Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. Default WestCoast to East Coast - All new states for me!

    Hello all,

    In the first week of this May, myself, my 70 year old mother and 2 year old lab (active and likely not going to be too thrilled with this trip!) will be driving from Vancouver BC to Fredericton New Brunswick. We certainly want to take the US route and it seems we have 3 main options: 1) the I90, the I94 or the I84/I80. Other than Washington, we've never been to any one of those states, so are completely lost when it comes to choosing not only what route, but what towns to stop for the night and for breaks.

    If I could please hear your thoughts on the 3 Interstate highways in terms of which might be the most enjoyable, most scenic and most interesting, I would greatly appreciate it. We'll start out in Washington and end up in Maine either route, so which routes would you take in between those two states and why?
    For example, N Dakota, S Dakota or Nebraska? Montana or Wyoming? Iowa or Minnesota? Etc..

    We would like to arrive in New Brunswick between 7 and 9 days of driving (hoping closer to 7), so "most interesting" has to be in balance with not extending the trip any/much longer than it already is...

    I would like to avoid or bypass any major cities and would prefer hotels and rest areas/towns that are ok for me and my dog to take some good long walks, near water and beauty, etc...

    We very much appreciate any input given. As I look at my map, I realize just how "blind" we are in terms of having no idea what we might see and what options we have...

    Thank you so much! We are very excited (but a little nervous too)...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    The fastest route from Vancouver to Frederickton does indeed use the US most of the way. It's 3600 miles, and is a *minimum* of 6 days, and that's only if you drive 12+ hours a day.

    My software recommends I-5 to Seattle, then I-90 to Billings, then I-94 back to I-90 all the way to Boston (actually, use I-495 to bypass the city) then I-95 all the way to Canada.

    The first large city you have to deal with would be Minneapolis/St. Paul - you can avoid that by staying on I-90 all the way. This adds about 40 miles to the trip.

    Next up is Chicago. No real good way around, but I'd recommend taking I-290 south at Schaumburg to I-355 to I-80. Take that to Lake Station to pick up I-90 again.

    Next is Cleveland. You might as well take I-90 straight through. The other option (which I don't have any local info to check on its viability) would be to stay on the toll road to I-480 to I-271 back to I-90. This DOES keep you out of downtown.

    As already indicated, take I-495 around Boston.

    The key to avoiding problems in the cities is try NOT to hit them in morning or evening rush hours.

    Let us know how many hours a day you are willing to drive - and how many days you can really dedicate - and we can help you refine the trip, possibly keeping you FAR away from the really congested cities and giving you suggestions for stops.

    Taking the fastest/shortest route - the first one I posted - breaking it up into 7 equal driving days would give you overnights near:

    Coeur d'Alene ID
    Billings MT
    Fargo ND
    Madison WI
    Somewhere between Cleveland OH and Erie PA
    Springfield MA

    If you stay on I-90, replace Fargo with Sioux Falls SD.

    Note that this involves quite a few toll roads - all of which accept cash - without looking them all up, I'd guesstimate that you would be looking at around $50 total. If you have some time to play with, we can keep you off a good portion of them, but still on limited access highways.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Making the Most of the Time You Have

    At a bare minimum, you're going to need seven days to make the drive from the Pacific to Atlantic Canada across nearly the widest section of the North American continent. So, since at best you don't have too much more time than that, you should be looking at finding the shortest route and leaving as much time as possible to give you dog some exercise several times a day as you make your way cross country.

    Now, the difference between I-90 and I-94 across the northern plains is inconsequential, maybe about 15 minutes total, so I'd give the edge to I-90 and the fact that it takes you past the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and a few other great spots if you want to spare the time. The other 'trouble spot' on your drive is the area between Chicago and Cleveland, both are large cities with lots of traffic and are connected by fairly expensive toll roads. As an alternative, you could, as glc points out drive through those cities at times significantly removed from rush hour (There's no good way to really avoid them) and then at Cleveland, instead of I-90, stick with I-80 across northern Pennsylvania to I-84 through southern New England (avoiding the New York State Thruway tolls and the bulk of those on the Mass Pike) and hooking back into I-90 and I-495 to finally get to I-95 up through Maine towards Frederickton. Both of the alternatives I've suggested would add a total of only about an hour to the total drive time over 6+ days, but would make it \considerably more enjoyable.


  4. Default

    Thank you both so much! In the next day or two I'm going to look closely at your advice and suggestions and see where that gets me. No doubt, I will have many follow up questions... Having people on this forum help us out is such a valuable experience, so thank you and will post again in a few days or so...

    - To answer some questions: I think 8-10 hrs of driving on average will be our limit, not including stops (which we will do frequently for both my dog and us). I may have underestimated just how long it might take to get there, so 7-9 days is not "do or die" but driving for over 9 days concerns me due to finances and the fact it's already such a huge long trip. We also need to arrive in New Brunswick during morning or early afternoon at the latest, so this adds to the crunch of days too i suppose..

    One quicker question: Does no one think the I84 to I80 across much of the states (Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa) is a viable option? Google maps didn't seem to think it was that much farther in distance or time..? Always had a bit more interest in the mid to lower states (but what do i know?).

    I really appreciate the suggestions for what I might be able to see if I drove the I90, this helps me get excited more about the trip.. Also very much appreciated the tips on how to manage the big cities and possible stop-towns along the way - so thank you both again.

    Will talk soon, dot.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default If That's What You Want

    Taking I-84/I-80 down through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, etc. would only add about 2-3 hours to your drive vs. taking I-90 or I-94, so if that's an area of the continent you've always wanted to see, then by all means - go for it. That is actually one of the benefits of very long cross country trips. Fairly major deviations don't make all that much of a difference in total miles. Just keep in mind that a few hours here, a few hours there, and pretty soon you've added an entire day to your trip. But I think you can handle this as long as you treat it like a marathon and just keep up a steady pace, 500-550 miles a day, that still allows for a number of R&R breaks each day as well as plenty of time for a good sleep each night.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Okay - here is a route for you that adds about 300 miles to the fastest route, avoids the majority of toll roads, and can be done in 8 full days plus a few hours of the 9th. It takes you south as you desire. This has you driving about 450 miles each of the first 8 days and 200 miles on the 9th.

    Day 1: I-5/I-90/I-82/I-84. Stop in La Grande or Baker City OR.
    Day 2: I-84. Stop in Ogden UT (can be congested) or (taking I-80) Evanston WY.
    Day 3: I-84/I-80. Stop in Sidney NE.
    Day 4: I-80/US-77/NE-2/I-29. Stop in St. Joseph MO.
    Day 5: I-29/I-435 (northeast KC bypass)/I-70/I-270 (north STL bypass)/I-70. Stop in Terre Haute IN.
    Day 6: I-70/I-465 (south IND bypass)/I-70/I-270 (south Columbus bypass)/I-70/I-470 (Wheeling bypass)/I-70/I-79. Stop in Morgantown WV.
    Day 7: I-68/I-70/I-81/I-84. Stop in Newburgh NY.
    Day 8: I-84/I-691/I-91/CT-15/I-84/I-90/I-495 (Boston bypass)/I-95/Exit 52 Falmouth Spur/I-295/I-95. Stop in Bangor ME. (691/91/15 is to avoid downtown Hartford)
    Day 9: I-95/NB-95/Trans-Canada 2 to Frederickton.

    I would recommend that you buy a US road atlas - such as a Rand McNally - and map this out. Online mapping and GPS is handy, but you can't beat a paper map to visualize the whole trip.

  7. Default Finally had some time to think on it..

    Hi again,

    Using your suggested routes and ideas to ground us a bit, we've decided to take the I90 for most of the way (after all). It does seem to be a more relaxed pace for some reason. We've also decided to get a head start by leaving Vancouver Island the eve before, to stay in Bellingham.

    So based on that, this route has a steady 8-8.5hrs/day average driving. If we get started by 6-7am, then we seem to have ample time during each day to get out and stretch and maybe even explore a little of the sights.

    What do you all think of this route?

    1) Bellingham to Missoula (MT): 9 hrs (560mi)
    2) Missoula to Buffalo (WY): 8hrs (510mi)
    3) Buffalo to Sioux Falls (SD): 8.5hrs (555mi)
    4) S Falls to Ottawa (IL): 8.5 (539mi)
    5) Ottawa to Erie (PA): 8.5 (504mi)
    6) Erie to Springfield (Mas): 8 (484mi)
    7) Springfield to Fredericton: 8.5hrs (515mi)

    I'm actually moving to a small town 1 hr's drive from Fredricton, so it works out for us to then head there on day 8.

    This route seems to avoid Chicago and Boston and other bigger cities, has stops for overnights in smaller towns/cities and seems pretty direct.

    - Are there any towns/cities listed that you would avoid for an overnight, or aim for different ones nearby based on sights, etc?
    - Any suggested stops along the way? Won't be interested in any stops that my dog can't come with us.. Places for nature, exercise will most important.. (badlands and rushmore - dog friendly?)
    - Erie to Springfield, is the I86/88 or I80 (as above suggested), preferable?
    - In general, does this sound like a good route to take? Not too complicated? Beautiful areas to see all along?

    Thanks again so much for any feedback. (At least now i've gotten much more specific..)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I think your route looks good.

    Since you mentioned Mt. Rushmore and Badlands, you might try to make that day a bit shorter by trying to get to Gillette Wy the day before and/or stopping short around Mitchell SD at the end of the day.

    Mt. Rushmore is not very pet friendly. There is a pet area near the parking lot, but dogs are not allowed in any of the main areas of the memorial. The dog would otherwise have to stay in the car while you looked. What you could do to get a nice long distance view in a very pet friendly environment is to take Iron Mountain Road out of Keystone which gives you some great views of Rushmore in a forest setting that eventually takes you to Custer state park. In the badlands, you'll be able to take the dogs with you at the scenic viewpoints along the drive, but you wouldn't be able to take them on hiking trails.

    Between Sioux Falls and Ottawa, I'd probably take I-29/I-680/I-80 via Des Moines rather than the route through Albert Lea/Cedar Rapids suggested by google. Google's route is all 4+ lanes, but it does have some stoplights and driving through cities, like in Waterloo. Plus, if you do stay in Sioux Falls, most of the hotels are along I-29, as I-90 just brushes the far north edge of the city.

  9. Default

    If you want to take I-80 through PA, don't do the whole way up to Erie - it's out of the way.

    If you do go to Erie, Presque Isle State Park is nice.

  10. Default

    Thanks for the tips! Looks like a good plan, I'd say...

Similar Threads

  1. Southern States RTA from East to West
    By Barto in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-16-2011, 08:17 PM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-07-2009, 08:42 PM
  3. Combined east- and westcoast roadtrip
    By Beren in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-05-2009, 10:37 PM
  4. East and Westcoast.
    By Saoirse in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-05-2008, 10:18 AM
  5. Ten states, West to East in 21 days?
    By mello in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-15-2008, 02:03 AM

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name