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Old 04-02-2019, 04:14 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Vermont
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First Long Road Trip Advice!!

Hello fellow skoolie members!

My wife and I will be taking off in a month to move back to Montana and will be living in our skoolie full time moving forward. We currently live in Vermont so the drive is 2400+ miles. Has anyone done a drive like this/recommend any particular routes to head west? We were thinking of doing the first leg up through Canada because it's apparently not as mountainous. We have is a 2002 International with a T444E and Allison 2000 transmission. I've got "R, N, D, 4, 2, 1" for my selector if that helps at all. Any advice/recommendations is highly appreciated.

Thanks!!!
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by KevinDarcy11 View Post
Hello fellow skoolie members!

My wife and I will be taking off in a month to move back to Montana and will be living in our skoolie full time moving forward. We currently live in Vermont so the drive is 2400+ miles. Has anyone done a drive like this/recommend any particular routes to head west? We were thinking of doing the first leg up through Canada because it's apparently not as mountainous. We have is a 2002 International with a T444E and Allison 2000 transmission. I've got "R, N, D, 4, 2, 1" for my selector if that helps at all. Any advice/recommendations is highly appreciated.

Thanks!!!
I did the drive twice and back in my International 4700 box truck (26' box with lift gate) starting once in Maryland and the second time from North Carolina. Since this was a moving trip including guns I tried so stay out of Illinois as much as possible.

From VT you could take I-90 all the way to Billings, Bozeman, Missoula but Upstate NY has some hills. I would go the Northern route and spend some time in Montreal and Toronto.

West of Sioux Falls, ND its I-90 anyway. The Badlands and the ICBM museum across the interstate are worth visiting. You can get on HWY-212 shortly after Sturgis and take that to Crow Agency where it rejoins I-90 but staying on I-90 through Wyoming is prettier IMO- albeit longer.

On the second trip we detoured through the Black Hills near Rapid City and visited Mt. Rushmore, ignoring the "No trucks" sign. But the 10% grades is ambitious for a T444E in front of a vehicle "loaded for bear".

As far as carrying spare parts for the engine I followed

Your transmission with locking converter will cause less pucker factor in the "hills" than I experienced with my AT545 slushbox. Just change the fluid/filter before the trip if it is of unknown age and call it good.

Where is your destination in MT? We left Bozeman after 3 years due to the insane real estate prices that are in no way matched by the salaries in MT (most independently wealthy MT residents made their fortunes out of state). My current box van to offroad RV conversion project is an attempt to enjoy MT and adjacent states in the Summer without having to engage in the real estate rat race.
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:06 PM   #3
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I've been back and forth several times. I first think about what i want to see. I take the 80 west for ease. The 70 for the view and things to stop and do. The 90 is boring. I don't like to do it in 8 hour shifts but will. I love the road. That white line fever is why i do it. You sound Like you are tied to the northern route but that 66 is still sweet. I park the bus along rivers and parks. National forests and state parks rule.$35 for full hook up. KOA's despise us. There are some that will take a skoolie, but not most. There is always wal mart.
I put out my sign that i do minor r.v. repair and pick up some dollars. So the park/ forest is the way to go.
I hope you have fun on your journey. America still has some wonder left in it. Everyone loves the bus and wants to see it.
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Old 04-03-2019, 01:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by KevinDarcy11 View Post
Hello fellow skoolie members!

Any advice/recommendations is highly appreciated.

Thanks!!!
I used to live in VT myself & made the drive between there and Seattle several times. Lot's of options. 90 is pretty boring...but I did tow an overweight UHaul with an early model Dodge Darango one time & didn't die. Lots of traffic from the west side of NY through the other side of Chicago. If you go through Canada & break down you stand a pretty good chance of getting help...if you go south of the lakes maybe not so good of a chance.
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:37 AM   #5
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I-80 is **MUCH** kinder in the hills than I-70 or I-90.. I-70 gets high enough that you get snow in june... I-80 is boring for sure but its an easy route.. gets a little dicey if going as far as wyoming and switching over to 84 west... some tough hills there but nothing you cant make with taking it easy..


just dont get your engine hot!! the cooling system wit hthe split radiators on these navistars is weak... if the weather is cool you leave your heater valves open and that gives you some more "ballast" as far as 5 more gallons of coolant to get hot.. plus you can turn your heater fans on if you start to get warm...

-Christopher
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:24 AM   #6
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Alpine44: Thank you for the great info!!! I'm a little bit nervous about driving through Illinois as well since we will be transporting firearms. On our drive out to VT I had everything pieced apart and locked, plan on doing that again. Hopefully if we run into any LEO's that will suffice.
This video is phenomenal and I'll definitely follow suit. Want to make sure the wife and I are prepared for anything.
We will be heading back to the Whitefish/Kalispell area. The real estate prices are definitely a pain in the ass but I think we will be buying some land to build on so hopefully we can find a good deal. We definitely live more for the view and enjoying the outdoors opposed to trying to strike it rich. There's just something about Montana we have yet to experience anywhere else and can't wait to get back out there!!
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:32 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
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Dead Pirate and everyone else: Thank you as well for the great info. Unfortunately we will be under a bit of a time crunch. The wife got offered a job and I will be working from the road so we are basically looking for the route that will be easiest on the engine but also not take a tremendous amount of time. I believe we took the 90 out here.

Tugboater: Do you think going through Canada will be pretty easy on the engine? Also we will be transporting multiple firearms and it looks likes pistols are on the 'restricted list' so that may pose a problem. Have you had any experience dealing with this? It looks like there are different laws and separate documents needed for each province so that might be an issue.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:59 AM   #8
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Chassis: Ford E350 Cutaway
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinDarcy11 View Post
Alpine44: Thank you for the great info!!! I'm a little bit nervous about driving through Illinois as well since we will be transporting firearms. On our drive out to VT I had everything pieced apart and locked, plan on doing that again. Hopefully if we run into any LEO's that will suffice.
This video is phenomenal and I'll definitely follow suit. Want to make sure the wife and I are prepared for anything.
We will be heading back to the Whitefish/Kalispell area. The real estate prices are definitely a pain in the ass but I think we will be buying some land to build on so hopefully we can find a good deal. We definitely live more for the view and enjoying the outdoors opposed to trying to strike it rich. There's just something about Montana we have yet to experience anywhere else and can't wait to get back out there!!
I know what you mean about the certain "Je ne sais quoi" of Montana. Even one of my dogs gets it. He sat on the passenger seat and looked out the side window for hours like a tourist in a bus when we drove out there.

We were also looking for bare land but near Bozeman that means either a subdivision with two pages of restrictions (aka covenants) or millions of dollars for a "gentleman's ranch". Very little in between. I went so far to cold-call owners of larger, older ranches asking for a couple dozen acres where I could have my peace and privacy. Road access, power, etc. would have been on me. Still no cigar.

You guys should have more luck than we did with real estate. By living in a bus you can change the scenery as you desire and time is not working against you financially. We finally got tired of living in the typical rental complex while shoving money in other people's pockets.

In contrast, it took us two weeks to find 24 acres with 360 degree mountain views near Asheville, NC for about a third of what something comparable would have cost in MT. I love the Eastern hardwood forests in the fall, winter (plenty of firewood!), and spring. In the summer it gets a little too humid here for my taste, hence the plan to spend these month out West on wheels.

Handguns are definitely a no-go in Canada but you could easily ship them to a FFL in MT.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:43 AM   #9
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Regarding traveling with guns:

FEDERAL LAW ON TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS
A provision of the federal law known as the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, or FOPA, protects those who are transporting firearms for lawful purposes from local restrictions which would otherwise prohibit passage.

Under FOPA, notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry it, if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console. Ammunition that is either locked out of reach in the trunk or in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console is also covered.

Travelers should be aware that some state and local governments treat this federal provision as an “affirmative defense” that may only be raised after an arrest. All travelers in areas with restrictive laws would be well advised to have copies of any applicable firearm licenses or permits, as well as copies or printouts from the relevant jurisdictions’ official publications or websites documenting pertinent provisions of law (including FOPA itself) or reciprocity information. In the event of an unexpected or extended delay, travelers should make every effort not to handle any luggage containing firearms unnecessarily and to secure it in a location where they do not have
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:59 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Great info, thanks Steve!! Hopefully all goes smoothly like it did on the way out here
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