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  1. Default Chicago to Sacramento

    Hi All!

    I'm going to be moving from Chicago to Sacramento in July. I have around a month to get this trip planned. I will be traveling with my fiancee and 2 small dogs. We don't need a u-haul or anything becuase we are shipping our belonging via my company. However, I'm trying to figure out the best route to go. Intially I was thinking we could do the drive in 3 days however, in doing some more reseach I think 4-5 is more reasonable. While we want to get there as quick as possible, I think we would like to stop for a few short sight seeing options.

    I know we can take 80 all the way there but looking at that drive it looks SOO boring. So, I was thinking on going the 55 > 44 > 40 route.

    Do you guys think that this is a better, more enjoyable, drive? It looks like there are more places to stop as well. Our vehicle gets around 45 MPG and w/ a 14.5 gallon tank so we should get some decent range without having to make too many stops.

    Has anyone made this drive or can you share any advice? I appreciate all of your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you actually want the fastest route, then I-80 is the obvious choice, and it's really not even close. Going down to I-40 adds at least another 1/2 day of driving to the trip.

    Boring is completely a state of mind on a roadtrip, and there is plenty to see on either route. If you're just planning to drive as fast as you can, with as few of stops as possible, then it really seems silly to add more than 300 extra miles because you think a route (that you've never driven before) looks like it might be boring.

    You are right that trying to make this trip in 3 days would be a bad idea, you need at least 4 days to safely cover the miles. It really doesn't matter how far your car can go on a tank of gas, you shouldn't try to go more than about 600 miles in a day, and there, you still should be stopping to take a break and move around at least every 3-4 hours. Even a short break from behind the wheel is very important to keep your focus sharp, and it's also good for your health.

    If you can give yourself 5 days, you might look at cutting down to I-70 in Colorado across the Rockies and then take US-50 across Nevada (the Loneliest road in America). This would be a very scenic route, with plenty to see from the highway, but it would add some miles and time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA, and an early "welcome to California"!

    A couple of thoughts crossed my mind as I read your post, then I see that Michael had some of the same thoughts. One of the thoughts I have (agreeing with you a bit about I-80), was to either take I-55 down to St Louis and then take I-70 across, then US-50 as Michael suggested. I-70 through Colorado (west of Denver) and Utah is some of the most beautiful interstate scenery, with lots of stopping opportunities. Or just take I-80 to I-76, then I-70 and US-50. But that still means Iowa and Nebraska. The other thing about I-70 is that it doesn't get as windy (breezy) as I-80.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Iowa and Nebraska on I-80 isn't much different than Missouri and Kansas on I-70, I'd take I-80/I-76 if you want to take I-70 across Colorado, it's considerably shorter than going down to St. Louis. If you do that, fill your gas tank in Grand Junction or Green River, the next 108 miles from Green River to Salina has no services whatsoever, except one turnout with a couple porta-potties.

    US-50 from Salina across Utah and Nevada is also very devoid of services. Fill your tank in Salina or Eagle, and again in Ely. If it's time to stop for the night, stop in Ely, that's the only place with dependable lodging choices between Salina and Fallon. There is some gas between Ely and Fallon (in Eureka and Austin) but it's expensive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A state of Mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jigetz View Post
    I know we can take 80 all the way there but looking at that drive it looks SOO boring. So, I was thinking on going the 55 > 44 > 40 route.
    The road will be whatever you want it to be. It's your attitude on the road which describes the road. This article may be of interest to you.


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