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  1. #1

    Default D.C. to Seattle in Dec. One way!

    Hi, I've stumbled across this website looking for ideas on my upcoming cross county road trip. In December I am moving from the D.C. area to Seattle and have decided to drive. I'll have about 6 days (I want to be there in time for Christmas and as of right now I'm preparing to leave the 19th) and I'm planning on taking a mostly Northern route. I don't have family or friends along the way to stay with, so I'll probably just get cheap hotels. I would like to stop in Chicago, possibly Michigan (it's out of the way), Mount Rushmore and other sights in SD, Glacier NP in Montana, and then head to Washington. I want to stop in as many states as possible with the short amount of time I have. I'm not worried about gas or food money. Mostly I'm concerned with having enough emergency money in case of car trouble, etc. Luckily I have a few months to plan and save. Any suggestions on where to stop along the way and what route to take would be greatly appreciated. This will be my first cross country road trip and it may be the only chance I get! Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Nice Winter trip!

    Hello Rnay144,

    I hope the move to Seattle is a positive development for you. I have a very good friend who now is in his 10th year out there, and he loves it.

    A simple Mapquest routine says +2,700 miles to Seattle from DC. At 6 days travel time, that's a little more than 450 miles/day. With any luck with the weather, you'll be able to comfortably do more than average mileage once you get west of, say, Chicago. Departing at that time if year (the Friday before Christmas), I'd expect some fairly serious traffic issues on the PA and OH Turnpikes. But heck, you're from DC, so hopefully you're used to it.

    Anyway, I'd check ahead with the various authorities at Mt Rushmore, Glacier, etc, before assuming all access would be available during the Christmas week. It's entirely possible Glacier would be largely closed then. Even if some low elevation portions are open, it's a healthy drive off of I-90 at Missoula and back, or a bushwhack via US 2 over into Idaho.

    Make yourself aware of the MT, ID, and WA DOT webcam and road conditions links for either online or telephone access. While I would not let snow worry me much, I'd be very comfortable with ready access to information as to what's ahead. There are 4 passes in MT alone which are at or over 5,000', and while they get heavy attention from the plows, delays in the several hours range can occur if a big dumping hits.

    Have a great trip!


  3. #3

    Default Need suggestions

    I'm originally from Upstate NY so I'm not worried about driving in the snow. I have also changed my driving plans and will be leaving the 26th of December and trying to get to Seattle on the 30th or 31st. I checked and both Glacier NP and Mount Rushmore will be open. Other than going to both those parks and stopping for a night in Chicago, I really have no idea what to do or where to stop along the way.

    I know that I want to drive first to Michigan and stay a night there. Ann Arbor is about a 10 hour drive from me. Is that a good place to visit or should I plan to go to a different city? I don't mind going a little bit out of my way, which I already am doing just going to Michigan at all. I've never been and would really like to go. From Ann Arbor to Chicago it's about 4 hours so that will give me time to spend sight seeing around the city. But then I have no idea where to go. So, please let me know your thoughts about what to do and where to go in Michigan and then what to do after Chicago. This is going to be my first big road trip and I'm extremely excited!!! Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default At the Limit Already

    Trying to cover the 2,825 miles between Washington and Seattle, and make the side trip to Ann Arbor, and spend some time in Chicago, and see some of the country you'll be driving through, means that you're already at the limit of what you can comfortably accomplish in the time available to you. I think you'll need to save Glacier National Park for another time. You'll also need to plan on doing some serious driving pretty much every day. That doesn't mean that you can't see any sights or make any stops as you go, just that most of the sights will have to be taken in from the driver's seat and most of your stops will have to be pretty near the Interstates.


  5. #5

    Default Thanks!

    I have decided to skip Glacier NP and go when the weather is nicer. I'm also extending the time a little and will get to Seattle on January 1, which means I'll be spending New Years in Helena, MT! Here's my plan right now:
    Leave Dec. 26 for Ann Arbor, MI
    Dec. 27- Chicago
    Dec. 28- Madison, WI
    Dec. 29- Sioux Falls, SD
    Dec. 30- Mount Rushmore
    Dec. 31- Helena, MT
    Jan. 1- Seattle

    1 week isn't too bad and I still have a few months to finalize the details and save up extra money. Thanks for the suggestions!

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