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  1. Default Seattle to Maryland in Mid Novemebr

    I'm a single woman travelling from Seattle to MD in mid November with 2 big dogs. I have a brand new 4WD Honda Element and was wondering the safest route to take I-90 or I-80? Also any recommended dog friendly hotels along the way.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default its never the route

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are many many variables which factor into how safe a roadtrip will be, but honestly, route really isn't one of them.

    All interstates are built to standards, with controlled access, limited graves and curves, etc all of which make it one of the safest highway systems in the world.

    The factors that involve safety are generally things that are in your own control, like driving reasonable distances, at reasonable speeds, and not trying to out drive the conditions. In November, weather certainly could be a factor, and you may want to include that into your decision, but there's no way to know which route will see better weather, until you see a forecast just before you depart on your trip.

    In either case, you're looking at a 2800-2900 mile drive, and as a solo traveler who will have to stop fairly frequently for the dogs, I'd recommend planning for 6 days on the road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Neither Should Be Issues

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Safety, either from the standpoint of being a female traveling alone or from the standpoint of weather/road conditions should not be a real issue when driving any of the major cross country Interstate highways. These are the roads with the greatest resources devoted to keeping them open and clear, with the most stringent limits on grades, curves, sight lines, lane width, etc. For that very reason they are heavily used and you will be hard pressed to find anywhere in your 6 day drive where you will be out of sight of at least several other people. The shortest route is I-90/I/94 with I-90 being a close second. Using I-80 adds about a hundred miles but is worth considering if there are sites along it that appeal to you.

    As far as pet friendly stops, you should check the policies of the major chains to get an idea of what's available to you, but then check with the specific locations where you plan to stop as their specific practice may be at variance with the chain's. This might also depend on your dog's size and whether they allow multiple animals in the same room. I would think that enough motels would be unwilling to accept tow large dogs that finding, and booking, rooms would be well worth the effort and the slight inconvenience of being tied to a schedule.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Two large dogs may be a problem. Motel 6 is pet-friendly, but may only allow one small dog. I've heard that La Quinta is pet-friendly. Plan out a route and start making phone calls. I wouldn't even bother with trying to stay in a large city - your best chances will be at Interstate exits in the smaller towns. You can use hotels.com to see what hotels are in or near any town or city - and get an idea of rates, pet policies, and direct phone numbers. Even if it says "pets accepted" you need to call for specifics.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the advice. I mapped it out to drive I90/I94 with a max of 400-500 miles per day and staying 6 nights in hotels/motels. Also found dog friendly hotels on bringfido.com. Where would I find the worst weather conditions so I can plan on an alternate stay if necessary?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default

    The worst weather will be where you find a storm.

    As oversimplified as that may sound, that's just the reality of the situation. There really aren't places that are immune to storms, or areas where you can say they will always be bad. It just depends upon the specific weather conditions during your trip. Obviously, places in higher elevations are a little more likely to see snow, particularly this early in the season, but almost any place on your route could see an early season snowstorm - and thus generalities about what places might be worse really aren't relevant to your specific trip.

  7. #7

    Default The passes

    Hello Fergie,

    Once you clear Snoqualmie Pass east of SEA, the next elevation you'll encounter is Lookout Pass on the MT-ID border, at 4,600'. From there I-90 goes as low as 2,700' northwest of Missoula, reaches 5,000' by Butte, crests at 6,700' at Homestake Pass east of Butte, crests at 5,400' east of Whitehall, then finally crests Bozeman Pass just east of Bozeman at 5,400'. Excepting the segment from just west of Butte through Homestake Pass, none of the other crests are lengthy--8-10 miles or so each. From northwest of Missoula all the way out to the east, the balance of I-90 and I-94 runs along river valleys at elevations of 3,000 to 4,200' or so.

    None of this is to say one can't find snow below the passes, but particularly early in the season, it's the passes which are likely to see some. Still, I tend not to worry about it. Once you've seen the mountain state's "cavalry" driving up the pass in snowplows en echelon 4-wide, clearing all 3 uphill lanes from guardrail-to-guardrail, you come to realize it'll take more than an early-season snowfall to close or make dangerous a route like I-90.

    Foy

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    Hello Fergie,

    Once you clear Snoqualmie Pass east of SEA, the next elevation you'll encounter is Lookout Pass on the MT-ID border, at 4,600'. From there I-90 goes as low as 2,700' northwest of Missoula, reaches 5,000' by Butte, crests at 6,700' at Homestake Pass east of Butte, crests at 5,400' east of Whitehall, then finally crests Bozeman Pass just east of Bozeman at 5,400'. Excepting the segment from just west of Butte through Homestake Pass, none of the other crests are lengthy--8-10 miles or so each. From northwest of Missoula all the way out to the east, the balance of I-90 and I-94 runs along river valleys at elevations of 3,000 to 4,200' or so.

    None of this is to say one can't find snow below the passes, but particularly early in the season, it's the passes which are likely to see some. Still, I tend not to worry about it. Once you've seen the mountain state's "cavalry" driving up the pass in snowplows en echelon 4-wide, clearing all 3 uphill lanes from guardrail-to-guardrail, you come to realize it'll take more than an early-season snowfall to close or make dangerous a route like I-90.

    Foy

    Is it realistic that I could drive from Coeur D'Alene to Billings in 1 day without too much stress (i.e. weather,pass)? Or should I stay the night in Bozeman or Livingston?

  9. Default Stops Along the Way

    Sorry but the time is getting closer and I am getting nervous. Does this itinerary sound reasonable with pet friendly hotels? I am trying to average @ 6 hours per day driving time.

    Day 1: Freeland, WA to Coeur D'Alene, ID (La Quinta Inn)
    Day 2: Coeur D'Alene, ID to Billings, MT (La Quinta Inn)
    Day 3: Billings, MT to Bismarck, ND (Super 8 Motel)
    Day 4: Bismarck, ND to Brooklyn Park, MN (La Quinta Inn)
    Day 5: Brooklyn Park, MN to Rosemont, IL (La Quinta Inn Hoffman Estates)
    Day 6: Rosemont, IL to Elyria, OH (Red Roof Inn)
    Day 7: Elyria, OH to Annapolis, MD

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I'm copying your itinerary below and adding my notes, drive times reflect rest and fuel stops:

    Day 1: Freeland, WA to Coeur D'Alene, ID (La Quinta Inn)
    a) 425 miles and about 8.5 hours via Deception Pass.
    b) 340 miles via the Mukilteo Ferry, about 7 hours plus time waiting for the ferry and the actual crossing.
    c) Consider possible delays on the 2 lane from Freeland to Mount Vernon (or Clinton) and traffic issues in the Seattle metro.
    Day 2: Coeur D'Alene, ID to Billings, MT (La Quinta Inn)
    a) 507 miles. 9 hours. Easy drive.
    Day 3: Billings, MT to Bismarck, ND (Super 8 Motel)
    a) 415 miles. 7.5 hours, very easy drive.
    Day 4: Bismarck, ND to Brooklyn Park, MN (La Quinta Inn)
    a) Same as previous day, but possible traffic delays getting into the MSP area.
    Day 5: Brooklyn Park, MN to Rosemont, IL (La Quinta Inn Hoffman Estates)
    a) 390 miles. 7.5 hours plus traffic delays getting out of MSP and into the Chicago area.
    Day 6: Rosemont, IL to Elyria, OH (Red Roof Inn)
    a) 350 miles. 7 hours plus delays getting through/around Chicago.
    Day 7: Elyria, OH to Annapolis, MD
    a) 406 miles. 7.5 hours plus delays getting through/around Baltimore and/or DC.

    Bottom line? Very well planned. Your longest days will be in relatively traffic-free areas and less stressful. However, you are going to be on the road longer than 6 hours each and every day. If you must limit your time to 6 hours a day, you need to add 2 or 3 more days to your trip.

    Now, I'm going to give you an alternate mapping suggestion to avoid MSP and most of Chicago. Stay on I-90 to Sioux Falls, then take I-29 to Omaha and pick up I-80.

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