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Old 06-22-2011, 05:26 PM   #1
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San Diego to Minneapolis Routes

Hi everyone - new to this forum.

We will be pulling a 40 foot 5er (22,200 lbs. GCVW) from San Diego to Minneapolis and back next month. This is the first time we have towed anywhere near that far in a single outing.
I would seriously like to avoid the big grades, like I70 in CO. The routes I am considering are I15 to I40 to 54 and KS Expressway to KC and then I35 north. Another route could be I15 to I80 to I35. My other consideration is I15 to I8 to I10 to Tucson and then I10 to 26 to I25 to I40 east and then 54 with the rest like the first route above. Another option on the last route could be instead of 26 to I25 north -- continuing to Las Cruces on I10 and then taking 70 to Amarillo and then 287 to 54.

Obviously, I am inexperienced at this routing and would like to eliminate some of the routes that would not be uselful. I don't mind a few extra miles, but don't want to get into worse conditions or problems just because I want to avoid I70.

Anyone brave enough to tackle this with me is more than welcome and I would appreciate any inputs from actual experiences - something I am woefully lacking.

Many, many sincere thanks in advance.

Gib
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:40 PM   #2
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Sorry, I never went E of Tuscon on 10. I-40 has a couple of long pulls in AZ. To get there you will have to endure I-15 plus I.E. traffic and Cajon Pass.........and a lot of heat.
I-15 through Utah has several long hard pulls but cooler weather at the higher altitudes for overnighting. I-15 to I-80E at SLC is quite a drop but can be avoided by taking the Ogden By-pass.
I-80 through WY. has a few hard pulls west of Rawlins (Three Sisters) but pretty good E. of Cheyenne. Things flatten out then.
In winter from S.CA. we usually took I-40 to OK then N. to KS and eventually I-35.
In summer months we would take either take I-15N -> I-80 E to I-35 or I-15N-> I-90E to I-94E to Twin Cities as we preferred cooler nightime weather for stopping.
I-25 N from I-40 to Denver has a couple long pulls but once on I-76 it's pretty good.
I don't blame you for avoiding I-70: 500 miles of almost nothing from I-15 to Denver.
Good Luck!
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:09 AM   #3
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We have done this trip several times. You definately don't want 70 if you don't want steep grades - going down is almost as bad as going up 'over the top' ... 40 has the ability to shake your entire rig apart, trust me, and I'm pretty sure large chunks are closed for repairs right now? Get down to it west of Oklahoma City and you might be ok to continue west from there to 25. Get down to 20 or 10 then 10 all the way to 8. Be careful on 8 as you are right beside Mexico and in the middle of the desert - don't stop, don't even slow down (yeah Mr. Obama, no problem at all down there), but this drive is spectacular. beautiful pass over the top of your last little mountain range then downhill into San Diego.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:57 AM   #4
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Any way you go there will be some grades. I would opt for I 8 to I 10 at Casa Grande and then I 10 to Las Cruces. Then your mentioned route to Amarillo. There is a grade East of San Diego on 10. The climb is not bad but the descent requires you to take your time use auxillary brake, downshift possibly, watch your speed and RPM. It is a long grade. I have done it several times with 43' M/H and 4 dr Jeep toad. 42K lbs plus 4600 lb Jeep.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:54 PM   #5
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A ton of thanks to all three of you, bigskymt, Tiff Inn and Ronnie. You have provided me with great insight. Based on Tiff's warning about 40, I plan to avoid it. Looks like we'll take the southern route. I am very familiar with I8 from San Diego to Yuma (travel it for work) and have been from Yuma on I8 to I10 on a number of occasions. What I have no familiarity with (at least within my recall ability) is the I10 from the I8 juncition south and east.

Again, my thanks to all of you for taking the time to share. If I can ever be of help of any kind, just let me know. We have been RVing since 1976 so do have some experiences to call on.

By the way, bigskymt, we have some very close friends who live in Big Sky.

Gib

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Old 06-23-2011, 10:09 PM   #6
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I travel from San Diego (Santee Lakes) to Wisconsin / Minnesota each year ...


If you want to avoid grades I suggest this route ...
  • I-15 to Provo, UT
  • US-40 through Heber City, UT to I-80
  • I-80 across WY, NE, IA to I-35
  • I-35 to Minneapolis / St Paul
You will have some grades ... all in the 5 or 6 % range
1) Uphill near San Berdino, CA on I-15
2) Uphill near Baker,CA on I-15
3) downhill as you are leaving CA (after Mountain Pass)
4) Uphill near Beaver, UT
5) Uphill just east of Laramie, WY

None of these grades are nearly as difficult as those found on I-70 in CO.

If you want to learn more about the roads in the western part of the United States I suggest you buy "Moutain West Directory for Trucks and RVs" ... it is available from the publisher or from Amazon.com ... it will give you lots of comfort about the roads you travel ...

I should have bought the directory sooner than I did ...
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skigramp View Post
I travel from San Diego (Santee Lakes) to Wisconsin / Minnesota each year ...




If you want to avoid grades I suggest this route ...
  • I-15 to Provo, UT
  • US-40 through Heber City, UT to I-80
  • I-80 across WY, NE, IA to I-35
  • I-35 to Minneapolis / St Paul
You will have some grades ... all in the 5 or 6 % range
1) Uphill near San Berdino, CA on I-15
2) Uphill near Baker,CA on I-15
3) downhill as you are leaving CA (after Mountain Pass)
4) Uphill near Beaver, UT
5) Uphill just east of Laramie, WY

None of these grades are nearly as difficult as those found on I-70 in CO.

If you want to learn more about the roads in the western part of the United States I suggest you buy "Moutain West Directory for Trucks and RVs" ... it is available from the publisher or from Amazon.com ... it will give you lots of comfort about the roads you travel ...

I should have bought the directory sooner than I did ...
Thanks, skigramp --

You must be overwintering at the Santee Lakes Campround. We camp there 2 or three times a year. Nice place.

Appreciate your inputs very much. We are in the final stages of planning the journey.

Thanks, again.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:10 PM   #8
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SD to Minn

Hi, I have traveled between SD and the cities many times. The last time I drove the MH and a toad. Headed north on I-15 all the way to I-90. Except for the 1st day, which included the Cajon Pass and the long grades to Las Vegas and the heat, this route is not bad, not many grades and besides it tends to be cooler. We just left Santee very early, so we were in LV by noon. Hooked up the RV at one of the parks and enjoyed the pool and AC of the MH. The rest of the trip was nice.
The homeward bound part of the trip I went due south of I-35, then hit some back roads to Branson for a few day stopover. Then on to route I-44 to Oklahoma City, then on to visit Boys Ranch just North of Amarillo, TX on I-40 (yuck - way to many large 18 wheelers - stressful). Then south on route 385 to Route 60 to Route 70 to Roswell and then 285 to Carlsbad Caverns. From there on Route 180 to El Paso where I connected up with I-10. The ONLY grade you hit on this route is the one up over the local mountains here in San Diego on I-8. Took over two weeks to get home, but then we had a good time. The roads between Amarillo and El Paso are two lane highways for the most part, but wide and nicely paved. Not much traffic to contend with, which is what I like.
Hope this helps,
Dan
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
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Thanks again to all for your inputs. Would have responded sooner, but my wife had a stroke just after we returned so have been addressing her recuperation. We took the trip from July 10-31, covering about 4,500 total miles. Took I-15N to I-40E to US-54E to I-35N. I-40 is BAD just like I was advised. The slow lane is riddled with pot holes from the tractor-trailer traffic. It will jar your teeth and all things mechanical. US 54 in KS is mostly two lane with very heavy truck traffic. Beware of debris on the highway, which includes semi-trailer recap tire carcasses. We encountered this on our return trip and the debris did about $3K damage to the trailer. IA and MN have the very best rest stops, especially Iowa. If you are driving a diesel I heartily recommend a gauge to watch your EGT's. Pulling all of those grades it is easy to let the exhaust gas temp. creep up and that can lead to a disaster. With the gauge you can keep the rpm's and gear selection appropriate to not let them get and stay too high. The trip was great and we escaped with NO mechanical issues for either the truck or trailer. Thanks, again to all.
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