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Old 08-13-2016, 02:00 PM   #1
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I-80 east from Napa

We are planning a September trip from Charlotte, I-40 to Grand Canyon then up to Napa ca. Want to come back east on I-80 to Ohio then back south on I75/77. Pulling a 38 ft wildcat 5er. Has anyone pulled back on I-80 with advise or reassurance that I've picked a good route?
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:25 PM   #2
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We lived in Napa and took I80 to Chicago and back, to pick up our HTT.

Other than it being really boring, we had no issues.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:35 PM   #3
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Thanks! Don't know what a HTT is, but I appreciate your response
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:49 PM   #4
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Thanks! Don't know what a HTT is, but I appreciate your response
Hybrid Travel Trailer
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:09 AM   #5
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Depending on the time of year and time of say Sacramento currently has reduced lanes due to construction. They have 3 eastbound lanes in Sacramento (which is normally 5). The grades up the Sierras is 5-6% which is not terrible. The truck lane in the Sierras is pock marked because of continual semi tire chain abuse. Don't worry, once you hit Nevada the pavement is a way better improvement. I don't know much past Sparks, NV.

Don't get me wrong, the pull is easy, you just have to put up with some fair to poor road surfaces for a little while.

Ps. That is a long pull. How many miles is that round trip? Also how long is it going to take?
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:20 AM   #6
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From Napa to Chicago was around 2000 miles.
Not sure what the OP'S total will be.
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:23 PM   #7
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Depending on the time of year and time of say Sacramento currently has reduced lanes due to construction. They have 3 eastbound lanes in Sacramento (which is normally 5).
Wow they have 5 lanes now? I remember when it was two. You are right about the road over the Sierra's though. That part of I-80 has always been rough.
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:43 PM   #8
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Last month we went from close to Napa to somewhere in Iowa on I80, (we were headed to Maryland but decided to check out St Louis and the Gateway Arch so we headed south early). No issues on 80 all the way to Iowa, some decent grades to climb but not too big a deal. Lots of places to stay, quite a few rest stops and no problems getting diesel. I carried 5, 5 gallon fuel jugs in case the fuel stations were too difficult to get in and out of but didn't need them. Roads, even the grade from Sac to Reno were much better than the roads we encountered out here in PA and WV... I always thought we had bad roads in CA but wow, the average highway in PA is really bad and you pay some expensive tolls.
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:06 PM   #9
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Toughest grade you will pull is east out of Laramie (my old home), WY, to the highest point on I-80. But it is a short run and then you can, essentially, coast to Omaha.

Just be sure to stop at the I-80 truck stop, in Iowa, to buy some glitter and have one of the world's best chicken fried steaks.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:02 PM   #10
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Most of I-80 has been resurfaced from Sacramento through the Sierras, at least up to the top of Donner Summit. We have been towing up there several times a year. Just try to avoid afternoon travel from Napa through Sacramento to avoid the commute traffic and the lane closures are only from West Sacramento through the Highway 5 interchange/Northgate Blvd. area (at least they were the last time that I passed through). Some of the construction zone lanes are a little rough but doable.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:40 AM   #11
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I-80

We use I-80 a lot and as mentioned you will have no problems except for weather and traffic around Sacramento, try to avoid Sac from 3:00 PM to 6:00PM, typically morning traffic is not to bad if heading east. Another idea for you if headed east is to get off 80 and onto US 50 (very easy interchange) and head though Lake Tahoe. Yup, there are a couple of grades that are steep but not to bad, the road is good and the scenery is beautiful. We pull or 31 foot 5th wheel over the hill several times a year with no issue. From 50 you can reconnect to 80 via Reno NV.
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Old 08-16-2016, 05:44 PM   #12
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I appreciate all of these great comments, just what I was hoping for. Not sure about the total miles, will have to add it up, but we are planning on departing Charlotte nc on sept 5th and getting back October 2nd. Looking at average of 5 hr days, with 5 nights in Williams az (Grand Canyon) 2 nights in Chowchilla ca, 4 nights in Napa and 3 nights in Monroe mi. The rest o the stops are 1 night. Now for the comment on hey 50 from sac to Reno. When you say some up grades, but no problem. I'm pulling a 38' 5er with a 2014 ram mega cab diesel. It pulls great in the NC/ Tenn mtns, but this is the first trip with it out west.
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:04 PM   #13
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Based on your trip, I see no reason for you to go I50.
It's a much slower and challenging tow.
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:14 PM   #14
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Thanks, I agree. I'm sure it's beautiful, but I'm retired army and as we used to say in Europe once you've see one old castle,they all look about the same.
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:57 PM   #15
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Ok did the miles, it's 5746 miles total. Hope the stock tires on the 2016 FR Wildcat hold up. Have about 5000 on them so far. Probably look at changing them when we get back. Trying to avoid the paranoia about fear of our first blowout in the middle of nowhere. Talked to a local RV tire guy and he says dry rot is the biggest enemy of RV tires. Mine doesn't sit much and the tires are covered when it does. I always check pressure & lugs. He thinks I could get 20k, but don't know.
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Old 08-16-2016, 07:08 PM   #16
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Good route, three climbs #1 east of Sacramento, CA #2 East of Salt lake City, and #3 someone mentioned east of Laramie, WY

Try and time your travel so your not in the Chicago are during morning or afternoon rush hour.
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Old 08-17-2016, 10:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vnichols View Post
I appreciate all of these great comments, just what I was hoping for. Not sure about the total miles, will have to add it up, but we are planning on departing Charlotte nc on sept 5th and getting back October 2nd. Looking at average of 5 hr days, with 5 nights in Williams az (Grand Canyon) 2 nights in Chowchilla ca, 4 nights in Napa and 3 nights in Monroe mi. The rest o the stops are 1 night. Now for the comment on hey 50 from sac to Reno. When you say some up grades, but no problem. I'm pulling a 38' 5er with a 2014 ram mega cab diesel. It pulls great in the NC/ Tenn mtns, but this is the first trip with it out west.
With your rig you would not have any issues doing highway 50. It is an all season route, semis use it regularly. Since we live here we see rigs bigger then yours come through all the time. It's a resort community. Based on your itinerary that time of year is very nice. It's the shoulder season so not many tourists are here? Don't get me wrong I-80 is a very beautiful as well and is the best choice if you just want a direct route back to the east. Highway 50 through Tahoe is just an suggestion for you.
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:58 PM   #18
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I-80 east from Napa

We have driven the entirety of the United States from coast to coast on I-80 with cars pulling U-Hauls from both coasts, with the exception of the one segment from Chicago to Des Moines. The road is generally fine except from the Nebraska east border to DesMoines where it shakes you like a cocktail only without the nice adult beverage part of it. I sent a pointed note to the governor of Iowa but somehow I don't think he cared. I wonder if they ever fixed it. We drove that two years ago. It would be rough on an RV, so take it easy through there.

Plan to find lots of construction zones! Also lots of mountain climbing.

Some very nice areas to stay and visit near Truckee, Lake Tahoe area and east up out of Salt Lake City. But I can't comment on RV spots because we were staying in hotels or motels.

Also a lot of very, very long stretches of roadway...




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Old 08-18-2016, 02:02 AM   #19
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We take a trip from the San Francisco Bay area to Far-northeastern California every July, been doing it the past several years. Whenever we took what we call the "eastern route", I-80 to 395 North, we always had a mishap on 80 in the Sierras. After the semi tried to run us off the road a few years ago, we decided to go up I-5 instead. Admittedly, the road was all torn up and the shoulders hadn't been installed yet.

We went through there at dawn; I assume this was when traffic started picking up. Traffic may be minimal in the middle of the night.

On a better note, we visited Williams, Arizona to ride the Grand Canyon Railway in June 2001. We rode in the old-time open coach, which was pretty warm! I enjoyed it, but I'm into trains.

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Old 08-18-2016, 02:12 AM   #20
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Unless you're visiting family I would stay far away from Chowchilla. The area is very rough right now with gang crimes/shootings. I would suggest about an hour north at Lodi's Flag City RV park. You're then a short drive to the San Joaquin River delta as well as some excellent wineries in and around Lodi. Feel free to PM me and I can give you more info and my phone number in case you want to talk live.
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