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  1. Default Two Week Trip: IL to CO to MN and back to IL

    Hi all,

    I'm so glad I found this website! We are taking a two week trip this summer, starting in Central IL. We'll travel to Denver and then on to the Estes Park area for a few days in a cabin. From there, we'll travel to central MN for a few days in a cabin there. We have the cabin thing down but now need to figure out our best road trip options between them. I have a a few specific questions:

    First, traveling from central IL to Denver we have the I-80 route and the I-70 route as fairly equitable distances. That means were open to either but we are looking for your expereicnes/preferences/likes and dislikes for the two routes. We would typically factor in: pretty scenery (fields of grain are included in the pretty category in this household), occasional spot to get out for a brief nature walk, easy access quirky or historical sites, and great chow finds (that doesn't necessarily mean "foodie gourmet"; if you know someone who makes the best corn pudding in all the land, we'd like to know where to get some). We have plenty of time, with at least 3 travel days and up to 4 to get to Denver. One option that has recently popped up is a night in Kansas City for some music, with the following day being a drive around and a few quick walks in the Wetlands area near Great Bend, staying there that night. Then we would head on to Denver. But, we're interested in hearing other MO/KS ideas and IA/NE ideas as well.

    Second, we leave the Estes Park area of CO on a Sunday and need to be in central MN on Wednesday, preferably afternoon. Clearly we don't have time to really do SD justice, so we'd like your thoughts on the best way to spend time. Current thinking: Drive to Custer area on Sunday. Spend Monday doing a loop around Custer and scenic driving around Badlands and stay near Pierre. Tuesday drive from Pierre to Bismarck. Wednesday on to MN. How would you spend the brief time?

    Third, we were considering driving the Native American Scenic Byway from Pierre to Bismarck. Any experiences--highlights or lowlights--to share? Or would you skip and take a different route through SD to MN?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have. This website is a great resource!

    oopsy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Road trip to a Cabin!

    Quote Originally Posted by oopsy View Post
    We are taking a two week trip this summer, starting in Central IL.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We'll travel to Denver and then on to the Estes Park area for a few days in a cabin. From there, we'll travel to central MN for a few days in a cabin there.
    Sounds pretty fun to me! Estes Park is so gorgeous in the summer! Be sure to say howdy to the ghost who lives in the Stanley Hotel for us.
    First, traveling from central IL to Denver we have the I-80 route and the I-70 route as fairly equitable distances.
    I like I-70 because it is easy to factor in a stop at the St. Louis Arch, but take a look at this list of attractions along a portion of your route along I-80!
    Current thinking: Drive to Custer area on Sunday. Spend Monday doing a loop around Custer and scenic driving around Badlands and stay near Pierre. Tuesday drive from Pierre to Bismarck. Wednesday on to MN. How would you spend the brief time?
    Here is an excellent field report about South Dakota.
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have. This website is a great resource!
    Thanks, be sure to look at the bottom of this page for more ideas.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Mn

    Where in Minnesota exactly are you heading?

    The trip from Pierre to Bismark could be interesting, but Bismark would also seem like you'd be going a long way north for what I would consider "Central Minnesota." (I'd say the St. Cloud-Brainerd area would be the general vicinity that I'd be thinking of) If you are going farther north, then it would be another story.

    Instead I might follow US-14, which coincidentally is pretty much the same path used in the South Dakota field report that the editor linked to above.

  4. Default

    Thanks Mark and Michael. I'll look through the other posts and articles pointed to Mark's post.

    Michael, we are headed about 30 miles northeast of Brainerd. The only reason we were heading all the way to Bismarck was to follow the Native American Scenit Byway, and it appears that it will add about 120 miles on to our trip. Maybe it's not worth the extra miles though.

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