First Load Cross Continent – Part 2

First Stuff – Part 2

Remember from part 1 that I was several hundred pounds over weight on the GVWR / Front Axel rating, and that meant unloading the entire truck to reload it with more weight aft and a few hundred pounds put back in storage.

I chose not to do that (largely due to being just too darned tired to face it, and being basically out of time & running low on money in hand due to several hundred more on hotel costs (California inflation) and an $800 “surprise” sales tax on a truck rental…

So that meant avoiding Weigh Stations. This had some very unexpected consequences…

Looking at the “rules” from various web sites, I learned that every single State has a different set of who must stop, what are the weight limits, and how many stations they have. A couple of the worst / most difficult are California (of course) and other “Lefty” States like Colorado (but I didn’t know that yet…) and Arizona. Many just say if you are over 26,000 lbs, get weighed, otherwise just drive on past. The “Rules” by State page I was using said Colorado was one of those. Turns out that was wrong… Again with unexpected consequences…

A surprise was Florida. It has Ag Inspection stations all over the place, so while they are less worried about weight, you do get tagged if you look like you might be moving agricultural products (Box Truck, Pickup with Trailer, RV, etc.)

Getting out of California was aided by the fact that some of their sites are asymmetrical, so, for example, I-80 has a station near Truckie / Lake Tahoe. But it is only looking at folks coming into the State (west bound) not leaving (east bound). Most of the other roads over the Sierra Nevada and I-80 have a station nearer the valley floor that checks East Bound, so my problem was to find a road to a point just past that station and then go over the mountains. Which is what I did. There are several options there, including a climb up hwy 50, then take 49 over to I-80, then exit via the freeway. That’s not the one I did, as when I arrived at hwy 49, it looked a bit crowded for a big truck (20 foot box, about 28 foot overall).

I just continued on hwy 50 over the Sierra Nevada. It is a somewhat winding mountain road, but most of it is better than it was 50 years ago. At the very top, as you drop into South Shore, there’s a cliff hanging section of highway, but it has rock “guardrails” and some turnouts available.

While a little bit “exciting” it wasn’t too bad. I was a bit worried that a truck which can not complete a U Turn from a left turn lane into 2 lanes going the other way might have a turning radius too wide, but it worked out OK even if close. Hanging on a cliff a couple of thousand feet above the valley took some nerve, but I’d done that road before, and it was only going to be one time and just a few miles. Thoughts that were oddly to be refuted a couple of States later.

Crossing Nevada, which is a “Don’t Care about weight” State (mostly) I decided to stay on hwy-50 as it is called “The Lonliest Road In America” and I figured that might be a good idea for avoiding their sporadic / occasional “pop up” inspection stations that the page warned about. This was a very good decision.

I stopped at a Casino at the Start Of Nowhere (Fallon) for dinner. It was OK, but not great. I was reminded that all casinos smell of tobacco… But they are open at nearly 9 PM. Then it was out into the great High Desert. One fills up fully before starting out as there are long hundreds-ish of miles between gas stations. I drove through the night, with a short nap in the middle of nowhere. Looking up at the night sky from the high desert in complete darkness is an amazing thing.

One one occasion I just stopped in the middle of the road. It was about 20 minutes between cars, so I knew I could fire it up and get moving again, if needed, as the headlights would show up many minutes in advance of the car. Another time I got fully off the road on a wide patch of gravel. Shutting down, I got out and just stared up. A moonless night, the sky was a carpet of starts with a wide swath of the Milky Way from edge to edge. I was very surprised at the lack of any lights on the horizon. Seems that if the only town “nearby” is 100+ miles away and they have shut down for the night, there isn’t any sky-glow.

After a few minutes, I realized I could see the terrain and surroundings just from the starlight. Not bright, not with great detail, but enough to walk around and make out bushes and such. No need for any flashlights or other lighting.

Somewhere in there I had about a 2 hour nap. Pulled over on some dirt siding.

There’s a couple of small towns as you cross Nevada. When you get to one it is a good idea to buy gas… I got gas at the 2nd one (as I’d worked out the MPG, range, etc. and THEN discovered the Truck had that built into the computer display…) Somewhere in the middle there was a climb up a small mountain on a narrow and winding section. Not bad, but required a bit of attention.

For anyone wanting to actually see what some of this road is like, here’s a video. Eva Zu Beck is Polish, and spends her time touring the entire world doing adventures and living in her truck. I strongly recommend looking at her list of places visited and things done. Makes my “adventure” seem more tame than it felt at the time. When she is on gravel, that is NOT highway 50, that’s a road off to the side.

Eventually you reach a bit of Utah and then Colorado. Parts of this is overlayed on I-70 and those parts were easy if a bit boring. I was very surprised to see that the Rail Line that paralleled I-70 and was one of the big Passenger Train routes for vistas, was now a ripped out dirt road / trail. It looks like transcontinental rail is being concentrated along the snow free I-10 alignment. (In Texas a similar situation showed up too with a rail easement now a dirt track along I-40). In the Sierra Nevada they moved the track that was next to I-80, so it is possible these rail segments were just moved, too, and not ended.

Utah was another “no worries” State. Then I crossed into Colorado, thinking everything would be Just Fine as The Page said under 26,000 lbs was a free ride. Crossing the border in the early morning light, a sign said: Any vehicle over 10,000 lbs OR with a trailer must enter the weigh station. Oh Dear. I was about 15,000 lbs in a 14,500 truck.

Lucky for me, the station was closed…

So I found an exit fairly quickly and decided to study the map of stations just a little bit. I’d planned to just go straight through to Denver, turn south on I-25 into New Mexico, and then cross into Texas at El Paso. Well that was off the table.

Now my carefully planned out route, with station locations and such, was void, and I was going “Seat Of My Pants” with paper AAA Maps. Best made plans, gang aft agley…

That’s when I made my Big Mistake. Looking at the options, I decided to head due south on the West side of the Rockies and into the corner of New Mexico. A couple of roads headed there, but one looked shortest, and on the map, the 1 or 2 inch line looked fairly straight. It was numbered as a bypass road of Hwy-50, with 550 (3 digit usually is a bypass with the last two being the major highway number and the first digit the bypass nunber on that highway). Great! A simple straight bypass major highway. I was wrong. That was a deceptive “straight” as the very tight turns were inside the width of the line on the map…

Turns out 550 is also known as the “Million Dollar Highway” and climbs to somewhere around 11,000 feet with 3 mountain passes on a VERY winding mountain road, with 10 mph switchbacks and no guard rails, as 2 narrow lanes with a steep mountain on one side and a sheer drop off of hundreds to thousands of feet on the other. Oh, and as I was climbing the mountains, most of the time I was on the sheer drop cliff side…

But I didn’t know this abut 550 at the time…

Driving along 550, it wasn’t really bad… at first. I did reaach a town (Ouray) that had a sign up saying “Winding mountain road and low clearance ahead – 13′ 5″ advise trucks take alternate route through Telluride”. Here’s where I made my next big mistake. I thought “They must mean Semi-Trucks as they are 14 foot clearance, not trucks like this one. I’m already on a winding mountain road, so that’s OK, and I have an 11 foot clearance”. Besides, the alternate route would add a lot of miles, time and cost (as I would end up paying about $1.30 / mile for any overage and I was pretty sure I was going to go over the allotment…) When I saw the small black bear run across the road as I entered the town, that ought to have been a clue about how remote all this was.

So I stayed on hwy 550.

Now once you get to the climb / narrow / cliff part, you realize there isn’t really any way to turn around a truck that needs 4 lanes for a U turn and where backing up is mirrors only / blind straight back and to the sides. There were a couple of smaller local roads branched off to some houses, but they looked like I’d get trapped on them and need to back up back to the cliff road if anything went wrong. Feeling commited, as I’d already climbed about 1000 to 2000 feet up the mountain face and could see that ‘warning city’ lights below me… I decided to just press on.

Then things got worse.

I was acutely aware than I had about 7000 pounds on the tires that were likely right on the edge of the road, and was not at all sure it was sound enough to hold that weight. It being about midnight (did I mention all this was happening in the dead of night and pitch black?) I decided to “take my 1/2 of the road out of the middle”. IMHO that’s the only thing that got me over this mountain climb with any safety. I only met 2 oncoming cars on the whole thing (finishing at about 3 AM… or maybe 4…) and their headlights showed up well in advance. One arrived just as I was at a nice “pull out” area, so I did.

During this climb, and more so on the downside on the backside, there were numerous deer, and another bear. The deer were often in the middle of the road, and while some would run away or try to climb the mountain, others would just stand there. Needless to say the whole drive was done at about 20 MPH or slower; at least until I got to some posted 40 MPH straighter segments on the downside. (There I risked going 30…) One deer decided to run along the mountain side of the road about 20 feet in front of my bumper, occasionally trying to climb the rock / mountain face and failing, until it came to a lower angle treed area. This added its own element of risk and randomness.

For anyone wanting to take a look at this road, here’s a video. I think it goes from Silverton to Ouray, while I went the other way, so the steep climb out of Ouray comes toward the end, also I was on the “outside” next to the cliff drop off almost all of the climb, while he’s near the mountain, but you get the general feel of the place.

I did, eventually, make it out and back down several thousand feet to flatter and straighter roads. This came with its own complications. Now I was in a fairly remote area of Colorado trying to get to New Mexico. At one point, the “highway” I was on passed through some minor city and proceeded to switch back up the cliff surrounding the flat land that was occupied by the city. Of course, again their was no guardrail. But this time I was on a 2 lane highway at about an hour after sunrise with lots of traffic both ways…

Eventually this road took me to where I wanted to be. A long stretch of highway that was all on Navaho Indian Land. This ended at the I-40 freeway, the old Route 66 that is still there in some places. Approaching the New Mexico / Texas border, Google Maps showed an exit Weigh Station, but it looked in poor repair. There was what looked like it might be old 66 bypass next to it on the backside. I thought it looked closed, but decided to explore a bit first.

This was actually some fun. There’s a marked Route 66 Historic Section off ramp, that has you make a right turn for 66. Turn left (toward the weigh station) and in a couple of blocks it is a gravel road where paved 66 has been ripped up and it is just gravel to farm houses. This went right past the back of the weight station, that was, in fact abandoned. At that point I ought to have gotten back on the freeway, but was bored and wanted to explore.

The Short Form is that about 5 or 10 miles down the gravel road you come to a very old rickety looking bridge placarded for “8 Tons” (or 16,000 pounds). I hoped it was accurate… The opportunities to turn around ranged from “no way” to “you might not get stuck”, so I crossed it. We’re talking old wood on top of old telephone pole like things with gravel on it. About a mile further down was a farm driveway with another such bridge in the distance, I took that opportunity to turn around and return to I-40. I likely could have plotted some kind of all gravel bypass, but by then the clock and hunger were reminding me not to play so much ;-)

I-40 had no weigh station East, just West, and took me into Texas where I had No Worries about mountains or weigh stations. Things were then fairly easy the rest of the way to Florida. With just ONE exception…

I crossed Texas from Amarillo down to I-20. Exiting Texas I crossed into Louisiana and then went diagonally across the State on Highway 49. There was a storm… Storm warnings were in effect at my last stop. A Highway Patrol SUV passed me, flashers on, at about 50 mph. This was about 9 PM and dark. At one point, wipers going at full extent, I was down to about 30 to 40 MPH on the freeway, depending on visibility. A big SUV (Cadillac I think) whipped past me at about 60. Wind was gusting and at times it was grim. Visibility was maybe 100 yards. Which made it all the more exciting when the SUV, about 90 yards in front of me, went all sideways, then wobbled back to sideways the other way, then eventually wobbled back to forward… and proceeded to do about 45 MPH after that.

Being a bit Awake from all this, and a bit “energized”, I decided to turn on the radio for, hopefully, a bit of calming music. What did I have come right out of the speakers as soon as it was on?

“Hail Mary Full Of Grace!… The LORD is with thee!” I think: “OMG! The Truck is saying Hail Marys! It must be BAAAAD!”

Turns out that the frequency that had been news in Texas was a Catholic Evening Mass in Louisiana. This was on a Sunday, don’tcha know… I have never had my car say “Hail Marys” at me before, but I can tell you it is WAY spooky! About 10 miles down the road I took an off ramp and fueled up. After about 30 minutes of fuel and snacks, Mass ended, the sky cleared, and in a few more miles I was on I-10. The next two bits of nothing (80 miles & 50 miles-ish, IIRC) for Mississippi & Alabama were relatively smooth.

In Florida, they have a few “weigh stations” and a whole lot of “Agriculture Inspection Stations” that often have a scale too. I’d carefully plotted my way around the weigh station on entry to the State, and took minor highways toward home. This managed to avoid all the weight stations on the freeways and almost all of the agriculture inspection stations. Turns out there was one, in the absolute middle of nowhere, in a minor town that barely showed up on the map (and was not listed on the web site listing stations…)

I got there at about dinner time. Maybe a bit later. Stopping for a while to ponder the map, I found a path past the station. BUT it would add a couple of hours when I really really wanted to be home the same day and not the next day. I was very tired, needing a lot of sleep, and really really wanting to sleep in a bed not a truck cab. The choice was between not making it without another night in the truck, or hoping the inspection station was not a weigh station. This particular one was just a small shack in the middle of the highway through this small town, with a single lane that split off the highway and had a stop in front of a window. So I took it.

Well, it did have a small one axel scale area at the exit. A cement pad with steel trim of about 9 or 10 feet wide and about 4 feet long…

After playing “20 Questions” with the officer in the box (Cop In A Box?) with things like “Any plants?” and “What is in the truck” with my answers of “Nope” and “Furniture” (followed by a Folksy narrative about the house I just bought…) I was cleared to go. Now I have no idea if they were actually looking at the scale reading, or if they bothered to look at the GVWR printed in large letters on the side of the truck, but… I chose to put the drivers side wheels in the space with the gutter and about a foot of concrete before the scale edge started. This will have cut my weight anywhere from 1/2 to maybe only 3/4 if one of the dual rear wheels ended up on the scale (which I think it did). But the bottom line is I passed without incident.

From that point on, it was a straight shot on mostly 2 lane highways to home. Bed came at about 2 AM. The next day was unloading the truck and turning it in. I was over miles by about $200, which was really not much to worry about. Especially in the context of a $9000 rental fee and several $Hundreds of gas. I was getting about 11 to 12 MPG a lot of the time, and it’s about 2800 miles the straightest way, so figure about 3300 the way I went. Figure maybe 300 gallons, or about $900 for fuel.

Was it worth it?

Most likely: not really. Now I did bring a LOT of irreplacable books, and my seed archive that would have died in the hot storage unit had I left it through summer. At $3 / packet and hundreds of packets, that would be an expensive replacement. But still less than $10,000. I have not yet unpacked all the books. (Need to assemble some bookcases first). But I really needed to get this one load “done”. It did let me empty one of the 2 storage units I had at the time of selling the house. That’s about $2,000 a year saved. So call it about $3500 “saved” between the seed archive and the rental cost of one unit. The books I can’t estimate. Many are no longer in print, so there’s that. Some kitchen gear made it in that trip, so the kitchen has been better equiped. Plus some furniture (tables, chairs, dressers) and tool boxes (so home repair has been a bit easier).

Still, I could have bought an adequate home tool box for $100, and kitchen stuff is not that expensive (though I already have 3 cast iron skillets and really don’t need a 4th since they last forever.) P.G. was, to some extent, correct when he said to sell or give away all you can and just buy new. However, having the spousal dresser that she has had her whole life and is very sentimental about, and the dinette set that I grew up with, both have a certain emtional quality that is not replaceable.

Now the intent had been that I’d just be moving all this in a trailer I owned pulled by the Mercedes ML, which had “issues” due to the Hind Brain being corroded due to the passenger side rear tail light missing a gasket. So something had to be done. This run got us “over the hump” to a functional home with some things we cared about.

FWIW, I’ve since found some videos of an 18 Wheeler heavy semi-truck / trailer going over the Million Dollar Highway. He explains it is for Expert Drivers Only. NO Novices. I’d agree, even though I did it as a novice… it took a LOT of concentration, but the edge of the road can take the weight, so that was a concern I didn’t need to have.

Now the ML has been fixed (for the 4th or 5th time?… but “This time for sure!” since we found the gasket issue and I’ve tested it with hose and downpouring rain) and I’ve solved the issue of trailer lights not working. We’ll find out for sure when I buy a trailer and make the first run to pick up the rest of my stuff.

So “watch this space” for future adventures!

Part of what will be interesting is navigating the weigh stations with a trailer. Most states don’t care about small fish; but some do. I’ll still be getting a weight done before I head out, but I’m not going to weigh the car and trailer separately. This means I might end up with a bit over trailer GVWR and not know it. We’ll see how it goes. I can tow up to 7200 lbs, and the trailers I’m looking at are rated about that too. A Lot of the heaviest stuff (books, by far) came in the truck. There’s still some lighter weight furniture to move (and I’ll likely take it early). Though there are still more boxes of books and some other heavy things to go. My floor jack, air socket wrench and sockets, boxes of papers (though many will be sorted and tossed on site… didn’t have time to sort everything at the time of closing of the sale). I’m likely to be weight limited, not volume limited, still.

One things that’s certain, though: I’m not going to be taking 550 again…


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Favorites, Human Interest, Humor. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to First Load Cross Continent – Part 2

  1. John Hultquist says:

    To the east of where you came south in CO, there is Hwy 160 and Wolf Creek Pass. As I read your story, I thought of this — there are also videos of the trip:

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    @John H.:

    That’s a good one! About what I was afraid my run would be like…

    Well, at least it is nice to know that had I changed over to 160 it was no better. Makes sticking on 550 less of an error ;-)

    I’d looked on the map and saw 160 I think, but didn’t want to stay in Colorado any longer than minimal. It also would have taken a big round arc through the mountains to get to it, and then ended back at about where 550 ended anyway; so I decided against it. Staying on 50 for another 60 miles or so, to 285, and then going south at Salida would likely have been the best bet. Having no internet where I was, I had no idea where weigh stations were in Colorado, so the added miles and larger road scared me off that one.

    As the reference I’d used said Colorado was “under 26,000 is a free pass”, basically, I’d not bothered to take the couple of hours to find and plot all their weigh stations. As it was, there was a 2nd one near the southern border of Colorado where I again got to drive past as it was closed too. Just lucky.

    The “issue” here is that 4 corners area where Utah, Colorado, Arizona & New Mexico all come together. With Colorado as a ‘free pass’ State, it was ideal to cross it. But the reality of the “10,000 or trailer” (legal change or just the web site was wrong?) was that there’s just no way to bypass both Arizona and Colorado without going crazy far north. Had I known that, I’d have likely reloaded some of the truck… or worked out bypasses for Arizona.

    Arizona highly festoons their border with stations, but the middle is largely empty. I’d toyed with the idea of plotting an entry on a back road, but then found the page claiming Colorado was “over 26,000 only” and a free pass for me. When it wasn’t. Oh Well.

    Next run, with trailer, will likely be through Nevada to Arizona, then N.M., Texas and on. IIRC Arizona is another one that requires all trailers to stop. I’ll need to review that… While I’m going to try to get the weight right; without separately weighing the tow vehicle and trailer: you can’t get exact trailer weight. Hitching and unhitching a trailer a couple of times, all by myself, at a scale, is not going to work all that well…

    But whatever. That will be a different set of load limits, different State laws on trailers vs box trucks, and different weather issues. Fewer Fall Rain Storms and more Spring Snow closures. I really really want to be able to just run down the freeway and not care about it…

    FWIW, during our present winter snow pattern, the only path really possible is a long run on I-10 with lots of weigh stations. I’d not have made it, without hitting a weight station, in the truck in this weather. Both the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain passes would be fully covered in snow and likely with chain requirements. Part of why I’ve been sitting it out for a few winter months.

    I-80 is a winter mess (been on it many times skiing), highway 50 is worse, and I-40 has both the Tehatchapi Mountains and then Flagstaff Az. at 7000 feet (been in snow on both). I can bypass the Grapevine (on I-5 south) if it is snowed over by taking 101 South, but then you cross the entire LA basin W to E… Even then, you have 5000 foot range elevations to get across Arizona, N.M. and El paso Texas. There was that time New Years Eve of a year or 2 ago when I was stuck on ice on I-10, along with dozens of trucks…, since they closed the freeway. Somewhere on the approach to San Antonio… Not wanting to try a winter crossing in Truck or with Trailer…

  3. John Hultquist says:

    Glad you finished the trip safely.
    I’ve been on a few roads that raise blood pressure.
    Wind and snow don’t help.
    Then there are the news reports of people going off cliffs
    when the road is good and the weather nice. This week:

  4. John V K says:

    SO I guess we aren’t there Yet ;)

  5. Power Grab says:

    @ EM:

    I often end up watching that Weather Channel program about recovering wrecks. What is it? “Highway Through Hell”?

    In a way, every story has a happy ending even though the challenges they face are incredible!

    Your account reminds me of those situations…only you didn’t wreck your rig. ;-)

    I’m wondering how they always end up with a camera crew close enough to capture the projects.

  6. pouncer says:

    When I was a teen my family drove Colorado including a trek in a Chrysler Newport across the scenic (true) and then unpaved (mistake!) Gold Camp Road.

    Sort of like another CW McCall adventure:

    This is sort of thing some foolishly imagine is going to be addressed in federal legislation promising to enhance the nation’s “infrastructure”.

  7. Terry Jackson says:

    An ML and a 16′ dual axle box trailer are not going to be of interest to the weigh stations. Stop by or call one and ask what they are looking for. RVs are exempt, and they all weigh more than you will.

    Check your tongue weight limit on the ML. You want 15% or more of your trailer weight on the tongue. It prevents trailer sway. But you don’t want the ML tail down. If it is, then get an equalizing hitch to spread the weight.

  8. gareth says:

    So what happens if you get caught overweight?
    (asking from England, so different laws)

  9. YMMV says:

    Here’s the song to ride along with your story.
    “driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed”

    The original version is by Little Feet:

  10. John Hultquist says:

    Ms. Ronstadt’s singing career ended as her voice was impacted by a sort of palsy.
    See Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, a 2019 documentary film.

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    It varies by: The State Laws, The Class of drivers licence (“commercial” guys get more grief), the degree of the infraction (10 lbs in a 40,000 lb rig, or 10,000 pounds?), the “mood” of the particular inspector, IF his boss is watching, how busy they are with big rigs that day, how ‘new’ the inspector is, and more…

    “Mostly”, you get to unload the “overage” and leave it behind. You might be able to come back later and pick it up… (one guy did this across a State or two. Traveled with a friend in a Pick Up Truck. When caught, he’d unload a few hundred pounds, as would his friend at the next rest area. Friend would come pick up what he unloaded as he drove to where friend had been parked, then they would reload and continue…

    Commercial drivers may (or may not, depending on inspector attitude etc.) get “points” on their record. Often the “inspector” will just pull them aside (for, say 400 lbs over in a 56,000 lb rig) and give them The Full Monty Safety Inspection (that takes a few hours and is likely to find a few $Hundred of ‘worn tires’ or ‘loose equipment’ or whatever. Just “blowing past” an inspection station can get you arrested (in some States IIRC it is a misdemeanor….). You can be issued a “ticket” for over weight too.

    For me, I’d likely either just be waved through as irrelevant (being small fish and non-commercial – some States weight limits ONLY apply to commercial traffic…) or get a minor scolding for not having weighed my load. Though I could be told to unload a few hundred pounds IF the inspector had just found out his wife was cheating… or his son was joining a Gay Band… It is highly unlikely I’d get a ticket, points on the licence would not apply (generally…) and being a Rental Truck they would know I wasn’t on the hook for “safety items” so would not bother to do a Safety Inspection.

    As I was transiting alone, I didn’t want the risk of “leave several hundred pounds in BumBuster Colorado and come back from Florida to get what’s still here 2 weeks later and 4 rain storms… ” (Nor was I interested in unloading several hundred pounds at the next rest area, return to the weigh station, pick up what I’d unloaded 2 hours before, return to the rest area, and re-load re-pack what had not been stolen, broken, or rained on…)

    So I chose to take “the roads less traveled by”. Figured I’d enjoy the scenery more anyway, have less time spent in scale queues, and do no harm anyway as my weight was about 40,000 lbs less than Big Trucks anyway. (And, as I was driving 55 or so, often less, the risk of over loaded tires, overheated tires, and poor handling loss of control were also nill. Weight per tire WELL inside the tire safety limits even if just a smidge over placarded max – which is set at higher speeds…)

    Basically I “did the math” and knew enough about engineering safety limits to know there was no actual risk at the speeds and temps I was driving, and to know that the road damage risk was nill anyway due to my absolute weight / tire.

    I ended up driving past 4 or 5 weigh stations anyway, and it was just luck that all but one was closed and the one I chose to go through only cared about agricultural products, so it isn’t like I was working Hard Core to plot a path to avoid all weigh stations. More of a “probably not so many on these roads, and avoid the freeways in States where they have one every 50 miles…” Just figured if I DID get to do the “unload, go 10 miles, unload in rest area, drive back 10 miles, reload, 10 miles, finish reloading in rest area” it might only be 1 or 2…

    THE major (and original) reason for weigh stations was to prevent a 40,000 lb limit truck loading up 70,000 lbs and doing considerable road damage as they roads were not built for it. That was decades ago. Then they decided to add a “safety inspection” on commercial trucks (brakes work, tires good, etc.) that sort of made sense as it caused Flaky Companies to fix their trashy trucks. Lately some States have started adding “inspections” of anything with a trailer or small trucks like 10,000 lb ones (even pickups in a very few States). Why? Depends on the State. Some do it for the added revenue from more tickets written. Some for actual desire to assure trailers are not going to go wild and cause accidents (often at the “urging” of insurance companies…), some to annoy small haulers and increase the willingness to just pay the Big Companies to do it (you know, the ones who make campaign “contributions”…)

    Now that legal trucks can be 56,000 lbs (and “Over Size Load” trucks even higher) a lot of the original reason is moot. But, being in existence, the “haul” expands instead of reducing…


    There’s now a lot of “weigh in motion” segments on freeways and with “Prepass” transponder readers. Major commercial trucks get a weight ticket at a private scale and can then bypass weights, or, if weighed and it is over, the issuer of the weight ticket who certified it goes to court (after calibrating their scale to confirm it was right). Similarly, if you get weighed and passed at one big station, that goes into the system and the next one 50 miles down the road reads your transponder, knows you were just giving the OK, and flashes a “ByPass” signal in the cab… so you just blow past it.

    Also, a LOT of “small folks” who legally are required to stop, don’t. This is fine with the inspectors (most of the time, spousal status of grief modulating….) as they really don’t want to deal with a Motorcycle pulling a 100 lb camping tent trailer even if the law doesn’t specifically exempt them from their State stupid “All Trailers” law…

    In some States, only “Commercial” trucks must stop, so a Pickup with GooseNeck hitch hauling 30,000 lbs of equipment from home to his dirt doesn’t have to stop, but the carpenter with a utility body on his pickup does stop.

    In most all States, any RV does not have to stop (since they can be up to 50,000 lbs anyway AND almost all the weight is the Bus Structure anyway, not ‘cargo’. So people, clothes, food, pots & pans, and then fluids in tanks are most of the variable weight and they do NOT want 200 gallons of “Black Water” dumped so you make the weight GVWR placard… ) I seriously considered getting a BIG RV and using it, just for that reason. However, most of them have very low cargo ratings left over after all the vehicle weight and making a dozen trips at 2000 lbs each was not attractive at 8 MPG…

    Yes, the laws are “complex, strange & wondrous” around Weigh Stations. Part of my decision was just that, having spent a week or two trying to sort them all out, my brain was tired… So I decided to plot the “least likely grief” path to minimize number of States and bizzareness of laws I might encounter. The only bit I really got wrong was that Colorado had changed their limits and / or the web page I was using didn’t change with them (or was just wrong). Oh Well.

    End Note:

    When I make a trailer run, it will be (almost certainly) “I-10 all the way” from Arizona to Florida. Getting out of California will depend on a lot of other things, including snow in the mountains and gas prices in Nevada vs California.

    I’m pretty sure there will not be any “over weight” issues as I have enough choice of heavy vs bulky to assure that (and will not be worn out from packing up a whole house to put it in storage AND emptying one whole storage unit into a BIG box truck prior to final loading decisions…). I’ve also figured that most likely it will take 2.5 trips. That means no need to pack things as tightly as possible since that rounds up to 3 trips. (Also a pretty good load can go in the tow vehicle anyway).

    Then there’s the fact that large chunks of the nation just DO NOT want to have any SUV pulling a small box trailer pulling into their weigh stations and stopping them from collecting Big Bucks from the commercial guys… And even those that Do say “ALL Trailers MUST Stop!” usually don’t want all the small stuff anyway and don’t enforce it. (I’ll find out on my way TO California when I pull into one in every such State and ask…. while the trailer is empty…)

    Hope that clarifies more than it confuses. I know I was confused enough when I first started trying to sort all this out; as I was when crossing into Colorado and seeing that “Surprise” 10k lbs sign…

  12. Steven Fraser says:

    EM: Glad to hear that your part of the travel that was in Texas was eventless. The drive down 287 (Amarillo to Ft. Worth, with optional cut-overs) to meet I-20 is well known to me. My first use of it was for a youth trip to Six Flags the summer of ’78…

  13. u.k.(us) says:

    Nice post.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steven Fraser:

    I’ve been “crossing Texas” since at least 1974 or so. I remember doing I-10 during the 55 Speed Limit as quite a chore. August in an air-cooled VW Fastback without A/C.

    It’s gotten much more pleasant over the years (WITH A/C and speed limit now up to 80 MPH – so you can go 85 without any real risk). It IS a bit creepy to have a highway patrol car pass you doing 95 and have them not care at all that you are doing 85…

    I’ve crossed on just about every interstate and major highway of note. I-40 through the panhandle a few times. Sliding down 287 several times to I-20. I-10 to I-20 and through. I-10. Took IIRC, highway 90 from near San Antonio toward El Paso once. Plus some other odd roads between them at various times.

    Texas has generally been a good run. Gas is typically as cheap as you will find it in the USA. Food it good and portions are large. Only got one ticket once about 1990-ish. In my old Diesel 240D. Doing over 80 in a 70 (on I-20 near the I-10 split). Basically floored as that what it takes to get that car over 80 ;-)

    (While possible to reach 90, it requires some downhill or a stiff wind at your back…)

    I now typically try to assure as much of my run as possible is in Texas. Only reason this run was not through El Paso was the need to leave California as fast as possible and not go through the Arizona speed traps / weigh stations around the perimeter. (Note that the original plan was to drop down I-25 to El Paso… so going the 835? miles or so ‘edge to edge’ of Texas)

    @u.k. (us):

    Glad you liked it.

    Figured I’d lived through it, ought to at least let other folks know what it was about… And document it for family & friends (and maybe “me” when years from now I’m trying to remember just what it was about that run that was so “special” ;-)

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    This photo gives a pretty good idea what the road / cliff parts looks like:

    Uncompahgre Gorge

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    Cleaning out some tabs in my browser, here’s some more info / pages:

    The Wiki

    Why you ought to avoid it with an RV:

    I found this note about I-70 interesting as it was “the best road” in crossing Colorado… But the points made are good ones. The Colorado Rockies are high elevation (11,000+ feet) with steep climbs / plunges back down. It is a challenge climbing or descending mountains like that with a load.

    Interstate 70
    from Cove Fort, Utah, to Baltimore, Maryland

    Ok, so I admit, this isn’t really fair since if you plan to go anywhere east to west in Colorado you will likely be in the interstate. However, I think it is worth noting the dangers of I-70 in an RV.

    While it has exceptional mountain views, I-70 can also be steep and rough in many places. It also has several places where you’ll find 5 – 6% grades of mountain passes that stretch for many miles. There are turnouts for run-away trucks (and RVs) but you never want to have to use this, so make sure to stay in low gear and keep your brakes cool. Make sure to read our tips at the end of the post for driving safely on these roads.

    If you go on a road trip along with Colorado, you will likely be on this road as it is the main highway through the state. When you pass by here, just make sure to proceed with caution.

    Pro tip: Winter brings chain laws. You may be required to carry chains with you in case a storm begins. Check for details before heading out.

    Highway: Interstate 70
    Length: 2,151 mi | 3,462 km
    Height: 11,158 ft
    Below are two mountain passes at I-70:

    Eisenhower Tunnels – Elevation: 11,158 ft
    Vail Pass – Elevation: 10,666 ft

    Here’s what they had to say about $Million Highway:

    Million Dollar Highway
    between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado


    Highway 550 also known as the Million Dollar Highway was built in the late 1800s as part of the San Juan Skyway. Dangerous Roads listed it as one of the spectacular drives in America with scenic and jaw-dropping views.

    As much as it is beautiful, it can also be dangerous for an RV drive, encompassing three steep mountain passes with hairpin curves and narrow lanes.

    Highway: U.S. Route 550
    Length: 25 mi | 40 km (in Colorado)
    Speed Limit: 10 – 25 mph

    Here are the three mountain passes at the Hwy 550 route:

    Red Mountain Pass – Elevation: 11,018 ft

    Molas Pass – Elevation: 10,910 ft
    Coal Bank Pass – Elevation: 10,640 ft

    Then, for my future reference next trip:

  17. Tonyb says:

    E M Smith

    I have read your truck adventures with interest especially the parts where you ventured on to roads with weight limits.

    Some years ago I read that a 44 tonne truck increasingly common in the UK and Europe exerted a pressure on the road surface up to 120,000 tomes greater than a 1 tonne car. This sounded to me as if it came from a green group determined to stop lorries but I checked with the UK dept of transport and whilst the final figures can be debated, there is no doubt that anything larger than an ordinary car can do huge damage to a road surface and perhaps explains why roads break up so readily, as whilst motorways are designed for heavy traffic, other roads aren’t

    Arguably, heavier vehicles should be far more heavily taxed than they are and have many more restrictions placed on the routes they can take. Supermarkets are increasingly being located closer to residential areas and the damage the delivery lorries do to the ordinary local roads is considerable.

    EV’s are also much heavier than their equivalent petrol counterpart yet escape many taxes.

  18. E.M.Smith says:


    Roads here are mostly built to be able to take a truck load / weight. That means that the normal car can not harm the road.

    As I understand it, the road tax paid by cars is for the first build and any full replacement builds. Trucks are taxed extra to pay for any damage they add.

    In general, all paved roads of any size around here are paved to a specification that supports trucks. We have them all over the place. Way out in the boonies you might run into some thinly paved roads, but that’s often when gravel or dirt roads get first paved on the cheap.

    FWIW, I’ve driven a big Hay Bail Truck (several ton load on duel rear wheels) over paved roads, dirt roads, and even through a hay field (which is where it is expected to pick up the hay bales…). You don’t need paved roads for a big truck. But it does help make the ride nicer and avoids getting stuck if it is raining. Note that big heavy trucks do sink in sand and mud very fast, so “on dirt” only works well if it is hard packed dirt. For “off road” the lighter the vehicle and the fluffier the tires (lower pressure) the better.

    In a very direct way, you can figure the road load and damage potential, along with the off road suitability, by just looking at the tire pressure. Most cars are in the 25 to 40 PSI range. Light Trucks (pickups) can get up to 60 – ish. Commercial Big Trucks run closer to 90 psi. Note that steering tires run up near 110 psi.

    Herman Miller never saw much of a difference. He’s the president of HJM Fleet Maintenance, and one of a rare breed who runs his tires close to the L&I table minimums – 110 psi in steer tires, 75 psi in drive tires and 80 psi in trailer tires

    and rims have a max about 130 to 150 PSI, so going much over 110 is a bad idea…

    So that gives you the PSI that can be put on a bit of road surface (or dirt, sand, snow, mud) and that, then, gives you what you need to know to figure out if it will sink to the axle… or just bend the road enough to start it cracking.

    This, BTW, is also why off road drivers will “air down” in sand, snow, mud. I watch off road recovery videos and the guy who does it (Matt of Matt’s Off Road Recovery) said his big fluffy tires are run at 15 PSI on the road, but he will let them down to about 8 PSI when going in the sand dunes or on muddy trails. Not much moves under your tire at 8 PSI.

    This is why my all wheel drive Mercedes ML is NOT for off road. 44 PSI tires. Will sink in sand “right quick” being a heavy truck on smaller tires. It is also why Jeep Guys put those “silly giant tires” on their Jeep. The ones that require cutting off the fenders… ‘Cause then they don’t get stuck and can climb rock walls better.

    Matt pulls a LOT of big Diesel 4×4 pickup trucks out of sand, mud & snow because the driver thinks he has it in the bag with 4×4 and power to spare; and forgets he is on 50 or 60 psi tires…

    Watch some off road trail runs… these guys will literally drive up to a vertical rock wall and climb up it. “Approach angle” of 90 degrees as the tires stick out a little in front of the bumper. Then when it’s standing on the rear tires, the upper ones start to bite onto the edge of a ledge and pull it “up and over” (skid plate on the bottom…) With the tires nearly “flat”, you can see the whole thing bend around rocks and ledge edges… literally grabbing it via wrapping around it.

    That’s what I’ve learned over the last year or two while looking for a Tow Vehicle with 4 x 4. Heavy vehicles on hard tires make a good tow vehicle. Light vehicles on soft low PSI tires with 4 x 4 make good off road vehicles. You can be a good tow vehicle for a big trailer, or a good off road vehicle, but not both.

    (Yes, an off road vehicle can be good for towing something that’s very light, like a few hundred to maybe even 1000 lbs. No, you will not tow a 7000 lb trailer.)

    And that, boys & girls, is why some folks have BOTH a big 4×4 Crew Cab Diesel Pickup AND a Jeep with giant tires…

  19. The True Nolan says:

    @EM: “Matt pulls a LOT of big Diesel 4×4 pickup trucks out of sand, mud & snow because the driver thinks he has it in the bag with 4×4 and power to spare; and forgets he is on 50 or 60 psi tires…”

    I learned that the hard way shortly after I got my Ram 2500. Was going pretty good until I stopped and sank down in the mud. Took some effort but finally got enough sticks and branches under the tires to lift up and start moving. Once moving, I didn’t stop until I was on gravel.

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    Glad to hear you worked your way out. Watching “Matt’s O.R.Recovery” I’ve learned a lot about ways to drive out of crap conditions. When to spin the wheels and when not to… That sometimes a bit of back and forth hunting with the driven front wheels can get you out, but spinning the back in soft stuff just sinks you. That kind of thing.

    And “once moving keep going out”. Along with “when it’s too late, don’t try to turn around unless you know that the turn will work”. Many folks stuck trying to turn around when they were still able to go straight… (While it would be a PITA, I now know I’d try just backing out 5 miles rather than a U turn on a dirt road under snow… once things were just not going to work going forward.)

    Pickup Trucks have gotten bigger and heavier over the years, but the tires have not gotten much fatter (unless you go to aftermarket).

    When I was a kid, we’d regularly take old Ford 150 type pickups just about anywhere on farms or “out at the river” where there was sand and gravel galore. Now, I’d not take a RAM 350 4×4 Diesel anywhere near those places we went. Just way too heavy.

    The old tires were pretty weak. Bias ply with cotton cords at the low end. ( I remember when Nylon cord tires came out and we all learned about the thump thump thump at first winter morning light of a very cold flat spot from parking overnight…). Those tires could not take a lot of pressure. IIRC, 36 PSI or so was the max on a lot of them. A 30-ish PSI tire floats a LOT better than a “modern” 50+ one.

    I didn’t realize any of this (despite it being obvious in hind sight) until I did the research on tow vehicles and going off road. (Had this vision of both hauling stuff AND camping AND towing a boat over a beach AND… Came to realize reality…. Tow a heavy trailer: OR light camper over mud OR light boat over sand… )

    Oh Well. At present I have 2 All Wheel Drive truck like things. The 6000-ish GVWR ML for towing and the Subaru Forester (about half that GVWR?) for sand, snow, and fishing remote… The Subaru tires are only a little less tall than the ML tires… ML runs something like 45 PSI, the Subaru about 32, though I’ve aired down to 20-ish on a crummy dirt road in the mountains and they looked fine. Probably could go to 15 psi as long as speed was kept low.

    “Casey’s Off Road Recovery” had to pull a Subaru out of a well snowed in road in one episode. Snow was scraping the bottom of the Subaru when he decided to turn around, and got stuck in the turn as wheels went into a dip that wasn’t visible on top. Casey was complaining on the way in that he had to pull Subarus out of places they just could not have gone to (in his opinion). He was using a Jeep with Tracks on all 4 positions to get to the guy, and still had to use his winch to get turned around IIRC (or maybe that was another Subaru ;-)

    I always wondered why Subaru had this reputation of just going anywhere (at least prior to the heavier newer ones with a CVT Constantly Variable Transmission). Light weight on lower pressure tires, good all wheel drive power distribution.

    Mine is the last year with a limited slip differential in the rear, so the transfer case splits power at a fixed percent, then the rear is limited slip, so at all times the rear wheels turn, and the front gets a fixed percentage, but can spin a wheel… so there’s a lot of aftermarket things to make the front diff a locker or limited slip. One has a kind of ratchet thing in it so it clicks going around corners ;-)

    Didn’t know any of that when I bought it, but really like it. The boxer engine also puts center of gravity quite low. The thing just does not want to tip over on hills.

    “Someday” when all the Must Do’s are done, I have in mind a 2nd set of “winter rims” in 14 or 15 inch, with bigger more aggressive tread on them, and a differential upgrade for the front diff. Not that I need it for anything, just for fun. Watching videos of folks taking their Subarus on Jeep Trails with Jeeps is impressive… and I’d like to have a couple of their “mods” so I didn’t look so noob ;-)

    BTW, my California Mercedes Mechanic (of about 40 years…) has a Toyota Land Cruiser for his off road 4×4 stuff. Said it’s a lot less trouble to fix than the Mercedes ;-) Also made sure to warn me NOT to take the ML on sand. ~”It’s too heavy and will sink like a brick. You WILL get stuck.” I’m assuming that is from experience. Either first hand, or 2nd hand via customers…

    So the ML is strictly a Road Baby for towing heavy stuff. The Subaru is for playing in the rough…

  21. The True Nolan says:

    One of the best go-anywhere vehicles I ever had was a 1953 Chevrolet PU with three speeds on the column and a choke on the dash. You could actually set the choke like a throttle, put it in first gear, get out and push and then jump back inside. Of course I jumped a little bit quicker back then… Drove it on roads that would scare a Jeep but it always made it home.

  22. Elrod says:

    When I moved a decade ago I sweated the weigh stations, too, driving a 26 ft Penske that I was sure was at least 1.5K over GVW (I didn’t weigh it first, should have). Most weigh stations were “come to a stop, immediately the green comes on, proceed.” At one, though, I sat there for 3 minutes before I got the green, sweating. I assume they decided the 2-axle open U-Haul trailer with 800 lbs of motorcycle and a dozen boxes the Penske was towing was what pushed the weight WAY over, but if they had the capability to measure axle weight…… didn’t think of dropping one side’s wheels off the pad, I’ll remember that if I ever move again.

    Books – look at chrome wire rack shelving from a restaurant supply house. Gotten more ‘spensive lately, but easy to custom-size. I’ve got 3X 60″L X 86″H X 14″D each with 7 shelves. Turned out much cheaper than real wood bookcases that weren’t as large but you need to like the “industrial look.” Easy to knock down for high portability if you’re moving, though, and lighter than real wood if you move them whole. Home Despot sells 5MM luan underlayment, cut to 51 5/8 X 13 3/8, and dog-ear the corners, fits the 60″ shelves perfectly so thin books don’t fall through. The corner posts are sold in a box of 4, 63″, 72″ or 86″ long, shelves come in lengths 24″, 30, 36, 42, 48, 60, 72, widths of 14″, 18″, 24″. 2X 1X4X8 on each end cut to 86″ to match the corner post length act as “shelf ends” – they slide down through the shelves between the thicker wire shelf end and the last thinner cross wire, held in place with #10x 3/4″ stainless wood screws and 1″ SS fender washers. Sand and paint or stain the 1X4s to suit.

  23. E.M.Smith says:


    Thanks for the shelving idea. I know where there’s a restaurant supply shop too… It ought to work well in my office, and maybe in the potting room / winter hydroponics space too.

  24. Will says:

    Instead of towing a trailer back and forth, you might consider just buying a box truck here in CA to resell after you are done moving. CA banned all diesel trucks that are older than ~2011, IIRC. Lots of still usable trucks being advertised here. (They may not allow you to bring it back for a second trip, even if registered elsewhere, though. I’ve seen mention that they may stop old trucks at the border) The Eco-weenies are strong here, of course! You should be able to buy one for ~ $4-7k, depending on features and condition. I’m looking for one now.

  25. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, I looked into that, too.

    Here’s the deal; any truck over some “too small” size (like 14000 lbs GVWR or some such) MUST have the engine upgraded to a 2010 or newer engine with full smog gear (Blue Tech / goo).

    You can NOT Register it in California until that is done. This kicked in over a year ago, so any that are older than 2010 and have not had an engine swap can not be registered OR operated in California if from “out of State”.

    So… Can’t register it to get the first load out, and can’t come into the State if I have it registered out of State. I almost bought 2 of them when first looking, then ran into the registration issue and dug into it. It’s a deal killer.

    Then there’s the issue that you must get an annual inspection done, stop at all weigh stations, and they may inspect you too. Essentially you get tossed into the Commercial Truck Requirements even if not commercial.

    Now there IS an exception in the law (based on it being unconstitutional if they didn’t have it) . IFF You own the truck, and you are using it NON-commercially to haul ONLY your own possessions, you can do that. And that covers me. So I’ve thought of doing just that. There were even a couple of trucks here that looked pretty good.

    In the end, I decided I didn’t want to constantly do the “Your Papers Please!” and explain the law to the guys at the border inspection station and every California Weigh Station and maybe the occasional highway patrol / local law enforcement… That, and a cargo trailer is nice to have afterwards as a “Stealth Camper conversion”…

    But it was a close run 2nd place to just get an old box truck. The two I took on test drives were not too bad, but not nearly as comfortable as a Mercedes ML , so there’s that, too.

  26. H.R. says:

    E.M. “That, and a cargo trailer is nice to have afterwards as a “Stealth Camper conversion”

    Time flies, so it may have been more than a year or two back, but we had a good time looking at videos of “store bought” light trailers and a lot of DIY trailer builds.

    Converting an enclosed trailer to your personal wants and needs should be a fun thing to putter about. The nice thing about starting with an enclosed trailer is it’s already engineered for the road. All you are doing is adding the features you want.

    Oh, and you are good to go from the start with zero improvements. Just throw all the camping creature comforts your little heart desires into the trailer and off you go.

    I think trailer-to-camper is a good plan for you personally, based on all that discussion a while back. If you go shopping for one, you’ll just keep running into “nice, but if only it had…”

  27. Pouncer says:

    H.R. says: “If you go shopping for one, you’ll just keep running into “nice, but if only it had…”

    Y’know, that seems to be true regardless. From a bunch of bananas (too green, too brown, just right if only it had one more banana…) to a limosine (if only the ice maker could keep up…)

    Right now I’m going through that as I consider a new Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. It seems odd to me one can’t pick through all the tools and bespeak a favorite collection As it, there are, as always, trade offs and compromises.

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    I tend to minimalism when possible. So a cargo trailer with a cot in it, camping stove, sleepy bag, ice chest of food, mess kit, some lights, water, beer… change of clothes or two; and then my “usual” travel backpack… that ought to be enough. Add fishing gear or snow gear as needed ;-)

    I could toss in a tent and box of firewood, as the mood required; but I think a cot in the trailer would be fine. Just work up some ventilation / bug control for the side door.

  29. Will says:

    My plan was to convert a box truck to a stealth RV. Varies by state as to what has to be added to make it a legal mtorhome. Food cooker, water/sink, electric system (may have to have a 115v plug in system ( I guess for RV Park Sites), toilet, heater, bed/sleeping compartment, batteries/generator system, etc.

    What I would like to find is what is sometimes called a toyhauler, a motorhome on a medium truck chassis with a ~10 ft garage at the rear. They have the box truck rollup door with a large liftgate platform, big enough to hold/lift a utv or golf cart. I want that for a workshop.
    So far, CA doesn’t forbid old diesel motorhomes from entering the state. Doesn’t matter what it started life as, as long as the plate/reg calls it an RV. I’ve seen a few built on a big rig chassis, and they seem to call them totorhomes, but the garage part is uncommon. They were intended to haul big trailers for vehicles and workshops. Problem is that if it has a 5th wheel setup, most states won’t give it an RV reg, so they tend to have pintle hitches instead. Not interested in dragging around that much vehicle/mass.

Anything to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.