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  1. Default Any sites to help plan a route, automatically?

    I'm working on plans for a trip from Seattle to Cleveland, OH sometime this August (might push it into September depending on weather). I've never taken a road trip that long with my family (two DDs, 3 and 7 and DH, reluctant and sceptical). The goal is to visit relatives and see some sights along the way.

    I'm looking essentially for a pre-planned trip of sorts, something that'll tell me drive x miles, see sites a, b, and c and then find a motel. Does anything like that exist? I did see a reference to the book Road Trip USA, which has pre-planned trips, but I haven't seen the actual book yet.

    Oh, and yes, I'll be reading and searching in these forums, but asking up front just in case the answer is at the tip of someone's typing fingers.

    Thanks! (oh, and my friend over at Happy Shiny Jet Baby sent me here:-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default What would be the fun in that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiki View Post
    I'm working on plans for a trip from Seattle to Cleveland, OH sometime this August (might push it into September depending on weather).
    The only thing close is a radial trip planning program we worked on for a few years -- where you would start from a given spot and then we offered suggestions for a route in x miles or x hours from the orgin. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! There are a number of free trip planners on the Web, here are the ones we recommend.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. Default

    Thanks for the links! I guess I'm trying to get someone else to do my work for me <g>, but it seems a little overwhelming to try to find the best places to stop, the must-see sites, etc. all between here in Seattle and Cleveland.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default AAA member?

    If you're a AAA member, they can do a TripTik for you for free. These can be helpful. However, I usually don't find them to be necessarily the best way to plan a trip. They can give you a good base to tweak from though.

    The whole process really isn't all that intimidating. First, I suggest you start with a big map of the US. Look at the major interstates between your starting/stopping points and see if anything jumps out at you that you want to see along the way. Get some basic ideas written down from this and try to get your family involved in this process. It will probably get the kids excited and even your skeptical husband might get intrigued about all the neat things to see and do.

    Second, visit the AAA website and go to their TripTik section to use their online travel planner. Mark gave you a link to a list of online travel planners. I personally like this one the best of the online options. If you zoom in, you can get AAA's list of recommendations for hotels, restaurants, campsites, attractions, and more along your route. It's a great way to find out what else is out there. You can mark the places you want to stop and then print out a nice, detailed map with directions and other helpful information to take with you.

    If you have time, you might google "tourism (state name)" for each of the states you're traveling through. This will give you a lot of good information about attractions in each state. If you decide to use the online AAA planner and it doesn't list these specific places to go, you can add them using the street address to get the directions.

    I do think you'll get some helpful hints from "Roadtrip USA". I'd spend some time enjoying it at a B&N store before purchasing though.

    Just remember a few simple rules when planning your nightly stops:
    * Try to keep your miles under 500 miles/day. Even less if you think you'll be doing some major sight-seeing along the way.
    * A rule of thumb we use here is that you can average about 57mph west of the Mississippi and 53mph east of it. This factors in time for quick stops for meals/gas/bio-breaks, etc. But not time for major sight-seeing stops or lingering meals.
    * Most of us here avoid making motel reservations so we have more flexibility. Unless you're going to be stopping at a particularly touristy/popular area like Yellowstone or Mt. Rushmore along the way, you probably won't need them. It's nice to be able to be more spontaneous and makes the trip a lot more fun, imho.

    To get you started, your most direct route would be I-90 to Billings, MT; I-94 to Tomah, WI; I-90 to merge with I-39 just east of Wisconsin Dells, WI; I-39 to Rockford, IL; I-90 to Chicago; I-294 to Hazel Crest, IL; I-80 to about Amherst, OH; then I-90 to Cleveland.

    Of course, you could stay on I-90 the whole way and not stay on the more northern I-94 route. You might want to do one route there and the other back.

    Another fun option for one way on your trip would be to take I-80 all the way from Cleveland to San Francisco and then take I-5 north to Seattle. If you do this, you'll be driving what was once the first trans-continental highway in the US - the old Lincoln Highway.

    Part of the fun of your trip is planning it. Embrace it and have fun! When you get some ideas going, please come back here with more specific questions so we can help you further to ensure you have a great trip and convince your skeptical husband how fun roadtrips are!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Sign/Cosign Tangent

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    To get you started, your most direct route would be I-90 to Billings, MT; I-94 to Tomah, WI; I-90 to merge with I-39 just east of Wisconsin Dells, WI; I-39 to Rockford, IL; I-90 to Chicago; I-294 to Hazel Crest, IL; I-80 to about Amherst, OH; then I-90 to Cleveland.

    Of course, you could stay on I-90 the whole way and not stay on the more northern I-94 route. You might want to do one route there and the other back.
    Just to avoid a little confusion, much of these routes are signed as Multiple Interstates.

    For Example, while techincally you would take I-39 from Portage, WI to Rockford, the entire length of the freeway is also I-90 (and its I-94 too from Portage to Madison, making it the longest stretch of triple-signed interstate in the country), so you really wouldn't have to pay attention to I-39 in this case. In fact, since I-39 didn't join until about 10 years ago, most locals just call this road I-90.

    I-80 and I-90 also join together in Indiana just east of Chicago, so while you would be be following I-80 to Ohio, you would also be driving on I-90 for most of that distance.

  6. Default

    I have roadside assistance on my from my Honda. Does anyone know how reliable car manf. service is? I had a flat tire once in a city and help came very quickly. I don't know how fast or reliable help would come when breaking down on in small town or isolated area.

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