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  1. Default LaPorte, IN to Seattle

    Hello!
    I am planning a trip from Indiana to Washington and googling infos I stumbled upon this awesome website.
    I became quite obsessed with making it the best road trip ever so I would like to ask for some advice.

    We are going to leave from LaPorte, so north-west Indiana, and our first stop is going to be in Rapid City, SD. My plan was to take I-80 to avoid getting too close to Chicago and then switch to I-90 in Albert Lea, MN and after that just follow I-90 to Rapid City, but I read that I-80 can be pretty bad around Joliet. Do you have any advice?

    On the second day, after a quick visit to Mt Rushmore, we are going to travel to Deer Lodge, MT. The question, as you have probably guessed already is...I-90 all the way or US 212? I read a lot of stuff about this dilemma and I'm a little scared of how isolated US 212 seems to be, and how far apart towns on its route are.

    Third day will be from Deer Lodge to Seattle. This seems to be pretty straightforward on I-90 but if you guys know something better I'd be happy to consider it.

    Unfortunately we are on a tight-ish schedule so except for Mt Rushmore there won't be time for sightseeing. I love a good scenic route just as much as anyone, but we are also on a tight budget so I'm trying to save as much money as possible on gas (we'll be travelling on a Toyota Corolla).


    Thanks you very much and thumbs up for this forum!


    PS sorry if my english isn't perfect, I'm Italian.

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

    Default Don't Believe Everything You Read

    Benvenuto! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    My title does not refer to any 'facts' you may have read about the condition of I-80 around Joliet, but to the utter fantasy/fiction that you can get from La Porte to Rapid City in a day (14 hours) that you get from software mapping routines. Such a drive, at nearly a thousand miles, requires two full days with only minimal stops to complete safely. Your second day, at nearly 600 miles would be reasonable, except for the part about "after a quick visit to Mt Rushmore". Mount Rushmore is not a quick side trip from Rapid City but a slow drive over two-lane mountain roads full of tourist traffic. Again, you cannot see Mount Rushmore in the morning and then drive another 11-12 hours safely. Only your fourth and final day, from Deer Lodge to Seattle is even remotely reasonable. If your "tight-ish schedule" only allows you three days for the drive from La Porte to Seattle, then your decision is very simple: fly. I cannot stress this enough - Three days is not enough time to drive over 2100 miles (3400 km) safely.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Benvenuto! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    My title does not refer to any 'facts' you may have read about the condition of I-80 around Joliet, but to the utter fantasy/fiction that you can get from La Porte to Rapid City in a day (14 hours) that you get from software mapping routines. Such a drive, at nearly a thousand miles, requires two full days with only minimal stops to complete safely. Your second day, at nearly 600 miles would be reasonable, except for the part about "after a quick visit to Mt Rushmore". Mount Rushmore is not a quick side trip from Rapid City but a slow drive over two-lane mountain roads full of tourist traffic. Again, you cannot see Mount Rushmore in the morning and then drive another 11-12 hours safely. Only your fourth and final day, from Deer Lodge to Seattle is even remotely reasonable. If your "tight-ish schedule" only allows you three days for the drive from La Porte to Seattle, then your decision is very simple: fly. I cannot stress this enough - Three days is not enough time to drive over 2100 miles (3400 km) safely.

    AZBuck
    Grazie!

    Can I ask why you don't think it's possible? I didn't specify that it would be me and my wife sharing the wheel, not just me. I wouldn't plan a 14 hrs drive if I was the only driver. Do you still think it's not possible to get to Rapid City from La Porte in the 14 hours (plus 2 additional hours I'm counting for food and leg stretching breaks?) the gps says?

    I'm quite discouraged about the Mt Rushmore part too. I would feel so bad being that close to it and not being able to admire it....

    Unluckily the tight schedule is pretty much mandatory, and I can't fly because I'm making this drive with my wife because we are moving from here to Seattle for a job, so we'll have a lot of stuff packed in the car with us.

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

    Default Not Having the Time Does Not Make This Trip Safe(r)

    I'm sorry but:

    Having two drivers does not help. The fact is that you cannot get adequate sleep while sitting up in a moving car. Not only that, but well before you got to Rapid City you both would be exhausted. That means that the 'passenger' really needs to be more of a co-pilot/navigator to take some of the load off the driver. Trading off duties will not help. You should both be awake at all times to keep an eye on each other.

    Having two drivers does not mean that you can cover more miles per hour. In fact just the opposite is true. Carrying more weight means that you will have to stop more often for fuel, both for the car and yourselves. You will also have to stop whenever either of you needs to use the bathroom, meaning even more stops. And each and every one of those stops will take longer because you can't get back on the road until both of you are finished and ready to resume.

    Only having three days does NOT mean that you can make this drive safely in three days. Physics and physiology do not care a bit about your time constraints. You will not remain more alert because you have less time. The distance will not grow shorter because you have less time. The speed limits will not be increased because you have less time. There will not be more hours in a day because you have less time. The only thing that your having insufficient time means is what I said before: Three days is not enough time to drive over 2100 miles (3400 km) safely.

    AZBuck

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

    Default Take note.

    I cannot say it more precisely or articulately than Buck already has. Suffice to say that after the first day you will both be exhausted. The following days are no better. Fatigue is cumulative.

    Many have tried what you aim to do. Those who survived have vowed never to do it again. Unfortunately those who did not survive are not here to warn you.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Not 14 Hours, not even close

    Quote Originally Posted by Enrico IV View Post
    I didn't specify that it would be me and my wife sharing the wheel, not just me. I wouldn't plan a 14 hrs drive if I was the only driver. Do you still think it's not possible to get to Rapid City from La Porte in the 14 hours (plus 2 additional hours I'm counting for food and leg stretching breaks?) the gps says?
    The GPS is assuming you will be traveling above the speed limit for every minute of the day, never stopping for gas, much less food or restrooms.

    LaPorte to Rapid City is nearly 1000 miles. To do that in 14 hours, you'd have to average 72 mph, which is simply impossible without setting your cruise around 100 mph and hardly ever stopping. Real world, it's tough to average even 60 mph, and that's with the cruise set 75-80 mph. A 1000 mile trip in the real world typically requires 18-20 hours on the road.

    As a real world comparison, my last trip to South Dakota, it took me about 14 hours to get from the Badlands to near Madison. You've got several hundred miles more to add to that, not to mention Chicago Traffic.

    It can't be said enough, your plan right now is beyond dangerous. Even if you "cut back" and "only" tried to do 700 miles a day, and eliminated any thought of detours, that would still require 14 hours a day on the road which is far too much to be safe for 3 days in a row. As Lifey said, fatigue is cumulative and while pushing through 14 hours on day one might work, you simply will not be in a condition to be a safe driver the next day, much less the day after that.

    Professional Drivers would be required by law to take at least 3 overnight stops for this trip. If they can't do it safely in less, what makes you think you can? A new job is great, but if you don't make it there at all, what does it matter?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Any employer who expects you to make that drive in 3 days is simply irresponsible.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    This has been eloquently stated by several people above who are very experienced road trippers: 2100 miles means 4 days in the car, or perhaps 3-1/2. The maximum mileage should be 600 miles in one day, which will take you between 11 and 12 hours, depending on how much you have to stop for the bathroom, gasoline, and food. Google and GPS's don't always count ahead and see if there are construction zones -- heck, half the time they don't know about them until you are on top of them (if then). Those will slow you down some more.

    My parents attempted what you want to do, one time when heading out on a spring break trip. They drove 1080 miles and then stopped overnight. The next day, they drove the rest of the 600 miles. Their comment was "never again". My brother and I, in the backseat for the trip, said, UGH to all that sitting.

    Your employer needs to give you at least 5 days for that trip. BTW, the bit about Joliet really depends on what time of the day you go through there. Hubby and I headed out of the south suburbs of Chicago, picking up I-80 at Country Club Hills and headed west, right around Rush Hour. Going through Joliet wasn't bad at all.


    Donna

  9. Default

    Ok thanks to everyone for the advice. I'm the last person to want to make this trip unsafe for me or especially my wife. I was thinking that pushing through the first day with a really long drive, since we would be still fresh and well rested, was a good idea, but it was obviously the wrong assumption.
    I guess we could leave LaPorte one day in advance if it means being safer.

    I was thinking of adding a stop between LaPorte and Rapid City. Do you guys think Worthington, MN, would work? It's 587 miles from LaPorte and 401 from Rapid City.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Much better there, with a stop in Worthington (as long as weather holds for you). However, keep realizing that Mt Rushmore is not a hop-skip-jump from I-90. US-16 from I-90 is 4-lane divided highway (non-interstate), but the road through Keystone down to Mt Rushmore, Alt-16, is 2-lane and slow going. In many ways, it may be faster to just go back to Rapid City the way you came, and pick up I-90 west there, but a far prettier route (if you could take the time) is US-385 through Lead and Deadwood. It's just not always very fast.

    Rapid City to Deer Lodge via I-90 is 635 miles, and Deer Lodge to Seattle is 556 miles. If you stopped at Butte, MT instead of Deer Lodge, you'd break that mileage into 2 days of about 600 miles each. That would be a little better.

    This is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember the old tale of the tortoise and the hare. Take it steady, not pushing on the first day. But yes, you need that extra day in order to be safer.


    Donna

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