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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Suggestions please for out of the way roads / bi-ways and hidden gems.

    As I may have mentioned before, two of my children and five of my grandchildren live on the east coast of the US. Every couple of years I visit them in an endeavour to establish some sort of a relationship with my grandchildren.

    In between all their birthdays, I do a bit of tripping around to visit friends and family of my children-in-law. To date I have notched up 62500 miles.

    Now I have a few questions. Do not want lots of suggestions, as I really like to just discover things along the way.

    The preference is to stay off interstates and toll roads as much as possible, and not too keen on going to / through the large urban centres. Been there, done that!

    Love to see out of the way and little visited gems. Am very keen on travelling on the small roads and bi-ways. The occasional gravel road does not worry me.

    Basically my plan is:

    Arrive at LAX 25th April, 2009. Either fly or drive to St Paul MN, where a car will be waiting for me. Most likely drive - I prefer to drive - may take the hostel shuttle bus to SF and visit family in Santa Clara. Then decide.

    After a few days in St Paul, I will head straight for Boston. Probably do that one on the interstate. Spend some days with son and family. Then a couple of days with daughter in Mahway NJ before heading off by mid May to Anchorage AK.... via:

    (here is where I need a little help)
    Route from Mahwah to Dubuque... The only point of interest I have seen on this route is Fairmount IN (James Dean).

    Dubuque IA
    Des Moines IA
    Alliance NE (Car henge)
    Am planning on taking I-80 to Green River area. From there it will be on to Twin Falls. Any gems along this route... which route??
    Stanley ID
    Glacier NP MT
    Route from GNP to Banff / Lake Louise??
    Icefields Parkway, Canadian Rockies
    Jasper to Dawson Ck... any suggestions?
    Alcan Highway, Dawson Ck to Fairbanks
    Deadhorse AK (hopefully?? - may have to take a commercial tour)
    Denali NP AK
    Anchorage AK
    Homer AK
    The route through Alaska is flexible (as is my whole plan) and I may reverse it. Any gems up there which are off the beaten track? And other than the main highways, how are the other roads. I have already travelled most of the main roads... would like to try some of the others. Am frantically searching for my 2004 copy of The Milepost.
    St Paul MN (possibly via Saskatoon and Winnipeg?)
    Any roads here which I should not miss... any gems which I must see?
    Boston MA (in time for grandson's birthday on 20th July)
    (I'll worry about the southern leg later - lol)

    The time frame is completely flexible, other than that I have to be at all the birthday parties. If I decide to stay here for an extra day, I will just have one less day at another destination. Am really not fussed.

    One thing I should mention. Whereas in 2007 I was hiking in the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and many other places, I have since being diagnosed with a condition which severly restricts my mobility. So please do not suggest things which require a lot of walking / hiking.

    I just thank God I did all those things when I could.

    Lifey who is counting the days - 104 to departure

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Deadhorse AK (hopefully?? - may have to take a commercial tour)
    Here is a rental agency in Fairbanks that specializes in vehicles that are ready for the Dalton Highway. This same company also has a shuttle that runs the Dalton.

  3. #3

    Default Scenic wonders

    Subjective but some of my top experiences along the way.

    Stanley ID. A scenic gem – as a place to stay Redfish Lake Lodge is idyllic.

    Glacier NP MT. Red Jammer Buses travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

    Icefields Parkway. The Columbia Icefield – tour the icefield.

    Alcan Highway, Dawson Ck to Fairbanks. Top journey – goes via the North Pole

    Dawson City / Diamond Tooth Gertie's. Good fun.

    Bonanza Creek / Klondike. Rush for all that gold.

    Top of the World Highway. Watch for the mosquitoes – they are huge.

    Chicken, AK. If you want to step off the world stay here.

    Denali NP AK. Denali Air Tour – not cheap but totally memorable.

    Portage Glacier – boat trip, icebergs, and more.

    Do you want someone to carry your bag :-)

  4. #4

    Default

    Now... Alaska! You are talking my language! That (and the neighbouring Yukon) is one very magical place! Chicken is a funny little place (look for a five Pound note bearing my name on the wall of the bar if you bored!) and Dawson (in the Yukon) is an absolute must. Make sure you stay at the Downtown Hotel and sample a Sourtoe Cocktail (member number 29828 here) before heading to Diamondtooth Gerties as has been suggested. Nearby you can go goldpanning for a few bucks - totally touristy but great fun too!

    Now, there really is nowhere more off the beaten path than Ma Johnsons Hotel in the amazing little town of McCarthy in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. You hould sell your children to spend the night there. We spent two and wish we had double that. Amazing amazing amazing. Just be prepared to leave your car in the parking lot and walk to town as no personal vehicles have access -- but that's the charm of the place!! A scenic flight or hike on the Root Glacier is a rewarding experience and make sure you tour the mill at nearby Kennecott (organised through the same people as the glacier hiking)

    Kenai Fjords National Park is a short drive south of Anchorage and a must. Nearby Seward is the place to stay for the night - we stayed at the budget Breeze Inn and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the rooms and the service. Seward is a great little town and I wish I could remember the name of the bar where we hung out whilst we were there - but go explore as they were all pretty good. All I remember was it was the dodgiest looking one; about 3/4 of the way down the main street on the right hand side as you go towards the sealife centre.

    From Seward we headed to Whittier, having stopped at the fantastic wildlife centre, by way of the very random rail/vehicle tunnel and took the day long ferry trip down Prince William Sound to Valdez. Again I can't speak highly enough of the place.

    Whatever you do - don't be tempted to drive the Dempster Highway up to Inuvik. It was the singular most frustrating, annoying and ill-thought-out journey of my entire life!! In case you are unsure -- it is no fun at all and should be left to the locals!

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Mahwah to Dubuque: Two Alternatives

    OK, so I won't get too detailed, but just put a couple of thoughts in your head for highways other than the obvious Interstate, I-80: US-6 and US-40.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    From Mahwah to Dubuque, you could take a less-beaten path (compared to I-80), but still pretty quick - NY-17/I-86. This has some very nice scenery. It goes through Corning, NY, where you can visit the Corning Museum of Glass. That route will dump you onto I-90 near Erie, PA, you can follow the lakeshore through Cleveland and eventually wind up on US-20. This will take you through South Bend, IN, where you can visit Notre Dame University and the Studebaker (auto) Museum. If you have any desire to play in Chigago, do so - otherwise take the toll road around the city and out to Rockford - then US-20. Galena, IL is well worth a stop, and Dubuque is a short drive from there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    AZBuck, Thank you for that. I drove the full length of US 6, both in 2001 and 2007, and agree, it is more of a destination than a route. In fact, the Kinzua railway bridge took my breath away in 2001, and in 2007 it broke my heart to see it lying there on the valley floor. US 40 looks interesting though... not been in that area.

    glc thank you for your input. It must be at least a dozen times that I have driven between St Paul and Boston / NJ, and will be doing it at least four times this year. Have covered all those areas, though I have not been to the Corning museum. Might suss that out on one of my trips this year. I am certainly not looking for a 'quick' route. I have all the time in the world. LOL

    Oh! and thanks for that rental link in Fairbanks.

    Eris thank you for all those links - especially the Dawson City / Klondike area. I am familiar with most of the others. Friend in Stanley takes me all round there. Drove the complete length of the Alcan Highway in 2004, am just hoping to do it at a more leisurely pace this time. Where is it the Hot Springs are... Rhyall or some place like that? and all the Bison.

  9. Default

    Aside from the obvious detour to the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area, I suggest taking US-30 west from just west of Little America, Wyoming. That goes through Kemmerer to Cokeville before crossing into Idaho. You pass Soda Springs and Lava Hot Springs. Then, I-15 north to I-86 west to I-84 to Twin Falls.

    If you've never been to Twin Falls, stop at Exit 182 to see the Canyon. Then, Exit 173 get to the Shoshone Falls Park on the southside of the canyon on the northside of Twin Falls.

    Sykotyk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    Now... Alaska! You are talking my language!
    Great! Tell me more.... I am like a sponge, ready to soak it all up.

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    That (and the neighbouring Yukon) is one very magical place! Chicken is a funny little place (look for a five Pound note bearing my name on the wall of the bar if you bored!) and Dawson (in the Yukon) is an absolute must.
    So I have heard... have also heard horror stories, and told (as a senior female travelling alone) to stay away from there. Just want to know what the driving is like on the Klondike, and the safety? Any camping up that way? Looks like I am going to blow my complete budget on a trip to Deadhorse AK.

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    You hould sell your children to spend the night there.
    Years ago, I gladly would have!! LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    Nearby Seward is the place to stay for the night...
    In 2004 I stayed in Seward... was at a great little hostel. Went on a tiny boat (maximum 18 people) trip to the glaciers, saw a humpback whale breach right in front of the boat, and lots of other wildlife. It was magic. Went through the tunnel to Whittier (read half a book waiting.)

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    Whatever you do - don't be tempted to drive the Dempster Highway up to Inuvik.
    Thanks for the advice. Anything else you would like to tell me about gems up there would be much appreciated.

    Last time I was in Alaska, one third of the place was covered in wildfires. Views were few and far between, other than smoke. And holdups with fire crews on the roads were frequent.

    Now Craig, is there anything you can tell me about the road to Yellowknife??

    Lifey who is hooked on Ice Road Truckers

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