Bright and early tomorrow morning, I’m taking all the toys and heading west to the Radwood 2 car show out in Anaheim, California. Before I get going, I wanted to show you all what it takes (and what it costs) to move three vehicles halfway across the United States.

This will be my first time attending the show and I’m pretty excited to be a part of it. It’s a unique kind of event that features vehicles from the ‘80s and ‘90s, or in other words, the only kind of vehicles that I own. Now, I live in Kansas City, Kansas, which is a far cry from Anaheim, California. It’s over 1,500 miles one-way.

I have a Dodge Ram Cummins diesel truck at my disposal, and if I don’t use it for hauling, then what’s the point of having it? Ok, it’s actually just really fun to drive. All those awesome diesel-type noises make for a good time, anytime. But, here is my opportunity to use it in a practical manner: Pulling 9,000 pounds worth of trailer, Nissan 300ZX, and Honda CBR900RR all the way out to California for a car show.

So, that sounds simple enough, right? Well, as I found out, there was a ton of preparation I had to do in order to make this trip happen. Let’s start with the trailer. I thought about buying a trailer, but they ended up costing way too much money for the amount of use I would get out of it. So, instead, I started searching around for a trailer to rent.

I knew I wanted to get an enclosed trailer to keep the 300ZX and CBR out of the elements. I also knew it had to be at least 20 feet long to fit everything. It turned out that there was only one local company that even rented a trailer that large. It definitely cost a pretty penny to rent, but there wasn’t any way around it. I needed it.

TRAILER RENTAL COST: $805.00

The trailer is 22 feet long.

With the trailer secured, it was time to figure out lodging for the trip. After what seemed like forever, I finally narrowed down some hotels that had parking which could accommodate large vehicles. With the list whittled down to the most convenient and cost-effective options, I put in some reservations.

HOTEL COST (5 days): $573.66

Next, I needed to figure out the logistics of rigging the truck up to the trailer, and determine how to secure the 300ZX and CBR down inside of the trailer.

Luckily, the Ram was already outfitted with a brake controller because it was previously used to haul around a fifth wheel RV. This addition is necessary if you intend on hauling a lot of weight behind you.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t have a ball hitch for for the truck. I figured I needed a fairly heavy-duty unit, so I picked up one rated for over 15,000 pounds. Alright, that may have been overkill, but oh well. I also needed the hitch receiver pin, so I picked one of those up too.

New ball hitch and receiver pin.

Now, on to securing the vehicles down inside the of the trailer. I knew I needed to get two different sizes of ratchet straps. A smaller size to secure the bike, and a larger size to secure the car. While I was shopping around, I found some pretty slick tie downs for the car. They are loops which pass through the wheels between the spokes. This system makes it a lot easier to secure a car than trying to hunt around for solid chassis attachment points.

Large and small ratchet straps, wheel tie-down loops, locks, and chocks.

I also picked up some locks to secure the exterior doors of the trailer, as well of some wheel chocks to keep the rig stationary while parked.

TOWING SUPPLIES COST: $267.87

Having all the facets in place to make this trip happen, it was time to get everything loaded up. The trailer had just enough tie down anchors in the floor to secure both the car and the bike. The first task was to load the bike at the front of the trailer.

With the bike secured, it was the 300ZX’s turn to hop in. This was a little sketchy, as the front bumper slightly dragged on the trailer’s ramp.

Eh, I’ll allow it.

Thankfully, no damage was done. Phew! With the car in the trailer, and with the engine’s weight thoroughly in front of the axles (for optimal trailer weight distribution), it was time for me to get out of the car. Oh wait, not so fast. I couldn’t even get the door open.

Not enough clearance to open the Z’s wings.

Thankfully, the 300ZX comes equipped with an ejector sea...erm...t-tops! I removed the driver’s side t-top and was able to Dukes Of Hazard my way out the top of the car.

T-tops equal convenience.

All that was left was to strap down the car to the trailer. Those wheel loop tie downs made this job an absolute breeze. With the 300ZX secured, I released its parking brake and left the transmission in neutral so that no undue stress was placed on the drivetrain.

And just like that, everything was now ready to make the journey west. Let’s see how much this hair-brained trip has cost so far.


The Figures

Trailer Rental (with insurance): $805.00

Towing Supplies: $267.87

Lodging: $573.66

PRE-TRIP TOTAL: $1,646.53


Yeah, ouch indeed. It’s still left to be seen how much fuel and food costs will be, but I estimate that total being near the $900 mark. This certainly isn’t a “cheap” little jaunt, but heck, this is pretty much what I classify as a vacation.

Sitting level. The parking brake works well, but the wheel chocks are an extra security.

My brother is going to be my co-pilot on this trip. He’ll keep good tunes cued up, verify directions, and generally keep me company. He may also be running some trip updates so check out my Twitter (@pmonshiz) and Instagram (pmonshiz) for the latest news!

Until then, wish us luck. We’re going to need it.