Moving from MN to San Fran Bay Area w/ 2 cats & student budget

My boyfriend and I are moving from Saint Paul, MN to San Francisco Bay Area in early July to attend grad/law school. We have 2 long haired female black cats by the name of morgaine and helana. My wonderful dad has agreed to help us move out there, but we can’t seem to figure out the best way to do it, hence the question. My dad has a 97’ Ford F150 (and he’s also buying my 2008 Toyota Matrix). Do you think we’d be nuts to travel in the F150 with a rental trailer, two cats stacked in pet porters, and three occupants (Dad, Me, Adam)? We are also kicking around the idea of renting a truck 10’ or 14’ and driving the Matrix with the cats in it, however, that would not provide the benefit of 3 drivers per 1 vehicle.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!!!

If this is a standard cab, no. SuperCab, maybe. I think it will be cramped or intolerable. I think I would do a rental truck and take the Matrix. It is an approximate three overnight drive (1900 miles) from St Paul (I think), and unless you must unload the rental truck immediately, it can serve as storage for a day or two as you sort out lodging, etc.

Have you sized your belongings, to confirm what size trailer or truck you might need? U-Haul used to make a good guide that helped you determine proper size for your belongins. That analysis may tip the scales towards a rental truck.

I don’t have a picture of it to attach, but it’s identical to the first 2 pictures on the following website so i guess it’s a Ford F-150 SuperCab extended cab with a 3rd door lariat edition. The setup would be: driver & passenger in front bucket seats, 1 person + 2 cats stacked on top of each other in back seat (small bench seat). :slight_smile:

The rear seat in you dad’s F150 is meant for occasional, short-term use, and is more suitable for children than adults. It would not be a very comfortable place for a long trip.

Then there is the issue of towing a trialer. Do any of you have experience towing?

I would choose the truck + trailer, because it is likely less expensive and may even be less likely to break down than a rented truck. If you aren’t familiar with trailers, that could be a problem. If that is the case you can find an empty parking lot and practice backing the trailer before you really hit the road, and try to avoid small or crowded parking lots during the trip. I don’t think you’re nuts at all.

My dad yes, Adam and I no, although he did some heavy machinery driving in the marine corps so i think he’d be ok. I like the idea below, practicing before we go. I am a bit nervous about towing the trailer, the truck would be easier to drive i imagine.

I have heard some talk about the trucks breaking down and think that we’d be less likely to break down in the f150. Our poor butts in the back seat though, yikes! :slight_smile:

If your part is the easy highway part, you won’t need many skills except to remember gentle moves and more time to stop. Why not put the cats in the trailer? They’ll get over it.

We thought about that, but we’re moving in july. I would like them to be alive when we arrive :slight_smile:

What kind of items are you moving? Books can be shipped by freight or at special postal rates. If you had furniture like my wife and I had in graduate school, it wouldn’t be worth moving. Go through your wardrobes–you won’t need a lot of the heavy clothes you had in Minnesota. Sell the furniture and go to second hand stores when you get to the bay area. There are moving companies that will accept partial loads to fill the truck. They give good rates, but you can’t schedule an exact arrival time.

In other words, I would really sort out what needs to go, find a way to ship what you really need, and drive out in the Toyota Matrix with your boyfriend and the cats. There are even airlines that make special provisions for feline passengers. The cats might even travel better this way.

Do you have a place to stay once you get there?? Everything costs double or triple to what you pay in St. Paul…Two cats in a rental apartment? Not very likely…Bay area landlords just don’t have to do that…

The trip out will be the easy part…The F-150 will do just fine, but WHY?? Then Dad has to dead-head back to St. Paul?? That’s insane…

Drive the Matrix, pack your stuff up in boxes and have Dad ship it to you after you are settled…

Sell the Matrix, buy a truck like Dad’s, drive it to Frisco, sell it there, or put a camper on it and live in it…

Save Dad for when you really need him…

U-Haul has the worst reputation on putting less than road-worthy and very high mileage trucks out on the road. While my limited U-Haul rental experiences were fine, my boss had rented two different U-Hauls and they both failed on him on 800 mile trips. Each time he had to reload the truck into a replacement and it cost him at least a half day each time.

Check out Ryder and Penske for trucks. I have also rented from them and from what I have read and seen lately, their reputation for good maintenance is much better than U-Haul’s.

I would also check out if IPOD or similar services offer door to door service. Those costs might be less than renting and driving a truck.

How much time do you have? Might be a really good idea for you or your boyfriend or both to drive the Matrix out to California and check out the apartment situation, and whether you are going to be able to survive without a car. If you can find affordable housing where you can do without a car, then drive the Matrix back. It’s only about 40 hours of driving each way. Stop and look at some parks and scenery along the way.

A couple of years ago, we had to move my son from Seattle to Vermont. Maybe I did something wrong, but I’ve had more experience than most people at moving/shipping stuff and I found that shipping costs in 2006 were much higher than I’d expected. We finally ended up one way renting the biggest SUV we could find, discarding a few items that wouldn’t fit, loading it to the top rails, and driving for four days.

Is your dad aware that rental trailers are likely to come with tasteful little signs all over them saying that the maximum tow speed is 45mph? Not that anyone is seriously going to drive across the country at 45 mph. But it’s maybe not entirely safe.

Anyway, it’s all doable. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to do it.

It’s been 41 years since this experience with U-Haul, but we rented a U-Haul to make a 250 mile round trip from where we lived to where we attended graduate school. Since the funds were limited, we rented the U-Haul on a return basis rather than renting it just one way. The muffler was defective on the truck, so it was very noisy. The synchronizers were defective in the transmission, so I had to double clutch between third and fourth gears to prevent the gears from grinding. When I filled the tank for the return trip, the oil was 2 quarts low. I put in the two quarts. When we got back to the rental agency, the oil was again 2 quarts low. The truck used a quart every 60 miles. On the front bumper was stenciled “For Local Use Only”. I assume that if you return the truck to the point of origin, it is considered “Local Use”.

I just priced a 17’ft from Tucson to southern Illinois for my neighbor, it came to 1700.00, just for the truck, wow.

Think ahead. Once you are here in the Bay Area, that big truck is going to be painful to live with. You find a parking space that big and, by the time you start to back in, two old Civics will slip in and the drivers will be gone, waving the one finger salute. The Matrix will be far more suitable, or, if you live in San Francisco or near Boalt Law School in Berkeley, you could get by with no car, a decent scooter and join up with zipcars or citycarshare. Ship your stuff - see what a mover charges - or sell it or store it in Minnesota and furnish the place when you get here, from Ikea or Goodwill.