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  1. #1

    Default North West USA Road trip Chicago to Seattle

    Hi all

    My first post

    I am going to be driving from Chicago to Seattle as part of my vacation in early September.

    My vacation starts in Tronto so I will be flying into Chicargo and hiring a car.

    Day 1 - after landing in Chicago Driving to Milwaukee. I visiited Chicago in the past

    Day 2 Diving to Minneapolis

    Day 3 Minneapolis

    Day 4 Minneapolis

    Day 5 Driving to Rapid City - Long drive Interstate all the way

    Day 6 visiting Mount Rushmore

    Day 7/8 Driving to YellowStone National Park

    Day 9 Yellowstone

    Day 10 Yellowstone

    Day 11/12 Driving to Seattle

    Day 13 Seattle

    Day 14 Seatte

    I know there is a lot of driving, my friend and I have done simlar trips in the past. last time we drove from Chicago to the end of the Florida Keys. which is why we are starting from Chicargo this time, so we can say we have driven from the South East corner to the North West corner of the USA.

    We also drove from Washington D.C to Los Angeles then up to San Fransico on another trip

    for the route from Rapid City to Seattle I want to know if there are any special roads we should take rather than just staying on the Interstate all the way and missing things. Also a place to stay between Yellowstone and Seattle.

    What is the weather going to be like in September?

    Thank you for your help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Nice trip to look forward to !

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Non of your driving days are too much and you have a nice trip to look forward to. In September the weather should be fine in general, but as with everywhere it is totally unpredictable. You should pack some layered clothing as things can turn chilly in the evening, especially in the mountains.

    Before Rapid city you have the Badlands which are worth considering making time for and you have other attractions around Rushmore, Custer State park and Wind cave NP for example. On the way into Yellowstone you should go through Red Lodge to Silver Gate via the Beartooth highway, a great scenic drive into the park. You might want to exit via the south of Yellowstone and spend a little time in the Tetons. If there was no particular reason for spending a couple of days in Minneapolis you could consider adding that time to look at these other possible attractions. Even Glacier NP wouldn't add that much time to the drive from Yellowstone to Seattle, but of course you need a day for seeing the park. Great olace though and another great drive over the 'Going to the Sun' road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    On the way into Yellowstone you should go through Red Lodge to Silver Gate via the Beartooth highway, a great scenic drive into the park. You might want to exit via the south of Yellowstone and spend a little time in the Tetons. If there was no particular reason for spending a couple of days in Minneapolis you could consider adding that time to look at these other possible attractions.
    The Beartooth Highway is set to close on October 13th, but any time during September, it's been known to close due to a blizzard at the top. So, inquire locally -- perhaps in Billings or Laurel -- about whether it's open. If it is, it will be worth the time you take. It's about 200 miles from Billings to West Yellowstone, but the stops you can take between Red Lodge and Madison Jct are absolutely breathtaking.

    I will second the suggestion of giving up some of your Minneapolis time and give it to something else, unless you are stopping there for a particular reason. The main attraction for many is the world's largest shopping mall. We were going to go there last summer and then decided that North Dakota's Lewis and Clark stuff were more interesting to us.

    Before Rapid city you have the Badlands which are worth considering making time for and you have other attractions around Rushmore, Custer State park and Wind cave NP for example.
    Add Jewel Cave National Monument and Crazy Horse Memorial to the other notable things about the Black Hills of South Dakota.


    Donna

  4. #4

    Default

    Thank you for your replies.

    Our 3 nights at Yellowstone are fixed as we booked accomodation back in Febuary as there did not seem much availible then. We are in a lodge near to the Grand Cayon. which leaves us 2 days to drive to Seattle where we will spend 3 nights.
    There is no real reason for staying a Minneapolis, just a large US city that I have not been to, is it worth stopping there at all?

    The Beartooth Highway looks great!! if we head in that direction is there an alternative route from Red Lodge if Beartooth is closed?

    The Going to the sun road also looks interesting, I guess we would have to add a day to our trip from Yellowstone to seattle, which would only leave 2 nights in Seattle.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Only you can decide if Minneapolis is worth it to you, I would much rather spend my time in the natural wonders.

    You should check conditions on the Beartooth well before Red Lodge otherwise it would be a big detour. If it happened to be closed then you could enter via Cody or Gardiner.

    Yes you would need an extra day to Seattle to visit Glacier and you would also need to check the conditions and status of the GTTSR . Whether or not you want to sacrifice time in Seattle is a matter of personal choice again.

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

    Default Minnesota.

    Like most cities, in Minneapolis there are attractions to match most interests. Ones that come immediately to mind are Ft Snelling, the trips in the paddle steamer on the Mississippi and the Mall of America. But I would not overlook St Paul, and the Capital building, as well as the Cathedral.

    Assuming you are coming along I-90, there is a nice short detour which may also interest you. The Historic Bluff Country National Scenic Byway starts at La Crescent and runs parallel with I-90 to Dexter. There are many side trails along the way, a lot of Norwegion history, including a Norwegian Coffee shop in one of the many small towns - most of which have fewer than 1000 residents. The rest area at the western end in the vicini9ty of Lanesboro gives the history of settlement in MN. Near Preston there is a unique school, which is built like a series of igloos. Much of this scenic detour follows a river through the State Forest.

    The Byway is easiest to access via La Crosse, crossing the river to La Crescent, especially if the I-90 bridge is still under construction.

    All in all there is more to see and occupy you than the two days you have allocated for Minneapolis.

    Lifey

  7. #7

    Default

    Hi again

    Thank you for replies

    With only having 2 weeks for the trip it is difficult to know how long to stay at places. idealy I would take 2 months but work and money do not allow that

    Considering spending just 1 day in Minneapolis and spending 2 days to drive to Rapid City then we could drive through Badlands on the way. Is it best to go on the 240 or the 44 through Badlands?

    Is Sioux Falls worth stopping at for the night, we could be there by early afternoon?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Sioux Falls is a perfectly good place to break up the trip, about a 5 hour drive from Minneapolis, however, it's not a place I'd target if you're planning to leave the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) in the morning.

    What I might do in your shoes, leave Minneapolis in the afternoon, and head to Sioux Falls or Mitchell for the night. That would give you all of the next day to drive across South Dakota, checking out the attractions along I-90 (the Corn Palace, Missouri River, and the Badlands) and finish the day in the Rapid City area. You'd want to spend at least 2 nights in Rapid, so you'd have all of the next day to explore the Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park Jewel or Wind Caves, etc).

    SD-240 is known as the Badlands loop and is the easiest/most popular way to explore the Badlands as an easy detour off I-90.

  9. #9

    Default

    I'll be making the trip from Chicago to Yellowstone in July. I'll be working at Yellowstone.
    If you're a western history buff I'd like to suggest Deadwood SD, it appears it could be a money trap but there are free things to do. Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane are buried there as well.
    If you haven't already got lodgings in Seattle I'd suggest the Green Totoise hostel it's a bit high priced for a hostel but they serve breakfast everyday and dinner several nights and also offer some walking tours etc. I enjoyed my stay there in 2007.
    Have a great trip!
    Last edited by Robin_culver; 06-26-2015 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Poor grammar

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Thank you.

    Hi Robin, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Thank you for hopping in with some local suggestions as your first post. It is always appreciated. Feel free to add to any thread if you have something to offer.

    And when you need help planning a trip of your own, feel free to start a new thread.

    When in Seattle, I have always stayed at the HI hostel, which in those days was right next to Pike St Market. It had a great buffet breakfast. But I am not sure if the OP is looking at staying in hostels.

    Lifey

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