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  1. Default Guidance Required - Seattle to Chicago

    Hello -

    I'm planning on a road trip from Seattle to Chicago - starting July 26th. I plan to spend a week for this road trip. I'm looking for inputs on the places to visit/explore during the trip. I'm an outdoorsy person who likes to do a lot of hiking/exploration activities - Appreciate any information that could help with the planning.

    Thanks!
    Aravinth

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

    Default Some Worthwhile Detours

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The straightforward drive between your two terminal cities is scenic enough. But since you have nearly twice the time you would need for such a drive, you should consider some truly scenic detours. Start out, of course by taking I-90 across Washington, over the Cascades and Rockies into Montana. Then drop down through Yellowstone National Park from Belgrade on US-191 into the park. Take in some of the thermal pools, visit Old Faithful, drive around Yellowstone Lake, and exit on US-14 over the Bighorn Scenic Byway to Ranchester WY. This will put you back on I-90 into eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota where a number of attractions await: Devils Tower, Wind and Jewel Caves, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore, and Badlands National Park.

    The next major detour would be to leave I-90 at Sioux Falls and take I-29 down to Sioux City IA where you'd get on the Loess Hills Scenic Byway down the east side of the Missouri River to St. Joseph and US-36 across northern Missouri to Hannibal from whence I-72 and I-55 will get you the rest of the way to Chicago.

    But note that the above detours will push you close to the entire week you say you have available. If you only have a week for the entire trip, you only have time to drive I-90 straight through to Chicago with no major sight-seeing stops, turn around, and drive back to Seattle with no major stops.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck.

    One week duration is just to go to Chicago from Seattle. Thanks for the details. I'll look into the details.

    One quick question - Among the places that you listed, would you recommend camping in any of these?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Resources

    Throughout most of the country, your best bet for truly natural and low cost camping is on national forest lands. That's where I would start my search. Next best choices are usually state parks (you'll just have to go to each state's parks site and see what they have). In the west you often have a third option, BLM lands. National Parks are often booked up well in advance, or require relatively early arrival for the few first-come/first-served sites available, but they're worth checking out if you get into an area with no reservations yet in hand

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Camping along the scenic byways.

    There is camping along the Big Horn Scenic Byway (US-14) as well as along Alt 14, the Medicine Wheel Passage Scenic Byway. The latter being by far my favourite. You might like to check out this site for further camping along your route in the Western States.

    WY tourism puts out an invaluable little booklet, Wyoming Road Trip. Full of information on the 21 scenic byways in WY.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Thanks everyone for your inputs! My plans have changed a bit due to work constraints and I have to do the one way trip in 2-3 days. While camping is one option for stay, what would be the best places to stop for stay in hotels? I'm thinking of driving 10-12 hours. Any recommendations on good/economical places to stay on the way would be nice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default No go!

    For a journey of more than 2000 miles, this is not a trip which can be done in two or three days, even if not camping. You would put yourself and every other road user at risk by ending up driving exhausted and fatigued - which is akin to drunk driving. The distance cannot possibly be covered in 10 - 12 hours per day. If you got those times from a computer program, you would need to add at least another 20%.

    If you are not able to find at least another half day, but preferably another day, then your best option would be to fly.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Russian Roulette (At Best)

    I couldn't agree more with Lifey. Put very bluntly:

    You cannot make this trip safely in three days, let alone two.

    Remember that a 12 hour day will not get you close to 700 miles down the road. And that's roughly the number of miles you have to cover each and every day to complete this trip in three days. In the real world, you cannot average 70 mph, even on the Interstates. You have to account for traffic slow downs, fuel stops, meal stops, bathroom breaks, construction, time spent getting on and off the highway for each of the stops already listed as well as getting to and from your nightly stops. In addition, you need to budget ten hours - absolute minimum - off the road each night: an hour to unwind, eight hours of solid sleep, and an hour to get yourself physically and mentally prepared to start yet another grinding slog down the road. Then, even if you do manage to cover the 670 miles each day required to complete your trip, you will be 'rewarded' by driving into one of the most brutal traffic regimes on Earth, Chicago, at the height of rush hour and totally exhausted. None of that makes for a safe trip. Note that the only way to pull this off, even with three days, is to drive the maximum distance legally permitted to professional long-haul drivers, and then do another hour plus on top of that - for three days straight.

    If you only have three days. You cannot complete this trip safely.

    The question is: Are you foolish enough to try?

    AZBuck

  9. Default

    Would 4 days be a safe bet?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Yes.

    Four days in roughly equal lenghts each day would work. It won't leave much time for serious detours and sight seeing, but you should be able to take scenic rest breaks along the way.

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