First time poster here, this forum and its members have been an invaluable resource in helping me plan my upcoming roadtrip from Chicago to Los Angeles. My question has to do with route options. I have 7 days, would prefer to drive no more than 5-6 hours a day and am most interested in seeing the natural of beauty of the country (national parks, sights, views, etc) and if possible some of small town America.
Section 1 (Chicago to Mt. Rushmore):
A. Heading out from northern suburbs of Chicago, taking I94 through Milwaukee -> Madison, followed by I90 to Rapid City
B. Same as above, but detour from I90 at La Cresent, MN on MN 16 "Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway", get back on I90 at Dexter, onward on I90 to Mt. Rushmore.
Section 2 (Mt. Rushmore to Zion):
A. From Mt. Rushmore, take Iron Mtn Road through Custer State Park, 18 to I25. Take I25 south to Fort Collins, CO, take Peter Thody's recommended route through Rocky Mtn NP, meet up with I70 followed by I15 in Utah.
B. Mt. Rushmore to Zion via Salt Lake City using I80 and I15
C. Mt. Rushmore to I80, at Rock Springs take 191 south through Ashley National Forest, at Price, UT transition to 10 South, meet up with I70 and eventually I15
Section 3 (Zion to LA): I15
Has anyone traveled these routes? Are there better routes to meet my objectives? Where should I stay the night along the way? My only fear is having the trip be a monotonous blast down interstates or do so much driving time on rural roads that we just want to get it over with. Any advice would be appreciated!