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  1. #1

    Default We would like the least mountainous route from Seattle, WA. to St Louis, MO.

    We would like the least mountainous route from Seattle, WA. to St Louis, MO. because
    we will be moving in a large U-Haul. It appears going from Seattle to Salt Lake might be our best bet.
    Last edited by SaltySue; 08-10-2011 at 10:46 AM. Reason: More info

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,687

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Similar questions come up quite often on these forums. The first advice is to stick to the Interstates. Given that, the next advice would be that you have found a less mountainous route via Salt Lake City as opposed to crossing on I-90. There will still be mountains, but your U-Haul should have an easier time of them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,885

    Default Shortest is Almost Always Best

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums!

    All Interstate Highways are built to the same specifications which limit gradients (slopes) and curves to help maintain traffic speed and ease. So adding miles in the pursuit of a hypothetical 'easier' route is almost always a waste of time and effort (not to mention gas). In your case, in particular, going by way of Salt Lake City adds not only unnecessary miles but unnecessary hill climbing as well as you first climb over one set of mountains, descend into the Great Salt Lake Basin, and then climb another set of mountains (where you reach a maximum elevation of over 8,000 feet) before eventually getting out onto the plains. You should simply take the shortest route which is I-90/I-94 east (with a maximum elevation of just over 6,000 feet) to I-29 south and I-70 east. That will be the easiest in terms of miles, gas usage, and wear and tear on your car. The one thing you will have to check before you leave is the condition of I-29, which was subject to closure due to flooding earlier this year. But even if it's still closed, I would take the I-90/I-94 route if I were pulling a trailer. You can see all this for yourself by using the Map Wizard and, once you have the route mapped, clicking on the 'Show Elevation' button.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,687

    Default

    I stand corrected. Indeed, after running the routes through the Map Wizard, it appears that Buck is correct.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,549

    Default I heartily agree

    Hello Salty Sue,

    Relying on AZ Buck's distance figures indicating the I-90 route is shorter, I fully agree and recommend taking I-90 from the Sea/Tac area to the eastern side of the Rockies. Eastern WA and most of ID are relatively flat. You've got Lookout Pass at the ID/MT border, Homestake Pass near Butte, an unnamed high point near Whitehall, MT, and Bozeman Pass to cross on I-90. In each case, the pass is centered in a segment of roughly 15 miles length. The elevation gained in these passes runs 2,000 to 2,500'. Aside from the passes and the short run-ups to them, I-90 in MT follows the gentle gradient (virtually flat) of the Clark Fork River, the Missouri River headwaters, and the Yellowstone River. There is some up-and-down in southeastern MT, northeastern WY, and southwestern SD as you cross the headwaters of the Powder River and the Black Hills, but aside from some long gentle grades there, you're done with hills once you get to Livingston, MT, at the eastern side of Bozeman Pass. Contrast that to the segment from Ogden, UT to Cheyenne, WY which crosses the Wasatch Range and some 400 miles of the huge plateau rolling between 6,500' and 7,500' between the Wasatch and the Front Range, including the Medicine Bows, where I-80 tops out at 8,640' between Laramie and Cheyenne.

    I just glanced at the Iowa DOT's site and they're showing a portion of I-29 southeast of Omaha as well as parts of it in MO as still being closed, which agrees with the consensus expressed in June that those parts of I-29 running right along the floodplain would be closed well into August if not early September.

    Foy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    8,344

    Default Time.

    Apart from the good advice given above, you do not mention how much time you have for the trip. Mapping program drive time predictions are hugely optimistic at the best of times, but in a laden truck it will be even slower. A minimum of 4 days is going to be needed to stay safe and sane and 5 days would make it a lot more comfortable with more time out of the vehicle to unwind, relax and rest up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,549

    Default That's a great point

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Apart from the good advice given above, you do not mention how much time you have for the trip. Mapping program drive time predictions are hugely optimistic at the best of times, but in a laden truck it will be even slower. A minimum of 4 days is going to be needed to stay safe and sane and 5 days would make it a lot more comfortable with more time out of the vehicle to unwind, relax and rest up.
    My own calculation would be for an average speed of not greater than 48-50 mph on a beginning to end of travel day basis. It's tough to do more than, say, 58-60 mph on that basis in an automobile, as all sorts of fuel, food, nature, and stretch your legs stops come into play in a travel day average. I'd also much favor a diesel powered rental truck to one with a gasoline engine. The diesel fuel is some 15% more costly, but the fuel mileage is normally enough better that the per mile fuel cost is lower. The diesel will handle the hills much better, too, both uphill and engine braking downhill.

    Foy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,309

    Default

    If I-29 is still closed, you can take I-25 south from I-90 to Denver, then take I-70 all the way across. This adds about 80 miles to the trip.

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