MSP to SEA via I-94
Midwest Michael - You've got a lot of good ideas here. I'm moving from MSP to SEA at the end of November. We have about 3-5 days to make the trip. Where would you suggest as good rest spots and places to spend the night? map-wise it looks like 94 is quite a bit shorter than routing down to I-90. We also concerned about the fact that end of November, there may be quite of bit of snow as we head through the Rockies.
Originally Posted by Midwest Michael
I'm not sure what we'd do in Fargo, ND besides saying that we've stopped there and checked it out. I'm estimating that we would be driving about 8-10 hours / day.
I've previously done the SEA to CHI trip, where we took 90 down to YS/Tetons, then to badlands, mt rushmore, south to omaha then 80 across to chicago.
Thanks for your help!
Moderator Note: Since every trip is unique, we prefer to give each trip its own thread.
Last edited by Midwest Michael; 10-15-2012 at 07:40 AM.
Reason: Moved post/fixed quote format
Welcome to the RTA Forum!
I-94 is the logical choice if you are starting in Minneapolis, and 3 days is about the fastest you can safely and reasonably make the trip.
If you did it in 3 days, I'd be shooting for Glendive and Missoula MT for your overnight stops. That would make your first day a little on the long side - probably closer 11 hours - and your last day would be a little less than 8 hours. You might also look at Dickenson ND and Butte as options, but that would make your last day the longest one.
Of course, winter weather is a possibility, and that could force you to slow down and change your plans and stopping points. With an extra day or two, however, even in the worst case where you have to sit and wait for a storm to pass, you should be fine.
If there is bad weather in North Dakota in the forecast and you can avoid it in South Dakota, going down to I-90 wouldn't be a bad move. It only adds about 50 miles, assuming you take US-169,MN-60 via Mankato. One other potential word of warning, motels in Central/Western North Dakota can be hard to come by and/or expensive, due to the oil boom and housing shortage, so that's an area where you need to be more careful than normal when it come to picking a place to spend the night.
I just used my software to divide it up into 3 equal days - and it says the first overnight should be in Dickinson. As Michael said, this is probably the last place you should look to spend a night. For example, the Super 8 there is a dump, and it's $122 a night.
thanks for the advice. Originally, i was thinking Bismarck, Bozeman, Coeur D'Alene. it may be pushing it to get past Dickinson on the first though. Has anyone stayed in Missoula before?
If you've got 4 days, that's a very reasonable trip. It should even give you time to take a detour or two, say looping through Teddy Roosevelt NP, or dipping down to the Little Bighorn battlefield, if you'd like.
I've never stayed in Missoula, but there would certainly be plenty of lodging options there. Do you have any specific questions about the town?
I can recommend the Budget Inn, just off I-90, exit 105. Six months ago I found myself with an unscheduled four day stopover in Missoula. I had a large clean room with a couch, desk, table, excellent wifi as well as the usual TV, fridge and microwave. Bonus was that it is right across the road from a small mall, including an Albertson supermarket.
Originally Posted by andych
And it was most affordable.
can anyone tell me if i'm required to have tire chains before crossing the mountain passes in MT? I'm afraid I don't know much about them but someone who has done the drive several times (albeit 15-20 years ago) said that they may not let me pass unless I have chains.
I'm crossing with a 2007 Toyota Camry, and I think tire chains can do damage to the vehicle. Thoughts?
we might be nuts, but we're going to try and push day 1 to Billings, MT (14 hrs with stops), then day 2 to Coeur D'Alene (8-10 hrs), and day 3 to Seattle (5-6 hr).
There are no routine requirements to carry chains in MT. If you do want to get them, cable chains should be okay on a Camry. If the weather is bad enough where you would need chains, you shouldn't be on the roads anyway.
Yes, you are nuts. That's 840 miles, and I doubt that you can do it in 14 hours. I can totally understand your reluctance to spend the night in western ND, but NOT at the expense of safety. I've stayed in Miles City, that's 700 miles and although farther than we would recommend, I'd plan on that. There are several hotels right off I-94 under $100.
Your plan to drive from Minneapolis to Billings is not just nuts, it is very very dangerous. Not only is it simply not safe to drive 850 miles in 1 days (which will likely take you closer to 16 hours), it will leave you in no condition to get back behind the wheel the following day. There is a good reason that professional drivers are forbidden from driving the distances you are talking about.
This is a solid 3 day trip of hard driving - you said you had 3-5 days - so why on earth would you try to do it in 2.5 days?
Its not worth risking your life, and its certainly not worth taking the life of another person just so you can get a couple more miles down the road.