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  1. #1

    Default 2 weeks on the back roads.

    My wife and I are planning on leaving Grand Rapids Mi the evening of May 7th. The plan is to grab U.S 20 around Madison Wi and head out to Portland. We then plan on returning via U.S 2 form Seattle to The Mackinaw Bridge.

    The main spots we want to hit are Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone(1.5 days), Bosie(1.5days) Portland(1day), Seattle(1day) Glacier(2 days) and then pretty much cruise home.

    We are looking for info as to were to stay and what to expect as far as weather and traffic this time of year. I can handle the long hauls just fine I've driven Detroit to Miami straght trough on a couple ocassions. So that's why were thinking the last day or so 1,500 to 2,000 miles. We would like to do as much as possible. Trying to keep trip under $3,500

    Any info,experinces and sugestions are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you want to take a round trip from Grand Rapids to Seattle *AND* spend a total of 7 days off the road seeing sights and cities *AND* take non-Interstate highways, you need to add another week to your trip. Sorry, but your plans are totally unrealistic. Driving 1500 miles in one shot is irresponsible, professional drivers who live on the road are not allowed to do that. I'm certain the moderators will be along shortly to elaborate.

  3. #3

    Default Little support here

    Hello roll,
    While most regulars here love a RoadTrip, few will speak in support of what you're contemplating on the back end with a 1,500-2,000 mile straight-through run. The consensus is that it's dangerous as heck for you and everybody you'd encounter. I haven't tried to patch together the travel time matters for the front side of your trip, but if includes lots of long days of driving, there's likely little support for that part, too.

    Be aware that parts of Yellowstone are likely still closed in early- to mid-May, and that in Glacier, the Going-To-The-Sun Road will in every likelihood be closed until some time in June. You should check ahead with each Park to confirm opening dates for the parts you want to see.

    It's a shame you're in such a rush on the return trip. I've traveled the entire breadth of the UP and across WI on US 2 and it's a beautiful drive through countryside full of forested hills, small mountains, lakes, rivers, and quirky little towns. The top half or so of the Lower Peninsula are essentially more of the same. That's all too nice to miss by trying an all-nighter, aside from the inherent risks.


  4. #4


    I rolled through a little over 700 miles in one day. It took 12 hours on interstate highways only stopping for the necessities (food, fuel, etc) The mods usually say keep it to 600 a day. Detroit to Miami is long and I don't doubt you can do it and have done it. However, to do such a large number of miles day after day after day is something even the professionals simply are not allowed to do, as Foy already stated. You won't be able to see much other than what is outside of your window. Find some more time or make it a shorter distance. These long distances are trying on your body and patience. A few days being in a tiny box with the same people for lthat amount of time is trying on anybody. This is speaking from experience. My 4 days through the southeast from PA is in the road trip field reports. It was a harsh journey at times due to the time in a box but we kept it safe and didn't try to pull anything off at night particularly in an unfamiliar location.

  5. #5


    I realize that the return trip is really complicating my schedule. I was hoping to make it home Saturday evening to have Sunday to rest before getting back to the office. My thought was 15 days of about 400 miles per day at 60mph is about 6 hours a day. We have friends in Bosie, Portland & Seattle is why I am trying to allow for extra time. The last day we are planning to do in 4 hour shifts. Our intentions are not to be irresposible but rather see as much as we could see. This past labor day we did DC, Philly, NY & Pittsburg in 3days. We enjoy the excitement and adventure of being on the open road. Our main goal again is to make it out to the coast. But how can you just drive around Yellow Stone or Glacier with out stopping?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a contradiction

    Even driving 4 hour shifts, you can't safely travel 1500 miles in one sitting. In the best case of high-speed interstate highway travel, thats a trip that will take well over 25 hours, and there is no way that you can safely get enough sleep while sitting in a moving car to be an alert driver when your shift comes. There also is no one making sure that the driver isn't drifting off, since the other person is theoretically sleeping. Trust us when we say, trying to do such a thing is every bit as dangerous and deadly as driving drunk. If you've done it before, you've played russian roulette and won, but that certainly doesn't mean you'll be as lucky next time.

    You've also got some serious flaws with the other assumptions you are making.

    First of all, averaging 60 miles an hour while taking the backroads isn't possible. Its very difficult to average 60 miles an hour on the interstate over the course of a full day of travel once you account for just basic stops for food and fuel. If you average 50 miles per hour on the backroads, you'll be making excellent time, and as such 400 miles will make for a very full day on the road when you are using this option for your transportation.

    I will also note that US-20 doesn't go through Wisconsin, so I'm not sure why Madison is on your current plans.

    I just find the contradiction of what you are planning to be the oddest. The great part of backroads is that you can go at a slower pace, and enjoy things that you'd might otherwise miss while you fly by the interstate. Yet, you're trying to do so much, that you'd have a tough time fitting everything in if you did stick to the freeway. That contradiction is going to make it very difficult, if not impossible, to meet the goals that you've laid out for yourself, much less have any fun doing it.

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