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  1. Default Upstate NY Westward

    Hey all,

    My friend and I, both first-time road-trippers, are planning a trip for mid-June. We have a general idea of what we'd like to see and what we hope to avoid, but we're not sure how long we'll realistically want to spend at each place or how much driving we should try to do each day. Here's our rough itinerary:

    DAY 1. NY to Michigan (Ann Arbor / town along Lake Erie).
    DAY 2. Michigan to Chicago, IL.
    DAY 3. Chicago, IL.
    DAY 4. Chicago, IL to Madison, WI.
    DAY 5. Madison, WI to Western IA.
    DAY 6. Western IA to Mount Rushmore.
    DAY 7. Mount Rushmore through Wyoming to Montana.
    DAY 8. Montana to North Dakota (Fargo).
    DAY 9. North Dakota to Minneapolis.
    DAY 10. Minneapolis.
    DAY 11. Minneapolis to NE Wisconsin.
    DAY 12. NE Wisconsin to Canada.
    DAY 13. Canada 2.
    DAY 14. Canada 2 to Ottawa.
    DAY 15. Ottawa to Montreal.
    DAY 16. Montreal to Kingston, NY.

    Lots of driving on the first day, I know, but we want to escape the northeast quickly so that we can spend more time elsewhere. Is the whole thing too ambitious? I'd really appreciate some feedback! Thanks a ton.

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

    Default basically solid

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think your trip outline is basically fine, there isn't any one place where you are trying to do too much, but there a few things I'd think about.

    First, traveling west from Madison, it will make a lot more sense to stay on I-90 through Minnesota. Sioux Falls would be a decent spot to spend the night.

    I'd also say that I'd try to fit in at least one more day on the western extreme of your trip. You're looking at some pretty long distances through the Dakotas and into Wyoming and Montana. Trying to do that whole loop from Sioux Falls to Montana to Fargo in 3 days isn't really going to leave you time to stop anywhere. I've actually done a trip that's very similar and tried to do the same thing, and ended up being very very rushed. A 4th day will give you some time to stop at more of this pretty remarkable area.

    Otherwise, I'd say you've got a decent trip plan. You are going to be doing a lot of driving, and much of what you will see will have to be out of the car window, but as long as you know that and you are ok with that kind of trip, I'd say you'll be in good shape.

  3. Default Where to stop?

    Thanks so much. And I think you're right -- spending another day out west would really improve the pace of the trip.

    Are there any towns / natural or national landmarks / cities that are must-see? Any to avoid? I'm interested especially in visiting some great small towns or mid-sized cities in the Midwest-West (Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin). Thanks again!

  4. Default Where to stop in these states?

    I hope to take a road trip that will enable me to stay overnight in each of these states/areas: southern Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, northeastern Wyoming, southeastern Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin. The question remains, though -- where exactly should I stay? I'm hoping to find some great small towns or smaller cities that will offer a more genuine local experience. Any ideas? Thanks so much!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-19-2009 at 04:38 PM. Reason: merged - please don't create multiple threads about the same trip

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default some resources

    Well, that's a lot of ground that you could be potentially be talking about but here are some things to look at.

    Ideas for things along I-90, between Chicago and the Black Hills.
    Ideas for things to do in every state
    and for that "genuine" part you are looking for, A field report from South Dakota

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default A few more ideas

    You won't have time to do all these unless you add some days or shorten your trip.

    DAY 6. Western IA to Mount Rushmore.
    Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD
    Wall Drug in Wall, SD
    And there's much more to see than Mt. Rushmore: Wind Caves, Badlands, Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood (where Hickok was shot) to name just a few

    DAY 7. Mount Rushmore through Wyoming to Montana.
    Custer NP
    Devil's Tower in NE WY
    Cody, WY, for some fun Western stuff, including all about Buffalo Bill
    Yellowstone and Grand Tetons national parks

    DAY 8. Montana to North Dakota (Fargo).
    Pompeys Pillar
    Greycliffe Prarie Dog Town
    Glacier NP

    These are things just off the top of my head. I'm not as familiar with the other areas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a bit too far

    Glacier NP would be too far away to do on this timeline, without adding at least a couple of days. Little Bighorn would be a possible stop in Montana before starting to loop back east. Teddy Roosevelt NP would be a good possibility for another national park though.

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