Central time or Sunday early morning. 

Bob

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10 hours ago, Vegas Teacher said:

Are you close to big rapids, my wife graduated from Ferris State.

We're originally from the Grand Rapids , Mi area . Currently in a camp north of Big Rapids for the summer .

West Michigan is the stomping grounds of my younger days . :)

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Howdy Cory,

As others have said I strongly suggest avoiding ANY major city traffic if possible, why deal with the stress and greater possibility of a wreak if you don't have to.

I know that freeways are the quickest way to get somewhere but they are also BORING and driving them won't give you the skill set needed to drag your trailer on the two lane roads that must be used to get to most scenic and camping areas.  I would suggest taking the back roads from time to time and learn how your truck handles curves and grades that your not going to find on the freeways.

Most of all, slow down, count the cows, SEE the county your traveling through and ENJOY the trip as well as the destination.

Dave

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11 hours ago, Pat & Pete said:

When we have little choice but to go through a big town , I always run the center lane of the E-way .

That works best as the on - off traffic can do as they please and I can be done with it the quickest . ;)

If you are not in a hurry, then run the right lane and get over if needed, but if you can't it's up to the entering vehicle to increase their speed to get in front of you or for them to stop on the ramp if they cannot merge  in. I HATE to see people Slam on their brakes to allow a very slow moving vehicle to get in front of them merging in. If you don't know how to merge you have no business on that type of highway. JMHO. 

 

Rod

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On 5/31/2021 at 9:01 AM, Pat & Pete said:

We're originally from the Grand Rapids , Mi area . 

We're from the Grand Rapids area too... still have our house back in Rockford.   Howdy, neighbor!   As a matter of fact, just arrived back in Grand Rapids staying for a while, driving our toad.... New grandchild coming and home to help.

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3 hours ago, lappir said:

If you are not in a hurry, then run the right lane and get over if needed, but if you can't it's up to the entering vehicle to increase their speed to get in front of you or for them to stop on the ramp if they cannot merge  in. I HATE to see people Slam on their brakes to allow a very slow moving vehicle to get in front of them merging in. If you don't know how to merge you have no business on that type of highway. JMHO. 

 

Rod

The ones that irritate me are the ones who never look--they just come down the ramp and right into traffic whether or not there is space for them. Apparently we are all supposed to move over to make room for them even if we plan to take the next exit. I was taught my job as the one already there is to maintain a steady speed so those on the ramp know how to adjust. I just wish everyone else had been taught that. One of the problems, I think, is that driving tests happen on city streets so new drivers don't have to show they know how to merge into traffic. But, some testers are to blame as well; when Dave's father had to take a driving test after his stroke the tester noted that his reactions were slow. I guess you could call it that since by the time he stopped for a stop sign he was in the middle of the intersection. But, that didn't result in any restrictions!

Linda

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5 hours ago, sandsys said:

The ones that irritate me are the ones who never look--they just come down the ramp and right into traffic whether or not there is space for them. Apparently we are all supposed to move over to make room for them even if we plan to take the next exit. I was taught my job as the one already there is to maintain a steady speed so those on the ramp know how to adjust. I just wish everyone else had been taught that. One of the problems, I think, is that driving tests happen on city streets so new drivers don't have to show they know how to merge into traffic. But, some testers are to blame as well; when Dave's father had to take a driving test after his stroke the tester noted that his reactions were slow. I guess you could call it that since by the time he stopped for a stop sign he was in the middle of the intersection. But, that didn't result in any restrictions!

Linda

I was so disappointed with my youngest child's drivers education in the late 1990's. It was in South Florida where there are multiple merge areas, multilane roads and lots of distracted drivers all over. Her required time in the car was registered in minutes, don't remember the exact numbers, but her behind the wheel time was 1/3 of that since there were two other students in the car at the same time.  They didn't go very far away from the school, since they had to be back in an hour and the school was on the western edge of the metropolis. 

Thankfully I had spent a summer in Iowa teaching her how to handle motorized vehicles. It started with a Riding lawn mower and backing up to hook up to a wagon or something else. Then it was mowing the large lawn and keeping straight lines. We progressed to a 1970's Jeep Pickup with a manual transmission and headed out on the country roads I grew up driving. We put lots of miles on the gravel, the hills, the mud and then started on the highway to town and finally running around town a bit. She is now comfortable driving a manual transmission unlike many of her friends. 

We also spent a lot of time in locations around where she lived in South Florida after returning for the school year. One time we were out in the "Acreage" and it seemed like she was going in circles. I let it go for a while before asking 'Do you know where you are and where are you wanting to go'. Her response was "Home", and the lesson began in earnest. I hadn't planned it, but it came at the perfect time. It was starting to get dark, she was in an unfamiliar place and it was time to use her Iowa skills to find her way home. 

When we first started out in Iowa, I said pick a direction, I don't care which way it is, but make sure you can find your way back to your starting spot we will be in the truck for an hour and I don't want to just go in a circle for an hour, we have to do multiple turns and several miles. We found landmarks and such that would get her home. I told her she could not get me lost in the area. 

In South Florida it was a different animal. I had gotten lost one day looking for a home to purchase, in the "Acreage". I was on my motorcycle with a low fuel tank. Thankfully what my Grandfather had taught me when I was very young in Iowa kicked in. He was the one that started me driving when I was about 10 and in the large pasture with no roads. Long story short we got home and she is now the best navigator I have ever seen. She also used to fall asleep on all of our long road trips and just the other day I asked about a recent trip with her roommate and who drove, and how her road nap was. She remarked I don't nap much in the car now. It's sort of rude to the driver. Proud Dad moment right there. 

I know this was long, but it's not the responsibility for the schools to teach our children, it's ours. The schools responsibility is to act as the impartial testing center where all the families hard work really pays off. I wish I had realized that a long time ago. Think about it. 

 

 

Rod

 

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1 hour ago, lappir said:

I know this was long, but it's not the responsibility for the schools to teach our children, it's ours. The schools responsibility is to act as the impartial testing center where all the families hard work really pays off. I wish I had realized that a long time ago. Think about it. 

Well stated.

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11 hours ago, lappir said:

If you are not in a hurry, then run the right lane and get over if needed, but if you can't it's up to the entering vehicle to increase their speed to get in front of you or for them to stop on the ramp if they cannot merge  in. I HATE to see people Slam on their brakes to allow a very slow moving vehicle to get in front of them merging in. If you don't know how to merge you have no business on that type of highway. JMHO. 

 

Rod

 Almost always , I run the right lane and most everyone passes us , except when there are 3 or more lanes in big towns . 

Then it's center lane . I've experienced way too many 'not knowing how to merge' incidents to increase the chance of a mishap with our home . I guess it's kinda like an insurance policy . ;)

I agree on parents teaching responsibilities . Even supposed 'dumb' animals teach their young . 

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11 hours ago, Jim & Alice said:

We're from the Grand Rapids area too... still have our house back in Rockford.   Howdy, neighbor!   As a matter of fact, just arrived back in Grand Rapids staying for a while, driving our toad.... New grandchild coming and home to help.

Hi Jim .

DW lived in Cedar Springs and Rockford before buying a place on the Northeast end of GR . 

 We came back when our twin grand-girls were born . 

Similarities . :)

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13 hours ago, Jim & Alice said:

We're from the Grand Rapids area too... still have our house back in Rockford.   Howdy, neighbor!   As a matter of fact, just arrived back in Grand Rapids staying for a while, driving our toad.... New grandchild coming and home to help.

I know where Rockford is!!!

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3 hours ago, Pat & Pete said:

Similarities . :)

Yes, Similarities!   One of he joys of Fulltiming for us have been encountering folks from 'home'.   A few years ago, I actually ran into a guy that I had worked with closely for years, but due to dispersed campus (Butterworth) rarely encountered.   He was at a gas pump in South Dakota, I arrived and saw the license plate... and after exchanging names we 'clicked'. 

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