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Thread: DC to Portland

  1. Default DC to Portland

    I am moving from DC to Portland and looking for a relatively quick but still enjoyable route. Ideally I will avoid large truck filled freeways and have some great places to stop along the way for quick visits.

    My very early working plan is on the google map below. I am thinking a couple days of straight drving to get me to the middle of the country and then some backgrounds and scenery with the Badlands, Rushmore, Yellowstone and Craters of the Moon. Any suggestions on good roads or somewhat random but cool places to stop?,19.709473&z=6

    Any and all suggestions are appreciated!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-20-2010 at 11:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Comments and Suggestions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your proposed route does a pretty good job of avoiding the worst of the major cities and Interstates with heavy commercial traffic, but understand that you still have to negotiate Columbus, Indianapolis, and a few medium sized cities, and that Interstates by their very nature and design are going to carry a goodly amount of truck traffic everywhere. With that in mind and in order not to put you too far behind the curve, I wouldn't plan on getting too much farther than central or perhaps western Iowa in your first two days of 'straight driving'. You should also, even if you're just trying to lay down the miles, take a few half hour or so stops on those two days to just get some fresh air, exercise and mental relief from being behind the wheel.

    But at that point (western Iowa) you can start abandoning the Interstates for more relaxed and scenic alternatives begriming with the Loess Hills Scenic Byway rather than I-29 up the Missouri River Valley. Then, besides just seeing Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, be sure to check out the scenic roads and other venues in the area including the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Wind and Jewel Caves. On your way to Yellowstone, consider staying on I-90 a bit longer to explore the Little Bighorn Battlefield and use the Beartooth Highway to the park.

    In southwestern Idaho, one of my favorite sites is Bruneau Canyon. Just be aware that the road in is dirt (graded and an easy drive) and has some of the most intriguing warning signs anywhere, "This road crosses U.S. Air Force bombing range for the next 12 miles. Objects may fall from aircraft." And finally, as you cruise down the Columbia River Gorge into Portland, be aware that there is a WW-I memorial modeled on Stonehenge on the north bank in Maryville, WA; and be sure to drive as much of the Historic Columbia River Highway as you can.


  3. Default

    Thank you for this very good suggestions. Truck traffic is indeed unavoidable - just trying to avoid as much as we can! In the past we've driven I-64 between DC and St. Louis which is much more enjoyable than I-70 but in this case that route takes us too far south.

    I am definitely going to do the Beartooth Highway and other scenic roads around Rushmore. If we can'd do the whole Loess Byway is there any particualar area you suggest us seeing?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Whatever Part You Can

    Visiting a great attraction or driving a scenic road should never make your trip worse. If you don't have time to drive the whole of any interesting road, drive what you can and revel in that. Enjoy what you're seeing, don't fret about what you (might have) missed. In your case, your initial route had you using about 81 miles of I-29 between Omaha and Sioux City. Driving the Loess Hills between these two points would add just a dozen miles and about an hour and a half (plus stops) to your drive. Well worth it. But if you find yourself running short of time, just turn west at any point and get back on I-29 and relish what you've seen.


  5. Default Let me know how it goes

    We're moving from DC to Tacoma in July. I'd love to hear your feedback after you're done. We've never done a cross-country trip either and we'll be doing it with 2 little ones (eek).

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