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Old 07-16-2016, 07:56 AM   #29
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To address your inquiry about Flying J, Pigman1 mentioned that Flying J s don't have dedicated RV spots however, there are a few that do. We've been to several out west that have dedicated RV overnight* parking. I've included a a link that will list them (among other amenities) ...

Theroc and Steve - I was originally confused because my iPad for some reason did not display that link. That list is excellent, thank you!! (I have printed and will carry it with me). Really nice to know the Barstow location has RV spots ... It is such a great staging point to get to Fresno. I can certainly park with the trucks if needed ... But I would imagine the rv spaces are somewhat quieter and have less exposure to their exhaust fumes (from their running their engines). Thank you both
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:28 AM   #30
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MN_Traveler, if you are going from MN. to WV. then to Fresno, CA. that changes things. Also, will you be helping pack the U-haul too, or just hooking up to a already packed up unit? Also, Fresno is in the middle of CA. Your helping your son do this is a vary cool thing, and it is very doable just allow plenty of time to do it? I think your 5 days from WV to middle CA. Is plenty of time! There are plenty of places to stop along I-40 so finding one will be easy, just remember, stop early, leave early! With just you in the MH, your on board water will be plenty, and if your tanks get full dump them! Remember going across the Mohave desert, it gets very hot this time of year, so going across that stretch at night or very early is best! I would not worry about the U-haul too much, but I would keep a close eye on the tires and their air pressure! You should find that pulling it should reduce the tail wagging the dog considerably! And have fun on your way back home, and run the northern route back. Much better temperature wise for sure! Enjoy, Rail!
Guardrail - The plan is for me to be in WV in time to help maneuver and pack the trailer. No way my DP will make it on to his street, so this will involve a pickup, and shifting the trailer from the pickup to the DP at the campsite. Got you on the Mohave - we have TPMS's all around ... and have had the rig down at Big Bend in summer (110-115 degrees), and the TPMS's are invaluable in managing tire pressure. Did not have problems there, so the Mojave should be similar????? I plan on taking I-80 back (Reno, Salt Lake, Cheyenne, etc). Far enough north? (I actually have never been across that stretch of I-80 - should be interesting to see.

BTW, I did a similar move getting Son from MN to WV one November... a story involving temperature swings from sub-zero temps to the 70's (talk about monitoring tire pressures!), snow storms, early days, and getting back to Thanksgiving Dinner at home literally with 10 minutes to spare (that trip was how I ended up in the Flying J RV slot outside of St. Louis). One friend described the DP as the "perfect tow vehicle for a UHaul trailer ... indeed I could not even notice that It was back there. Photos below....
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:18 AM   #31
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I wonder a bit about this. I understand your son is going to be driving his vehicle while you drive the MH pulling the U-Haul. If you are making the trip in a short time there will be little bonding time if he is driving his car and only sleeping in the MH.

It does sound like a grand adventure though.

Good luck with fair weather and the wind at your back.
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:15 PM   #32
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OP,

I applaud you Sir! As the father of two, I did the same "moving assist" many, many times even when the "kids""we're in their late 30's.

Recently I did a 5 day run from Cortez, CO to Savannah, GA. for two of DW's Art workshops. One thing that I learned along the way is that depending on when you shut down for the day, you cannot count on having a spot at either a Flying J or a rest stop. They fill up pretty quickly...and even faster when the weather turns. You have to weigh finding a spot for the evening against potential miles gained while driving longer for the day.

I pushed real hard one day, only to find that the Wal-Mart that I had selected at the end of my driving day wouldn't allow us to Wally dock. So even though I pushed it already, I got back in and drove another 140 miles to the next available space. By then, it was really late...and I was spent.

Drive safely and enjoy the bonding time with your son. This is much more valuable than $$$/mile...IMHO.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:56 AM   #33
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MN_Traveler, I am a retired trucker that has traveled both routes many, many times! So if you need any suggestions on places to stop for the night, good places to eat, or the cheapest fuel, let me know, on here, or a Pm, and I can do for you! On your way back, consider cutting north at Rawlins, WY. and 2 lane it up thru Casper, and, on up to I-90, that way you can check out Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Sturgis, and all of the other scenic things up that way! Have a great time! Rail!!
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:08 AM   #34
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MN_Traveler, I am a retired trucker that has traveled both routes many, many times! So if you need any suggestions on places to stop for the night, good places to eat, or the cheapest fuel, let me know, on here, or a Pm, and I can do for you! On your way back, consider cutting north at Rawlins, WY. and 2 lane it up thru Casper, and, on up to I-90, that way you can check out Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Sturgis, and all of the other scenic things up that way! Have a great time! Rail!!

Thanks guardrail! I considered taking this to PM, but have a question that I think continues to be pertinent to the original post. I considered taking the cut north to I-90 that you suggest (Man, Wyoming is truly a majestic landscape and I might be able to stop running my AC's and genny)), BUT I have tended to keep to the interstates as much as possible due to the higher access to emergency services and supplies. To take the "fastest route" there are a number of places where taking to the 2-lanes or non-interstates might well be faster (great case in point is the Western Kentucky Parkway, out of Elizabethtown and coming out at I-55 just north of Memphis, where you can run down to I-80). This bypasses going through Nashville and Memphis, but Man it has much lower access to fuel and related services. I don't want to think about access to breakdown support (I have had to be towed once, and I don't want to THINK about what that would be like when significantly off of a major highway). What do you think .. Is the benefit worth the risk? (I suspect others will have something to say also &#128512
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:09 AM   #35
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Just to clarify, the long spots that most of the Flying J's have on the car side of their facilities are for RV's or other long vehicles, but they are not dedicated to ONLY RV's. Many times you will find cars or other short vehicles in these spots because their inconsiderate drivers were too oblivious to understand what long lines on the pavement are trying to tell them. I've used these spaces on occasion and found them fine, when you can access them. Most of the FJ's I've seen have them, but they are not JUST DEDICATED to RV's.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:30 AM   #36
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Most truck stops fill up pretty fast in the late afternoon with the premium spots being taken by people who don't mind stopping early. A lot of the RV spots are not drive through but back in so if you are pulling a trailer and are not good a backing it up you may be out of luck unless willing to stop early.

Walmarts are always a good option, there is a Yahoo group called Walmartrving
You can post questions there to see if the Walmarts you might want to stop at have any issues with parking overnight.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/walmartrving/info

There are a number of other options for stopping. Unless a local ordinance prevents overnight parking we've parked at Cabela's, the usually have a dump and potable water.

Also, most Casino's will allow parking.

We've also stayed at Sam's clubs, Cracker Barrel's. In a pinch I've also just caught some shuteye at a rest area.

In 2009 we took a trip to Alaska from E TN and detoured to Norther CA (Napa Florida) because we were so close. But after +3 months on the road my wife decided she had enough and said "Take Me Home".

We left Napa Valley, stopped in Reno one night, then in Price Utah, Ruelton Kansas, St Louis, and a side trip Birmingham (just becuse) and then home. ~3 K miles in 5 days. Stayed at a Casino, Walmart, Walmart, Cabela's, friends house, then home.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:06 PM   #37
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Sounds like fun!

Have a great trip.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:44 PM   #38
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MN_Traveler, to worry about breakdowns and the emergency services that you will need for them, is going to take the fun out of your travels! You can find the services you will need for any breakdown, no matter where you are, 2 lane or 4 lane! And, in my opinion, you will get faster service when on the 2 lane! Case in point, the way you pointed out, cutting down thru Kentucky was one of my routes I took a lot. One time pulling up to the stop sign coming into Murray, KY. I heard and felt this horrible vibration! Pulled over to the side and investigated, and had a carrier bearing bad on the driveshaft. Just up the road was a small International Truck dealer, so I limped to there, and talked to the service manager. He said they were booked solid but would see if he could work me in, and told me to drop my trailer in their lot, and pull around to the shop. He took one of his mech's off another job, and had him come out and look at my truck, yep, carrier bearing, checked, they had one, pulled another truck out, mine in, fixed it, 2 hours later I am back on the road! I would not have gotten that kind of service from a big dealer in a big city, for sure!
So, don't let the 2 lanes scare you, less traffic, better scenery, and a lot faster services, because of the ( less traffic)!! Plus, the prices are much cheaper for things like hourly shop rates!
Hope this puts your mind at ease, and helps you decide to run the two lanes more! Just remember to fuel when you get to a half a tank, slow down a bit, and enjoy the sites! Rail!
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:16 PM   #39
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I rarely stop at CGs if I'm trying to make time. Pull into a rest area or a truck stop. Don't extend slides. Waste of time and you could get them hit. I prefer night travel as traffic becomes less of an issue and it's cooler. Stop and sleep during heavy traffic times unless your in the mid west where there never is heavy traffic. A co-driver can keep you on he road longer.

Good luck.
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Old 07-18-2016, 07:24 AM   #40
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MN_Traveler, to worry about breakdowns and the emergency services that you will need for them, is going to take the fun out of your travels! You can find the services you will need for any breakdown, no matter where you are, 2 lane or 4 lane! And, in my opinion, you will get faster service when on the 2 lane! Case in point, the way you pointed out, cutting down thru Kentucky was one of my routes I took a lot. One time pulling up to the stop sign coming into Murray, KY. I heard and felt this horrible vibration! Pulled over to the side and investigated, and had a carrier bearing bad on the driveshaft. Just up the road was a small International Truck dealer, so I limped to there, and talked to the service manager. He said they were booked solid but would see if he could work me in, and told me to drop my trailer in their lot, and pull around to the shop. He took one of his mech's off another job, and had him come out and look at my truck, yep, carrier bearing, checked, they had one, pulled another truck out, mine in, fixed it, 2 hours later I am back on the road! I would not have gotten that kind of service from a big dealer in a big city, for sure!
So, don't let the 2 lanes scare you, less traffic, better scenery, and a lot faster services, because of the ( less traffic)!! Plus, the prices are much cheaper for things like hourly shop rates!
Hope this puts your mind at ease, and helps you decide to run the two lanes more! Just remember to fuel when you get to a half a tank, slow down a bit, and enjoy the sites! Rail!
The last five years I have followed this advice to see the USA from the back roads, never had a problem getting things done and a place for the night.....Stay off the Interstates and slow down your life....
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:10 PM   #41
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What we'll do for our kids!! Have a safe trip. You've got it figured out.
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Old 09-25-2016, 11:39 AM   #42
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Ok ... now that this cross-country jaunt is finished, I thought I would leave a post with how it went (and lessons learned).

Sept 5-7(early monrning): drove from MN to WV. stayed at Flying J in Beloit WI and Cannonsburg KY. other RV's at FJ, but room and non-eventful stays. Left before dawn each day. 700 odd miles total.

Sept 7: at KOA in Milton WV - coordinated UHaul rentals for the next day.

Sept 8 (thurs): picked up UHaul pickup truck and trailer. Loaded trailer, drove trailer to campground & transferred to RV (picture uploaded). returned uhaul pickup, and headed WEST at 3:30 pm. Made it to Bardstown KY (Walmart). Company of other semis (had a nice discussion with one of the drivers) and a couple RV's (picture uploaded). (205 miles)

Sept 9 (fri): left before dawn - Bardstown WV to Russellville, Akansas. Stayed at Flying J. Again, company but still room. Empolyees very friendly. ( 569 miles).

sept 10 (sat): Left before dawn. Pretty, pretty sunrise on I40 heading west through Arkansas. Story here: my son stayed behind when I left WV to complete cleaning of his apartment and complete check-out activities. He headed west substantially after I did, AND he kept a more northerly route (WV to St. Louis, then cutting southwest on I44) (I stayed away from that route ... I wanted to AVOID southern Indiana and Illinois.....). Funny thing: given different leaving times and quite different driving times (I left early, he slept in more and drove in to the night. also, in a car he could travel substantially faster than I could/wanted to) ... anyway, turned out we arrived at Oklahoma City within 20 minutes of each other!!. Met for lunch/brunch at the Flying J on the southwest side of Oklahoma City (picture uploaded) . I made it to Tucumcari NM that night, again staying at a Flying J (632 miles). uneventful stay.

Sept 11 (sun): left before dawn. Tucumcari NM to Kingman AZ (western AZ) at a flying J again. Bad day: very windy from the south, tired towards the end of day, winding hilly road in western AZ, and truckers not slowing down for conditions and swerving as they passed me (I will make another post on this one..). (640 miles). (But I DID score some fresh-roasted NM Chilis on my way through that state ... they were still in season )

Sept 12 (mon). Again, left before dawn. Kingman AZ to Fresno CA. again windy from my left, especially going north through the central valley. final desitnation: surpising and excellent RV park right in the north side of Fresno proper (Blackstone North RV park - highly recommended! - photo uploaded). (447 miles).

total trip west: something like 2500 miles, 4 1/4 days. With his faster speed, my son arrived a day before me, and spent my final travel day coordinating Uhaul and checking in to his apartment .... so that the day after I arrived we had the trailer unloaded into his apartment and all equipment returned on Tuesday afternoon (two days earlier that planned)

I hung around until Saturday morning (sept 17) ... he ran errands and got settled, I worked from the RV (oh, and replaced the water pump, which gave up the ghost ... luckily AFTER I arrived in Fresno). Dinners together, visits to farmers markets (great ones in Fresno), and a quick one-day trip to Yosemiti :-).

I took it quite easier on my way back to MN. One 500 day trip (Reno to Salt Lake City), but mostly 250 or 300 mile days (flying J at Salt Lake, but otherwise KOA's).

Impressions and Lesson's learned:
the flying J's work very, very well. The employees are uniformly friendly to RV's and have absolutely no problem with overnighting. did not really have any problems finding room (though a couple nights were touchy). they are definitely handy when feeling like you want a quick-off/quick-on stopover. I used the RV fuel islands almost exclusively. Yes, the diesel flow is slower, but the islands were almost always available (though I could see there are heavily used) ... and somehow without the noise of the truck lanes using them was more relaxing. I had no problems with maneuvering into and out of them.

Pulling multiple 500 mile days is EXHAUSTING. I do not see how the OTR drivers do it ... and my hat goes off to them. At the end of my trip, it was all I could do to face a 250 mile day ... and I felt like I was crawling home on my hands and knees. It would have been nice to take some side-trips on the way back ... but I was definitely ready to get home! If I can help it, from now on those 250 mile days will be what I shoot for (unless it is a one-off).

Nice as the flying J's worked, staying at the campgrounds has the benefit of interacting with the other RV's ... the flying J's are more of a solitary stay.

End result: trip odometer = 5650 miles, 12 days of driving.

Thank you all for your help and insights in planning this!
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