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  1. Default Driving from Point Arena California to Boston in Mid October

    Planning to drive from seattle to point arena, ca along the coast. Then we want to drive from point arena across country to Boston, MA. Any suggestions on the best route? We want to stop and see things like Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone and other interesting/beautiful sites. We would be leaving Point Arena around mid october. Is it safe to drive a northerly cross country route this time of year? What should we be most aware of? We will be in a VW beetle. Two people. What preparations should we take ( things that are absolutely key). Thank YOU.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default That Will Depend

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    'Best' is a word that doesn't get much respect around here. There are simply too many individual choices to be made on the basis of your preferences for their to be a single 'best route'. Then, even for me, knowing my tastes, the route of choice will depend on several other variables you haven't addressed yet, in particular the amount of time you have for the drive. Just to make the nearly 4500 miles you're envisioning, many of them on non-Interstate Highways, will require 9 solid days of driving, 7 from Point Arena to Boston. You'll then need to add a few days to that to explore and enjoy Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and other attractions on the way. Certainly some of the areas you'll be driving through are subject to snow in October, but you don't necessarily need to plan on it or worry about it too much. Build an extra day into your travel plans for the worst case scenario of a serious storm and then just let the road crews do their thing if that happens. By the same token, you should carry with you basic supplies, warm clothes, water, a good spare and jack and the know-how to use them, some nutritious snacks, that sort of thing. There's no need to go overboard.

    Anyway, as to a general route. I assume you'll be taking the coast highway (US-101/CA-1) down to Point Arena. From there, continue down to the Bay Area and head east on I-80 through Nevada to Wells US-93 north to I-84/I-86 to Idaho Falls and US-20 into the Park at West Yellowstone. An alternative would be to continue on I-80 to Salt Lake City and use US-89 to come up through the Grand Tetons and enter the park from the south. Leave Yellowstone via US-14 to the east and visit Devils Tower before Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. From there it's pretty much a straight shot on I-90 the rest of the way to Boston.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thank you very much for your response and information. Best resource of info I've come across so far. Another question, by 7 solid days of driving how many hours per day did you have in mind? Also, are there any other attractions along our route that are of interest besides the obvious ones that you stated above? We are on leisurely schedule and want to take in as much as possible. What about lodging options along the way? Motels, hostels, etc.? Is it a bad plan to just take it as we go and figure it out or should we plan our lodging ahead? Thanks again.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-25-2010 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Removed quote of entire previous post

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Days and Sights and Lodging

    A 'solid day' of driving consists of 8-10 hours behind the wheel plus time out for gas, meal and bathroom breaks as well as a couple of mental health breaks to just take a short hike and let the mind relax and the body exercise. Maybe 12-14 hours in total from hitting the road in the morning to shutting down for the night. That will let you cover 500-550 miles a day, day after day, and still be alert, rested and safe. For other options and attractions along the Interstates, check these lists as well as the National Park Service map. You should have absolutely no problems finding lodging anywhere on your route, even near the national parks, in October.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Having just come down the northern California coast, I can give you some suggestions. Make sure you drive the Avenue of the Giants. This is a 31 mile stretch of the old routing of US-101 through Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

    CA-1 from Leggett all the way down the coast is very winding and slow. To plan your time, calculate an average of 30 mph. It will take you at least 2 hours to get from Point Arena to Bodega Bay (60 miles or so). The best way to I-80 would be to go through Bodega Bay, and about 1 mile after going through Valley Ford, CA-1 makes a right turn. Don't turn, continue straight on Valley Ford Road, it will become Bodega Ave, take that into Petaluma and go south on the US-101 freeway. Take that to Novato and pick up CA-37 east to Vallejo and get on I-80.

  6. Default thank you

    thank you for the info again. and thank you for the point arena to bay area tips as well. I have just one more curious question. Azbuck, you mention how it's pretty much a straight shot on I-90 all the way to Boston after a certain point. I take it that there is not so much to see except for Chicago and what not. Whether I'm right or not, my question is what about heading North near Sioux Falls SD into Canada and driving around the top of the Great Lakes then back into the US near Niagara Falls? Anyone have any idea how that would be in October? Feasible? Extra Long? Great? Basically skipping the US between SD and New York State and going up and around the Canadian route..... Thank You

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Where are you thinking of entering Canada? (Sioux Falls is nearly a full day drive to Canada if you go straight north)

    On several trips going out east, I've crossed at Sault Ste Marie and gone across from there, but you need to know that it is a much slower route than taking the freeways. Its basically 2 lane roads with a 90km speed limit, not to mention the non-freeway roads to get from I-90 to the border.

    BTW, if you are going to go across Canada, it will be shorter to go all the way to Montreal and down, rather than through Niagara Falls which involves a little backtracking around Lake Ontario.

    If you were go directly from Sioux Falls to Boston via I-90, you could make the trip in 3 long days.

    If you were to go as you seemed to describe, up to Winnipeg and over to Niagara Falls, you'd be adding 800 miles of driving, but you'd be at least doubling your travel time, and I'd say you'd have a hard time doing it all in under a week.

    If you were to go up to Sault Ste Marie and over, then you're only adding a couple hundred miles and probably 2 extra days of travel.

  8. Default

    after looking at the map i see what u mean. we would possibly like to go north off the 90 up to minneapolis then make our way over toward Sault Ste. Marie then from there drive down around to Niagara Falls. Do you think this would be a more beautiful/visually rewarding route to drive rather than shooting across the I-90 in the US? we are considering it as maybe a better option. We're aren't worried about a couple hundred extra miles or extra days. We just want to drive a rewarding, fun route. Thanks for your help!

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

    Default OK Then

    Your route 'over the top' adds a couple of hundred miles, but as Michael points out - many more than 4-5 hours. It is a route worth taking, particularly if you are looking for a relaxed scenic drive rather than a hell-bent-for-leather speed run. However, rather than just following the route that will be suggested by mapping routines for such a journey (e.g. US-8 across northern Wisconsin) I'm going to suggest a couple of alternatives to this northern alternative. From the Minneapolis area, start out on US-8 from Forest Lake, but then take US-63 north from Turtle Lake, WI to Bayfield, WI, Madeline Island, and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Then use MI-28 across the UP of Michigan and at its eastern end take a short detour down to the Straights of Mackinac, cross the bridge to Mackinaw City and visit Colonial Michilimackinac State Historical Park. You're then set to head back north to Sault Ste Marie and cross into Canada (make sure that your rental contract allows this) and use the pick up the Trans Canada Highway (ON-17) eastbound. The locks in Soo might also be worth a visit. The road along the northern shore of Lake Huron is sparsely populated and full of natural beauty, but you might also want to make a stop at the Mississagi Delta Nature Reserve outside Blind River for some scenic hiking. At Sudbury turn south on ON-69 (also part of the Trans Canada system) to ON-400, Toronto and the QEW to Niagara Falls. Here are some more suggestions for the drive from Niagara to Boston. If you've got the time, this will be a great trip, enjoy.

    AZBuck

  10. Default sault ste marie in late october

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Where are you thinking of entering Canada? (Sioux Falls is nearly a full day drive to Canada if you go straight north)

    On several trips going out east, I've crossed at Sault Ste Marie and gone across from there, but you need to know that it is a much slower route than taking the freeways. Its basically 2 lane roads with a 90km speed limit, not to mention the non-freeway roads to get from I-90 to the border.

    BTW, if you are going to go across Canada, it will be shorter to go all the way to Montreal and down, rather than through Niagara Falls which involves a little backtracking around Lake Ontario.

    If you were go directly from Sioux Falls to Boston via I-90, you could make the trip in 3 long days.

    If you were to go as you seemed to describe, up to Winnipeg and over to Niagara Falls, you'd be adding 800 miles of driving, but you'd be at least doubling your travel time, and I'd say you'd have a hard time doing it all in under a week.

    If you were to go up to Sault Ste Marie and over, then you're only adding a couple hundred miles and probably 2 extra days of travel.
    is sault ste marie worth visiting in late october? i know it will be cold, but will it be the kind of cold one would want to avoid? Basically we would like to drive from Minneapolis to SSM and over and back down to Niagara Falls. Should we? will it be nice?

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