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Am I crazy to attempt this trip?

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Old 01-06-2010, 07:54 AM   #1
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Am I crazy to attempt this trip?

So I have a 2008 Tacoma TRD Sport and a Cikira 23' Hybrid Travel Trailer. As you all know the truck is rated at a 6500lb tow capacity but the trailer weighs 5400lbs fully loaded.

I am contemplating a big trip this year at the end of August beginning of September to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary.

I live in Calgary AB Canada and am thinking of do a haul down to the Vegas area. The intent is to take a week to get here. A week to see the sites and camp around a bit and a week to get back.

I have not been out camping with this truck and trailer combo yet and I understand that I won't be as comfortable as if I had bought a full sized truck, but original intention was to do many short trips near home and use the truck a commuter vehicle.

I should also mention that I will be bringing the ankle biters as well. An 18mth old and a 3 1/2 yr old.

I have had some travel experience with the kids and they do alright, but I have never attempted something on this scale before. I am looking for input on several factors.

Is my Tac up to the task? I know what the georgraphy is like until I hit the border. I know Utah has some high passes and expect to need to slow down, but is the whole trip going to be too hard on the truck? It will be an approx 6K round trip.

Am I trying to pack too much distance into too short a time? I have done big trips before we had kids and as an adult you can cope with long day in the car. Anyone with kids have personal experiences to relate.

It will be very easy to shorten the trip but man I sure would like to get down to Vegas again.

Any thoughts, input, feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:28 PM   #2
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I would try and do a couple short trips first with your set up and the kids. Just to get a feel for things. Then make a decision on whether or not to attempt this trip.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:34 PM   #3
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i would test it first
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:48 PM   #4
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fuck no, going for the long haul are we? i would atleast try to rent a half ton truck, thats a lot of wear and tear on your truck dont do that to it.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:53 PM   #5
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Did you consider taking a plane ride? Just find out your expenses on gas, mils and the rest for the two weeks trip, and then do the mat for a well enjoyed 5 nits on Vegas with your family flaying in. I'll bet will be cheaper. Just think how hot is in August on Vegas, you'll kill your truck.
Take care
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:54 PM   #6
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the truck will have no prob.. But thats a big trip for the kids, ur right to estamate about a week down and up.. Go for it! Id make sure to do a oil change in vegas before you leave.
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vbibi View Post
Did you consider taking a plane ride? Just find out your expenses on gas, mils and the rest for the two week trip, and then do the mat for a well enjoyed 5 nits on Vegas with your family flaying in. I'll bet will be cheaper. Just think how hot is in August on Vegas, you'll kill your truck.
Take care
vbibi
x2 - and then factor in 'incidentals' like potential damage to the truck. Get on a plane if I were you.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:38 AM   #8
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You're looking @ a lot of CONS regarding this trip you're trying to do.

1. MONEY - You'll get POOR MPG for sure with all that weight 10-13 MPG?
2. Long Ride w/Baby
3. The "HEAT"
4. Potential Accidents/Breakdowns (More $$$$)

Those KEY Factors above would kill the trip IMO.

I'll say its $1400 in Gas + Oil Change + Wear & Tear
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:57 AM   #9
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Install an external transmission fluid cooler, if your truck has an auto. If you don't I guarantee you will either toast your existing fluid, or your trans in general.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:09 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies so far. I guess I am a little suprised at the lack of confidence that the Tac has what it takes to make the trip. There is no question it is long and could be quite hot. So I guess that makes sense. I wonder if the opinions would be the same if it was a Tundra? Am I over exceeding the capability of the truck or is it just becasue it is a long trip to the desert?

To the replies that illuminate the money concern, that is a very valid point as there is no question it is easier and possibly cheaper to fly down, but where is the fun in that. I think our original thought process was that we are doing this for the whole travel experience not just Vegas, that was simply an interesting place to go.

However your opinions are valued and I am thinking maybe a shorter trip might be the wiser choice. Perhaps just down to Idaho. Several smaller trips will happen before any kind of big trip does so I will have an idea of what the truck is like. Was just looking to tap into some previous experience.

I definitely understand the extra burden towing puts on the truck and that was a understood when I purchased it, however I don't want to kill on the first big trip out.

Once again thanks for the replies, and if anyone else has an opinion I am anxious to hear it.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:19 AM   #11
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I tow a 21 ft toyhauler and it puts some wear on the poor taco. And depending on conditions you could be looking a 7 mpg.

If you're dead set on driving maybe look into renting an RV/motorhome and coming down here.

If you have any questions as your trip unfolds, give me a shot. I live in Vegas.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:20 AM   #12
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I took a trip to arizona, 2200 miles one way, pulling a 5x10fully loaded trailer. I did this in june. The gas mileage sucks. I drove staight through (43 hours) so the motor never had time to cool down. I got around 12 mpg's I have a manual tranny so I don't have to worry about a cooler but you would be stupid not to get one if your going to attempt it. If you think the kids can do it then go for it. I love a road trip way more than planes. Plus you can go wheelin and really show your family the sites. I had no problem taking my '04 with 150k miles on it out there and back. I loved it and will be doing it again this summer. It is a good idea to have some extra cash in case something breaks though.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:25 AM   #13
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This trucks engine tranny and brakes are set to tow 6500 lbs safely. keep it in that range and all will be ok. I promise.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:28 AM   #14
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OP, look throught the towing section here and the Towing Bible. Ensure your rig is outfitted with the right equipment first before a haul as you propose. It's not that it can't do it. The truck can. Yes, it'll get quite the workout doing so with poor gas mileage. But not much worse than a 1/2 or 3/4 T full size. I've made several hauls with a double axle car hauler to western Kansas from St. Louis with no problems.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:28 AM   #15
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I say do the drive without the trailer and rent motels along the way.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:34 AM   #16
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I hauled 5,200lbs with my '09 TRD Taco 4,153 miles non-stop and it handled perfect.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:34 AM   #17
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I for 1 think that your truck will be fine as long as you take it easy, don't get in a hurry & stop often. I would install a trans temp gauge & keep the tranny in drive not overdrive. Have the trans serviced by Toyota once you get back home. You are going to get terrible gas milage tho.

The kids are another story, I have two about the same age & I am not sure that I would atempt that trip with them.

On another note, just to throw my .02 out there, this is the exact reason that I ended up with a pop-up camper instead of a full size RV. Much easier to tow with the Taco & you would be suprised out how many features that you can get on one these days, they can be ALMOST as comforable as a full size.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:39 AM   #18
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I have a 2008 TRD Sport. I think the TRD Sport also. I tow a Shadow Cruiser T160. It's 16ft long and about 3500 lbs loaded. I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and have towed my trailer from Winnipeg to Utah and back in 2008, and went to Newmexico and back last summer. I had no problems. The wind is a huge factor in fuel consumpsion. If I keep it 100 km/h or less, I get around 20 l/100 km (11.7 mpg - US gal). Go the speed limit of 75 mph (121 km/h) on the Interstate, and I only get 25l/100km (9.4 mpg - US gal)

I discovered that unless you really like camping, you can probably spend less money driving in a more fuel efficient vihecle, and staying in hotels.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:51 AM   #19
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Once again thanks for the replies.

I am definitely expect to get sucky gas mileage.

The truck has a transmission cooler, but no gauge, but then I guess that is standard on the TRDs

The plan is to do 350 to 450 km per day and spend the night in a campgrounds on the way down, park it near Vegas maybe Valley of Fire, camp and do day trips for a week then meander on back in 5 or six days. Total time 3 weeks. Would expect to change the oil in Vegas maybe even the tranny fluid as a precaution.

This last batch of posts were a little more optomistic than the first batch. As for the kids they are used to doing 3 - 5 hrs in the car. Parent in laws live 3hrs away and took them to the West coast in September that is approx 1100km and did it in two days. That was just driving though, no trailer. Although 3 weeks is a long time from home and that is where my concern for them comes from.

I know this pic is in the "Show us what you tow" thread but this is my setup

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Old 01-07-2010, 08:54 AM   #20
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don't do Vegas in the Summer

Currently live in the Northwest but lived in Vegas for about 13 years.

Unless you really want to do the true Vegas experience, don't attempt the drive in the summer. This means either before mid May or after September. Weather way too hot and the kids won't be able to enjoy it as much. By early May the temps are usually in the mid 90's and head for the triple digits until sometime in late September. Vegas has even seen temps in the 80's in December but you can't count on it. Winds also blow (they call it a breeze) throughout the summer months. Really consider flying as you will probably save money over the trip. You can usually get some fantastic 4-5 night deals including air/car/hotel. Even on the strip.
If your planning on seeing the western US then I suppose you may still wish to drive but just be aware the temperatures rise pretty quickly the farther south you go. Good luck whatever you decide. Ken
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