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Old 06-17-2013, 05:46 PM   #1
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Best Route South Dakota to Vancouver BC?

Hi All !

My husband and I are planning to pick up our new to us 1966 Tradewinds Trailer in Huron SD in 2 weeks at the WBCCI Rally!

A kind Air Forum member (Overlander66) is going to bring it out to the rally from Michigan, it's old home, and we will bring it the rest of the way.

We do have a lot of anxiety about the trip, as we are new to towing.

Our two vehicle is a 1992 V6 Toyota 4Runner which has a 5000 lb towing capacity. We plan on installing a beefy hitch next week and the trailer comes with a weight distribution system. The trailer is 3780 lbs and the tongue weight is 418 lbs. And we will carry minimal additional weight on the trip.

However, obviously we don't have a huge amount of horsepower. And so we are nervous about the mountain passes. I realise that we HAVE to go through the Rockies but we would like to choose a route that has minimal climbing. We are also looking into installing a transmission cooler.

With all that long winded explanation out of the way - what route would you choose as the "gentlest" route through the Rockies?

Thanks all for your Advice!
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:33 PM   #2
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make a right and see what's over the next hill would be my chosen route....
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:21 PM   #3
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Is this going to be:

"Let's get this "project" home as soon as possible and start working on it"
OR
"Let's make the trip home into a vacation and take our time / enjoy the view"

That might help people formulate a route.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:35 PM   #4
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I 90 takes me right to Seattle.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:54 PM   #5
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Although sightseeing would be nice - our primary concern is choosing a route that is easiest on our transmission and brakes. The least amount of mountain passes.

Also considering the Calgary Banff route...
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:32 PM   #6
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Although sightseeing would be nice - our primary concern is choosing a route that is easiest on our transmission and brakes. The least amount of mountain passes.

Also considering the Calgary Banff route...
Hope you got the AS home safe. Keep me up-to date with pics of that awesome trailer
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:21 PM   #7
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Although sightseeing would be nice - our primary concern is choosing a route that is easiest on our transmission and brakes. The least amount of mountain passes.

Also considering the Calgary Banff route...
That route has much more beautiful sights. Take I90 to Missoula Mt. Take 93 north to Whitefish Mt. Stop in Whitefish and have a beer at the bulldog saloon. Go see Glacier national park. Going to the sun road is one of the most unbelievable drives I have taken in the US. You can cross Glacier and go into Canada or come back and take 93 on north to Calgary. Check and see when the Calgary stampede is if possible go to the largest rodeo in the country. You are definitely going to be in mountains either way you travel so you might as well get to see beautiful country while you are at it. Much much prettier than the route to Seattle. Hope you have a great trip and enjoy.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:50 PM   #8
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... Go see Glacier national park. Going to the sun road is one of the most unbelievable drives I have taken in the US. You can cross Glacier and go into Canada or come back and take 93 on north to Calgary. ...
A word of caution here. Glacier is indeed beautiful but you can't pull your trailer over the Going To The Sun road. If you come in from the east you can camp there and then drive your TV up to the summit and it is worth it, for sure. If you want to head into Canada on the east side you will have to drive around Glacier via the south route.

If I were concerned about getting back to Vancouver I think I would stick on I-90. It is pretty safe with the pass into Butte as the largest one. It is long and steep but very well maintained. 4th of July on the Montana/Idaho border isn't bad either going west. The east slope is a steep climb but it is relatively short. After that, it isn't bad and Snoqualmie in Washington is the easiest of all. The Vantage Hill out of the Columbia River is a long haul too.

The drive through Montana is very pretty as well as Idaho but once past Spokane the trip through the middle of the state is pretty boring. If you make it to Spokane and are feeling good about your setup you can choose some alternate routes into Canada. I would caution you about driving highway 20 over Sherman Pass into Republic. This is the toughest drive in the state. It is the highest pass in the state and is filled with short straight aways followed by tight turns which forces you stay in low gears and slow speeds. Not a lot of fun. It is very beautiful though.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:03 PM   #9
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We pull a 60 Tradewind. Our preferred route is I-90. The fewest climbs, wider roads so not holding up regular traffic while going a bit slower up hills, fuel costs are less, the roads themselves are better.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:39 AM   #10
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We often take I-90 for various trips between Yellowstone NP and Vancouver, BC. We're familiar with the western part, though not so much east of the Rockies. If you just stay in the right-hand lane (and gear down if necessary if you have a standard shift,) you should be fine. We seldom drive over 55-60 mph no matter where we are, for the sake of fuel efficiency, and at that speed we've never had a problem towing a 3500 lb. Bambi with a Toyota Tacoma up major mountain passes.

Glacier NP is well-worth seeing. Although you can't tow your trailer over the Going to the Sun Road (and I wouldn't want to!) you can camp in or near the park via HY 2, unhitch the trailer, and then either drive your vehicle over it to catch the fantastic views, take the park's free shuttle bus, or do one of the concession's touring cars.

You are also close to Yellowstone NP-- these are popular places so you might look into revs.

Lookout Pass east of Coeur d'Alene, ID on I-90 is somewhat long and steep, but we've never had a problem. Plus you can stay for free at the 50,000 Silver Dollars Casino, and there is also a National Forest Service campground right off the Interstate near Alberton. We've also stayed at the St. Regis MT RV park, Ekstrom's Stage Stop near Clinton, MT (nice restaurant,) and frequently at the Blackwell Island Resort west of Coeur d'Alene.

Sorry I can't find our road atlas, but if memory serves we once avoided Lookout Pass by taking HY 200-- a nice back road that meets up with HY 95 in the Idaho panhandle.

From Couer d'Alene on I-90 to Vancouver, BC you can take the belt route around Seattle, then I-5 north through Bellingham, WA. As you know, Vancouver traffic is often super backed-up, notably the tunnel, but if you can avoid rush hour, so much the better.

For a Canadian route, you could pick up HY 3 at some point, which becomes HY 1 at Hope, BC. It's a 2-lane road, but we've never had trouble on any of the passes.

Have a wonderful trip. We drive these mountain roads frequently-- with no mishaps.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:03 AM   #11
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So funny that people offer such detailed route info after the trip has been made.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:53 AM   #12
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So funny that people offer such detailed route info after the trip has been made.
You're right must have been asleep when I was looking at dates. Oh well. Hope you made it home safe and had a great trip.
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:54 AM   #13
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Hi All !

My husband and I are planning to pick up our new to us 1966 Tradewinds Trailer in Huron SD in 2 weeks at the WBCCI Rally!

A kind Air Forum member (Overlander66) is going to bring it out to the rally from Michigan, it's old home, and we will bring it the rest of the way.
Since this thread has lived beyond the trip, I will let everyone know that Lorrie and I picked up the 1966 Tradewind in Michigan and got it safely to the WBCCI International Rally in Huron SD, where Maggie and her husband picked it up. They rented a bigger truck to tow it home over the mountains, I believe using the suggested route 90 and they too made it home safely. The 1966 Tradewind is now in British Columbia!

Lorrie and I had a safe, fun, and adventurous trip to Huron, SD. We drove the first 100 miles without a trailer and then stopped and picked up a vintage Airstream we had never seen, from a seller we had never met, for a buyer we had never met either. The remaining 1000 miles to Huron with the trailer in tow had a few challenges, but nothing we couldn't handle.

When we finally met them in Huron, we found Maggie and her husband Jase to be fantastic people. We look forward to meeting them again when our travels take us even further west some time in the future.
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:39 PM   #14
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Hi Everyone! Thansk for contributing your experience on this area. We did in fact make it home safe and sound thanks in large part to Joe and Lorrie! We did stick to I90 and had a very comfortable trip. As it was our first time towing, through an unknown area, we were quite nervous about what we might run into. After seeing the area, we can't wait to go back to Montana, Idaho, etc to explore more! And we have started work on our beautiful little trailer to get it ship shape for more adventures!
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