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  1. Default VA to WA in June with no idea what I'm doing

    I am currently planning my first cross country trip due to work.
    The start is in Northern Virginia, destination is Seattle.
    I plan to be on the road for 5-7 days, no more than 9h a day, and make a stop in Denver to visit friends.
    And that's also where my wit ends.

    Should I take I80 over Chicago/DesMoines/Omaha, or I70 over Indianapolis/St.Louis/Kansas City.
    Is the traffic worse on one or the other? Are there more sights?

    Also, where are good stops between Denver and Seattle? I love staying in smaller towns to get the local feel :)
    I have never been through either of these states and any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A good place to start.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    One of the best places to start plan a trip like this is to lay out some good paper maps of the States through which you will be travelling. See what route options you have (even besides interstates). Good maps, such as those published by AAA and Rand McNally have many attractions printed on them, all National and State Parks as well as Forests and Monuments. They also highlight scenic routes and show which of the old US highways are four lanes or more. As you mark those things which interest you most, you will see a route developing.... which will most likely be the best route for you.

    Whatever you choose, there will be members here who will help refine the route, and fill in the gaps.

    Enjoy the planning, it is so much part of the trip.


  3. Default

    Thanks Lifemagician!
    I already put up a huge map on my wall to mark the route!
    Since I won't have much time to stop at national parks or take the scenic routes, I was hoping to get route suggestions from people that have experience first.
    I already found some nice attractions on RoadTripAmerica for either option.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default all things being equal

    On the section between VA and Denver, I'd take I-70 if you are just looking to get there as quickly as possible. You'd be somewhat less likely to deal with traffic problems, mostly because you'd be avoiding Chicago, but perhaps more importantly, you'll save yourself a decent amount of money in tolls. The I-80 has tolls from Chicago all the way to PA, where as on I-70, you'd only have one small toll in Kansas - assuming you get onto I-70 west of Pittsburgh and avoid the PA turnpike's tolls.

  5. Default

    That's exactly the advice I was hoping for, thanks!
    I will probably go with I-70 then, because I'd pay double the tolls on I-80 travelling with two cars (husband's & mine).
    Tips and hints for staying overnight near Indianapolis and Kansas City are very welcome! :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you are staying in any city, you might do well to stay on the west side so you can avoid Rush Hour the next morning upon departure. One choice in KC, KS would be at exit #224 (KS) which is about 7 miles before you get to the Toll Booth for the short stint on the KS Turnpike (about $2.50 per car). There's a Holiday Inn Express and a Super 8 at the exit. In the Indianapolis area, exit 66 has a LOT of choices, such as Best Western, Budget Inn, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Motel 6, Super 8, and more. Both of these locations are on the west side of the cities.

    After the Kansas City area hotel, you are looking at 600 miles (11-ish hours) to Denver. You could stop at Limon on the 3rd night, which is about 500 miles (9-ish hours) from KC, KS. If you drive into Denver during Rush Hour, exit 285 has a Denny's at the Flying J. We always use that as a decent place for breakfast while waiting out Denver Morning Rush (when traveling west).


  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by herelizardlizard View Post
    where are good stops between Denver and Seattle? I love staying in smaller towns to get the local feel
    Here's a few possibilities:

    At Rock Springs, WY there's a highly convenient cluster of motels and restaurants at the Dewar Drive exit of I-80. There's also a shopping mall there.

    To get to Twin Falls ID from I-84 you use the Perrine Bridge over the Snake River canyon, a most impressive structure and an equally impressive view of the canyon, well worth a brief stop. There are numerous motels and restaurants just south of the bridge.

    Further west on I-84, I far preferred the relatively small town of Mountain Home to the mess that is Boise (sorry, Boise fans!).

    There's a convenient cluster of motels at the interstate exit for Ontario on the Idaho/Oregon border.

    Just east of Baker City there's an excellent Oregon Trail Museum, well worth visiting if you have a couple of hours spare (there's an entrance fee - I think it's BLM so I'm not sure whether the NPS annual pass covers it).

    Hope this helps a bit.

  8. Default

    Thanks for the advice!
    I was planning to make a stop near Twin Falls, so I'm glad to hear it's worth it.
    The motel suggestions will help me out a lot.
    I really appreciate all the help!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Niagara of the West

    You wouldn't stop at Twin Falls without visiting Shoshone Falls, hailed as the Niagara of the West. Quite impressive if they are in a good flow when you are there. A short stroll along the canyon rim will take you to where Evil Knievel failed to jump the canyon on his motor bike.

    I would second stopping at the above mentioned bridge. Park and get out to walk under the bridge, and see the canyon on one side, and how it opens up on the other.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Twin falls motel.

    You also get some nice views from peaceful Centennial park along the Snake river to Perrine bridge. The Super 8 motel is close by which we found to be clean, comfy and good value for an overnight stay.

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