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  1. Default Chicago to Las Vegas

    Hello Fellow Travelers,

    We hate flying and so we decided to drive from Chicago to Las Vegas in May. We don't want to drive after dark, so we will take it relatively slowly - will leave on Saturday and plan on arriving in Vegas on Monday. This gives us two nights in hotels somewhere on the road.

    It looks like we'll be taking the route through Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. We've taken long road trips before, but never heading West and we are not familiar with that part of the country. Our main concern is safety, which areas to avoid, particularly when it's time to retire for the day.

    The whole idea to drive was to avoid anxiety in connection with flying, but now I'm getting anxious anyway. How do we ensure that we arrive at our destination safely?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    You're right on the mark, planning this as a three-day drive with two overnights. It's just under 1800 miles, which means each of your driving days will be 600 miles, or around 11 hours. I see your overnights to be around Grand Island, NE, and then around Rifle, CO. You'll find the scenery between Denver and Salina, UT, to be beautiful. You may do more stopping in this area, in the scenic viewpoints and rest areas, than in other places in the country. Bring your camera!

    Use the same instincts you use at home, to determine safety for overnights. Rifle is a small town, and while Grand Island is larger, it's not overly so. Remember that many people live safely in these cities and towns, too.

    Another suggestion: have an emergency road service plan of some sort, for your own peace-of-mind, either the ones that come with the newer cars, or AAA or similar.

    Believe me, most of us regulars here prefer driving to flying, too.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    As Donna mentioned, 3 days really is the minimum amount of time you need to do this safely, and you'll be on the road for at least 10-11 hours each day. When you factor in your desire not to drive after dark, you are going to have to make sure to get on the road fairly early each morning.

    Beyond that, there's not much more than to say about safety than make sure you're being a defensive driver, and make sure to stop frequently to keep your mind and eyes fresh.

  4. Default Thank you

    Many thanks, Donna and Midwest Michael.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    From the safety standpoint, there are no services of any kind on I-70 between Green River and Salina UT, this is a 108 mile stretch. About halfway, there's a wide spot on the shoulder with a porta potty. There's also no cell coverage in this stretch. Plan your fuel stops accordingly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    GLC makes a good point. When we are west-bound, we fuel up in either Grand Junction or Fruita (at exit 6). The next decent-priced fuel isn't until Richfield, though there are stations at Green River and at Salina. When going east, we fuel up at Richfield.

    There is a lovely "view area" at UT exit 228, but no restrooms. There used to be more porta-potties at the view areas between Green River and Salina, but they have taken them out in recent years -- perhaps because of the cost of the service to them.


    Donna

  7. Default

    That's great info, GLC, thank you so much. I usually start looking for a gas station when I'm at half the tank, but I'll jot it down in my notes to make sure to gas up before hitting this stretch of the road.

    The "no cell coverage" makes me nervous though. What do people do in emergencies? (I do remember life prior to cell phones, but I grew up in Europe where we didn't have such large isolated areas.)

  8. Default

    Donna, I'll keep fueling up in Richfield in mind on our way back. Thank you!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The value of a PLB.

    Quote Originally Posted by FormerAlien View Post
    The "no cell coverage" makes me nervous though. What do people do in emergencies? (I do remember life prior to cell phones, but I grew up in Europe where we didn't have such large isolated areas.)
    In the worst case you may have to wait five minutes for another vehicle to pass by. It's not like the isolated areas downunder, where you can drive some highways all day, and maybe see half a dozen other vehicles. Still if you are likely to go into other isolated areas in the future - though isolated areas in the lower 48 are hard to find - you may consider investing in a PLB for peace of mind.

    They are becoming more affordable now and can be used anywhere in the world where you care to travel. Remember it does not have to be an isolated area where you can be in trouble. Years ago there was a car went off the BRP, and did not have phone coverage. A PLB would have got them help fairly quickly. If it had not been for their little dog, those ladies may not have been found in time.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default You will not be "alone" on I-70

    Quote Originally Posted by FormerAlien View Post
    The "no cell coverage" makes me nervous though. What do people do in emergencies?
    In this particular stretch of road, it is patrolled by the state police and several other government entities. As important, this section of road is never empty of cars and vehicles. I don't know what the density of vehicles is per hour exactly but probably on the scale of 100 vehicles per hour at the slowest part of the day.

    As it turns out, this is one of my favorite roads in America. Here are two field reports from this area:
    The first details the views from the rest areas along I-70 from Cove Fort to Green River
    The second one describes some of the country just off the highway.

    For your drive, the article about I-70 is written west to east, but the information stays the same no matter which way you are driving.

    Mark

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