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Old 01-18-2007, 03:47 PM   #29
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1988 25' Excella
Sunnyvale , California
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One extra tip: AM Radio 1070...


I'm sure anyone who can handle a flat on the trailer in the snow on I-5 can handle LA traffic... Having just returned from the 29 Palms experience, I'd like to add an important extra tip..

Unless you enjoy surprises and are dedicated to soothing classical music in your car, consider tuning to AM 1070 (KNXT) radio in LA, or one of the all news talk stations. They broadcast significant traffic info every 5 minutes, and while it is often in SoCal code ( Big mess on the Orange Crush northbound...) it can save your day. While we were heading home from Palm Springs, I happended to overhear "Sigalert for Interstate 5 northbound - Road closed from Valencia to Laval Rd due to snow.." That was code for snow and crashes on the "Grapevine" out of LA to Bakersfield area, and we ended up proceeding out west on Hwy 101 through Santa Barbara. I-5 was closed for more than 8 hours, and we would not have made it home that night.

I can reconfirm that floating with the trucks at 55-60 mph in right two lanes will generally work, and politeness is pretty common. Missed one exit sign (looking for I-210 and saw only Hwy 55 (with teeny little sign below "to I-210) and made it over with signals flashing... If far right lane remains open for long, rocket racers will use it as passing lane, so be wary...


In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 01-18-2007, 04:03 PM   #30
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October. Due to the high winds out there in the desert from May to July.

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"Better to have more then you need, then need more then you have because you don't have enough!"
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:46 PM   #31
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2005 28' International CCD
Northridge , California
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I have lived in Los Angeles for 35 years and travel on the freeways with my 28' A/S at least twice a month. You have nothing to fear if you follow a couple of suggestions:
1. Travel in the second lane from the right. The right lane is for traffic joining and leaving the freeway.
2. Give notice of your intention to change lanes by using your signals and give the notice as soon as possible. Many drivers will flash their lights as a signal to you that they know what you are about to do and will wait for you to make the lane change.
3. The maximum speed limit in Los Angeles while towing is 55 mph. You will get a ticket if you exceed the limit.
4. Most truckers know the freeways and will move over when they know that lanes are ending. Trucks can only travel in the two far right lanes except when otherwise posted or when directed by a police officer. Watch them and they will watch you and in most cases will give you a break.
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:57 AM   #32
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L. A. Area Freeways.

Our freeways run the gamut from horrible to great, depending on the day and time, and if it's accident free.

But, when traveling those freeways, with an RV, those people have a huge advantage over regular travelers.

Why? Hmmm.

They have a place to stay while their waiting for the traffic to move.

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Old 09-06-2008, 08:47 AM   #33
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This past summer I drove the LA freeways for the first time. I worried about it during the 12 months prior when I was planning our trip. Here is what I decided to do:

1. I wanted to be alert when I got there. All to often, at the end of a day of towing, I'm tired and not as alert as when I started. Coming in from Kingman, AZ I opted to stay in a city park in Victorville, CA so I could begin my ordeal in the morning. I would also have the benefit of only having to drive about 150 miles to my destination in Pamona

2. I acknowledged that traffic would be bad regardless of the time of day. I hoped that it wouldn't be as bad at mid-morning - 10:00AM or so. Not wanting to rely on exit names I determined the exit number so I could determine how far I had to go.

Number 1 worked just as I had hoped it would. I got a good night's rest, and was refreshed when I got on the road the next morning.

Number 2 worked even better than I had hoped for. This was on a Friday morning, I didn't have the option for a weekend arrival. I had to get on I15 and then over to I10 to get to Pamona. It started off a little shaky because I was in the left lane to get onto I15, and it turned out I should have been in the right lane. Ack! The other drivers actually let me move over two lanes so I could make my turn, whew. The traffic was no worse than other major city freeways at that time of day. No stop and go, and no reckless drivers doing stupid things. I did get a scare when I got onto I10 and noticed the exits were not numbered, but as I got closer to my exit the mileage markers began to appear.

I got to Pomona in fine shape, no bumps or bruises, and my sanity was at its normal level. We left LA on the following Monday morning, and once again there was little to get anxious about. Driving through LA without a navigator was not any fun, but I did it. I had a navigator on my departure, and it was a world of difference.

If you've driven through Denver, Dallas, or Houston you can drive through LA. Just do it at the optimum time of day to have a chance at less traffic, and do this at the start, or middle, of your driving day to be as fresh and alert as you can be.

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Old 09-06-2008, 09:03 AM   #34
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Not being a Californican I can't speak for the freeways - however Tom-Stream's point #1 is valid everywhere. If you are (or would be) at the end of your rope when you arrive in a challenging venue, you will be at a disadvantage.

Try to greet cocktail hour already relaxed - and under the awning.

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Old 09-06-2008, 12:30 PM   #35
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More L.A. native driving tips.

The second lane from the right is the best. The far right tends to have more potholes and washboard.

The speed limit while towing in CA is 55. Not even the big rigs seem to go that slow. Car drivers, especially young ones in rice rockets, will routinely pass on the right at 30+ mph above your speed.

Big rig drivers respect your turn signals. Everyone else takes them as an invitation to speed up and prevent you from merging... even if that is a disadvantage to them! In all but the heaviest traffic, I wait for an opening, THEN signal as I begin the merge. Don't count on drivers to help MAKE an opening for you once the signals are on.

Expect people to cut in front of you CONSTANTLY as you drive. If the trailer is even slightly sway-prone, stop and redistribute weight! I had to hit the brakes and swerve when somebody cut me off and slammed on their brakes, and wagged a 31' Streamline the width of the 101 for the next 1/8 mile, miraculously hitting nothing but a brush with the soundwall.

Try to stay off the road from 7-10 am and 3:30 to 6:30 on weekdays. Expect the 101 to be jammed through Hollywood at all hours, especially Friday and Saturday nights. Expect all inbound roads to be slow on Sunday until well after 9pm.

Have a plan of where to park. Newport Beach, for example, has labyrinthine streets and nowhere to park so much as a moped during the summer. Not many houses near the beach have trailer-size private driveways. Many (not all) places where there is room to park, have problems with vandalism, theft, and hoodla.

Other than that, enjoy.
It seems I love the mountains and deserts more than my friends do. I sure miss them!

1971 Streamline Imperial project "Silver Snausage", 1985 Coleman tent trailer, 1964 Little Dipper, 1975 Northwest "Proto Toyhauler", 2004 Harbor Freight folding, still seeking my Airstream.
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Old 09-06-2008, 01:21 PM   #36
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Hey Turtle, if you look at a map you can see there is a nifty road from 29 Palms to I10 (in Cal it's called THE 10) that goes right through Joshua Tree national park, but it's marked prohibited to vehicles with trailers. I also happen to know that the guards go home at dark and that a big truck pulling a 48' trailer can get through there just fine.

Also don't be tempted to take the north east entrance to Big Bear lake, though it looks quite a bit shorter on the map. By the time you get to the sign that says "Grades Ahead 6% to 16%, Vehicles With Trailers Prohibited" there is absolutely no way to turn around and the last place that it might be possible is back many miles. The only choice is to continue on and with the hellish grades and the hairpin switchbacks where you have to take ALL of the road, it's a nightmare.

If you've got the time and resources, you might consider taking US 395 to the south instead of THE 5. It's a much nicer drive through some pretty scenery though you do detour through Reno. If you decide to take THE 80 through Donner from there, be sure and carry some extra spam with you.

Watch the big trucks in city traffic and do what they do (except don't get off at the weigh stations). I think that you'll find it crowded but not that bad. At least the drivers in Cal are mostly competent and pay attention to their driving. I've been all over the US in a big truck and there's a number of places a lot worse than LA/SoCal. You should have driven through Atlanta during the olympics.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:20 AM   #37
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I've never been to LA, but I have lived in the Toronto area my whole life and the traffic volume here is quite heavy too. I'm new to towing, but certainly not new to city traffic, or driving on highways.

I was initially dreading dealing with my AS in city traffic, but I've been pleasantly surprised by how painless it is so far.

Try and match the general traffic speed for the lane that you are in. Here the left lane traffic speed is typically 140 km/h across the city. The next lane over will average 120 km/h, next lane 100-110 km/m, and the right lane has to be avoided because of the exiting merging traffic. I stay in the third lane over from the left and match the speed of the vehicle ahead of me.

In my opinion (as someone who commutes on these highways day to day) one of the reasons you may get cut off when towing is that you are going too slow for the lane you are in. The posted speed limit means very litte on metropolitan highways. Here the limit is 100 km/h, but people routinely do 40 km/h over that in the left lane. If you are really going too slow for the traffic flow of the lane you are in, people get frustrated with you and try to recklessly get around you. Yes, there will always be idiots who cut you off... but the slower you go compared to the flow of traffic, the more you will attract them.

As for lane changes... I signal and start to move over slowly..... when you're large and silver people tend to get out of your way! ;-)

Incidentally, I've noticed that I actually slow down traffic when I'm towing. On my first trip in my AS I was headed north on a three lane highway. I was in the middle lane matching the traffic flow speed for that lane. Nearly everyone that passed me on the left would pause to admire my AS for a second or two before they sped up to get past me. :-)
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:36 AM   #38
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i noticed with the car trailer that if you "wag the tail" a bit folks will slow down a bit to let you make a lane change ;-)

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