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3,110 mile 3rd gen tow MD to CA - Completed!

Discussion in 'Towing' started by jsnyder1025, May 7, 2017.

  1. May 7, 2017 at 10:27 AM
    #1
    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I just finished my cross country trek towing my cargo trailer from Pasadena, MD to San Jose, CA. I apologize for the long post but its alot haha. Total was 3,110 miles and I wanted to share my experience. I have a 2017 tacoma trd off road in white, bone stock. I hauled a 6x10 enclosed cargo trailer, about 2200-2500 est lbs, plus my wife, 2 dogs, and me (maybe 400 lbs). I have to say it was an absolute blast, and I couldn't be happier with the taco. My gas mileage was pretty horrible most of the time averaging 12/13 mpg for the trip, but that is to be expected when towing anything. I found that drafting behind semis in the right lane during the strong Indiana and Illinois headwinds, and going 45-50 mph up hill helped ALOT. We also enjoyed a local brewery at every city we stopped for the night, which was pretty cool.

    Here was our route:
    Pasadena, MD - North Royalton, OH - Des Moines, IA - Fort Collins, CO - Fruita, CO - Bishop, CA - San Jose, CA

    Monday 5/1 in Pasadena we headed on a 6 hour drive to the Cleveland suburb North Royalton, where my wife's family lives. No brewery here, just nice family time.
    Tuesday we headed across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa to Des Moines. We had the worst head winds and rain on this day, where I averaged 10-11 mpg. Once in Des Moines we hit Exile Brewing. They had great food, great outdoor area for the pups to hang with with us, and of course great beer (Moon taxi was my fav).
    Wednesday we left Des Moines and Iowa, crossed all of Nebraska, beautiful state but a long nearly 400 mile long state. We crossed into Wyoming for an hour or so, equally as beautiful, finishing in Fort Collins, CO. In Fort Collins we hit Odell brewery. This was an amazing brewery, no food, but great beer nonetheless, and the most beautiful brewery I've seen.
    Thursday morning we took a detour up to Estes Park, CO, where the Stanley Hotel (from the shining) is located. Our corgi's name is "Stanley" so we had to have a pic of Stanley at The Stanley hotel. (Our border collie's name is Oreo btw).

    After Estes Park, we headed southwest to Grand Junction/Fruita, Colorado. Amazingly scenic drive, and we stopped at Suds bros brewery in Fruita. They were really good, great with the pups, and have happy hour specials on their brews.
    Friday we headed across the rest of CO, Utah, Nevada, and ended in Bishop, CA. This town on the eastern side of Yosemite, near Mammoth Lakes. This drive was the most brutal. Great scenic views but it long dry periods of desert across Utah and Nevada. We almost ranout of gas crossing the Nevada desert, near Area 51 (go figure). Luckily I had brought a 5 gal gas can (A MUST if youre travelling long, or towing), it saved us. There were minimal signs and closed gas stations along the route. Finally we were able to get gas at Tonopah, NV. Once in Bishop, thankfully, we hit Mountain Rambler brewing. I had the Belgian triple and it was probably my favorite beer I had along the route.
    Saturday we headed north and cut through 88 which took us by Kirkwood ski resort. The roads on the east side of Yosemite were still seasonally closed, so the next day we had to go all the way north to almost lake tahoe. I would warn this route wasn't fantastic. We encountered snow, rough roads, fog, and freezing temps with wet roads. Not to mention very very hilly. The Taco handled it with no problem, but we were nervous for the portion. I would recommend going further north adding 30 mins and going thru actual Lake Tahoe and take 50 to Sacramento. Anyways, after that area we went thru Stockton, CA and Pleasanton, CA, finally ending at San Jose.

    All in all the trip was great, the taco drove and towed perfectly, and we were comfortable the entire way(besides the Area 51 gas crisis). Each town we stayed in a La Quinta. They were super nice, had breakfast, and most of all allowed pets. All La Quinta hotels allow pets, keep that in mind. Some recomendations I have would be:
    - bring extra extra water, we were thirsty all the time
    - at least 5 gal extra gas, I would've brought 10 gal if I thought of it.
    - the taco towed great, and I love towing, but if you don't have to tow, don't (obv). I had to sooo. It added an interesting dynamic to the trip, but I think I could've had more fun not towing.
    - take 2 weeks to do it instead of 1 week. There was so much we passed that I would've love to stop and see, but couldn't. I didn't want to drive to much more, and didn't want to drive in the dark, personal preference.
    - Sumo Springs. I added these towards the end of the trip and it was way way better. they took 30 mins to install, and they made the taco sit nicely level and raised my hitch up a few inches. (before the springs, I would drag the trailer's hitch-post jack thing when turning into and out of every parking lot) Before (left), After (right)

    Anyways, sorry for the long post, thanks for the interest!! Let me know of any questions, or suggestions. If you can see my media, check out the other photos.

    Jimmy
     
  2. May 7, 2017 at 10:33 AM
    #2
    Dudeman86

    Dudeman86 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the write up. Taking a job in NorCal?
     
  3. May 7, 2017 at 10:39 AM
    #3
    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    I am! Same job just relocated to help them with coverage. We figured it would be a cool experience.
     
  4. May 7, 2017 at 10:41 AM
    #4
    FFBlack

    FFBlack Well-Known Member

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    Nice :thumbsup:. If I kept my border collie in the truck that long I think he'd go nuts! He's full of energy.
     
  5. May 7, 2017 at 10:42 AM
    #5
    tomwil

    tomwil Well-Known Member

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  6. May 7, 2017 at 11:04 AM
    #6
    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    Haha Thanks! She actually didn't do the best. She was very nervous and panted most of the time, once at the hotel each night she was zonked. The vet recommended a low dosage of benadryl. I was reluctant so we only gave her half of the recommended dosage. It did well for a couple hours then she would be nervous again. I didn't like giving it to her at all. We did stop every 2-3 hours to let the dogs out and walk, and that always helped.
     
  7. May 7, 2017 at 11:15 AM
    #7
    oldtoyotaguy

    oldtoyotaguy Well-Known Member

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    It's nice to have a new expert with us now if any towing questions come up, as they always do. Great report! The only thing I ever worry about in the US are the two legged risks when you are in remote places or on big highways in the middle of nowhere. As a traveller you don't know anyone and you're quite vulnerable if you're in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
     
    14TACO4X4 likes this.
  8. May 7, 2017 at 11:48 AM
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    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    I completely agree. There were a couple places that were a little sketchy. A gas stop in Utah, a car full of sketchy people needed gas and the guy wouldnt leave me alone after I told him "no" 3 times. I finally went in to the station and got some waters, and added $7 to his tank at the register. He was nice and very thankful, but still weird how he refused to leave me alone. Probably knew id eventually crack. Also that stretch where we were low on gas was kind of scary. All the street signs had numerous 9 mm or larger rounds thru them. anyways, glad we made it!
     
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  9. May 7, 2017 at 11:59 AM
    #9
    JaCado

    JaCado Bad luck charm

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    Love the corgi! I used to live in Nevada. Not to worry about all those bullet holes you saw in the signs. Just a local tradition in those areas.
     
  10. May 7, 2017 at 2:17 PM
    #10
    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    Thanks for the clarification! He's a corgi alright inside and out haha
     
  11. May 31, 2017 at 11:33 PM
    #11
    igno1tus

    igno1tus How does this site know about everyone's member ?

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    Nice narrative :thumbsup: , how did you plot the map of he trip ?
     
  12. Jun 1, 2017 at 8:08 AM
    #12
    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    Hi thanks for the good words! I found my route by noting a couple particular places i wanted to stop. For the picture I included, I went to google maps and started with MD - CA. Clicked the little "+" sign in a circle under my destination for "Add destination". Then added all my stops, and clicked and dragged them to reorder them to what you see above.

    Thanks!
     
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  13. Jun 3, 2017 at 9:18 AM
    #13
    JoeWillie

    JoeWillie Well-Known Member

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    So (generally) what gear did you use? My OR has an extremely hard time staying in 6th on flat stretches of i90. Were you able to get out of 4th?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
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  14. Jun 3, 2017 at 9:47 AM
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    igno1tus

    igno1tus How does this site know about everyone's member ?

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    Thanks for explaining it to me , a family member of mine is taking a road trip as well and she's making a album of her pictures and I saw yours and I might do that for her as well with pictures of places she stopped along the way , that's why I was asking
     
  15. Jun 3, 2017 at 8:13 PM
    #15
    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    So typically I stayed 4th, sometimes I made it to 5th flat land over 60 mph. 6th would happen for a split second until I slightly pressed the gas, or down hill, then it would hop straight to 4th. We know we have a funky trans, but I learned to work with it and made the trip. Still a proud taco owner. Thanks for the q!
     
  16. Jun 3, 2017 at 8:16 PM
    #16
    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    Awesome!!! I hope she has a great time! Take all the pics you can and hopefully she can do it in a little more time. Also numerous taco owners on this forum offered help along the route that lived in different areas across the country. I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to help her. Good luck and safe travels!
     
  17. Jul 6, 2017 at 6:32 PM
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    bobpatt

    bobpatt New Member

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    I live in North Royalton, so I was pleased to see you made our town your first stop. I'm sure you were tied up with your wife's family that day, but next time you're here go to the Brew Kettle for their micro brew. It's just down the street in Strongsville which will save you a drive downtown.

    Beyond the beer, your road trip thread was super helpful. I'll be moving the other direction from Cleveland to Charlottesville. I was concerned about towing a few trailer loads on the PA Turnpike and I 76, but you made it sound easy.
     
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  18. Jul 7, 2017 at 6:04 AM
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    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    Nice! North Royalton is a great town. My wife's family lives there as I said and I have some friends in the Strongsville area. I will note to check out the Brew Kettle! Glad that the post helped. I am getting a Scanguage soon to monitor the trans temp, maybe that would be good for you too. Also, if you dont have airbags or the sumo springs, I would highly recommend the sumo springs. They're $200 and make the truck sit nice and level. Prior to them I was dragging the trailer hitch post on everything. Also, the PA turnpike was nothing compared to what I faced out west haha! So you should be good there. Anyways good luck with your tow, and let me know if you have any questions!
     
  19. Jul 8, 2017 at 6:44 PM
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    bobpatt

    bobpatt New Member

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    Thanks for the advice on the Scanguage and sumo springs. I'll check them out.

    I just picked up my Taco last week so I'm a total noob. I almost got the Colorado, but I'm glad I got the Toyota.

    What was your tongue weight that caused you to upgrade your springs?

    I got the truck to tow our A-frame camper which weighs about 2200 loaded. I was using our Subaru Outback which pulls it fine in Northern Ohio where it's flat. But in West Virginia and Western MD I was afraid of overheating the transmission. Having the ability to monitor the trans temperature is a real plus.

    Another excellent brew place is the taproom in the Fatheads commercial brewery in Middleburg Hts. (not to be confused with their restaurant in North Olmsted...which is also good).
     
  20. Jul 12, 2017 at 2:27 PM
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    jsnyder1025

    jsnyder1025 [OP] Active Member

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    Ive been to Fatheads in Pittsburgh before and that place is pretty solid. Im not sure what my tongue weight was, i def couldn't lift it, although was probably close to 400 or so (not including the 100 ish in the bed, although not quite to the 650 limit). The sumo springs actually just go in place of the rear bump stops on the leaf springs. They added a good bit of support, even under normal operations. The ride is noticeably a little harsher. I dont mind it, although hit a decent bump in the road a few weeks ago while driving on the high way, and my corgi went airborne. Lucky for him hes on a seat belt and stayed put. lol. Anyways, mainly like how it looks sitting with the trailer handles the bumps well, and keeps the rear high so I dont scrape.

    Congrats on the Taco! I am pretty nooby also as I just purchased mine in January. I was interested in the Colorado also, but even today the taco just looks better to me inside and out. I guess the diesel would be cool, but very satisfied with the taco this far.

    Also Scanguage is set up and working with Trans fluid in and out temps. maybe ill post a pic later of my setup.
     

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