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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Seoul, South Korea
    Posts
    10

    Default Wisconsin-Washington via HWY 90

    Hello all, I just joined this site hoping to get some insight on road trippin the USA! My near future trip should be at the end of May '11 for about 10 days. I want to follow HWY 90 from Wisconsin all the way to Washington. I plan on camping and hiking some National Parks along the way. Any insight others may have about this route is appreciated! Thanks!

    J
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-14-2010 at 12:12 AM. Reason: typo fixed for clarification

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    The major attractions along I-90 include the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Glacier. Those should take up your 10 days quite nicely. Read all about them and other national parks at the nps.gov website. We will be happy to help you with details once you have a game plan formulated!

    For planning purposes, if you simply wanted to drive from Milwaukee to Seattle via I-90, this would be a 4 day drive with no sightseeing except out the windshield.

  3. #3

    Default 10-days round-trip or one-way?

    Hello Madtown,

    Also, how far into WA do you intend to go? All the way to the Pacific?

    There are some very cool places to visit slightly off of I-90 in MT, and virtually endless camping opportunities in the National Forests. If your trip is 10 days and 1 way, I have a number of ideas for you.

    Oh, and be aware the Beartooth Highway (Red Lodge, MT to Yellowstone) and Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier are likely to be closed in May. Spring comes very late in the northern latitudes and above timberline. A light snowpack could see either or both open by LATE May, but only time will tell if that can happen. Best to assume neither will be available in May.

    So, more specifics about your overall trip and timeframe?

    Foy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Seoul, South Korea
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Thanks for the replies guys! Well, I'm not sure of the details just yet. This is more of a work in progress. I'm spitballin ideas with a friend back in Wisconsin right now, figuring out their time off and such. But I'm thinkin 10 days there and back. Not sure how far into Washington we'll go, maybe just Spokane. OR we might even go a different route altogether! Just want to get some basic info on roadtripping out West, as I am very excited for it!
    Not afraid to drive for a full day straight either if we have to. The drive we'll be one of the bests parts!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    With 10 days for a round trip, I don't think I would try to go all the way to Washington - unless you just want a trip where you are driving pretty much all day every day.

    A loop you might look at doing is head out to Yellowstone via I-90, stopping at the Badlands/Black Hills in South Dakota. Then Drive up to Glacier, and come back via North Dakota.

    That's going to be a good 5 full days of driving (2 days to Yellowstone, 1 day to Glacier, 3 days back), leaving you 5 days to explore all those areas - which is a nice balance of driving and seeing some of the best of the Northern Rockies.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Seoul, South Korea
    Posts
    10

    Default

    I mapquest'ed and it said 28 hours from Madison, WI to Seattle... I'd really like to see the Rockies as well. As of now, I'm not sure if this is the exact route. My friend mentioned Colorado as well.
    Either way I'm heading out west! Even just driving would be an experience.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    28 hours is a computer generated fantasy that assumes you can drive at or above the speed limit without ever slowing down or stopping for fuel, food, restrooms, or anything else. In fact, while all computer estimates tend to be optimistic, that one is particularly bad as it basically works out to an Average speed of 70 mph - which you'd need a police escort with speeds regularly reaching into the 100 mph range to do.

    In the real world, 500-600 miles is a full day on the road, putting you on the road for 10-12 hours a day. When you start pushing beyond that, the "Experience" becomes a miserable slog that simply is impossible to enjoy, and frankly becomes dangerous.

    If you want to do Colorado, that's certainly an option. You could likely do a loop with both Colorado and Yellowstone if you want. The west coast is possible, but its basically going to be a trip where you are driving all day, pretty much every day.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Seoul, South Korea
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Yea, Mapquest is roughly in the ballpark in most cases. This one doesn't sound like it! hmmm, that loop with Colorado and Yellowstone doesn't sound too bad. I'll see if my friends can get more time, as I can take more than 10 days if I wanted to. We mostly want to do a little hiking, camping while driving through some COOL scenary... Thanks MM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    No, actually you missed where I said all computer programs are not in the ballpark because they don't factor in the basic required stops or other slowdowns you'll find on a typical trip.

    This is a case where mapquest's estimate was particularly bad - with an estimate that was 3 hours shorter than google's estimate (and even Google is too optimistic.). But in any case, when you are talking about a 2000 mile trip, you need to be measuring in days, not hours.

  10. #10

    Default Rule of Thumb for travel time

    madtown,

    I recommend using a "beginning to end of day" rule of thumb to estimate travel time. In the wide-open West, where speed limits are 70-75 mph, I would use not more than 60-62 mph X driving hours/day to determine distance expected for the day. That 60-62 mph assumes zero "touring stops" and instead takes into account only fuel, food, and nature stops, and further assumes you'll be driving at or slightly above the posted speed limits the whole way. Dialing it back to a less frantic pace, and including a couple or three leisurely stops each day, and you're looking at 50-52 mph from beginning to end of day.

    Either way, you can see how we determine 550-600 miles a day over a 10 hour day.

    I've averaged 67 mph on the "beginning to end of day" basis before, and doing so required a day of perfect weather, zero construction or traffic delays (and you must remember May-August is "construction season" all across the Rockies), two drivers, no sit-down food stops, and dual-purpose fuel + nature stops only. Plus a rather liberal interpretation of the speed limits along I-40 in TX, NM, and AZ. I don't recommend it and I won't do it again.

    Foy

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