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  1. #1

    Default Chicago, IL to South Hill, VA

    Hello all. First time poster here. Wanted to share an upcoming trip I am taking with my family next month.

    Chicago, IL to South Hill, VA. It's a trip that we have taken three times (round trip) before in the last year and a half. I live in the Chicago area (don't ask why) with my wife and baby son, and my parents live in VA. We used to fly when visiting them in the past, but with the hassle that flying has become, we decided to suck it up last year and make the trip on the road. SO glad we did. I've always loved taking road trips, since I was old enough to drive by myself. Some of the longest trips I have made have been from Newport News, VA to Philadelphia, PA; Philadelphia, PA to Chicago, IL; Chicago, IL to Broken Arrow, OK; Chicago, IL to Minneapolis, MN; and of course, Chicago, IL to southside VA. I've never been any farther west than OK, so I'm useless when it comes to the western side of the country (lol).

    Anyway, this time there will be a big first for us. It will be the first time our baby son will accompany us (he'll be 6 mo. by the time we hit the road) on such a long trip, so we gearing towards making this particular trip as fast as (safely) possible. We normally like to take some scenic routes and make small tourist stops along the way, but this time it's a straight up highway run, for the baby's benefit. This trip is a bit over 800 miles, and we always do it in one single run. Before any of you scold me for that, I am very experienced with multiple hours behind the wheel, and have been told by other road trippers I know that I have excellent "driving stamina", as does my father. Must run in the family ;) Besides, we stop every few hours for a break, and the wife takes the wheel now and then on top of that, so I can rest from focusing on the road.
    *However, of course if the baby shows signs of fatigue and doesn't want to be in the car anymore, even after a nice break, we'll grab a room for the night. I think we'll be OK, though. The little guy's already proven himself on local/regional multi-hour car rides.

    OK so, my outbound route plan is as follows:
    From Chicagoland, I-65 S to Louisville, KY, where we ill pick up I-64 E, taking it all all the way into western VA. From there, we will take I-81 S a bit until we can take route 60 to route 501, which we will take to Lynchburg, VA. There we will pick up route 460 E all the way to Blackstone, VA. Blackstone to my parents house is but 30 minutes.

    On the way back to Chicago, it will be a bit different. We will be going through Asheville, NC to visit some friends and check out the local real estate market (we want to move to Asheville within a few years).
    So from South Hill, VA, we will be taking I-85 S to I-40 W, which we will be taking all the way to Asheville. We'll be staying the night there, so the trip back will actually be over 2 days. Anyway, the next morning: from Asheville, we will be taking I-40 W to Knoxville, TN, where we will get on I-75N, taking it to Lexington, KY. From there it's back on 64 W, following the same route back to Chicago that we initially set out on.

    Any advice in regards to quicker routes, or criticism/comments in general, is welcome. Sorry for the long read.
    Last edited by natros; 08-09-2012 at 11:59 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,549

    Default It's a fine route out and back

    Hello natros,

    Prepare for some well-intentioned and entirely good advice concerning daily travel distance/time recommendations, as nobody here will advise taking on an 800 mile day, even with two drivers. Oh, I know I've done it, and possibly others have as well, but it's just not recommended.

    I think your route is fine. When I saw US 60 off of I-81 I was initially alarmed about you taking US 60 over the Blue Ridge, but a quick check of the map shows a short connect to US 501 down to Glasgow to follow the James River through the mountains. Much better.

    You'll find US 460 from at least Appomattox to Blackstone to be good going. I assume you're looking at VA 46 from Blackstone down to the South Hill area. That's a decent road provided you don't get stuck behind a school bus or a log truck.

    I-85 to I-40 to reach Asheville is the only logical choice, and as long as you can avoid Durham and Greensboro/Winston-Salem's rush hours, it's an easy drive.

    I-40 is a bit crummy and slow for the first 50 or so miles out of Asheville, to the TN line, and after that it's clear sailing to K-town and I-75. I found I-75 southbound from Lexington towards K-town to be a bit daunting last time I ran it on a Sunday 2 years ago (heavy truck traffic, and quite fast with the long grades), but it's still the only really logical route.

    Foy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,199

    Default

    You may be pleasantly surprised about traveling with your baby. Our children each started to do road trips when they were around 6 weeks old, and were good travelers. Mostly each slept in their car seat. Sometimes getting them to go to sleep at night was a little more difficult, but they each settled in!


    Donna

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    Prepare for some well-intentioned and entirely good advice concerning daily travel distance/time recommendations, as nobody here will advise taking on an 800 mile day, even with two drivers.

    I think your route is fine. When I saw US 60 off of I-81 I was initially alarmed about you taking US 60 over the Blue Ridge, but a quick check of the map shows a short connect to US 501 down to Glasgow to follow the James River through the mountains. Much better.

    You'll find US 460 from at least Appomattox to Blackstone to be good going. I assume you're looking at VA 46 from Blackstone down to the South Hill area. That's a decent road provided you don't get stuck behind a school bus or a log truck.

    Foy
    Thanks for the response, Foy! I welcome all well-intentioned advice about long trips, even if I don't plan on adhering to it! =)

    As far as VA goes, I've never taken route 60 all the way through the mountains. It looks like a crazy windy road, and since I'll most likely be driving a rental boat for our comfort, there's no way I'd go that way! I've taken 501 through that area before. Easy peasey.

    From Blackstone, we actually take 40 S to Kenbridge, where we grab 137/8 (S. Hill Rd), which is the road my parents live on. Traffic is usually minor on those roads... At least in my experience.


    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    You may be pleasantly surprised about traveling with your baby. Our children each started to do road trips when they were around 6 weeks old, and were good travelers. Mostly each slept in their car seat. Sometimes getting them to go to sleep at night was a little more difficult, but they each settled in!
    Donna
    That's what I'm looking forward to, Donna! We've been trying to get him used to being in the car for long periods, as we like to hit the road as much as we can.
    That's what our boy seems to do on long car rides: sleep it off. Hoping that carries through most of our drive. ;)

  5. #5

    Default Indianapolis, IN to Charleston, WV --- Route 35 or I-65&I-64?

    Hello again, all. I have a big trip coming up next week that I've already posted about... I wanted to ask opinions about a specific portion of said trip:
    Adhering to the title of this thread, which route do you guys think I should take between these 2 cities?

    From Indianapolis, I could take I-65S To Louisville, KY and then hop on I-64E all the way to Charleston, WV.
    OR
    I could take I-70E from Indianapolis, then grab route 35 near the IN/OH state line, and take that 'til it ends just outside of Charleston.

    I've taken route 35 this way before, but only one time, and it has already been over a year since. I can't remember how long it took... I've never taken I-65 & I-64 (through Louisville) in this direction.

    I'm going for shortest amount of time. Scenery is taking a backseat this time around, unfortunately...
    Which do you guys think would be better? I know I can maintain higher speeds on average on the interstate, but I-35 looks like it might be a more direct route...

    Thanks in advance for any replies! =)

    Mod note] Please keep all questions regarding this trip in one thread. Thank-you.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-04-2012 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Restored Deleted Content

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,270

    Default

    US-35 will save you 50 miles. It's now an expressway all the way from Dayton to I-64 except for a 12 mile stretch of 2 lane in WV. It's only a 2 lane from Dayton west to I-70 near the OH-IN line so you would want to take I-75 south from I-70 to pick it up. Timewise, I don't know which would be faster. My software does show that there is repaving on the 2 lane stretch through WV. Either way, it looks like about a 6 hour trip plus stops.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    US-35 will save you 50 miles. It's now an expressway all the way from Dayton to I-64 except for a 12 mile stretch of 2 lane in WV. It's only a 2 lane from Dayton west to I-70 near the OH-IN line so you would want to take I-75 south from I-70 to pick it up. Timewise, I don't know which would be faster. My software does show that there is repaving on the 2 lane stretch through WV. Either way, it looks like about a 6 hour trip plus stops.
    Thank you glc, for responding. I appreciate the info. I think I will take route 35 again this time. I don't remember there being any serious time wasters on that route, and 50 miles is 50 miles... If it ends up feeling like it takes too long for the distance, I may come back via I-64&I-65 for comparison.
    Thanks again!

  8. #8

    Default

    So on the way down, I ended up taking US Route 35 from Dayton to Charleston. On the way back, I took I-64 W from Charleston all the way to Louisville, then I-65 N to Chicago. 35 is literally shorter, and it really did feel that way. 64 & 65 felt dragged out in comparison...

    Although it will be a little while before I take this trip again, I wanted to get people's opinions on a different route:
    Next time, I was thinking of taking US 30 E from Valparaiso (IN), and then grabbing US 33 E near Lima (OH) til it meets up with I-75 north of Charleston.

    Anyone ever taken these routes through these areas before? Any opinions?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,270

    Default

    US-30 isn't too bad - it's not freeway quality till you get to Ohio but there aren't that many lights and towns. It's a freeway all the way from the state line to Mansfield. I dunno about US-33.

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