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  1. Default Chicago, IL to Sandpoint, ID in 2 weeks

    Just found this forum today with lots of great info! I am flying out of Orange County in two weeks to pickup a truck from Ford in Detroit. Then, I will head over to Chicago to visit family. From there I am heading to Sandpoint, Idaho to spend time with friends for the fourth of July. I will be driving a 2011 Ford Super Duty F250.

    After looking at maps and reading trip reports, I am still unsure of my route. I'd like to make it from Chicago to Idaho in 3 days. I am considering the I90 or I94. I've already been to Yellowstone so I'm not interested in that particularly. Badlands would be cool but I am mostly seeking the safer, quicker route because I've never done this before and will be driving an unknown vehicle. Its new though so don't for see any problems with it.

    I've heard the more north I94 offers much more fuel stops? True? Which has better lodging? I don't plan on staying at the Four Seasons the whole way but Holiday Inn Express or something like that would be good over a trashy dump motel.

    Any thoughts on the I90 versus I94 would be a huge help and thank you!

    Jordan

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

    Default

    Welcome!

    There are pros and cons to both. I-94 is about 1/2 hour faster according to my mapping software, but that doesn't account for possible delays getting through the Twin Cities in MN.

    Either way, 3 days is possible, but it will be 3 pretty long days - 600 miles, which would be somewhere between 10 and 12 hours, depending on how fast you want to drive that brand new truck and how many stops you make.

    If you take I-94, my software breaks up the overnights to Fergus Falls MN and Custer MT. However, from a practical standpoint, you would want to make that Fargo ND and Billings MT, both of which have a wide selection of hotels to choose from.

    If you take I-90, your first overnight would be Sioux Falls SD (large selection), the second would be Billings.

    You won't have any problem finding fuel either way - and as a matter of fact, I-94 is less traveled than I-90.

    Which would I choose? I think in this case, it would depend on the river flooding status at the time.

    If your new truck is a diesel, make sure you start the trip off with a full DEF tank. The most economical way to do this would be to find a truck stop that has a bulk dispenser, it's a lot cheaper than buying gallon jugs.

  3. Default

    GLC,

    Thank you and we both are thinking alike. I was thinking about making Fargo and Billings my two stops. I really would like to get to Idaho on Saturday July 2. I am leaving Elgin, IL on June 30th. I could push it to four days but that also means more hotel fees. If I am worn out I will for sure stop and rest and not stretch myself. It will be 3-4 long days behind the wheel.

    So you think going through ND or SD is about the same but SD is more traveled via I90? What are your thoughts on people saying they hate the SD drive and they see many long stretches with no fuel stops? Just a myth?

    Where can I pay attn to river issues I assume you mean the Miss? Are there highways closed right now?

    This is actually my first diesel truck. I am going to need to do a little searching on DEF tanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You will have very long legs in that diesel - the reports I'm seeing say that the new 6.7 engine gets at least 20 mpg on the highway. Finding fuel is a very minor concern. It's 340 miles from Sioux City to Rapid City and you will easily make that on a single tank - but I'm betting that there are plenty of truck stops in between - and regular gas stations that have diesel. You will have either a 26 gallon or a 37.5 gallon fuel tank, depending on configuration.

    Yes, there are some closed highways due to both the Missouri and Mississippi flooding. Here is a site that has links to each state's DOT site for current road conditions.

    DEF = Diesel Exhaust Fluid = urea. Your new truck has it for emission control, it periodically injects fluid into the exhaust to keep the diesel particulate filter and catalysts purged. It has a 5 gallon tank, the filler is right next to the fuel filler. A full tank supposedly will last you between oil changes so you should definitely be able to make the whole trip on a fill. The onboard computer will tell you a miles to empty estimate - and when it does go empty, it will only let the engine idle. Some truck stops have a DEF pump on the truck islands, and buying it that way it's about $3 a gallon. If you have to go into the store and buy it in gallon jugs, it costs considerably more.

    I just looked at the Pilot/Flying J locator, and the Pilot at I-94 exit 167 in Dexter MI has bulk DEF at $2.59 a gallon. If your truck is not delivered with a full DEF tank, I'd stop there and fill it up. That's just west of Ann Arbor.

    When your trip is done, please post back and tell me what kind of fuel mileage you got - I'm quite curious.

    I drive a F-150, and I have no problem knocking out three 600 mile days in a row just to get from point A to point B. I get up early and try to be on the road no later than 8am, and I generally get off the road around dinnertime. I check into a hotel, go get dinner, go back to the room, and kick back for a while and get a good 8 hours of sleep. I avoid driving after dark or before dawn. Leaving from Elgin, you won't have Chicago morning rush hour issues, you will be going the opposite direction.

  5. Default

    Appreciate all your help. I just did some more research as well on DEF. I'm making notes of all the info and will check the links. I plan on doing a full trip report with photos when I'm done. Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Depends on what you see

    Quote Originally Posted by Lostmanifesto View Post
    What are your thoughts on people saying they hate the SD drive and they see many long stretches ...
    Yes, you will hear that... also about NE amd MT, but it all depends on what you see. For me, I see the hardworking folk making a living in remote areas. I see the tiny towns which service them. I think of the pioneers who would have gone there with great hopes but little support. I think of the early explorers who opened up that land. And I think of the native dwellers who lived there for thousands of years before European settlement. And then try to reconcile them all.

    Others just see one long stretch of bitumen with a line down the centre.

    So what do you see?

    Maybe between now and then you might like to pick up a book or two which focuses on the history of these areas, so that you will be able to appreciate it more as you pass through.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Thanks Lifey.

    Hey Lifey.

    The above post sums up exactly how I feel on a road trip, yet I have been unable to express/describe it in such a perfect way !

    Dave.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Yes, you will hear that... also about NE amd MT, but it all depends on what you see. For me, I see the hardworking folk making a living in remote areas. I see the tiny towns which service them. I think of the pioneers who would have gone there with great hopes but little support. I think of the early explorers who opened up that land. And I think of the native dwellers who lived there for thousands of years before European settlement. And then try to reconcile them all.

    Others just see one long stretch of bitumen with a line down the centre.

    So what do you see?

    Maybe between now and then you might like to pick up a book or two which focuses on the history of these areas, so that you will be able to appreciate it more as you pass through.

    Lifey
    You don't know me yet you're quick to judge and form opinions. I did not form an opinion on what I said about people saying they hate SD and the long stretches, did I? Nope. I merely asked someone else their opinion who had been through those areas. You should probably read what people write before jumping to conclusions. I was raised in the heartland and much of family still lives in very remote areas living off what our farms produce.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-19-2011 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Good neighbour rules.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Jumping to conclusions ?

    You don't know me yet you're quick to judge and form opinions. I did not form an opinion on what I said about people saying they hate SD and the long stretches, did I? Nope. I merely asked someone else their opinion who had been through those areas. You should probably read what people write before jumping to conclusions.
    I don't see any judgements or opinions about you in Lifeys post, just a response to your question.

    "What are your thoughts on people saying they hate the SD drive and they see many long stretches".

    The response was pretty much along the lines of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," no judgement or opinion, just sharing her thoughts. She actually asked "what do you see? " which doesn't sound judgemental to me. Please re-read the post carefully and you will see that it was not what you think. The suggestion of reading material was aimed to get more out of the trip for you, the same as we all research National parks etc, she wasn't to know you already had a knowledge of the workings/history of this area.

    Misunderstandings can happen on forums or in the 'real world', but you have quickly jumped to your own opinion about someone who gives up a lot of her free time to help other members.

    Ok, Let's move past this and keep things nice !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    A couple of tips here for that new diesel:

    If you're a new diesel owner, pick up a Fuel Advantage card upon your first visit to a Flying J/Pilot Travel Center. It gives you .02 off every gallon of fuel!

    Before you embark on your trip, stop in at a good bookstore or at AAA and try to find a copy of "The Next Exit" or a similar book. This book, and its competitive sister books, give listings for what's at every exit off every interstate in the USA (with the exception of most belt loops). Fuel stations that carry diesel are marked as such, though I don't think DEF is marked at this time (or at least it wasn't in the 2010 The Next Exit). It's difficult to use these books when you are traveling by yourself, but you could carry it along and look at it when at a rest area. Restaurants, motels, and fuel stations are listed, plus places like grocery stores, Wal-Mart and Target, etc. We buy a new one every 2 or 3 years - we find it just as invaluable a resource as paper maps!


    Donna

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