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Old 04-07-2015, 09:29 AM   #61
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I80 in Il has 1 small toll where 80 94 splits free rest of Il west.
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Old 04-07-2015, 03:34 PM   #62
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Wow, I've never seen anything like those mayflies when they're hatching! Seems to be a midwest thing. I'll definitely remember the warning and stay off the road should I be caught in "the hatch." For anyone who's interested, I found this video clip of a news segment on an accident caused by the mayflies.



I also looked at images in Google... wow!

As for tolls, one small toll isn't that bad. I've taken some routes where I've spent up to $30 in tolls! That was driving from Montreal to NYC. $30 in tolls in New York state, about 4 hours of driving. And I spent about $20 in tolls a few months ago going through Chicago, then parts of Indiana and Ohio. But that pales in comparison to the 407 toll highway to bypass Toronto. For an hour of driving, depending if it's the peak period or not, I've had to pay between $14 and $20 for a single trip, which lasted about an hour! If I drove the entire length of the highway it would probably cost about $30.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:54 PM   #63
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I just called customer service for EZ-Pass New York because I was having trouble adding the Airstream myself online. I selected what I thought was the right category (trailer, 2 axles, 4 tires, less than 7000 pounds), and then when it came to select "make" and "model" it was listing all of the automotive brands, no RV brands. At first the lady told me I had to get a second EZ-Pass for the trailer. I told her that I'd heard about other people being able to use one EZ-Pass tag for the tow vehicle and trailer, and that it would recognize when the trailer is there or not.

She put me on hold to ask her supervisor, came back on the line, and asked if I will always be towing the trailer. I said no, just sometimes. She then said it was OK to use one EZ-Pass for both the tow vehicle and trailer. She deleted the one I set up and put in a different category, but for "make" and "model" it just says "other." She said as long as the license plate is correct, that's what matters. I guess we'll see... if I end up going through any toll roads with an EZ-Pass reader I'll be sure to log into my online account later to verify I got charged the right amount. And I hope I won't get pulled over by police for a violation or warning, because I've done everything I can to make sure the Airstream is registered the right way.

I wonder what triggers the police to pull someone over for a suspected violation - does the EZ-Pass system automatically detect a trailer and the plate number of the tow vehicle, or trailer, and send it to police who then look for it? Or are there police parked at the EZ-Pass booth who monitor who goes through and look for violators (perhaps inadvertent violators who incorrectly registered their travel trailer)?
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:12 PM   #64
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I'm going to give you another option - our standard route between Alberta/BC and Ontario.

Continue on I-90 from Spokane across Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Head south at Sioux Falls on I-29. Pick up I-80 east near Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow I-80 across Iowa and Illinois to I-94. Yes, you will have one toll just before you reach I-94. The last time I paid with the trailer attached, I think it was $1.70. Follow I-94 east to Detroit, or switch to I-69 east of Battle Creek to head for Port Huron. The Port Huron/Point Edward crossing is easier than messing about in Detroit and Windsor.

The only traffic congestion I would expect to find is at Chicago, but it's usually tolerable. Yes, I-80 can be very rough as you approach the Chicago area. Watch out for bad pavement around bridges.

Your hardest pulls will be Lookout Pass at the Idaho/Montana line, and the Continental Divide east of Butte, MT.

I would not go north around Lake Michigan, except on a sightseeing tour. It's beautiful, but it will cost some time.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:11 PM   #65
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Avoiding Chicagoland while towing? EZ-Pass when towing?

AlbertF, that looks like a pretty good route and has the advantage that one could avoid the Mall of America and blame it on the route. I'll try it on my return from Calgary in May. Jim


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Old 04-09-2015, 06:30 PM   #66
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We're heading that way this summer, too - Detroit - Mackinac, Milwaukee/Green Bay, Chicago, and then back toward home. Really looking forward to the trip, including the famous bridge.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:05 PM   #67
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I'm going to give you another option - our standard route between Alberta/BC and Ontario.

Continue on I-90 from Spokane across Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Head south at Sioux Falls on I-29. Pick up I-80 east near Council Bluffs, Iowa. Follow I-80 across Iowa and Illinois to I-94. Yes, you will have one toll just before you reach I-94. The last time I paid with the trailer attached, I think it was $1.70. Follow I-94 east to Detroit, or switch to I-69 east of Battle Creek to head for Port Huron. The Port Huron/Point Edward crossing is easier than messing about in Detroit and Windsor.

The only traffic congestion I would expect to find is at Chicago, but it's usually tolerable. Yes, I-80 can be very rough as you approach the Chicago area. Watch out for bad pavement around bridges.

Your hardest pulls will be Lookout Pass at the Idaho/Montana line, and the Continental Divide east of Butte, MT.

I would not go north around Lake Michigan, except on a sightseeing tour. It's beautiful, but it will cost some time.
That looks good - similar to what I had mapped out earlier, but your route has the advantage driving through even less populated and congested areas. I'm somewhat familiar with the first part of the route (through Spokane, WA, through the Idaho panhandle, into Montana, etc). I've driven that way twice in the last year, but only solo. Although I wasn't towing, I remember thinking to myself that it looks a lot easier than it would be going through the Rockies in Canada, in BC (mostly) and in Alberta. I'm sure I'll be able to handle those two tougher stretches at the ID/MT line and the continental divide east of Butte, MT. I've towed my 25' Airstream through the Rockies on the Trans-Canada Highway and the Coquilhalla last year, and that was a tough haul! Especially for my first time towing! That stretch is enough of a challenge just driving solo!

Looks like the only heavily populated areas will be around the Illinois/Indiana border, but I'll aim to pass through that stretch on an off-peak time, either between 10am and 2pm, or better yet, between midnight and 5am. Worst case, if I encounter traffic there, I don't think it will be as bad as going through downtown Chicago. Nice to know that there will be only one toll. Now that I've added the Airstream to my EZ-Pass, I should be all set. So, the route would look something like this:

https://goo.gl/maps/J1FBe

I think the upper peninsula of Michigan, as you said, will cost some time and better left for later when I can take my time and go sightseeing, which I'd like to - it looked nice a nice place to explore last time I passed through. Or I'd take it if, for some reason, I can't take the southern route, or have to get to Barrie immediately and then postpone dropping off the Airstream at Can-Am RV in London on the way.
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:30 PM   #68
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Try the ferry from Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Ludington, Mich
It completely avoids all Chicago, I-80, etc horrific traffic
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:59 PM   #69
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One of my posts earlier about I 80 from I 80 90 split to 80 94 split west bound is not bad as some horror storys here, just stay in truck lanes as req. in this area, not in merge lanes. Truck traffic is heavy at times but they move rite along. Construction this area is finished. If you are afraid of driving moderate to heavy traffic it would be a prob. I'm 81 yrs. old pulling 31ft. AS or flat bed implement trailer in heavy traffic is not a prob. for me nor do I go slow. I do not like St Louis area as I feel worse than Chgo. but I still have to drive there. A final word I have been pulling trailers since 1954 so I have much experience and living in high density area helps.
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:29 PM   #70
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Try the ferry from Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Ludington, Mich
It completely avoids all Chicago, I-80, etc horrific traffic
It looks like the ferry doesn't start until May 15, which is a bit too late for me. I'll be passing through the area a few weeks too early, but I would definitely like to try it out on a future trip.

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One of my posts earlier about I 80 from I 80 90 split to 80 94 split west bound is not bad as some horror storys here, just stay in truck lanes as req. in this area, not in merge lanes. Truck traffic is heavy at times but they move rite along. Construction this area is finished. If you are afraid of driving moderate to heavy traffic it would be a prob. I'm 81 yrs. old pulling 31ft. AS or flat bed implement trailer in heavy traffic is not a prob. for me nor do I go slow. I do not like St Louis area as I feel worse than Chgo. but I still have to drive there. A final word I have been pulling trailers since 1954 so I have much experience and living in high density area helps.
Thanks, I'm getting more comfortable towing. I've only been towing a few times over the last year, so it's something fairly new to me. Normally I'm not afraid to drive in urban areas, when driving solo, not towing. Although I don't exactly yearn to drive in heavy, congested traffic in big cities, I would not normally not be in a panic to avoid them, but this time I'm towing. Maybe as I get more experience towing I'll feel more comfortable with that. I've been driving for 26 years and for most of that time have driven in mid size cities, with occasional trip to, or through large cities. I'm OK with driving in New York City, Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, etc, but for some reason, Chicago scares me. I've never driven in St. Louis, but I'm sure sooner or later I will.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:05 PM   #71
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The ferry costs for me plus TV and AS $658 for round trip. I can suffer the drive for that amount.


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Old 04-13-2015, 10:54 PM   #72
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The ferry costs for me plus TV and AS $658 for round trip. I can suffer the drive for that amount.


Yikes! If it costs $658 for a return trip, that should be $329 each way. Yeah, that's a lot! I would have hated to find that out on the spot, because I would have expected a lot less. Never really thought about how much it would cost, but those figures did not enter my head. If I were already there, and in a hurry I'd do it. Otherwise I'd gladly take a two hour detour around Chicago. Can't see it costing more than an extra quarter tank of gas.

I had no idea the ferry would be that much, but I guess the price is based on the distance travelled across water and the benefit or time saved by doing so. I priced out the cost of the ferry to get to Vancouver Island, and I believe it was around $250 with my Airstream. Each way. I thought it would be nice to go there for a few days or a weekend. But not if I'd be paying $500 just for the ferry.

We need to choose when to use the ferry, there are times when it's worth it, and times when we should use it sparingly, unless money is no object.
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:38 PM   #73
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Based upon the round trip rates published it is about $109 per senior, $118 for the TV, and $13.90 per foot for the trailer and the Serenity 30 RB is about 31 feet long.

To be a fair comparison the round trip Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI through Chicago would be about $200 - 250 for fuel and tolls. So, roughly $400 more to ride the boat. And, of course there is the venture through the UP, for those so inclined. Another 100 miles.


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Old 04-13-2015, 11:57 PM   #74
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Avoiding Chicago while towing

We have used the Manitowoc Ferry several times when traveling from Wisconsin to Michigan. Much prefer the Ferry to going through Chicago. You can boondock at both ends, so we prefer to take the afternoon Ferry & sleep overnight at Luddington dock then go on to Port Huron or wherever. Yes, it does cost a bit more but we like avoiding Chicago.
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:24 AM   #75
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I would think if one has a shorter trailer this becomes more sensible as a 20 footer would be about $150 less money.

It may not be so much avoiding Chicago, as the frustration has a lot to do with our expectations and attitude before we enter the traffic. But, when riding motorcycles, my son and I were on the ferry across Lake Huron and the high speed catamaran from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to Portland, and the experience is so great it is worth every penny.

Gosh, I might be talking myself into this😂


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Old 04-14-2015, 04:14 PM   #76
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I'm driving with my Airstream from Maine to Davenport, Iowa in May for a wedding there, plus visits and a genealogy research stop along the way, so will want to avoid Chicago as well, presumably going around it to the south, but not too far out of the way. Is there a problem just driving across Indiana and Illinois on Route 80?
I have driven to Maine a couple times and went through Canada, great roads, friendly people and no Chicago. Driving I-80 will take you through a nightmare area south of Chicago between I-65 and I-57.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:36 PM   #77
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Can't be any worse than driving through downtown Chicago on a Friday night. I hope. I guess I'll find out soon enough. Gotta make a decision soon, I'll be leaving soon.
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:19 AM   #78
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I live in Arizona and drive to Nova Scotia every summer with my 28' CCD and would advise to avoid I-80 at virtually any cost. We splurge on the ferry going (free camp for a couple extra days to average down) and usually return in the fall through the UP which is beautiful and uninhabited
Dropping to a more southerly route through Indiana is good as well. Good luck
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Old 04-15-2015, 07:42 AM   #79
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We live about 80 miles southwest of Chicago and use I-80 frequently when traveling east to camp in Indiana or Ohio. I'm somewhat surprised at the length some people will go to avoid this stretch of road around the southern part of Chicago. Yes, it is busy. Yes, there is a lot of commuter traffic. Yes, there are a lot of trucks. Doable? For sure. Any more busy then traveling around Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas or any other metropolitan city during their commuter times? I delivered an 18 foot Aliner trailer into metropolitan Atlanta right before we bought our Airstream and did what I advise everyone else to do when traveling into these areas. You set your time to avoid the rush hours a.m. and p.m., get in and get out. If everyone reading this post believes that Chicago is the worst of all of the major cities to drive around, then I'm ready to drive the whole U.S.A. without worrying about anything.
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Old 04-15-2015, 08:14 AM   #80
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We live about 80 miles southwest of Chicago and use I-80 frequently when traveling east to camp in Indiana or Ohio. I'm somewhat surprised at the length some people will go to avoid this stretch of road around the southern part of Chicago. Yes, it is busy. Yes, there is a lot of commuter traffic. Yes, there are a lot of trucks. Doable? For sure. Any more busy then traveling around Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas or any other metropolitan city during their commuter times? I delivered an 18 foot Aliner trailer into metropolitan Atlanta right before we bought our Airstream and did what I advise everyone else to do when traveling into these areas. You set your time to avoid the rush hours a.m. and p.m., get in and get out. If everyone reading this post believes that Chicago is the worst of all of the major cities to drive around, then I'm ready to drive the whole U.S.A. without worrying about anything.
Agree, I've lived here 18 years and pull my AS on all the roads. I only try and avoid rush periods (they're longer than a rush HOUR).
I've been in many cities which I consider worse, but have come to the conclusion it is more a matter of familiarity with traffic loads and patterns than anything else. Chicago is expensive with the tolls, but at least the condition is excellent on roads under the Illinois Tollway authority. Always under construction and improvement. But you can't appreciate the sunshine without a little rain.
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