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 > Traveling through the Appalachian Mountains

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sblackb7

North Myrtle Beach, SC

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Posted: 01/17/20 07:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What is the best route to tow a Wildwood Extra Lite, 27' from Myrtle Beach to Ohio? I do not want to travel Rt77 through W Virginia. We are somewhat newbies (1 1/2 yrs) but have traveled
a lot in upstate SC and GA mountains and SC/NC lines. The mountains are holding us back !!!
Advise appreciated!

We have a 2019 Nissan Frontier

johnwalkerpa1

Pennsylvania

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Posted: 01/17/20 08:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What part of Ohio? Although it would be the long way around, you could cut over and pickup I-75 but that would really only make sense if you'd be heading toward Cincinnati.

In reality, though, you have to cross the mountains somewhere. Did you have a bad experience before that makes you reluctant? You should be fine taking 64 or 77 through West Virginia. I'd venture to say your travels in the north Georgia mountains on secondary roads may be more technically difficult than crossing the mountains on the interstates.

am1958

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Posted: 01/18/20 05:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We did Detroit to Myrtle Beach twice over two spring breaks with a Bullet 31BHPR, (6500lbs), behind an F-150 EcoBoost through W. Virginia and with no issues.

naturist

Lynchburg, VA

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Posted: 01/18/20 06:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree it depends on where in Ohio you want to go. I-77 through WV isn’t bad at all. We even jump off onto US 33 at Ripley, WV for the trip to Columbus. The steepest grades are in the 6-7% range. Perhaps the only thing to fear is fear itself, not to coin an expression.

Knowing nothing about the details of either the OP’s setup or experiences with it in the mountains, but having lived in, near, or along them my entire life, with family on both sides, and having dragged my own 21 foot TT back and forth often, leads me to wonder if perhaps, just maybe, the problem might be a wee bit more trailer than truck. To be sure, there are some steep and twisty roads in the Appalachians, but the Interstates I’ve used there keep the grades down to 6-7%. Grades of any steepness do stretch the truck and it’s where “too much TT, too little TV” first bites you. To not use I-77 through WV, you either have to cross clear over to I-75 in the south or stay East into Pennsylvania then take I-70 west, but even then, there are mountains to cross.

There are mountains in both Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as West Virginia and Pennsylvania. While it’s true WV is probably the worst of them, they will all challenge your rig. I am not familiar with the southern route, but both I-64 to I-77 and I-81 or I-95 to I-70 will send you up and down. The last of those is the flatter, but both longer and takes you through the traffic hell of DC/eastern PA.

The OP’s Nissan surely has 6 or 8 years in the transmission and I would strongly urge them to make full use of them by manually downshifting when on a grade. The engine can take a lot of load off the brakes as well as pull much better in those lower gears. The program by which the automatic transmission selects gears is strongly biased to save gas, not to drag heavy loads around. Thus over riding that program is essential when crossing mountains heavily loaded. Though I don’t know the OP, I have observed that inexperienced folks tend to not know about downshifting and/or eschew it thinking high revs from the engine are bad, or cringing when the engine feels like it is screaming.

My own TV has 6 gears, and I have found both second and third gears the most useful gears in the mountains. And that’s with a Diesel engine with a 5,000 rpm redline. Second gear and 40 mph gets me over both up and down 15% grades when towing. Third gear and 65 mph takes me up and down I-77 with only rare touches on the brakes as well as keeping up with traffic.

* This post was last edited 01/18/20 07:35am by naturist *   View edit history





Lynnmor

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Posted: 01/18/20 07:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You have a mid-size truck pulling a 27 foot travel trailer? If you have a setup that can't handle interstate highways, you need to rethink the whole deal.





BarabooBob

Baraboo, WI

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Posted: 01/18/20 09:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just looking at internet specs for your truck it looks like towing capacity is between 3500 and 6500 pounds. I also see that the DRY weight of 27' Wildwood TT are in the area of 6200 pounds. When you add batteries, lp tanks, people, and all of your other stuff, you will be overweight. You may want to look at your truck/trailer combination.


Bob & Dawn Married 32 years
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Merrykalia

Appalachian (apple at chun) Mtn in the GREAT SW Va

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Posted: 01/18/20 09:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I live IN the Appalachian Mountains. Again, we don't know exactly where you want to go in Ohio, but I-64, I-77 and down is not a bad drive. Yes, there are mountains, but in order to get to the coast, you HAVE to drive over mountains to get there.

If your setup is decent, ie not pulling a 27' trailer with a Chevy Colorado or other small pickup or SUV, you should be fine. Interstate highways cannot be over a 7% grade and most aren't even that. Thousands of people pull trailers up/down those mountains everyday with no problem.

The mountains in WV are no different than the ones in NC. There are a couple of higher peaks, but you aren't going to be driving across the peaks unless you take a really bad turn!!

Pull up your big girl panties and take off. The scenery through there is fantastic and I think you will appreciate it. It's not one big mountain all the way through WV. You will go up a 5 mile grade, then down for several flatter miles, then up another grade. It will give the transmission time to cool off and you to take a big breath. If you feel like you have to pull off at the next exit, DO IT!

You are giving the mountains much more power than they deserve. If you find that you are not comfortable, take the next exit, turn around and go home. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!


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Posted: 01/18/20 09:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I40 to Knoxville, I75 to Ohio. Try not to hit Knox at rush hours.
Only possibility of a problem (its all good 4 lane) is if theres a rockslide near the TN/NC line. That seems to happen every couple of years.

PastorCharlie

NC

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Posted: 01/18/20 10:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

sblackb7 wrote:

What is the best route to tow a Wildwood Extra Lite, 27' from Myrtle Beach to Ohio? I do not want to travel Rt77 through W Virginia. We are somewhat newbies (1 1/2 yrs) but have traveled
a lot in upstate SC and GA mountains and SC/NC lines. The mountains are holding us back !!!
Advise appreciated!

We have a 2019 Nissan Frontier


The best route by far for a newbie or a Professional is I-77 from MB to OH. If you cannot navigate that highway you will fail on all the others.

I have traveled about every road over the pass 50 years going from the south, north to OH, driving trucks/cars towing trailers and a Mobile-Home and for the pass 10 years have made the trip each year with a class A MH towing a Jeep.

Patience is a virtue... Slow Down... Keep lots of distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you... Use lower gear to aid breaks on steep decline... enjoy the journey and do not be concerned with destination it will be a the end of the trip... NEVERS FAILS.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 01/18/20 11:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I mostly agree with Lynmor and Bob. That's a lot of trailer for not a lot of truck. I'd have a few reservations about coming down the Mountian too. But given that's what you got, make sure the trailer brakes are working great and turned up to where they are taking 100% of the trailer weight and take the downhills slow.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

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