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Thread: Chicago to NYC

  1. #1

    Default Chicago to NYC

    Hi All,

    We are Australians visiting the USA in Mid August 2012. Part of our trip includes a road trip from Chicago to New York City. I have already manged to get a good deal on the one way rental and have gone ahead and booked it. We have 13 days to make our way to NYC.

    So far I've though about maybe heading across to the the Mississippi to do part of the Great River Road then shooting across to NYC in the final days of travel. I've also though about heading up to Niagara Falls then heading off for a road trip in and around the New England area.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Default What's Generally Available

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You've already got a rough outline of a great trip, so let's fill it out a bit. For the first part, a great place to start you journey on the Great River Road would be Nauvoo IL, an old town that is being restored as a living history museum. You should then work your way south through Keokuk IA, where you can hunt for geodes; Hannibal MO, hometown of both Mark Twain and the Unsinkable Molly Brown; St. Louis, with the Arch, a free zoo, and the Museum of Western Expansion; and finally Ste. Genvieve, an old French river town that is both scenic and historic.

    Next you can head east through Kentucky, hitting Land Between the Lakes and Mammoth Cave National Park on your way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Tennessee - North Carolina border. You'd then be in perfect position to work your way north along the Blue Ridge Parkway and visit Washington DC. From there head west a bit to follow US-15 north through Gettysburg and up the Susquehanna River valley and hitting such sights as Watkins Glen and Letchworth State Parks on your way to Niagara Falls.

    Now head east using US-20 to follow the old Erie Canal to Albany, then north up a string of lakes, including Saratoga, George, Schroon Lake and Champlain ending up by taking the ferry from Plattsburg to Burlington. You could then work your way across the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire to hit the coast somewhere around Portland ME before finishing up by driving down the coast to Boston, Cape Cod, Newport RI, and Mystic CT on your way to New York.

    13 days is plenty of time to do all that, see a lot of the country, and do it all at a very relaxed pace. For more specific suggestions it would help to know what your interests are and what basic route you're going to take, once you've decided on it.


    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi

    Thank you greatly for such a detailed suggestion. On our road trips we really like to see the real culture of a country (the real America and its people) We also enjoy great scenery and small towns. Before and after our road trip we will see LA, San Francisco, Vegas and NYC so that's enough big cites for us on this holiday. So the road trip is about enjoying the great American countryside hence the great river road. On our road trips we like to usually drive half days at most.

    To reduce the driving time overall and give more time in the countryside would you suggest dropping St Louis and then after the Smoky Mountains to head direct to Niagara Falls and drop Washington?? then across to NYC taking 2- 3 day to do so?

    Thanks Again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default What to Drop?

    Always the most painful decision of any RoadTrip. I'll start by reminding you that what I recommended in my last post would end up requiring about 3000 miles of driving. Over 13 days that amounts to just a shade under 250 miles a day. That is an eminently maintainable pace and gives you time to use some of the back roads and see some of the smaller towns of America, not just the Interstates and the big cities. Still, I suppose it could get tedious after a while. You have to understand, though, that both my wife and I were born in the Midwest (on the Mississippi) and I spent my 20s and early 30s in New England. Those are two of my favorite sections of America, and to significantly lower your mileage you'd have to drop one, if not both of them. That said, what I'd drop first, reluctantly, is the Mississippi River portion of the trip I outlined and as you suggest heading more directly for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But I'd still keep the Blue Ridge Parkway, Washington, and Niagara Falls. I'd also keep the drive across New York on US-20 paralleling the old Erie Canal. But from Albany, Id just head across southern Vermont and New Hampshire to Dover/Portsmouth using VT-9/NH-9/NH-101. Then from Portsmouth head for New York City to complete your trip. Those modifications reduce your driving by about 25%, but still keep some of the best aspects of the northeastern US. Total mileage for the revised itinerary is under 2300 miles or about 175 miles a day on average.

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks again for such great advise. This is very very helpful. Your suggestion to miss out the Mississippi river portion sounds fine. So if i kept the Mississippi then head to Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge, Washington, Niagara then straight across to NYC and miss the New England area this would work OK to? Thanks for you time. Adam

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Not as Much

    The reason I suggested dropping the Mississippi River portion of your explorations was because it gave you the greatest 'bang for the buck'. You saved a great many miles of driving while 'only' missing out on a few riverfront cities. Note that the Mississippi is in the opposite direction from Chicago from the rest of your trip and it is clearly the farthest removed from any of your other destinations. The same is not true of New England. That is a very compact area, less than a half day's drive from eastern New York, and offers a number of great sights ranging from low mountains to sandy ocean shores. Yes, you can miss New England if you really want or need to, but I do think that you have more time, and fewer miles to cover, than you are giving yourself credit for. At least keep open the possibility of seeing a bit of New England until you get to Niagara and see what your remaining time budget looks like.

    AZBuck

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks Again. With your very helpful suggestions we have decided to go from Chicago to Great Smoky Mts, ,Blue Ridge, Washington, Niagara then New England before heading to NYC. You have been a great help thank you! Adam

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