Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

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Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Windycitycyn » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:21 am

Hello,

After many years of living car-less I recently inherited a Chrysler Sebring 4 door. My partner and I are considering driving out to the burn in it this year. In the past we have shipped things to friends in SF, flown there and then rented a very expensive minivan to drive the 7 hours to the playa. It has been a lot of work, a lot of money and always a rush to make it back to our flight in SF post burn - super stressful! We want to see if there's a better way to do it by car.

The biggest issue is how to transport all our stuff. We won't have any major infrastructure but we will have our outfits, camping gear and coolers/food. (No way the car is big enough!) Has anyone heard of attaching a trailer hitch to a car like this? What about those roof cargo boxes? Any ideas on how to best go about this? What have others done to drive out with a lot of stuff when you have a smaller car?

Appreciate your help!
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby JayBobBoy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:40 am

If you have a reliable way to ship and have items brought in for you, I would continue to work along those lines. However, with some creativity and proper planning, you can get an amazing amount of stuff in a car like that.

A quick search on the internet showed a bunch of options like these...
Image

If you use something like that along with a bike rack on the trunk, it will help.

Good luck!
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:27 pm

They make hitches for just about anything with wheels, a quick Google turns up plenty for the Sebring.
I'd get a small trailer. Every year there's a long thread about towing trailers to Burning Man, I'll just throw out the main points.
First, don't get a trailer with those tiny wheels; the little bitty tires will be spinning at hyper-speed following your car at normal freeway speed, heating up the wheel bearings and the tires themselves. They're not well suited for cross-country trips. !3" diameter wheels are the minimum, 14" or bigger is even better.
Don't use old tires regardless of tread condition, it's the dried-out sidewalls that will fail on this trip. I've had it happen. Carry a spare.
If it's a used trailer, put fresh wheel bearings in. It's cheap and easy.

Trailers rock! You don't have to have the inside of your car packed so you barely fit yourself, you can fit bigger stuff, and you can even make it into a small shelter, or tarp it securely and at least have a place to keep your stuff away from the dust storms.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby BeeWeeDee » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:50 pm

Consider removing the back seats. I did that in my honda insight and it was incredible how much more I could pack in the thing. Its been 6 months now and I really should put them back in but....
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Elorrum » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:24 pm

BeeWeeDee wrote:Consider removing the back seats. I did that in my honda insight and it was incredible how much more I could pack in the thing. Its been 6 months now and I really should put them back in but....

ha ha ha ha! yeah, I take the front passenger seat out of my hatchback, and well, it's nice to sit in the back seat at lunchtime when I get home. I just put it back at the end of January when I knew I'd have a shotgun rider on a trip.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Savannah » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:22 pm

Here's a great thread for you.

Travel trailer, cargo trailer or.....
viewtopic.php?f=286&t=39734

If you use a trailer and have no license plate on it, know that law enforcement may use that as a reason to pull you over, although they may not necessarily ticket you.

No Plates for Trailers & the Saturation Point for Enforcement
viewtopic.php?f=286&t=63137

So you'll want to determine whether any of the states you'll be driving through require a license plate for the trailer. I would even hazard printing it out that info . . . although I'm not sure it would really help me get out of a ticket. :)

Tons of folks use trailers anyway, and they are so worth it. (Two people will stuff an average sedan like nobody's business; it's really quite merciless. I've done the 2 people in 1 sedan trip before, and would not try it again without a trailer (or perhaps if I was sharing shade with a person who was transporting it separately).
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby BBadger » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:36 am

I think most states will honor the trailer licensing laws of your home state so long as you don't stay in the state longer than 45 days or so. I'd be most concerned with the last leg in Nevada as you get closer to the event, as the cops will like to find excuses to pull you over.

Make sure your towing vehicle's license plate is clearly visible from around the trailer, that your trailer is properly lit and secured, and that your trailer is in good physical shape as outlined above. Remember your rights and be informed of your state laws, and of Nevada laws.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby dragonpilot » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:33 am

Consider a soft sided waterproof car-top carrier like: http://www.discountramps.com/car-top-carriers.htm.

I'm not endorsing this particular carrier, but rather illustrating what I'm talking about. There's a ton of these things on the market. When I use mine I stuff it with the light-weight soft stuff like sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, clothing and fill the nooks and crannies with small items. That opens up a lot of space in your vehicle's interior for heavier/bulkier items like coolers, water jugs, etc.

Your bike(s) can go on a rear-mounted bike rack. Easy peasy!
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby some seeing eye » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:01 pm

I have used the JayBobBoy method, tying duffel bags with clothes, bedding, tent, 25x25 Aluminet to the roof between the bars, sometimes topped with a bike or two lying flat. Even 20' 1" PVC pipe curved to the front bumper for a monkey hut, though that is probably asking to be pulled over and is easily available in Reno. Theoretically someone could steal it all if you park somewhere overnight or eat out of sight of the car. That's why I like Dragonpilot's idea. Hard shell ones would be more aerodynamic, but more expensive. I would imagine car top carriers are widely available on Craigslist.

Inside vehicle goes water, picked up at the last minute, camp tools, rebar, personal items. I'm down to 3 large duffels, which are waterproof nylon canvas =<8000 cubic inches each, bike, knapsack and water.

Have a great roadtrip, sounds like fun!
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Elliot » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:27 pm

.
Trailer. It's a bit of money now, but your grandchildren will be using it.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Jackass » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:41 pm

All-in-one.


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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:55 pm

It's been gone over elsewhere like the stuff I already said but there's one more important thing about heading to BRC packed to the gills or pulling a trailer - go easy on your transmission!
This advice applies to all automatics but those front wheel drive Chryslers in particular aren't known for having the strongest transmission in the world.

So: going up hills - DON'T leave it in "Drive" and floor it! Shift down to 2nd, ease up on the gas, and cruise it up easy. Otherwise you'll get the trans very hot, and heat makes them fail.

Keep it out of "OD" anytime you're using any significant amount of gas to maintain your speed. That will probably be most of the time. Again, you're avoiding heating it up.

If you really wanna be safe, and I think you can't be too cautious considering how far from home you'll be and what's at stake - if you break down and don't make it you miss Burning Man - I'd go as far as shutting off the airconditioner when climbing hills. Your car's radiator also contains the transmission cooler, and the A/C condenser is in front of it. It's all gonna get hot and that's bad.

So don't race, the main thing is to get there at all.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby lemur » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:11 pm

sounds dangerous.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:39 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:This advice applies to all automatics but those front wheel drive Chryslers in particular aren't known for having the strongest transmission in the world.

Would this apply to my dodge grand caravan circa mid-90s? and on I-80?
And I don't really pack it heavy, because I can't.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:52 pm

Yeah but drive it like described if you do any hill climbing (I'm not familiar with I-80; the route from the Pacific Northwest is very mountainous) and you won't stress it and we'll see you on the playa! I think the last time I saw you in person was about 2003 or 2004. Holy bug nuts...
Those transmissions aren't so bad, the biggest hang up they had was getting stuck in "Park" when people parked on hills and let them rest on the transmission instead of putting on the parking brake first, letting it rest on that, then tossing them in "Park".
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:40 pm

I-80 is goes over the Sierras through Donner's Pass. I start about sea level and I think hit 8,000. At least 6,000...
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby EspressoDude » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:28 pm

fishy, are you getting high on the highway???
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:55 pm

Just trying not to kill my van. Not easily replaceable.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby FlyingMonkey » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:01 pm

Make sure to you have good brakes. If you are driving through Salt Lake City you will know exactly what I mean. Half of your drive will be boring as hell, but you live in Illinois so you know what that's like. The second half is very scenic. Enjoy the journey. If you decide to go with a trailer be sure it is in good shape (good bearings & tires), since a broken trailer in Utah would really suck. Take an "Oh Sh!t" kit for the car (oil, coolant, tire plug kit, duct tape....).
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby AntiM » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:17 am

Yeah, dropping down I-80 into Salt Lake from Wyoming is tricky. Parley's canyon is a bad bit. The wide interstate doesn't look steep, those sweeping curves do not look dangerous. It is, they are. Slow and easy does it.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby Elliot » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:23 pm

AntiM wrote:Yeah, dropping down I-80 into Salt Lake from Wyoming is tricky. Parley's canyon is a bad bit. The wide interstate doesn't look steep, those sweeping curves do not look dangerous. It is, they are. Slow and easy does it.

Go around. I-84 to Ogden, I-15 back to I-80. First thing I learned in the trucking business.
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby AntiM » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:32 pm

And then they're just a couple miles from my house!
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:53 am

Anybody else have to fight the urge to say something like, "oxcart", when you see this thread title?
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Re: Considering Driving From Chicago - Need Ideas

Postby BBadger » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:17 am

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