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Old 07-15-2015, 12:39 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Hauula , Hawaii
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First trip planning--with motels?

We are planning a trip, our first, from northern Louisiana (Shreveport) to Heber City, Utah with our '72 31' Sovereign in late August. The Airstream's not ready for camping; we're taking it to a new home where we can begin the renovation.
We're from Hawaii and I have never pulled a long trailer. I plan for lots of practice before hitting the road. Yes, we're replacing axles and tires before leaving too!

So here's the scoop: we plan an unhurried trip for safety's sake (no freeways), and plan to stay in motels along the route.

Do you have any preferred roads across Texas and Colorado? We'll avoid the highway between Denver and Grand Junction (I recall high winds, lots of hills and turns!), but looking for your favorite/preferred route. Is I-40 OK? Google Earth can only give so much information: no substitute for real experience.

And here's a dumb question: what are the challenges with staying at motels pulling an Airstream? Can overnight parking be found close to motels, or is such a thing allowed?

We're looking forward to an adventure--hopefully the good kind.

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Old 07-15-2015, 12:54 PM   #2
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1991 34' Excella
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The high price spreads might have limited parking for larger rigs but any motel that accepts trucks will not be an issue.

The biggest issue with towing on local roads for someone not used to towing will be getting used to the swing out necessary when turning at a right hand intersections. Get in the habit of swinging wide and looking in the side mirror just as the trailer tires round the corner. You don't wan to bend that new axle.

You say you will practice before leaving. What i suggest to new comers is find a large parking area, a truck terminal on a weekend, that has a long straight edge along one side. Drive parallel to that edge about 20 ft. off it to the far end. Now back up to the other end while staying that 20 ft off the edge. Once you can do that look at the loading dock doors. They often have lines painted either side. Treat those lines as a campsite and back into one. Try it from both directions. When you feel you have it you are good to go. Very few trees, garbage cans, picnic table, and water posts to worry about.

Keep this in mind. The longer a trailer is the easier it is to back up

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1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 07-15-2015, 01:10 PM   #3
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If it were me making that trip pulling that long of trailer, I would stay with Interstate highways. Long sweeping turns, controlled grades, no traffic crossing from side roads! I'd stay in the right hand lane and drive at a speed comfortable for me. My trailer is but a 19', but I've never had an issue finding parking for the truck and trailer, I ask at the desk and the clerk usually directs me to a suitable site.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:43 AM   #4
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1972 31' Sovereign
Hauula , Hawaii
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Posts: 44
Wow, great advice, thanks! I hadn't even considered using freeways due to my anticipated 60-65 mph top speed limit, but your advice makes sense.
As for parking practice, that's very helpful. I will definitely do that.
I'm not sure if the anti-sway hitch is still viable (originally purchased with the trailer in '72), but expect to learn its vagaries before leaving as well. I see there's still a lot of lively info/discussion on those, so will visit that forum section and absorb a couple hundred pages before the trip. Maybe have to take some vacation days just to read it all...
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Old 07-16-2015, 01:45 PM   #5
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Is it totally unfit for camping? It might still beat motel beds. As long as the AC works a 5 gal bucket can deal with nature's necessities that fall outside the rest stops and fuel stops regimen. Once you get into the higher elevations the AC becomes a non issue. I once near froze to death overnight in Dillon Co. in July. US 40 has a lot of sharp turns and switch backs from I 70 to Steamboat. I'd not like towing a 31 over that road. Better to go I 70. If you go north at Rifle you can pick up the 40 near Craig and then head on west to Utah.
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Old 07-16-2015, 02:02 PM   #6
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Even totally gutted out Airstream's make great tin tents. Seems there is at least one at every rally inhale been too.
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Old 07-16-2015, 08:26 PM   #7
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You can 'stop' in many large parking lots... you can 'camp' in most any trailer... as long as the floor is intact.. if dirty, just set off some 'bombs' inside, then air out and spread a blue tarp for your 'flooring'... set up some 'camping cots' to stay off the floor... You can do it...

Stay on major highway in right lane. you will find BIG areas for trucks... so you will fit easily.
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Old 07-18-2015, 12:38 AM   #8
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We're not fans of Denver traffic, but once you're beyond Denver, I-70 has lots to recommend it, because if you're unused to pulling a trailer, you pretty much just have to stay in your lane and can pull off at rest stops with little difficulty. Glenwood Springs has a very tricky exit, but you can avoid that one, and stop at the nice welcome center in Fruita. It was a sani dump and free coffee.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:03 PM   #9
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Google Earth is your friend. Take a look at estimated stop points, check out some of the motel locations there and then pull up the Google Earth satellite photos to check out the parking lot. I prefer a big one that goes all the way around the motel so I can loop around rather than have to back up and turn around. Google also gives you "street view", so you can do a "drive by recon" of the place. Have a safe trip!
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Old 07-19-2015, 01:57 PM   #10
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You never mentioned what you are towing with. That will help with comments about the hitch.
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Old 07-19-2015, 02:15 PM   #11
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We agree with others that if you're not used to towing it will be easier to stay with Interstate Highways, as they are engineered for trucks, etc. Don't worry about the high speed limits. Based on our experience across Montana and such, you're fine as long as you stay in the right lane and stick to your plan regarding towing speeds.

This time of year you might even want to consider I-80 after driving around Denver. If we remember correctly, I-80 will not be as dramatic as I-70 wrt passes and mountain curves. We have no experience with US-287 from Dallas, TX, to Limon, CO, and can't comment that section.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:14 AM   #12
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1972 31' Sovereign
Hauula , Hawaii
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Our 'new' Airstream is actually in very good condition. I'm assuming the worst, as I couldn't do much of an inspection when we were there. We inherited the trailer on the death of a not-close relative, and some generous neighbors allowed us to move it to their property until we could return to pick it up. That was last October!

It was in regular use as a spare room, and the bathroom worked. It was hooked up to a septic system, so I don't know anything about the tank condition.
But my wife and daughter may not be as adventurous as I am. They are looking forward to motel visits (We don't get off the island much, so they think motels are cool. Seriously.)

The TV is another question mark. A generous friend is loaning us their F-150 or F-250 quad cab: I've asked her for more info on it. She doesn't know much, I'm afraid. Nothing like going into a trip with very little info. Hope to get everything straightened out soon. Oahu is a lovely place, but a long 'road trip' around the island takes about two hours!

Wish we had a better way to do this. But your advice is most welcome and I'm absorbing all I can. I love using Google earth, by the way. Once the route is worked out, we can figure things from there.
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Old 07-20-2015, 01:59 PM   #13
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1971 31' Sovereign
Christine , North Dakota
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I drove around Oahu once, took the long slow route, it was only 135 miles, and it took all day. Back home 135miles is 2hrs..

I'm new to the Airstream world as well, I just read through.
Preparing for the First Tow Home

The Hitch Torsion Bar Story

I hope you find them interesting.
FWIW, the i70 route from Grand Junction to Denver is a lot more scenic compared to the route from Durango up to Denver. Although I did enjoy both Durango, Pagosa Springs, and the Great Sand Dunes.

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