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Thread: I80 vs I90

  1. Default I80 vs I90

    I am planning to drive from Iowa to Seattle Washington during thanksgiving days off.
    I was wondering which is better for driving during that time in terms of weather condition and things to see.
    I am not concerned about extra miles my first concern is safety and second things to see.
    Also please suggest things to see on that route.


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The biggest factor on which route will be better come thanksgiving is impossible to know right now - because the biggest factor is weather, and you won't know that until just before you leave.

    All things being equal, I-90 is generally favored in winter because it is generally at a lower elevation, spending time in valleys, whereas I-80 spends much of the drive across Wyoming above 6,000 feet, on a plateau where wind can be a big factor.

    Without having any idea of your interests or how much time you have available (you need a minimum of 3 days on a speed run from Des Moines to Seattle, and that's in good weather), it's kind of pointless for anyone to try to guess what things you might want to see. However, the RTA Map Center is the perfect tool for you to check out to see some of your hundreds of options on either route.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Brand-new sticky about weather and choosing your route just posted a few days ago:

    I-90 is my preferred route from N. Colo to Seattle due to lower average elevations and fewer roller coaster hills than I-84 across Oregon.

  4. #4


    If you are planning the drive over the Thanksgiving weekend, you must realize that it will be three days of hard driving just to get there from Iowa, and that won't give you any time for stopping to enjoy the sights. I hope you have at least a week for more leisurely travel.

    I, too, would definitely recommend I-90 unless the weather forecast up there is really bad. The interstates are kept clear of snow, but the wind on I-80 can close the road for hours or days.

    As for things to see, there is plenty along I-90. Use the Map Wizard on this site to plot your route and then use the button below to see what is available within 50 miles. You'll be pleasantly surprised. And also, get a paper map that you can mark up with places to see.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    We've done I-90 in winter and aren't stopping to see much but the Little Bighorn Battlefield is adjacent to I-90 in Montana. When you visit in winter you'd wonder why anyone would fight over such a lonely place. (quick check says Winter Hours are 0800-1630 daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas days)

    My wife was able to Skype with her parents while we were hurtling along the interstate in the car. Very weird because there was nothing but grassland to be seen - yet it worked.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Almost all interstates these days have continuous cellular coverage. There are a few exceptions and dead spots.

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