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Old 08-23-2010, 10:14 PM
 
8 posts, read 21,201 times
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Default Driving from North Carolina to Chicago, IL

Hello folks -

I'm moving from Durham, NC to Chicago, IL on my own (16 ft Penske Truck + Car Dolly/Carrier). I needed some help/advice from you'll. Hope you'll can help:

1) What is the best route to take? Google maps suggests through WV and KY on my way to Chicago. I am trying to break the trip into two halves and wanted to figure out the best route so I can stop over in Louisville or Cincinnati perhaps? Any recommendations there?

2) Any recommendations on places to stop over or a hotel/motel to stay in overnight?

2) How long would the drive take in a truck + car tow? Normal driving puts it at about 13 hours. Would 16 hours be accurate?

3) Any advice from anyone that's done a long distance drive on their own with a car tow regarding whether I should use a car dolly (rear wheels of the car on the ground) or car carrier (all four wheels off the ground)? The latter is more expensive to rent and I'm assuming in terms of gas as well (more weight to pull), but I don't mind as long as it's safer. Any advice given the distance and the fact that I'm pulling it with a 16ft truck?

Thanks so much! A little nervous but think I can pull it off!
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Cook County
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Well, I have done the drive with a Penske from Charlotte, NC. I don't know how far you are from 77, but if you can get there, its basically just a couple roads the whole way....

77 North to Charleston, WV where you meet up with Interstate 64, take 64 West through Kentucky (you avoid the speed trap state that is Ohio that way) and take it clear through to Louisville. You'll meet up with 65 North there, and you take that north from the south tip of Indiana to the north tip. This is the boring part of your drive, IN is a long, flat, boring state to drive through. 65 will dump you into all types of routes into Chicago, the Skyway, I80 etc. So you basically can get there in 3 roads, 77 - 64 - 65

If you do go this route I can give you a lot more advice as I have done that drive with truckloads of crap more than once.

I don't think you'll need to tack on too much more time for the truck, 13 hours may turn into 14.5 at the most. I would stay away from the dolly, its harder to drive than the elevated trailer. And usually you only save like 100 bucks with the dolly, hardly worth it to me.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Cook County
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As far as where to stop, Lexington, Kentucky is about the halfway part on my described route, if you can make the extra couple hours I would stay in Louisville. Either one should work. I usually like to get more than half done the first day as you will be more energized during that trip
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:36 PM
 
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orangeish - thanks for your quick response! I will be driving from raleigh, NC. Think I can get to 77 pretty quickly. If I take the route your suggested, what advice could you provide? I think per your suggestion I'll take a car carrier rather than the dolly. Have you ever driver a truck + car carrier that distance? What was it like? Any other advice at all? about stops, places to stay at in Lexington or Louisville? thanks!
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:01 AM
 
Location: Chicago
35,621 posts, read 53,213,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mich12 View Post
Hello folks -

I'm moving from Durham, NC to Chicago, IL on my own (16 ft Penske Truck + Car Dolly/Carrier). I needed some help/advice from you'll. Hope you'll can help:

1) What is the best route to take? Google maps suggests through WV and KY on my way to Chicago. I am trying to break the trip into two halves and wanted to figure out the best route so I can stop over in Louisville or Cincinnati perhaps? Any recommendations there?
Until you get west of the mountains and foothills, stick to interstates or interstate-grade highways as much as you can. Tighter curves on two-lane highways you may not even think twice about in a car could be nearly unnavigable when towing a car or trailer. I'd take I-77 to I-64, stop in Louisville, then pick up 65 from Louisville to Chicago. If you prefer to lay over in Cincinnati, you can take 77 to 64 to 75, stop in Cincinnati, then take 74 from Cincinnati to Indianapolis and pick up 65 there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mich12 View Post
2) Any recommendations on places to stop over or a hotel/motel to stay in overnight?
You're better off asking folks in the forum of the city you'll be staying in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mich12 View Post
2) How long would the drive take in a truck + car tow? Normal driving puts it at about 13 hours. Would 16 hours be accurate?
Sounds about right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mich12 View Post
3) Any advice from anyone that's done a long distance drive on their own with a car tow regarding whether I should use a car dolly (rear wheels of the car on the ground) or car carrier (all four wheels off the ground)? The latter is more expensive to rent and I'm assuming in terms of gas as well (more weight to pull), but I don't mind as long as it's safer. Any advice given the distance and the fact that I'm pulling it with a 16ft truck?
The only reason I'd consider using a full trailer is if you have an AWD car with a viscous center differential that would lock up and grenade if one set of wheels were spinning while the other set weren't. Also, if you have a manual transmission make sure it's the drive wheels that are lifted; it can be a little hard on the transmission to have all the gears spinning without getting properly lubricated (yes, they will spin even when in neutral).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mich12 View Post
Thanks so much! A little nervous but think I can pull it off!
Good luck and congrats on your move.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:46 AM
 
Location: Cook County
5,285 posts, read 3,746,293 times
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As far as the route I suggested, if you have never driven I-77 north up through that little skinny part of VA and throught WV to Charleston, I would suggest trying to time your journey to hit that 3ish hour strech at a well lit, clear sky day. I'm not trying to say its a death route, as its not, but if you aren't experienced with driving a larger vehicle, might as well make it as easy as possible for ya, right? There are some serious turns and steep grades of roads out that way. You are pretty much in the clear once you hook up with 64 in Chalreston as far as mountains go.

I would also, as I said before, really suggest you get a the trailer over the dolly, its just easier all around (except for the loading/unloading part). Also, if you haven't done this before--backing up with a trailer or a dolly is really challenging. Try to put yourself in situations where you wont have to (especially vital at gas stations). When at the hotel, park in the back of the lot so youll have lots of room to get out and invest in a good lock for your penske door. If you stop at a walmart or a larger rest stop, same deal, make sure you park in the back where you have lots of room to work. You'll gain a new respect for truckers after this

Lastly, for the hotels, Drover was right on, I would go to the KY forum and ask the Louisville or Lexington folk (if you go that route) what they think.

And ya, good luck on your move, doing it yourself should save you a ton as oppose to hiring movers.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:15 PM
 
8 posts, read 21,201 times
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Drover and Orangeish,

Thanks so much for all the info. This is great advice! I really appreciate it.

Sounds like driving through WV will be a challenge. I'll definitely try to hit that area during the day light. Will that be a 2 lane highway? If yes, that might be an issue given the truck and car carrier. Or is it just a regular interstate highway but just more wind-y and up and down?
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
2,685 posts, read 3,096,584 times
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The route through WV will be an interstate with two lanes going in each direction. It's hilly, but not awful driving. Doing it in the daytime is probably good advice, but as long as it isn't winter it's not a hairy drive at all (even at night). Just be prepared to be driving slow up hills and stay to the right. I drove a fully loaded 30' truck through there years ago and I was crawling by the top of some hills.

I would definitely recommend going through Louisville and not Cinci. I remember the lane changes in Cinci to be a bit more difficult. Whichever route you take you should probably spend 5-10 minutes on Google maps to get an idea of what lanes you'll want to be in when going through cities (Louisville, Indy, etc.). Knowing which lanes to be in, and avoiding having to cut across three lanes at the last minute, makes it a lot less stressful.

What part of Chicago are you moving to? Most likely you'll want to take the Skyway to 90/94 once you get into town, but it depends on exactly where you're headed to.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,384 posts, read 5,717,168 times
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Looks like I-40 west from Raleigh to US421 west of Greensboro to I-74 West/North to I-77 North. The I-64 to Louisville then I-65 north seems shorter than the I-75 to I-275 to I-74 to I-65 scenario.
You could also take I-40 west all the way to Knoxville and then pick up I-75 north to Lexington and then go via Cincy or Louisville. The I-77 seems like it has less challenging terrain to drive through, but that's based on the squiggly lines on the map and 20 year old recollections of I-75 north of Knoxville. 6 years ago when I did I-64 from Charleston to Lexington the terrain was hilly but not bad to drive.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Chicago
35,621 posts, read 53,213,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attrill View Post
I would definitely recommend going through Louisville and not Cinci. I remember the lane changes in Cinci to be a bit more difficult. Whichever route you take you should probably spend 5-10 minutes on Google maps to get an idea of what lanes you'll want to be in when going through cities (Louisville, Indy, etc.). Knowing which lanes to be in, and avoiding having to cut across three lanes at the last minute, makes it a lot less stressful.
Yeah, I don't remember the last time I drove through/around Louisville, probably because it was so uneventful. But I found the signage in the Cincinnati area to be vague and confusing. I'm used to arrows indicating which lane goes where pointing straight down into the lane in question. In the Cincinnati area the arrows just kinda point down and off to the side without a clear indication of which lane they're trying to direct you toward. It's weird.
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