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Old 01-06-2012, 05:38 PM   #1
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First trip

Hi all! I pick up the Bambino at the end of the month from London Ontario, and will be going home via I80, most likely. Seeking advice from people for the first trip hauling the thing back to Colorado -- what do I need to know about the route? I understand the border crossing is always crowded, is there a time of day or night to go through that might be better? I'm going to stop in Chicago to pick up my partner J and we'll stay there overnight, any suggestions for a good place where I can leave the trailer, un-hitch, go and pick him up at the airport, and we can spend the night? As a newbie, how long should I allow for the trip back to CO? How do I find out about possible problems for a semi-nervous newbie (narrow roads, detours, construction, oh my!)? What are your favorite trip planning helpers and weather indicators?

Thanks in advance for any help -- I know CanAm will give me as many towing tips as I can deal with, but I like to be (over)prepared.

Zina
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:19 PM   #2
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First trip

Greetings Zina!


As someone who lived near the I-80 corridor in Northern Illinois for many years, I will offer these suggestions for traveling in late January/early February:
  • Be prepared for the weather to change with a moments notice . . . a peaceful soft rain can turn into freezing rain sleet within just 10 or 20 miles of travel.
  • Observe any warnings posted on the overhead message boards along the Interstate . . . . heed advice about slippery conditions particularly when towing your coach . . . . better to get safely off the highway than risk an accident with the coach.
  • While I realize that satelite radio is much more entertaining than local stations, when traveling this route, I always try to tune to a station in the next large city on my route to learn of any potential traffic tie ups or other problems on the highway . . . . . the last couple of trips that I have made, there have been problems on the I-80 Mississippi River Bridge (but those should be resolved by now).
  • My suggestion would be to wait out any winter storm in the safety of a motel or campground. Towing a trailer on icy or snow-packed pavement is strictly a white-knuckle experience regardles of hitch and/or tow vehicle in use.
Regarding parking your Bambi prior to meeting your partner at the airport, my suggestion would be to select a motel that has RV/Truck parking and check-in prior to traveling to the airport. At check-in, you could un-hitch and be sure that the Bambi is safely parked prior to traveling to the Airport. To find a motel with RV/Truck parking, you will likely be looking at lodging located an forty minute to an hour from the airport. Many Super 8 Motels as well as Red Roof Inns offer RV/Truck Parking.

Good luck with your adventure!

Kevin

P.S.: I didn't suggest a campground as I am not aware of any that would still be open at this time of year unless it might be the West Chicago KOA.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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P.S.: I didn't suggest a campground as I am not aware of any that would still be open at this time of year unless it might be the West Chicago KOA.
Get a copy of Woodalls Guide, it will know, among other things, what camps are open when.

But most importantly, it will tell you what other campers like yourself thought of the camps.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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Fabulous, thanks Kevin -- that trip would usually take me 2, maybe 2.5 days traveling by myself in a car. I'm blocking out 3-4 days just in case. And crossing my fingers there won't be a storm!

Super 8 and Red Roof are gooooood to know. I need to look at a map and find something outside Chicago anyway, I think -- I am not really sure I'll be up to tootling around Chicago with a trailer in tow yet! Maybe I'll try Gary or Lansing.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:45 PM   #5
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Thanks Aage -- I've been meaning to do that, and keep forgetting!
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:42 PM   #6
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First trip

Greetings Zina!

I have the impression that you would like to avoid towing through Chicago traffic, and I don't blame you. When examining your route, if there is a way that you can adjust your route such that you travel to the West of the City (Interstate 39) you will find traffic to be less stressful and there would be a number of possible stopover locations such as Madison, WI; Beloit, WI; Rockford, IL; Belvidere, IL; etc. I have towed travel trailers for many years, and avoid towing through Chicago if at all possible as the traffic, to me, is the most stressful that I have encountered in my travels.

Enjoy your expedition!

Kevin
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:48 PM   #7
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I have the impression that you would like to avoid towing through Chicago traffic, and I don't blame you.
Oh, you are SO right. I'll definitely take a look at the alternative routing, thanks for the advice, it's exactly what i was hoping for!
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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Kevin, how bad is congestion going through Hammond-Joliet/I94-I80? Is that south enough or am I still looking at horrible traffic that way?
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:21 PM   #9
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Kevin, how bad is congestion going through Hammond-Joliet/I94-I80? Is that south enough or am I still looking at horrible traffic that way?
I live over here and travel that way a lot. It could be easy going and it could be stop and go. No rhyme or reason. I have flown through at rush hour and stopped dead at 2AM. Doesn't help you much, but you really have no other choice.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:28 PM   #10
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you really have no other choice.
Thanks, that actually helps, oddly enough. I wonder if there's a better time of day than another, in general? D'you think if I timed it to get into town later in the evening, maybe around 8 or 9, that route might be too stressful for a newbie tow-er? Unless the weather isn't great, in which case it's daytime only!
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:30 PM   #11
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Zlee, here is my advice, balancing your needs with ease of access, but a few extra miles.

Take I80 all the way to I 39 north. Pull in and stay at Rock Cut State park. They have electric sites and one shower house open all winter. nice park. Not sure if they have a hydrant at the ranger station to fill with. May want to buy some gallons to drink and cook with.

Drop the AS and hit I 90 from Rockford back into O'Hare to pick up your partner. I assume it is O'Hare. Head back out to Rockford, spend a nce relaxing night and hit it the next day. That's about as easy in-easy out it gets around here.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:31 PM   #12
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Thanks, that actually helps, oddly enough. I wonder if there's a better time of day than another, in general? D'you think if I timed it to get into town later in the evening, maybe around 8 or 9, that route might be too stressful for a newbie tow-er? Unless the weather isn't great, in which case it's daytime only!
I'd just come on through whenever. Actually best is probably after 9am and before 2pm.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:39 PM   #13
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Take I80 all the way to I 39 north. Pull in and stay at Rock Cut State park.
Fabulous, thanks! I'll present these two options (hotel vs park) to my partner and see what he thinks. He's flying direct from the UK, so he may prefer a hotel so he can spread out a bit. But I'd like to stay in the Bambino, since there's electric! I mean, why have we spent all this moola if we don't stay in the trailer, for cat's sake!
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:40 PM   #14
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I love this forum. You guys are so cool.
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