We are planning a family trip from Minneapolis to NC by car for Easter. Our family is husband, wife, and 3 boys under 10 who are great road trippers. We have a Ford Explorer we love, and are comfortable driving 600-650 miles a day or 9 hours of driving time (we typically add 2-3 hours for stops.)
For various reasons, we need to make the trip *there* in two days' drive, (and we will have a little wiggle room for weather.) My questions are about the interstates and routes through the mountains over to NC. We would take I-94/I-90/I-39-I-74, with the thought of going through Champaign, Il rather than going anywhere near Chicago/Gary. So that gets us to I-74.The question is then what.
We are less interested in this direction being fun and more interested in time. My experiences with I-40 from CA to AK and I-80 across CO-IL is that the truck traffic is so heavy that driving is unpleasant. Our car will be fine in the mountains no matter what, but I'd prefer less accompanying truck traffic over those passes. My guess is the easiest is to make it the first day to Indianapolis. Does that sound sane? Should we do I-77 thru WV or I-75-I-40 through knoxville/asheville? We also need at least some decent (a clean McDonald's or better?) place to stop and eat twice, typically one late morning and one mid-afternoon.
How are the rest stops along these routes? We typically end up using rest stops 2-3 times a day on trips like these, in addition to the other big 2 stops.
Our return has more leeway, and more time, probably 3-4 days. We'd probably prefer to leave by a different route, just for the experience. We'd love physical beauty, but the kids are more inclined to the Largest Ball of Twine like stops. I haven't really investigated the kitschy opportunities for them along these routes yet, so suggestions are welcome.