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  1. Default Chicago to Seattle through Canada?

    Hi Everyone,

    I am a new member to this site. I hope you all are well.

    I will be relocating to Seattle Washington for a Job and I have to be there by the 8th of November. I will need a car most likely so I figure why not just drive since it would save money.

    I get scared off easily by desolate areas with little population and I would prefer some big cities along the way to avoid boredom lol. ND and Montana are not exactly my type of places haha. We will likely be leaving on the 3rd of November and from looking at google maps, the route I am thinking would be (Chicago, Fargo, Regina, Calgary, Spokane and finally ending in Seattle). Has anyone ever taken this route in November or Close to Winter time? How is the Drive? Is it preferable to the standard Interstate 90 route? Please give me any advice and suggestions. Thank you so much.


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

    Default counterproductive choice.

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you are thinking of this route to avoid areas with little population, then I'd say it is a odd choice. Essentially you'd be adding several hundred extra miles driving through low population areas so you could stop in Calgary. In fact, since you'd be spending much less time on the interstates, you'll be on roads with far less traffic and services. Then, on top of that, you'd be increasing your chances of seeing an early season snowstorm.

    If you really want to see calgary, then go for it, but based on what you say you are looking for, it seems like it would be the opposite of what you are looking for.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would recommend you take I-90 all the way from Chicago to Seattle. If you want to take a break in a big city, you can take I-94 through MSP - it will rejoin I-90 in eastern MT. Timewise, it would be a wash either way but I-94 between MSP and MT is more desolate than I-90.

    If you did want to go through Canada, you will need passports, and if you have the car all loaded up to move you may be in for some scrutiny at the borders.

    You are looking at a minimum 4 day drive, so you don't really have time to make a major detour through Canada, you need to have at least 1 extra day if you encounter bad weather.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    A quick glance at the maps suggests to me that getting thru the Rocky Mountains in Canada will entail a considerable amount of mileage as the road meanders quite a lot to find valleys to use to get past the mountains. Much more additional mileage than just the legs going north to get to Canada and come back south again.

    I've driven the Montana to Seattle stretch several times. There are pretty good sized towns (100,000 or so) every 2 hrs along the way. And once in Montana the scenery is pretty nice if you like mountains (I can't address the Dakotas but I doubt the parallel stretch of Canada is much different).

    EDIT- MM covered this: There is also the question of border crossings. If your car is full up since you're moving, either or both border crossings risk extra special time-consuming scrutiny. You'll also need a passport to get back into the US.

    Oh, and your story of going to Canada to avoid driving desolate roads will NOT ring true to the border guys. They look for things that seem fishy. This would be one of those.

    Finally, you're leaving Chicago and you're afraid of places that don't have people (good, bad or otherwise)????

    Can't address about Canadian roads. I let my passport expire.....
    Last edited by noFanofCB; 10-28-2015 at 01:08 PM. Reason: border story

  5. #5


    Wow! You are aware that Canada is much less populated than the US. And if you need to see what you'll face going across MN and ND, just watch an episode of Fargo on TV. Those places are desolate and the weather can turn on a dime.

    I would use I-90 the whole way, and don't worry about low population. In Montana alone you have Billings, Butte, Bozeman and Missoula, all with good population and accommodations. If there is any snow, the road crews in those northern states keep the interstates clear. You should do fine with a four-day window.

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