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  1. Default NYC > Chicago > Portland, OR

    I am moving from New York City to Portland OR, and splitting it up into 2 parts. NYC to Chicago, then Chicago to Portland OR. My parents live in Chicago, so I'll be making a month long pit stop (June) to visit and save up. It will be just me, all of my (minimal) belongings (tent, japanese sleeping futon, sleeping bag, clothes, etc) and my bike in my beloved 2004 Jeep Liberty. I want to get the most out of this trip and hit up every site worth seeing on the way. I love camping, hiking, nature, and flowers specifically, to give you an idea of places I'd like to stop.

    I would prefer to take the more scenic routes, to camp, and to spend the least amount of money I can. I know gas will be a huge expense, but if I can save by bringing along more food, I will do so. I just need some advice about what to bring and how much.

    For my first trip, I want to use 2-4 days. I have done the trip before and stopped for a night in Bellefonte, PA. I would love any suggestions you have for interesting routes, places to pass by, or visit.

    As for my seconds trip, I am leaving myself the entire month of July to get there. It can be less, I just want the wiggle room.
    So far I have only planned a few pass-throughs and stops, them being driving along the Great River Road from Prairie Du Chien to La Crosse, Mount Rushmore, Yellow Stone National Park and Salt Lake City. I have never been out west besides 1 weekend visit to LA and have never done a big road trip like this before. So please, I would love to hear your suggestions for routes, places to pass through, to visit, to stay for 3 nights, to hike at, advice for the trip, whatever.

    Thank you so much in advance! I cannot wait for this trip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA! I can feel your excitement for this upcoming trip.

    Interesting routes, places to pick or pass....well, it would be hard to say since we don't know of your interests other than some places you've picked and mentioned. So, that said, my advice would be to get an atlas or some maps (free from AAA, if you're a member), and start looking. All of the places you mentioned are on those maps, plus a couple of thousand more. On Rand McNally/AAA maps, public campgrounds (county, state, and national parks/forests) are marked with a little green triangle.

    To stay for three nights....Yellowstone National Park. To hike....Yellowstone National Park. At Mount Rushmore, I highly recommend the Presidential Trail, as it takes you to where you can see the monument from a totally different angle, then to the creator's studio.

    As far as budget travel -- I hear ya! Gasoline will be about your biggest expense. If you have a smart phone, I'd highly suggest downloading GasBuddy app. You can pre-plan your gas stops to save the most money. (Sometimes you can save 30c a gallon just by waiting until you cross into a different state. That happened to us several times on our trips.) Overnights in a public campground will run anywhere from $10/night to $25/night. You'll want to figure out showers as many public campgrounds will not offer shower facilities. You could either take a cheap motel every 3 or 4 nights (as we used to do when we tent-camped), or pay $8-10+ at a truck stop for use of their shower facilities. (You will have to wait in line at many of these. Usually, you sign up at the counter. Have flip-flops available for use in any public shower facility, including those at truck stops.) So allow for either of those options. There are also places where the nearest campground might be quite a trek off your path, so either allow extra time/extra mileage, or plan for a night at a motel then.

    Food -- easy to take on the road. Take a cooler. Just don't forget to budget for ice. Block ice is difficult to find to buy, but it lasts the longest. We found $1-3/day for ice was about what we had to pay. This may sound really cheap, but save those unused catsup, mustard and mayo packets you get from fast food, for your trip. They take up less space! Get a small camp-stove as many places in the west are starting to ban campfires, because of the wildfire issue. Check thrift stores and garage sales, but be sure to test it out. You can eat really, really well from a cooler, a camp stove, and a cheap pot, rather than fast food and restaurants.

    Hope this helps, but anything else, just ask! Somebody here will probably have an answer for you!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The First Leg

    Just a few general suggestions for the first leg of your trip, from NYC to Chicago. If you're looking for something at least as scenic as I-80, but at a slower pace that lets you stop every so often and take a hike, camp, and occasionally get your bike out from the jeep and ride, then take a look at first getting out of the New York metro area on I-80 out past Parsippany and then taking NJ-15/US-209 up to Milford PA. US-6 across northern Pennsylvania is a nice scenic route through the Alleghenies past a number of state parks and national forests. You could even follow it farther west along the Lake Erie shoreline in Ohio and through Indiana, but that would require traversing Cleveland. An alternative would be to leave US-6 around Kane PA and use PA-66 and other routes to thread your way down between Pittsburgh and Youngstown to US-30 west to Chicago. While not as replete with parks and forests as US-6, it is a pleasant road through farming country for the most part and does pass through Canton OH, home of the NFL Hall of Fame.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The old highways.

    OL couse, the first thing which came to my mind is US-6 through PA. Buck beat me to it. A wonderful route with great hikes including in Kinzua SP and the Grand Canyon of PA. Don't miss all the murals made from old road signs, west of Warren. Even continuing on US-6 along the south shore of the Lakes, there are many SP and other scenic places to pull off andenjoy, as well as camping spots..... if you can make your way through Cleveland.

    Further south, as well as US-30, there is US-20, along which rthere are some interesting places (as there are along most of the US highways) and aklso takes you through Amish country.

    If you are into railway history at all, you may be interested in taking a short detour to Nicholson PA for the Tunkhannock Railway Viaduct. You can actually climb to the top and walk on the track.

    Last edited by Lifemagician; 01-16-2016 at 06:26 PM.

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