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  1. Default Toronto, ON to Victoria, BC through the USA

    Needing some advice.
    My wife, 21 month old daughter and I live in Toronto. We cannot get out of work until June 27 and need to be in Victoria, BC for a wedding on July 5. We have always wanted to make the road trip out west and back but we realize that time is limited.

    Here's what we're thinking.
    June 27 - I pack up our car and travel through the USA through to Victoria, BC.
    July 4 - My wife and daughter take a one-way flight out west and we take our time coming back.

    My question is, am I crazy to drive out west solo. From what I can read, I'm leaving myself enough time. We just thought that this way we have a car out west and can take a week or two coming back through Canada. I've always wanted to drive out west, especially through the states. Looking for suggestions on how long you think that one person can drive on their own/day? Where should I be stopping along the way? I don't want to be stuck on a boring highway the whole time, but only have a week to get there. I don't have a whole lot of money to burn on accommodations and don't mind staying in motels, inns, etc.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default Go for it!

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you've got a full week, and a desire to see the US, you should absolutely go for it!

    If you're driving by yourself, 500 miles is a pretty good day on the road, that still leaves you time to make a few stops every day. Although, with a week, you don't need to drive that many miles each day.

    One option I'd consider, would be to pick up I-90 around Chicago and follow that west. You could spend time exploring the Badlands/Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, and make a detour to Yellowstone, among other things. Of course, that's just one option among many, depending upon what you are looking for.

  3. Default

    Thank you. I was banking on 500 miles/day, didn't know if that would be too ambitious on my own. Looking at Google Maps, am I best to do a combination of I-90 & I-94? or stick with I-90? They have suggested trip that shoots you up through Michigan and the U.P. might be a beautiful drive, but guessing that it would be a little isolated if I'm crossing up north into Minnesota.

    I'm looking to see a little bit of everything, I just need to be in Victoria for the 5th.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,271

    Default

    Get a good paper map of the US - such as a Rand McNally Road Atlas - and get the big picture. Pick out places you would like to see and see how you can connect them together.

    500 miles a day is easy on Interstates but not on secondary roads.

    If you use Google Maps for distances and drive times, add 20% to the drive times to reflect reality.

    As far as I-94 goes, I'd personally stick to I-90 for a couple reasons. Western North Dakota is an expensive place to be these days due to the oil boom. Also, I-90 takes you past attractions such as the Badlands and Black Hills (Mount Rushmore).

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Get a good paper map of the US - such as a Rand McNally Road Atlas - and get the big picture. Pick out places you would like to see and see how you can connect them together.
    Will do. Had planned on stopping at CAA (AAA equivalent) for some up to date maps. I'll have my GPS with me, but it doesn't always get the best reception.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    As far as I-94 goes, I'd personally stick to I-90 for a couple reasons. Western North Dakota is an expensive place to be these days due to the oil boom. Also, I-90 takes you past attractions such as the Badlands and Black Hills (Mount Rushmore).
    Thanks for the heads up.

  6. #6

    Default

    Do not forget there are ferry options , which will take time, to be decided.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some Other Possibilities

    The advice you've gotten so far is spot on. 500-550 miles per day is an eminently maintainable solo pace that will get you to Victoria in plenty of time to meet your family's flight. And I-94 is distinctly preferable to I-90 for the reasons stated. But there are a couple of other 'detours' that you should consider. You have at least a little spare time. If you simply drove the shortest possible route at the recommended pace, you could be in Victoria on the evening of July 2nd. Presumably, your wife and child won't arrive until the afternoon of the 4th. So you have about a day and a half to spend at a few longer stops or on different roads.

    One alternate route to consider is to head over the tops of the Great Lakes rather than through Detroit and Chicago, By heading up through Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie, you not only miss out on some of the worst traffic in the US (Chicago) but also save on tolls. You could even make your first day very scenic and relaxing by taking ON-6 up to Tobermory and catching the ferry over to South Baymouth. You would then get to I-94 by using US-2/MI-35/US-41 to Oshkosh WI and then WI-21 and a short jog east on I-94.

    If everything has gone right up to that point, western South Dakota is a great place to take a day off the road and visit any of a number of great sites including Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Wind and Jewel Caves, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Devils Tower.

    The final bit of getting to Victoria will, of course, entail a ferry ride. But in addition to checking out the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay Ferry, have a look at the Port Angeles-Victoria which would let you avoid much of the Seattle area and the lines at the I-5/BC-99 border crossing. You'd leave I-90 near North Bend WA and take WA-18 to I-5 south to Tacoma and then WA-16/WA-3/WA-104 west and north to US-101 and Port Angeles.

    AZBuck

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    And I-94 is distinctly preferable to I-90 for the reasons stated.
    From a previous post, it seems that I should stick to the I-90. Are you saying I-94 is better?

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    One alternate route to consider is to head over the tops of the Great Lakes rather than through Detroit and Chicago, By heading up through Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie, you not only miss out on some of the worst traffic in the US (Chicago) but also save on tolls. You could even make your first day very scenic and relaxing by taking ON-6 up to Tobermory and catching the ferry over to South Baymouth. You would then get to I-94 by using US-2/MI-35/US-41 to Oshkosh WI and then WI-21 and a short jog east on I-94.
    If I head all the way up to Sault Ste. Marie is that not tacking on a lot of extra time. I'm guessing roughly 8hrs. to the Soo. Other than the rush hour traffic in the Detroit and Chicago areas, what kind of time do you think that I am saving? Not that I need to rush. After all this talk, I'm definitely stopping in Badlands and Mount Rushmore.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    The final bit of getting to Victoria will, of course, entail a ferry ride. But in addition to checking out the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay Ferry, have a look at the Port Angeles-Victoria which would let you avoid much of the Seattle area and the lines at the I-5/BC-99 border crossing. You'd leave I-90 near North Bend WA and take WA-18 to I-5 south to Tacoma and then WA-16/WA-3/WA-104 west and north to US-101 and Port Angeles.
    I really like this idea, however, I'm going to have to consider the price for a return trip, because we will need to come back.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mcleand79 View Post
    From a previous post, it seems that I should stick to the I-90. Are you saying I-94 is better?
    I would say they are different, but not that one is better than the other. I-90 does have the Badlands/Black Hills, but western North Dakota also has its version of the the Badlands at Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Motels can be harder to come by and more expensive in western ND, but that doesn't have to keep you from going that way if you'd like.

    If you decide to go through the UP/Northern WI, it would probably make more sense to stick to I-94.
    If I head all the way up to Sault Ste. Marie is that not tacking on a lot of extra time. I'm guessing roughly 8hrs. to the Soo. Other than the rush hour traffic in the Detroit and Chicago areas, what kind of time do you think that I am saving? Not that I need to rush. After all this talk, I'm definitely stopping in Badlands and Mount Rushmore.
    The drive up through Canada to SSM is a very nice one, but it isn't a time saver at all, especially if you're planning to head to South Dakota.

    You can avoid Detroit altogether by crossing at Sarnia. Chicago traffic can be a pain any time of day, but you can at least avoid downtown by using I-294 or I-355 to bypass the heart of the city.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Corrections and Explanations

    First of all, my apologies. you want I-90 as glc stated - and I should have. Note that the attractions I listed in South Dakota are all along I-90. The only place you'd be on I-94 is the short connection from WI-22 to I-90 in Wisconsin if you go through Sault Ste. Marie. Going north over Lakes Huron and Michigan is not really about saving time, it's about having a more relaxing, scenic and enjoyable trip. You would be taking on about 5 hours to your driving time if you went through Sudbury, probably even more if you took the ON-6/Chi-Cheemaun Ferry route It's just an option you should consider. There's no way to get to Victoria on Vancouver Island without using a ferry of some sort. I've taken the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay Ferry a few times and it's perfectly fine but I have spent more time than I would have liked going through customs north of Seattle. My thinking is that customs formalities will be taken care while waiting for or on the ferry during the Port Angeles to Victoria crossing. You'll want to check that this is the case rather than having to drive off the ferry and then sit in line with all the other cars to clear customs.

    The main thing to keep in mind as you plan is that you can take two partially or totally different routes out and back. If there's one drive where you'll have more time then you can take the more leisurely routing, or you may be similarly driven by wanting to show your family more f the US when they're with you on the return drive.

    AZBuck

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