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Old 04-14-2010, 08:50 PM
 
Location: the middle of the Mojave Desert
7 posts, read 61,713 times
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So we are leaving a week from Saturday for Maine and are thinking of taking the 40 out of California and I was wondering if anyone has traveled that route cross country. We will be driving a 22' truck and towing my PT Cruiser behind. Just want to know if it is traveler friendly and if there are plenty of off highway, truck friendly hotels and such. Just curious. I figure there must be, but I have never traveled cross country that far south so I don't know what to expect. The weather should be ok this time of year so I'm not too worried about that. Any tips for traveling with an infant would be helpful too! Moving home with our two and a half month old baby is going to be quite the trip!! Again, any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2010, 04:33 PM
 
Location: The State Of California
10,292 posts, read 14,242,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyjacques View Post
So we are leaving a week from Saturday for Maine and are thinking of taking the 40 out of California and I was wondering if anyone has traveled that route cross country. We will be driving a 22' truck and towing my PT Cruiser behind. Just want to know if it is traveler friendly and if there are plenty of off highway, truck friendly hotels and such. Just curious. I figure there must be, but I have never traveled cross country that far south so I don't know what to expect. The weather should be ok this time of year so I'm not too worried about that. Any tips for traveling with an infant would be helpful too! Moving home with our two and a half month old baby is going to be quite the trip!! Again, any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

If you are going to Maine i would suggest that you take Intersate 5...
to Interstate 80....and follow I 80 across the country instead of I 40..
because I 40 ends in South Carolina or North Carolina I Believe.....Now
if you want to pretty much see the whole EAST COAST That's A Great
Route to take......
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,076 posts, read 19,393,938 times
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You shouldn't have any problems going that way. There are plenty of "truck friendly" motels and restaurants.

Just be sure that you've planned an exit before you pull into any parking lot, especially at a motel. Sometimes, that will mean temporarily parking in the road and walking the motel parking lot to be sure you can get out without having to back up. And, always ask the desk where they'd like you to park. But, remember that clearances always look bigger from the ground!

Restaurants? Easy, just stop at truck stops. If their parking lots can accomodate big trucks, they can accomodate yours too. The big chain truck stops, such as TA, Petro and Flying J, will have plenty of room and sit down restaurants. Pilot's and Love's will have the room, but only offer fast food. Park where the big trucks are, not in the car parking lots. If your rental is a diesel, get your fuel where the big trucks fuel, not the diesel pump where the cars are. It'll make leaving so much easier.

Pay attention to the fuel guage, especially at first when you leave Barstow and head east. There isn't a helluva lot out there between Barstow and Needles, with the exception of Ludlow. If you run short of fuel, you're screwed.

If you're concerned about steep down-grades, you only have one to worry about as most of I-40 is uphill, believe it or not. From Needles, you climb all the way up to about 7,000 ft at Flagstaff. You go up and up and up, but never come down, at least not that you'll notice.

The only downgrade which might cause you concern is between Essex, CA and Needles. You CAN get your brakes hot going down that grade if you don't know what you're doing and there are no runaway ramps. If you're worried about it, go around the hill by exiting I-40 at Goffs Rd, just past the Essex rest area. Make a left and follow that road for about 20 miles until it dead ends into US-95. Make a right and go back to the Interstate. It's a little farther, but you come out below the downgrade. Since you're pulling a car, be careful in the high water dips in the road. There are several of them, but if you don't hit them too fast, you'll be OK. I used to go that way in a big truck regularly, so if that's possible you'll make it alright too. NOTE: There are no services on Goffs Rd, but it IS a magnificent drive through the desert!

If you plan to stay on I-40 all the way to I-85 in North Carolina, you'll have a bigger, steeper down grade at Black Mountain, just east of Asheville. That's a real, 6% grade for about 6 miles and a place where you can get killed if you don't know how to drive a heavy vehicle downhill. Your truck won't be all that heavy in comparison with big trucks, but it WILL be heavier than a car. If you'd like, you can PM me and I'll tell you what I know about going down big mountains.

Or, you can simply bypass that hill by going up I-81 east of Knoxville. In fact, I'd recommend that route to Maine because by going that way, you'll avoid Washington, DC, Baltimore and most the NYC urban area and stay out of the mountains.

Go north on I-81, through the Shenandoah Valley, all the way past Harrisburg, PA. Then, take I-78 east into New Jersey and I-287 north. It will become the New York Thruway and you'll have to pay a toll to use the road and to cross the Tappan Zee Bridge, but it's better than going through the Bronx on I-95 and paying to use the George Washington Bridge. You will be driving a truck, so the tolls will be higher than you may be used to paying. Just pay up without griping as it's well worth it.

I-287 will dump you back on I-95 one exit shy of the Connecticut line and well north of New York City. Stay on 95 until I-395 and head north to the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and go east a little ways until I-495 and go north. It's a free road which will take you back to I-95 north of Boston and just before the New Hampshire border. Or, you can stay on I-95 through Rhode Island (I'd recommend I-295 to avoid Providence), to I-495. It's farther, but there are no tolls. You could also just stay on I-95 as it loops around western Boston and comes out in the same place anyhow.

Things to watch out for:

Speed limits. You're not driving a car, so the truck speed limits apply to you. In California, that means 55 mph, while everyone else is going 70. It means the same thing in New York. Also note that Texas has a different speed limit for daytime and nighttime.

Radar Dectors: Don't EVEN let a cop see one in New York or Virginia.

Cell phones: There are now several places where it's illegal to talk on one and drive at the same time, especially for truck drivers. New York comes to mind first, but there are others. Do some research.

Idling your truck: That's now illegal in Texas, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts that I know of. It's also illegal within the city limits of Knoxville, TN and probably other places as well. Since you won't be sleeping in the truck, it shouldn't be a problem for you, but you never know. Just shut it off when you leave the truck and you won't have any problems.

State scales: You are required to cross the scales in some states, but I can't tell you which ones right off hand, so research that too before you get into trouble.

That's about it. Have a good trip and don't worry. You'll be fine. Sorry that I can't help you with traveling with a baby.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
1,859 posts, read 4,741,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post

If you plan to stay on I-40 all the way to I-85 in North Carolina, you'll have a bigger, steeper down grade at Black Mountain, just east of Asheville. That's a real, 6% grade for about 6 miles and a place where you can get killed if you don't know how to drive a heavy vehicle downhill. Your truck won't be all that heavy in comparison with big trucks, but it WILL be heavier than a car. If you'd like, you can PM me and I'll tell you what I know about going down big mountains.

Or, you can simply bypass that hill by going up I-81 east of Knoxville. In fact, I'd recommend that route to Maine because by going that way, you'll avoid Washington, DC, Baltimore and most the NYC urban area and stay out of the mountains.
Definitely get off at I-81 or before as you will see w/the link I've attached I-40 is closed just across the TN/NC state line due to a rock slide:

NCDOT: I-40 Rock Slide News & Information (http://www.ncdot.org/travel/i40_rockslide/ - broken link)

I'm not sure what you're exactly looking/wanting to see, but I would actually recommend you getting off of I-40 in Nashville and taking I-65 North to the Bluegrass Parkway in KY, take that east towards Lexington, it ends at US-60 hop on KY-4 (loop around Lexington) north, take that to US-27 which will connect to I-64, take that East until Charleston, WV; it will meet I-79 North, take that towards Morgantown, WV, get on I-68 East, it connects w/I-70 East in Maryland, you can then take that to I-95 North on up the east coast - or you can stay on I-79 North to Erie, PA, get on I-90 East (note: there will be tolls on the NY thruway), take that across to Boston and hop on I-95 north there.

Truth be told though, there are a ton of different routes you can take from Cali to Maine, just enjoy the ride, I'd like to do a cross-country trip like you are doing someday!
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,076 posts, read 19,393,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye in SC View Post
Definitely get off at I-81 or before as you will see w/the link I've attached I-40 is closed just across the TN/NC state line due to a rock slide:

NCDOT: I-40 Rock Slide News & Information (http://www.ncdot.org/travel/i40_rockslide/ - broken link)

I'm not sure what you're exactly looking/wanting to see, but I would actually recommend you getting off of I-40 in Nashville and taking I-65 North to the Bluegrass Parkway in KY, take that east towards Lexington, it ends at US-60 hop on KY-4 (loop around Lexington) north, take that to US-27 which will connect to I-64, take that East until Charleston, WV; it will meet I-79 North, take that towards Morgantown, WV, get on I-68 East, it connects w/I-70 East in Maryland, you can then take that to I-95 North on up the east coast - or you can stay on I-79 North to Erie, PA, get on I-90 East (note: there will be tolls on the NY thruway), take that across to Boston and hop on I-95 north there.

Truth be told though, there are a ton of different routes you can take from Cali to Maine, just enjoy the ride, I'd like to do a cross-country trip like you are doing someday!

I-68 through Maryland has a very long downgrade which is posted as 6% for something like 18 miles. It really is that long, but it's not continuous. It is a series of steep downgrades, with the last one being 4 or 5 miles with no warning and even an experienced truck driver like me can get the brakes hot there. I know because I have. Addtionally, it is up and down, up and down from the time you climb up the 7 mile hill out of Morgantown as you are cutting right across the series of parallel ridgelines which make up the Appalachian's there.

Also, you'll note that going up to Erie and across the Thruway is a quite a ways out of route and very expensive for trucks, even little ones. It would be all toll road from Buffalo to Boston.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
1,859 posts, read 4,741,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
I-68 through Maryland has a very long downgrade which is posted as 6% for something like 18 miles. It really is that long, but it's not continuous. It is a series of steep downgrades, with the last one being 4 or 5 miles with no warning and even an experienced truck driver like me can get the brakes hot there. I know because I have. Addtionally, it is up and down, up and down from the time you climb up the 7 mile hill out of Morgantown as you are cutting right across the series of parallel ridgelines which make up the Appalachian's there.

Also, you'll note that going up to Erie and across the Thruway is a quite a ways out of route and very expensive for trucks, even little ones. It would be all toll road from Buffalo to Boston.
Yeah, I wouldn't recommend the I-79 to I-90 route, I was just throwing that out there as an alternative - especially if they wanted to avoid Philly & NYC.

I have only been on 68 once or twice, don't recall those steep downgrades (it's been a while, like 10 years ago), but I believe I-81 has some steep downgrades as well in Virginia, not sure if any that steep, but I'm sure there are some nonetheless. Plus it's a heavily used truck route, so they'll be battling semi's the whole time.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:13 AM
 
14,255 posts, read 16,890,792 times
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I have driven I40 from Bristol, TN to Flagstaff AZ.

Flagstaff to Oklahoma City is a pretty boring drive with the exception of getting through Albuquerque where you can hit some traffic. Also, watch the hill down into Albuquerque which is pretty steep. No problem getting gas en-route but just watch the prices. There are a few gas stations which really gouge tourists. A number of the small towns along this route are a bit seedy. We felt very uncomfortable putting in gas in a couple of them because of the individuals hanging around the gas station. The big truck stops were fine.

Flagstaff is a good place to spend the night. Thanks to the University (NAU) it is a lot nicer than some of the others en-route. The other place we stopped for the night was Clinton, OK just to the west of Oklahoma City. We stayed at the Hampton Inn which was very nice and had a steak place right across the parking lot so you didn't need to drive again.

From Oklahoma City going east it is a pretty easy drive and quite a scenic one with the exception of eastern Arkansas. Getting around Memphis was no problem and neither was getting through Nashville and Knoxville. Much less remote than the first part of the drive and fewer "seedy" places to stop.

Edit: let me add .... speed limit on I40 in AZ & NM is 75mph. You are okay at 80mph but they will pull you over for 82 mph.

Last edited by Jaggy001; 04-16-2010 at 11:22 AM..
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:47 PM
 
Location: the middle of the Mojave Desert
7 posts, read 61,713 times
Reputation: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Howest2008 View Post
If you are going to Maine i would suggest that you take Intersate 5...
to Interstate 80....and follow I 80 across the country instead of I 40..
because I 40 ends in South Carolina or North Carolina I Believe.....Now
if you want to pretty much see the whole EAST COAST That's A Great
Route to take......
We are much farther south than the I5! We are just outside of Barstow so going all the way to the I5 would be way out of the way! I guess I should have said that before! Anyway, I have taken the I80 cross country before and loved the ride, but like I said I am leaving from much farther south. I just figured this route would be easier than going through Colorado. I could be wrong though.

Just an added thought, the route plan that I am thinking of is the I40 to the I44 out of Oklahoma, to the I70 out of Missouri, then the I71 out of Ohio, to the I80 through PA, then the I84 all the way to Mass. From there it's easy to Maine via the I495 to the I95. Let me know if this sounds good.
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:27 PM
 
14,255 posts, read 16,890,792 times
Reputation: 13780
Quote:
Originally Posted by slyjacques View Post
We are much farther south than the I5! We are just outside of Barstow so going all the way to the I5 would be way out of the way! I guess I should have said that before! Anyway, I have taken the I80 cross country before and loved the ride, but like I said I am leaving from much farther south. I just figured this route would be easier than going through Colorado. I could be wrong though.

Just an added thought, the route plan that I am thinking of is the I40 to the I44 out of Oklahoma, to the I70 out of Missouri, then the I71 out of Ohio, to the I80 through PA, then the I84 all the way to Mass. From there it's easy to Maine via the I495 to the I95. Let me know if this sounds good.
Yes, I have done that but in the other direction and as far as Flagstaff. They are all good roads. The only place you are likely to hit bad traffic is St. Louis as getting across the Mississippi can be a bear. But that depends on timing. It is more direct than I40/I81 so will be a little bit quicker. PA is a bit hilly but no problem.
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
9,559 posts, read 19,502,529 times
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All of the interstates that take you cross country pretty much have the same accomodations and ammenities. I-70 probably cuts through the most major cities so that could be a concern in regard to traffic, but otherwise, they're all basically the same. I traveled cross country on I-80 with a two month old infant for 5 days, all depends on the child. Ours slept a lot so it wasn't too bad. Get one of those coolers you can plug into a 12 volt connection or lighter, you can store the baby formula in there and keep other cold foods fresh as well.
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