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Long Haul Trailering: South Florida to Long Island
|Author||Topic: Long Haul Trailering: South Florida to Long Island|
posted 05-10-2010 04:18 PM ET (US)
The weekend before Memorial day, I am planning to trailer my 21 Impact from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Long Island, NY. I know that the bulk of the driving will be on I-95. But based upon experience, do any of you that do this trip on a regular basis or have done it several times have any detour info, places to avoid or pointers to pass on that might make the trip more pleasant (suck less)? As is I will be the only driver and will be leaving the Friday in the early afternoon. My return flight is scheduled for 5:30PM on the Monday. The trailer is at the shop being gone over. It is a tandem axle aluminum and in good shape. Tow vehicle is a small block 8cyl, 4x4, Jeep Grand Cherokee.
posted 05-10-2010 04:25 PM ET (US)
I can't provide details on that route, but as someone who just towed a 17' Currituck from Michigan to Orlando and a 25' Outrage back up, in a weekend, I can make the following recommendations:
1.) "Towing Kit" - go ahead and purchase a spare trailer lighting kit and the tools needed to install it. If you don't need it on this trip, you will need it in the future - $30 at a WalMart is a good "emergency" investment. Don't forget the power drill and appropriate drill bit.
Good luck. It's not as bad as it sounds...
posted 05-10-2010 04:28 PM ET (US)
Also - the above assumes that you have an adequate tow kit in the first place - i.e. full spare tire and spare hub/bearings, bearing grease, trailer jack and extra/spare lugnuts, etc.
Finally, don't forget a good tire pressure gauge and check your tires before you start rolling.
posted 05-10-2010 04:47 PM ET (US)
Another thing to check is the lug nut size for the trailer wheels. Mine we not the same as my car so I had to purchase the proper lug nut wrench for the trailer.
posted 05-10-2010 04:53 PM ET (US)
The hubs are being checked and greased now.
I have never changed a hub in my life !
Changing tires and checking tire pressure is no biggie. Spare light kit...hmmm, that's one I wouldn't have thought of.
posted 05-10-2010 04:57 PM ET (US)
Dave (Buckda) ... Did you say Michigan to FLA and back in a weekend ? Thats a lot of those 5 hr boost things buddy !
posted 05-10-2010 04:59 PM ET (US)
Trust me - it beats sitting under a parking lot light in a WalMart scratching your head and calling a friend to figure out what the H&*! is bedeviling you...then crawling under the trailer and finding frayed wires. A spare kit is literally $28 and change at Wal-Mart. I hate shopping there, but they are extremely convenient when on the road and in need of a spare set...
Voice of experience here.
Re: hubs being greased and packed. - all well and good, and good insurance, but no guarantee - you should check the hub temperature at every stop.
If you're not the type to change a tire/hub on the roadside, check your insurance and get the number of roadside assistance. It may be worth adding roadside assistance for this month only, then cancelling that part of your coverage when you return. (check with your agent).
posted 05-10-2010 05:10 PM ET (US)
Well, a little longer than a weekend - I got delayed in Indiana due to the trailer lighting problem and delayed again in Nashville on the way back due to a little high water problem...you might have seen that on the news.
Plus, I killed a whole day in Florida buying/licensing the trailer in Tampa, towing across the state and sea-trialing, buying and loading my new Whaler in Canaveral.
I left after work on Wednesday and was back in my home by 5:00 on Sunday.
posted 05-10-2010 05:14 PM ET (US)
I did the trip twice in the past 6 months in my Jeep CG 8cyl. Only real construction was in GA. Which may never be finished. Grease hubs, new tires (save one of the old ones for a spare). Make sure your lights are working and license plate is lit up and bolted down. Have correct registration for car and trailer. Check everything at fuel stops. Going down in March I got 18 mpg towing a 17’ boat. That was after a 100,000 mile tune up and transmission fluid change. Garmin GPS is a great tool to use. If you want to use your lap top a DeLeorme Streets with GPS is the best.
Have a safe trip.
posted 05-10-2010 05:47 PM ET (US)
This only a recommendation not a requirement, but if available, a larger tow vehicle would be more comfortable. The Grand Cherokee is a great vehicle, but a Suburban (or some similar) with a longer wheelbase would most definitely make the ride easier. This is only addressing comfort.
Back in the very early 1980's, I trailered a Star boat (24 ft.) with a Mercury Monarch (wow, what a pathetic car) from New Orleans to Newport, RI.
posted 05-10-2010 07:48 PM ET (US)
I'll bet my father in law built your star!
That's what most of my trailering was to FL. There is not a better looking sailboat on the water or on the trailer going down the road.
posted 05-10-2010 08:00 PM ET (US)
I just trailered back from Florida and again had no problems.
filled the bearing buddies, kept an eye on the trailer once in awhile, and felt the hubs for heat at the stops.
posted 05-10-2010 09:27 PM ET (US)
Avoid the cities, take the bypasses, Richmond, Baltimore in particular. Check your tires also, especially for strange wear. Look in your rear view mirror and make sure your trailer is tracking straight. Inspect everything every couple of hundred miles. Give yourself extra time for traffic, it is going to suck the whole way. The worst area is the Richmond to Dc trip on I-95. There is no way around it if you are under time constraint. You are traveling Memorial Day Weekend. Odd hours are best. Traffic is going to be heavy. Good Luck.
posted 05-11-2010 02:25 AM ET (US)
I have made that trip a few times
Good Tunes help alott.
The Jacksonville loop goes out of the way.
If you don't hit Jax around rush hour, stay on 95 over the St.Johns there is a slow area with construction, and three sharp curves, after crossing the river.
Ga. around Brunswick is still under construction.
I agree with regularly checking the hub temp....an ounce of prevention. Have a safe trip.
posted 05-11-2010 09:01 AM ET (US)
Consider I-81 instead of I-95. The mileage is a little bit longer but the time will probably be quicker.
posted 05-11-2010 09:05 AM ET (US)
Ditto johnhenry -- take I-295 around Richmond, and take I-895 around Baltimore. When you cross from MD to DE, follow the signs for I-295 into NJ rather than I-95 into PA. Oddly, I-95 is discontinuous and if you stay on I-95 into PA you'll soon find yourself wondering how you ended up nowhere. I've usually taken the NJ Turnpike to 440 (Outerbridge Crossing) to I-278 and the Verrazano Bridge, but it depends on where you're going. But I never pulled a trailer through there, so I'm not sure it's the best route for that.
posted 05-11-2010 09:36 AM ET (US)
Chris and I have done some long hauls, and we share the driving. We have found that frequent stops are very helpful, and we seldom drive for more than two hours without stopping. We usually stop for dinner around 6 to 7 p.m., take a longer break, and then continue driving well into the evening. Sometimes we have pushed on into the night and driven as late a 3 a.m.
Driving at late night is actually often easier than in the day, as usually there is much less traffic. The temperatures are cooler, and the car and trailer will run much cooler at night than during the heat of the day. You can often get into an informal caravan with some trucks and roll along at a steady speed with few disturbances.
At every stop I make a check on the trailer. I have an infra-red temperature gun. I check the temperature of all the tires, the trailer wheel bearings, and the trailer brake hubs. I keep a mental track of the temperature trends. If I see that one wheel is running at a significantly higher temperature than the rest, it gets closer attention.
A long tow will often cause many things to loosen on a trailer. Keep watch on the trailer for anything becoming loose. Dust caps, fenders, tie-downs, and various mounting bolts all have a tendency to work loose on long hauls. Watch for that.
Proper preparation of the trailer is imperative for a trouble-free long distance tow.
posted 05-11-2010 09:41 AM ET (US)
There have been anecdotal reports that larger boats being towed on the highway in some states, notably North Carolina, were being subjected to special scrutiny by law enforcement. See
It is always a good idea to make sure your trailer is in compliance with the laws of any state you plan to travel through. The fastest way to attract attention from law enforcement is probably by having trailer lights that are not working properly.
posted 05-11-2010 10:04 AM ET (US)
I would also suggest considering I-81. It bypasses the entire Northeast I-95 corridor, which, in my opinion, is a blessing.
Another option, to bypass the Richmond-DC-Baltimore area, is to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel and head up through the Delmarva Peninsula on Route 13 to Route 1.
It is a pleasant drive, there are more places to stop, and there is little traffic, save for when you merge onto I-295 just before you cross the Delaware River into NJ.
I drive to North Carolina at least once a year this way. I always beat my brother in law, who insists on taking the interstate highway system. We are in a better mood, and we have eaten more ice cream along the way.
posted 05-11-2010 11:04 AM ET (US)
"I drive to North Carolina at least once a year this way. I always beat my brother in law, who insists on taking the interstate highway system. We are in a better mood, and we have eaten more ice cream along the way."
I have a lactos problem. I will not want to spend countless hours in a car with me if I eat ice cream !! :-D
posted 05-11-2010 11:07 AM ET (US)
[You are] getting lots of traffic tips and work arounds. Things I would consider:
--driving at night is a big plus when hauling stuff. Nice to drive through larger cities that way;
--a GPS might be an option. Just to you know where the heck you are. [A vendor] has a $54 GPS on sale;
--[racheting] straps to attach the rear of the boat to the trailers frame. Make sure to use rags under where the straps rub up against the boat. That [is] a long drive and we don't want the straps to rub away the gel coat;
--red rag or orange flag to attach onto your lower unit just to prevent those tailgaters from trying to make a hood ornament with your propeller;
--tools! A good socket set, screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, wire cutters, electric tape and most important: duct tape!
I presume you have all your paperwork in order so that when you register [the trailer] in [New York] all is okay. If this is a boat that [is] new to you, get over to your local [boat registrar] office, get whatever paperwork you need, and take it with you.
As for the vehicle, go over it with a fine tooth comb. Oil change might be in order as well as topping off the fluids. I'd also check the how much life you have on those brakes.
posted 05-11-2010 06:51 PM ET (US)
"Another option, to bypass the Richmond-DC-Baltimore area, is to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel and head up through the Delmarva Peninsula on Route 13 to Route 1."
That's a great route, and if you want you can take the Cape May Ferry and jump on the Garden State Parkway upto Route 440. The Ferry is only $56 for your truck and boat and it's a great break.
posted 05-11-2010 07:04 PM ET (US)
I tow round trip once a year from Westchester to Keys.Based on my experience:
--check your tire and bearing temperature regularly for unusual high temperatures. I compare by touching the back of my hand to the tow vehicle tires and trailer tires. I have found them to be similar, and I have surge brake trailer.
--my GPS routes me through 295 (Balt-Wash Parkway). I don't know if you can trailer on these roads. I stay on I-95 when I trailer. I do use the by pass in Richmond and Jacksonville.
--if you enter [New York] in Staten Island, you can't take the Belt Pkway with a trailer. You would have to take BQE to LIE into [Long Island].
--I have taken I-81 before. It is a much more pleasant drive but it also hilly terrain. Will this excessively load your vehicle?
--I carry two spares and switched to steel-belted radial trailer tires. Once on return I had trailer tire blow out near [the airport in Jacksonville, Florida]. That left me with traveling all the way to [New York] with no spare. I wasn't comfortable with that and found a Boaters World in JAX so that I could buy a spare. Security is peace of mind.
posted 05-11-2010 08:23 PM ET (US)
Another alternate route for Richmond to Wash DC is to take Route 301 from Richmond to Annapolis, then go over the Bay bridge up 301 to 897. Dumps you back on I95 near Delaware Memorial bridge.
posted 05-14-2010 10:35 AM ET (US)
Trailer lights - you can get magnetic mount sets that are designed for pulling cars behind RV's, etc. If the main set goes on the blink, the backup set sticks on magnetically, and just zip tie the wires to the tow vehicle. Also bring spare fuses, because the short that kills the trailer lights, often blows a fuse in the tow vehicle. Another option is a 2x4 with the lights already mounted to them and long wires.
I too have laid on my back in a wal-mart parking lot in the rain trying to fix dead trailer lights. Do that once and you vow never again to be without a backup. I have a small duffel that has my extra trailer lights, a 4-way lug wrench, a small 6-ton jack, fuses, a $10 wiring kit (crimper, butt splices, etc.) that I throw in my truck whenever I hook up one of my trailers (I seem to accumulate them between the boats, snowmobiles, utility trailer).
Another great tool is an I-phone/blackberry or a computer with wi-fi (every McDonalds and Starbucks has wi-fi) to check traffic coming in to big cities. Google maps has a feature where you can get real time traffic info. Green means free flowing, yellow is slow and red is bumper to bumper.
posted 05-14-2010 04:14 PM ET (US)
I live in Richmond and drive from south up I-95 north to down town and back every day. I can tell you, going directly through Richmond on I-95 is not a problem. No need to take the beltway. The real problem is Washington DC. I would suggest avoiding it during rush hour and consider taking the beltway. It should be less of a problem if your trip is on a weekend.
posted 05-14-2010 04:32 PM ET (US)
You might also consider getting a CB radio to monitor truck driver's chatter. They are very good at letting each other know what is happening with traffic, weather, police activities, etc. from locations they have just traveled. If they are not chattering, just ask them and they will usually respond. CB radios are not expensive and you can set them up without a permanant installation.
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