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  1. #1

    Default Asheville NC to Seattle WA

    I'm going to be delivering a car to Seattle and just found this site. I'm not in a hurry but want to go through the most beautiful country. I'd like to see mt Rushmore, Yellowstone and places between everywhere. I am a quiet traveler and avoid cities and prefer small towns.
    Please help tell me what's not to be missed and what the best roads to drive across this great nation. I'll be leaving this weekend. May 31st.

    Look forward to your assitance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Direct Route or...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Let's start with the basics. The shortest route from Asheville to Seattle that includes both Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone will take a minimum of about six days to drive, leaving a little time to see those two sites. You will also have to go through a few moderate to large cities including Knoxville, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha and Spokane (and Seattle, of course). If you want to stop at more sites or take secondary roads to avoid the major cities, you'll need more than six days. The straightforward routing would be I-40 to Nashville, I-24/I-57/I-64 to St. Louis, I-70 to Kansas City, I-29 to Sioux Falls, I-90 through the Rapid City area (Mount Rushmore) and beyond to Ranchester WY, US-14 (the Bighorn Scenic Highway) into Yellowstone, US-297 leaving West Yellowstone to I-90, and I-90 the rest of the way to Seattle.

    There are alternatives to most of those Interstates, but they traverse pretty much the same countryside and take a fair bit of time longer to drive. I'll be happy to help you pick out a few if you'd like, but I'd need to know how much time you actually have for the drive, how far off the major Interstates you can get and still be comfortable, what kinds of things you'd like to see, and whether you have experience with serious mountain grades and switchbacks.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    Oh I'm giving myself two to three weeks for this trip. So I have no particular limits. I'm a female traveling alone s safety concerns me but I also travel with a motorcycle at times and go all over without thinking about it.

    So tell me more!!!!
    Sweet spots, riversides, camping is an option.

  4. #4

    Default

    And mountain driving....not a problem. I'm getting my ex's car to take and I'm not familiar with it. But I don't have any fear except tornadoes or bandits.

  5. #5

    Default Small town cruising

    There are several slow, winding options for crossing the Cumberland Plateau north and west of Knoxville. Absent that, you can follow AZ Buck's suggestion for I-40 to Nashville, a route which is reasonably scenic crossing the CP in and of itself. At Nashville, you can stay on I-40 to Jackson, TN, thence north to the ferry boat crossing of the Mississippi River between Hickman, KY and the Missouri shore near Sikeston. From there you can bushwhack northwest across the middle of Missouri towards KC. You can also keep to the Interstate out of Nashville to Paducah, KY and pick up US 60 west to Wykliffe, KY to cross the Ohio River on a high, narrow 2 lane undivided bridge which looks for all the world like a ski jump. You're rewarded on the Illinois side (just outside of Cairo, IL), with the opportunity to immediately cross the Mississippi River on the Ohio crossing's twin--another high, narrow, 2-lane bridge looking like a ski jump.

    On up to I-29 northwest of KC, you can snag Iowa 2 to Nebraska 2 at Mile 10 in the far southwest corner of Iowa, and enjoy s 50 mile cruise through the loess hills to Lincoln and I-80. Running around 80 miles west on I-80, to Grand Island, grab NE-2 again, and get ready for the Sandhills Scenic Tour.

    NE-2 runs a diagonal across the heart of Nebraska, running parallel to a major railroad corridor and running along some pretty river and stream courses. More importantly, the route traverses the Nebraska Sandhills, some 20,000 square miles of 200-400' high grass-covered sandhills sprinkled with thousands of pothole lakes and swamps and many small streams. Being a railroad route, there are small towns every 10-15 miles. Broken Bow, NE stands out as a very pretty small town along NE-2.

    The NE-2 route passes out of the Sandhills just east of Alliance, NE, from which point you can head north towards the Black Hills/Badlands/Mount Rushmore.

    Leaving that area, if it's open by then, take US 212 out of the west side of Billings, MT through the nice tourist town of Red Lodge, MT, to the Beartooth Highway (also US 212), crossing over alpine tundra at elevations topping 12,000', through another nice tourist town, Cooke City, MT, to Yellowstone NP's Northeast Entrance.

    Leaving Yellowstone NP at West Yellowstone, MT, run US 287 past Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake to Ennis, MT, to connect through Sheridan and Twin Bridges to Dillon, MT, a nice typical Montana "cow town" along I-15. At Dillon, run MT 278 through Jackson to Wisdom, passing through the spectacular Big Hole Valley, then MT 43 to Lost Trail Pass at US 93. From Lost Trail Pass, US 93 passes through the beautiful Bitterroot Valley and the nice towns of Darby and Hamilton to Missoula, Montana's Garden City, reaching I-90 there.

    With lots of time, that's pretty much what I'd do.

    It would be wise to confirm operating status of the ferry at Hickman, KY, as high water on the Mississippi can close it, plus it has restricted hours. The Ohio and Mississippi River bridges at Cairo, IL should also be confirmed as open, where levee destruction on the Missouri side a few years back required much work to the highways running along them. The Beartooth Highway normally targets Memorial Day as its opening date, but you should check ahead on that, too.

    Enjoy!

    Foy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I just checked - the Beartooth is open.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Onthrvr View Post
    And mountain driving....not a problem. I'm getting my ex's car to take and I'm not familiar with it. But I don't have any fear except tornadoes or bandits.
    Tornadoes - well, someone else would have to help you with that.

    Bandits - one of my own rules of thumb, when I travel without my husband, is to be very careful of rest areas. If one is empty, or only has one other car in it, I will sail right through it and just stop at the next truck stop. At truck stops, I am careful too, not to call attention to myself or the fact that I am traveling alone. Also, use your senses -- if something doesn't feel "right", or "comfortable", it probably isn't. Get back into your car and move on. Also, check the motel for safety precautions, such as a chain inside the door that you set when you're inside.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not guaranteed.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    I just checked - the Beartooth is open.
    That is no guarantee that it will be open when you get there. I recall back in 2009 it was open when I drove it, in the last week of May. It was closed again a day or so later. Best check when you are approaching, just to make sure that a late storm has not closed it.

    For your sake, I hope it is open. It is a magnificent drive. Enjoy.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default So why worry now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Onthrvr View Post
    But I don't have any fear except tornadoes or bandits.
    I recall well, back in 2001, my first trip to the US. I was driving west along US36 in northern KS. My radio was on, and I kept hearing about storm warnings between I-70 and I-80. When the word tornado was mentioned I freaked out. The sky to the south was pitch black and I have never driven so fast to get to my destination. All I wanted was to get to Denver safely.... which I did. I too was driving someone else's car. Listen to the radio regularly, for storm warnings.

    As for bandits..... heck, if you are prepared to ride as you say: 'I also travel with a motorcycle at times and go all over without thinking about it', why is this concerning you now?

    Enjoy your trip, it is a great one, especially if you follow some of the routes outlined above by Foy. If you are into funky attractions, you might want to make a stop in Alliance and check out Carhenge. It is in fact, about 6 miles north of the town.

    Lifey

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

    Default One More Byway

    Foy has suggested several great scenic routes that are well worth the time if you have a full three weeks for the drive to Seattle. I'll offer one more, picking up where he left off in Missoula: US-12 over Lolo Pass and then following the Clearwater River to enter the Columbia River Gorge. I'd initially stay on the Washington side on WA-14 to enjoy th3e slower pace, but then switch over to the Oregon side at Hood River and use the Historic Columbia River Highway (US-30) with its numerous access points to waterfalls. Stop and see Fort Clatsop at Astoria and then follow the coast road, US-101, up to Seattle with a final possible side trip around the Olympic Peninsula and an entry into Seattle by ferry from Bainbridge Island.

    AZBuck

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