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  1. Default Moving from Chicago to Portland Oregon-Need Advice to Avoid Steep Grades if Possible

    Ok YOU ARE AWESOME, in advance, for offering up any tips you can. Here is the deal:

    I plan on moving out to Portland, Oregon from Chicago Illinois

    Yippee for me!!!

    Its gonna be me, a cat, a bike rack (very sturdy, or at least should be since I opted for an upgraded model) and a driving companion, my mom who is 64. No trailers. Just what I can fit in the car and will have the rest shipped.

    I plan on the trip taking three days, staying in a motel for 2 nights.

    I have a 92 Honda Accord 164000 miles. Pretty ok car. Will get checked out before I leave.

    What is the best route that would be easiest on my car to avoid steep grades?

    Chicago toward Minesota, North Dakota, Idaho?
    Chicago toward Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah?

    Mapquest suggests I use the last option-Chicago, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah.

    How is the route in terms of steep grades and mountain driving? Is it going to be really hard on my Honda?

    Also, anyone who has done this particular route before, Any places I should not plan on spending the night in? Looking for cheap and safe.

    Thanks again for any help and tips.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default I-80

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think I-80 out to Utah and then up through Idaho and Oregon will be your best bet, and would be more flat than I-90. That route is also more direct, so it should be a little faster too.

    Either way, I wouldn't worry about the mountains too much. While you have a pretty old car, climbing mountains on the interstate is not particularly taxing on a car. You shouldn't have any difficultly finding a clean safe place to stay. There are nice places to stay in every city in the country, and using common sense will keep you out of trouble most all of the time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Southern route is painless


    Congrats on getting to move to Portland. You'll love it!

    I second, or third, the route through Salt Lake City via Wyoming. You have no real climbs to make on that road. In fact, you'll be following much of the way the pioneers went 150 years ago in wagons pulled by oxen; and they really didn't want to climb hills! That said, ship as much of your stuff as possible and take as little in the car as you can. You don't want to have to leave your most precious posessions by the side of the road like they did if you do break down.

    My big concern is that you are planning to drive 2,200 miles in 3 days, which is more than 700 miles per day. That may be too much for your dear old Honda, and it ain't good on you or your mom, either. Please add one more day. 550 miles per day is still a lot of driving, but much more realistic. You can do Chicago to Lincoln, NE to Rawlins WY to Boise, ID to Portland. You'll have a much safer trip, and you'll get into Portland by dinner time.

    An interesting scenic spot along the way is Vedauwoo Recreation Area (artistic rock formations) just east of Cheyenne, WY. You'll see the signs on the highway. It is a nice place to stop near the highway, walk around a little and enjoy late in the day.

    In all of these towns you'll see national chain motels near the highway. Don't worry, you'll have no trouble finding a good place to stay.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  4. Default how did it go?

    i'm doing the same trip. i would like to here from you

  5. Default

    Here's the mountains....

    If you go the northern route, you've got Lookout Pass at the ID-MT border. You have a mountain east of Butte, MT. Both can get dicy.

    If you take the 80-84 route, you've got Cabbage in Utah (long, long downhill grade into Pendleton, very windy on the side of a mountain). You'll miss Parleys, but you'll hit the Sisters east of Evanston, Wyoming. Two long mountain grades (one is straight-down/straight-up for over six miles). In bad weather can be bad. But the biggie is Sherman/Happy Jack Summit east of Laramie where you climb to over 8,400 feet. Another bad spot, weather wise, is when you pass by Elk Mountain between Rawlins and Laramie.

    Not too bad for grades, but the wind and ice in winter is horrible. Many major accidents happy all too often.

    I'd drive 90/94/90/395/84 if it were me.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Hi Beebuzz,

    You do not say when you plan to take this trip, but since you have posted it in 'Planning Summer Roadtrips', I assume you will not be going till the weather warms.

    Having driven both routes, I would agree with Sykotyk, and take the northern route.

    Likewise I share the concerns of Craig in the distances you plan to travel each day. I would highly recommend that you add at least another day, if not two... and keep a day up your sleeve for anything which may go wrong. Flat tyres do happen.

    Having said that, in 62500 miles travelled in North America, in vehicles ranging from the old and grotty, to the new and flashy, I have not had a single mishap. (Touch wood!!)

    But if you are driving even three days in a row, you have to make sure that you stop for meals, and not take them on the run. It is advisable to stop every two hours or so for a drink and a ten minute walk. Helps you stay alert and safe.

    No worries about accommodation along the way - there is a wide variety to suit all budgets.

    Since this is probably a 'once in a life-time' trip, why not give yourself a little extra time to stop at things really worth stopping for, along the way. One which comes to mind immediately is the Corn Museum in Mitchell SD.

    Have a great trip and drive safely.

    Lifey - retired professional driver

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Lifey and Sy, the original post was about a year and a half ago, and the original poster has never made another post. The thread was recently brought back to life by a member who wanted some feedback on how the trip went, but unfortunately I kinda doubt that we will see any response.

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