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Old 08-03-2014, 01:14 PM   #1
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Exclamation Toll Roads

In our travels we struggle with whether to avoid toll roads or just bite the bullet and pay the tolls to shorten the trip and avoid stop and go city traffic. Yesterday while traveling from St. Louis to Michigan we encountered some interesting roads in the Chicago vicinity while avoiding I-80, including a series of train trestles with 13' 8" clearances [those got my attention as I'm 13' 4"].

I set our GPS to avoid tolls amongst other parameters such as low clearances but it sure is a pain. It would be nice if I knew more, precisely what tolls we would encounter and the amounts while planning. If I knew the toll would not require a mortgage I would certainly pay it rather than detour around the quicker route!!!

So my question... what are you doing? Has anyone found a tool to help you plan, an app for your phone/tablet, good websites, books???

Let the dialogue begin...
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Old 08-03-2014, 01:42 PM   #2
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We stopped on our last trip and bought an Ez-Pass. They supposedly save you up to 40% on the toll roads. You pay for the device 12.00 and then 15.00 first deposit to be used in tolls. Then it refills automatically. We saved a lot if time and hassle getting change and bills ready by using it. We went across several states with it....Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Maine on this last trip. It works in all states with EZ-Pass. Anyone else have experience with this? We will see what we saved when we get the final bill. I can't imagine going all that way through Cities though. While going to a KOA in Coopersville, NY and had to make a stop to see if we could make it through one underpass. It was close, but thanks to a semi driver who stood on top of the nearby hill to see if we would clear it, we got through. so dealing with low overpasses and TREES, it has been a good thing to do the Interstate and pay the tolls.
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:21 PM   #3
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Hi John

I've had an EZPass for years as I travel the DC-NY corridor regularly. Not sure you'll see the 40 percent but the convenience of not waiting in a lane and digging for $$ out of your wallet is priceless.

Tracy's favorite app is Trucker Path. It's a free app, shows fuel stops rest areas, and will let you know clearance issues. It does not show individual clearance heights but will show a conflict. Maybe Dave can help here - I think that under 14' is the standard for low but not sure?
It will also give you satellite views of the area.
We use this in addition to the Rand McNally loaded on my iPad and the Nav in the truck. Have discovered the Nav from Ford (Sony version) can take us on some interesting routing .........
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Old 08-03-2014, 02:32 PM   #4
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I got an EZpass in Florida, I assume I can use it in any of the other states using EZ???

Any problems with towing the trailer with the EZpass? The pass is issued for the truck, what happens when you are towing??? If they have no-stop lanes do you use them or do you have to go through a manned lane?
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piper guy View Post
Hi John

I've had an EZPass for years as I travel the DC-NY corridor regularly. Not sure you'll see the 40 percent but the convenience of not waiting in a lane and digging for $$ out of your wallet is priceless.

Tracy's favorite app is Trucker Path. It's a free app, shows fuel stops rest areas, and will let you know clearance issues. It does not show individual clearance heights but will show a conflict. Maybe Dave can help here - I think that under 14' is the standard for low but not sure?
It will also give you satellite views of the area.
We use this in addition to the Rand McNally loaded on my iPad and the Nav in the truck. Have discovered the Nav from Ford (Sony version) can take us on some interesting routing .........

My rule of thumb is .....think and act like a big truck and you'll be fine. I have never tried the EZ pass but we're now considering it because the trip to Maine and back ended up costing us around $300. I will use the toll roads whenever I can simply because they're faster and newer. While going across the eastern toll roads, I kept reminding myself that "I paid for those bumps".

Getting around the old cities like Chicago can cause you to loose your roof! You can get the trucker's atlas at the truck stops but you still have to be very careful. By law they have to mark any overpass under 16ft but don't always count on it. Train over passes seem to be the worse. If you do get wedged under one, start letting the air out of your tires. This will lower your trailer about 4 inches and this is another reason to carry a small air compressor.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:08 PM   #6
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We are in a pickle - I can't stand the traffic through Denver, but can't avoid it except for the toll. We have the highest priced toll in the country and each axle after the first vehicle is another vehicle. Between boat and Redwood and two tow cars, I get hit for 6 vehicles at each station and That's over $80 to get through Denver.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:25 PM   #7
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With the EZ Pass just go through the unmanned or high speed lanes. The EZPass takes a picture of the rig and counts axles and then you get billed. Can sometimes take 2-3 months to see it on your statement
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:45 AM   #8
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EZ-pass works in NY, PA, MA and NJ. In Florida it is E-pass or sunpass. The two are not interchangeable. Wouldn't it be great if they all used the same thing? Too many readers to figure which goes to which system.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:50 AM   #9
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It also works in DE, MD OH, IN IL , WV, AR AND MO
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Old 08-04-2014, 05:10 AM   #10
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We're traveling up to Indiana for the rally on Wednesday, coming from the DC area it's an extra 1h 20mins avoiding the tolls. Last year we took the toll roads up, and returned non-toll. Tolls were close to $60 (using EZ-Pass), and I wouldn't mind paying it if the roads were better, but since we don't have IS yet I think we'll take the long way up this time, just have to get up a bit earlier. One of those interstates (I-80?) was really bad.

Remember though to figure in any increase in fuel consumption when doing a comparison based on economics alone. In our case, the trip is another 65mls non-toll which is roughly 6 gallons times $4 equals $24, so the savings are only around $30-$35 at best avoiding tolls, not counting wear and tear.
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