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Old 05-07-2017, 12:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best route from Phoenix to Oregon?

My sister is moving on Tuesday and I am driving a Penske 26' truck, towing my brother-law's Hyundai. I have not driven much in California. Mom and my sister are debating which route is best for a truck. Dad would have known, but we lost him three years ago.
Do you guys have any feedback?
Thanks!

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Old 05-07-2017, 12:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It is a longer distance but go through L.A. and up I-5. The only mountains on that route are in Northern Cal.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Interstate is always best choice. Even if somewhat longer. For purposes of less stress and higher mpg. I'm a truck driver, I route plan constantly. Choose the Rand McNally Commercial Road Carriers Atlas. Look at the main US map. Choose the Interstate[s] corresponding to best route (I'd avoid California, but I'd be willing to pay the extra; worst state in the Union).

Plan your stops. Use a low estimate of fuel economy. Choose a truck stop such as Flying J/Pilot (use app). All the amenities. Same side of road as travel direction if possible. Breaks every two hours or 100-miles. Assume 50-mph average speed for planning (no matter how fast you travel, 58 or 62, 50-mph covers fuel stops and short breaks when looking at engine run hours versus total miles).

Windshield cleanliness important, but side glass and mirrors more so. Clean at every stop. Interior too.

Adjust drivers seat posture to upright and close enough not to have to "reach" top of wheel. Then with a helper adjust mirrors to capture vehicle edges without turning head.

Read on how to set marker triangles if breakdown occurs. Must be set within ten minutes. Done wrong almost universally. Class II safety vests. Get drivers side 20' from highway shoulder stripe if possible. Stop where traffic can see you from a man or more behind you if at all possible. Do not leave headlights turned on. Just four ways. Obviously, carry some food and water.

Check tire pressures before leaving dealer. Insist he inspect tires. Complete tread. Do your homework and know how to inspect tires for outward signs of problems.

Once packed, secure items with load lock or other devices. Shifting cargo cab screw up your day.

Best speed is below that of commercial traffic (63-65/mph). By running 62 there will be no passing thus lane changes, etc. Steady wins the day. Do not ever exceed 600/miles day. It's too wearing.

Set the cruise control and let it run the truck. It'll be better than you, and especially so over the course of the day. Your job is steering and braking, not engine management.

The one FE tip worthwhile is to add some Howes Meaner Cleaner. About $20 at truckstop. It'll help with complete combustion besides some injector cleaning. No one will have ever done it and the effect will last your trip if you do it first fill. Throttle will be more sensitive, and engine will hang on longer before downshifting.

Don't go searching for cheaper diesel. May not exist. May be polluted. WILL entail miles you don't want with traffic and stationary hazards. Hell, IRS is paying fuel bill so don't sweat it. Just use the J or Pilot.

Start early. Before dawn is preferable. Stop early. Do not drive into the night. Get most miles out of the way by noon. Continent-wide, too many people on road past 12, and they're out there till 10 or later at night (zombies; with no clue why they're out there). Average speed drops with heavier traffic.

Traffic coalesces about 50-75/miles from a major metro area. And those are generally 100-miles end to end. Expect to have to slow. Maintain quarter mile separation as you can, then 700 feet where possible. You may lose an hour from your trip plan in crossing.

Respect all posted and recommended speeds. If it's a 35-mph ramp, do it at 31. Do all braking in a straight line. You've screwed up if brakes are on into a turn.

What's ideal? Well, if you're out of the city and surrounded by other vehicles, you've screwed up. Separation distance is what safety is all about. Get used to slowing to let others around you. The low IQ types we've lately been blessed with travel in packs. They're unconscious drivers. Just able to hold wheel and get down road. Speed up to each other and hang there. We are a long ways from 1967 in this regard. They're not bright 12-yr olds with a license.

Your mirrors tell you the future. What's coming. The little infighting in these packs of cars. Who fail to understand that the left lane gives no right of way. Can't read, and won't. Or that entering the highway in a pack is illegal. Or that tailgating is pretty much anything under 100' of following distance at 65-mph. Assume stupidity. Not inattention, but genuine don't-know-what-to-do-stupidity.

Don't change lanes for entering traffic as you DO have the right of way in the right lane. Swerving will roll the truck. If you have to hit something, do it head on. Drive with headlights on and keep the truck upright and lane centered. Avoid lane changes to avoid problems.

Fuel out in the boondocks. Same for meals. Get across metro areas without stopping (restroom beforehand). WAZE an acceptable app. Truckers Path another. CB still a good choice (I wouldn't be without one).

Finally, make sure routing appropriate to high clearance vehicles. Great online videos of dozens of straight trucks (what you're driving) hitting low clearance bridges, viaducts etc.

Straight trucks create terrible bow waves. Worse than 18-wheelers. You don't have to change lanes to be courteous to someone stopped on the shoulder, as the effect falls with the square of distance, but moving over given traffic will help.

Break the day into legs of distance to accomplish. Use roadfood.com to plan some fun.

Take your time, and, as truck drivers say to one another in leaving, be careful.
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Do you guys have any feedback?
Sorry for your loss.

With what we have to work with, Google maps says Phoenix, AZ to Oregon is 16hrs 21mins, and 1073 miles, but that puts you halfway between Millican and Hampton on Highway 20.

Any chance you're going to Bend?

Quote:
Your mirrors tell you the future. What's coming.
It's funny because it's true. If you stay halfway between the packs, you are pushed by the people behind you and pulled by the people ahead. (Which, coincidentally, is also true at a NASCAR drafting pace)

Southwestern Oregon at night is full of suicidal small mammals. The Kangaroo rats go 'tick', the mice go 'tock' and the jackrabbits go 'thump!". Not to worry though, it's the Circle of Life, offering up breakfast for the Ravens and Crows.
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone, especially Slowmover! That is a huge amount of information! My sister actually lives in a small suburb of Phoenix called Gilbert and is moving to Tillamook. Just putting in "Oregon" sends me a couple of miles short of a place called Brothers, while Tillamook is another three hundred miles north.

Yay.

Interesting. My mom and sister argued over which was worse, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. I remember driving through Nevada when I was a kid and thinking of how ugly the desert is. One of the reasons she recommended going through L.A. was because of scenery, but California is a special place. I remember one trip where I kept seeing signs that we needed to pay an extra fifty cents for warm food.

Penske says their trucks get "up to" 10 MPG and have "up to" a ten-gallon tank. That is comforting!

How low do you let your fuel tank get?

Mom keeps saying Google says the trip is 1400 miles and will take 29 hours. That did not seem logical, but my brother-in-law pointed out places where trucks (or trucks with trailers) were required to drive slower.

I really do not like making left turns.

Set triangles twenty feet from the shoulder stripe, if possible, but highway lanes are usually twelve feet. Put it on the lane marker?

How many Army rations do you think a trip like that would take?

We already have the truck. I need to check the tires every two hours, right? I drove a school bus for 5.5 years and drove large vehicles for the Army for 8, but I only once drove a school bus outside of the valley, and the Army runs things differently. I used to pre-trip the civilian bus and my Sergeants would yell at me when I did the brake check. I never picked up a CDL manual to show them proper procedure.

When did trucks start turning off automatically after five minutes? I encountered this for the first time a year ago at annual training. For some bizarre reason, they said the nearest bus was at Fort Huachuca, 185 miles from our base in Phoenix. We had two short female Soldiers, barely over five feet. One announced she was driving and the other called Shotgun. I am 6'2" and the Sergeant is 6'3". He didn't care, so I just got in the back. It sure did not seem like the bus even idled five minutes. It shut down twice before I finished inspecting it and we left it there.

They had another bus waiting for us.

We used to have loads fall off our trucks in Afghanistan. We tightened the cargo straps as much as we could and periodically asked the truck behind us how everything looked. "Good--you lost something!"

I can definitely imagine what problems a shifting load could cause. I needed to look up load lock. How terrible is it we are just using rope?

I asked my sister if I was under orders to not attempt the entire drive in one shot. She said "Absolutely." My brother-in-law told me to go for it.

I drive three and a half hours each way to my mom's house once a month. The furthest I ever drove in Afghanistan was about ninety miles, but that is entirely different.

This is officially the furthest I will have ever driven, but several times as far as I ever drove a large vehicle. My roommate finished the semester and I offered to compensate him if he rode along, but he was not interested.

I am glad the truck has cruise control. Our school buses did not, but I never drove road trips. Army trucks definitely did not.

Should I stop at the first truck stop on the right hand side for Howe's Meaner Cleaner? Will it pay for itself in fuel savings?

Is Loves Travel Stop not as good as Pilot and Flying J? Do you now prefer Howe's to Schaeffer's?

Slow down until wolf packs pass? Perhaps people drive in wolf packs because they feel they need to be doing what everyone else is doing, which requires traveling with everyone else.

My sister's plans keep changing. She kept telling me she wanted me to leave Monday morning and I kept thinking I would roll out as soon as possible, but today she mentioned they have an appointment Tuesday afternoon, so they are leaving then. She mentioned driving into the sun would be frustrating, but she did not think it would be too bad.

Problem: If I take the Interstate as much as possible I go through California. Driving through Las Vegas is U.S. Routes most of the way, and is 1,137 miles of desert, until Bend, Oregon. If I drive through L.A., it is green once I pass Palm Springs, 300 miles.

You wrote I would average 50 MPH and said to not exceed 600 miles per day. "Start early. Before dawn is preferable. Stop early. Do not drive into the night. Get most miles out of the way by noon."

Is 4am to 4pm reasonable? I wish I could leave earlier on Tuesday, but the schedule seems pretty firm.

Thanks so much! I greatly appreciate all of your advice!
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If you are set on avoiding most of California go through Vegas and Reno. Klamath Falls to 58 into the valley at Eugene. North to Salem then head to the beach. We have family in Prescott and Bakersfield hence the I-5 marathon recommendation. The speed/times shown on gps is at car speed limits. It is a long couple days drive. Be safe.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If it was me, I'd go Las Vegas (you don't have to stop :-)) to Reno, then 395 north to Susanville. From there California 44 to just north of Lassen NP where it becomes Calif. 89, which joins I-5 just south of Mt Shasta.

Once you get north of Tonopah, it's not flat, boring desert. Nice scenic views of snow-capped mountains, then from Susanville you're driving through pine forest.

If you do take this route, get gas in Carson City, not Reno: it's 20 cents or so cheaper.
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My vote would be Las Vegas to Susanville, highway 36 or 44 to highway 5 to Salem, then go west. Don't worry about all that desert, you'll get rewarded with more green once you get to Oregon. It's not a good idea to marathon that long a drive. Avoid LA area, it's a nice place to see, but not from the freeway, plus, the rush hours traffic will not help in keeping a peaceful adventure.

The best overall advice I can give is to sit down with a basic map and make a PLAN and stick with it. Watch you speed as you enter smaller towns. Stop and stretch often. At the first signs of fatigue, take off your shoes and drive to a rest area and either nap or take a half mile jog. Excessive caffeine will cause fatigue and hinder your ability to take power naps. Best to buy a big jug of water to keep hydrated. Pack a roll of TP. Reward yourself with a beer or two AFTER your mission.

Safe travels...
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Or, you know, you could drive straight West until you hit Hwy 101 and take four days.

If you choose to go through Reno, I suggest I-80 to the Donner Pass. Last time I passed through there I diverted onto Hwy 20 and came onto I-5 at Williams. The reason for going that way would be to see the restroom at the summit.


https://www.google.com/search?q=donner+pass+restroom

The lobby is as big as a house, and the Men's and Women's wings have floor to ceiling glass block windows flooding them with light. It was amazing, excepting the paper towels littering the floor.
________

Where in Tillamook? One of my favorite places on the Coast is Garibaldi, at the North end of Tillamook Bay.

When I was in college in summer I delivered dairy feed to the Lincoln City-Tillamook area. I always had to turn south 2 miles from Garibaldi. I always wanted to see it. Forty years later I read that they have two dive bars on Fark.com and road-tripped to have a look.

Some locals from Rockaway Beach told me that Garibaldi has a microclimate that is clear when everything else is fogged in. It's at the base of a massive bluff overlooking the Bay.

Also, for used building materials, there is a Habitat for Humanity store in White City.
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Mom does not want me driving the Grapevine in a giant moving truck pulling a trailer. Plotting a route from Arizona to Bakersfield it now shows me taking the 10 from Arizona to San Bernadino to the 15 the 395, and then I could take the 5 up.

I guess that is the Tehachapi route.

I need to choose something!

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