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  1. Default Seattle, WA to Clarksburg, WV in 4 days

    I'm relocating for a job to Clarksburg, WV and will be making the trip from Seattle starting Dec. 11th in a Subaru Forester. I've planned out 3 possible routes I can choose between depending on weather conditions and I just wanted some input on my choices, as I've never driven across the northern US.

    I have to arrive no later than the morning of Monday, Dec. 15th, but would prefer a Sunday arrival. Luckily, I have 2 other drivers and we'll be doing a 3-man rotation. We're hoping for the best weather-wise, but will (hopefully) be prepared for the worst.

    Any input on the following routes would be very much appreciated. Are there other, better options? Better places to stop for the night? Some interstates I should avoid entirely? Or is everything fine the way it is? Of course, these routes can be tweaked based on weather, road conditions, time, etc. Thanks in advance, and I'm so glad I found this site!

    The routes, in order of my preference:

    Route #1
    Seattle, WA - Billings, MT 12 Hrs
    Via I-90
    Billings, MT - Albert Lea, MN 12.5 Hrs
    Via I-90
    Albert Lea, MN - Columbus, OH 12.5 Hrs
    Via either: I-35/I-74/I-70, or
    Columbus, OH - Clarksburg, WV 3.5 - 4 Hrs
    Via either: I-70/I-77/US-50, or

    Route #2
    Seattle, WA - Billings, MT
    Billings, MT - Minneapolis, MN 12 Hrs
    Via I-94
    Minneapolis, MN - Strongsville, OH 12 Hrs
    Via I-90/I-80
    Strongsville, OH - Clarksburg, WV 4 Hrs
    Via I-80/I-76/I-79

    Route #3 (If weather is really bad on both I-90 & I-94)
    Seattle, WA - Billings, MT
    Billings, MT - Omaha, NE 12.5 - 13 Hrs
    Via either: I-90/I-29/I-80, or
    Omaha, NE - Lexington, KY 11.5 - 12 Hrs
    Via I-29/I-70/I-64
    Lexington, KY - Clarksburg, WV 4.5 Hrs
    Via I-64/I-79

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Timing

    5 days will be a lot more comfortable.

    Hello and welcome to R.T.A.

    I think your travel times have come straight of the mapping program and are very optimistic so you will need to add time. Your first 2 stops would have to be travelled at almost a consistent 70 m.p.h. with no stops to cover it in the time given, it's not going to happen. An average is taken to be around 57 m.p.h around here so that will give you a better idea of "real time" travel in good conditions if you divide the miles to cover by that speed. That making your first day nearer to 14 1/2 hours and so on, so you might want to adjust accordingly.

    Hope that helps a little.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-09-2008 at 09:47 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Slight modification

    Actually, I wouldn't go all the way to Albert Lea if I did your first option.

    Instead, I'd cut south on I-29 at Sioux Falls and take I-80 across Iowa. I'd then pick-up I-74 at Davenport and take that to I-70.

    I would readjust your stopping points too. You're just trying to drive too far each day. You can make this in 4 long days, but I wouldn't try to cram things into 3.5 days at the expense of driving 900-1000 miles a day.

    Better stopping points would be Bozeman MT, Chamberlain SD, and Peoria IL. You'll still be on the road 12+ hours a day with those stops, except for your last day which will probably be closer to 10 hours.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You want to stay as far away from Chicago traffic as you can. Your route #2 is going to dump you right into the middle of it.

    The routes that I'd favor are:

    1. I-90 to I-29 to I-80 to I-74 to I-70. (Michael's route)

    2. I-90 to I-82 to I-84 to I-80 to NE-2 to I-29 to I-70.

    3. If there are problems at Snoqualmie Pass, I-5 to I-84.

    2 options to Clarksburg - I-77 to US-50 or stay on I-70 to I-79.

    While I agree with Dave and Michael on the timing, with 3 experienced drivers you can make it a "speed run" and be on the road up to 16 hours a day if you must. Here is an article on speed runs.

  5. Default Getting closer to Clarksburg..

    Not sure if this will help or not, but Pennsylvania interstates are cleared and in much better shape than WV roads are kept. If the weather is iffy, you would probably be better off taking taking I70 into PA and then coming down I79 into Clarksburg. This way you'll only be on WV roads for about an hour. And right after the PA/WV border is Morgantown, WV which has tons or restaurants/hotels if you need to pull over for anything.

    Not sure exactly where you will be moving into Clarksburg, but I live off of one of the Rt. 50 exits and that road can be REALLY busy around the time everyone gets off work (4-6pm).

    Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions about the area!

  6. Default

    Thank you all so much for your input. I definitely know it's an aggressive plan, and we were planning on about 14 hours each day with stops and such. I do agree that it would probably be better to make it a full four days, so we're basically going to see how we feel and how the weather's doing and possibly stretch it out a bit. As long as we make it by Monday morning, we'll be fine.

    Thanks for the route suggestion....I'm thinking about going with the I-80 to I-70 route. I originally wasn't planning on going that far south, but it really doesn't add much time to the trip, and the weather seems like it might be pretty iffy on the more northern routes.

    Thanks for the heads up on the WV roads! I was actually wondering about that, and was a little concerned about US-50.

    Anyway, it's really nice to have different options in case the weather doesn't cooperate. I'm pretty set on avoiding the Chicago/Great Lakes area entirely. Thanks again, and if you have any other suggestions I'd love to hear them!


  7. #7


    If you have good weather, I repeat, If you have good weather, you can save yourself a few steps and time by taking I 270 around the south side of Columbus Oh, take US 33 to Athens Oh. 33 is all 4 lane except for about 10 miles around Nelsonville Oh. At Athens 33 merges with US 50, again all 4 lane, to Parkersburg WVa. They were in the process of building a bypass around Parkersburg but I don't know if its finished yet or not. If not it just takes a few minutes to get thru Parkersburg on 50. From Parkersburg to Clarksburg it is about 70 miles, all 4 lane, hilly, but no real steep long grades. Thats the way I used to run in my truck. Unless there is a major weather malfunction it is faster than going to I 79 and then south.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Bypass Looks Finished

    A quick check of the "Satellite" view (actually airplane reconnaissance photos) shows that the US-50 bypass of Parkersburg is complete, with a 4 lane limited access road running south of town.

    And in general, I'll second Johnny's recommendation. The Midwest and South are chock full of these four lane divided highways that are often built to near Interstate standards around towns. They are grossly underutilized and often make for a shorter and more relaxing drive.


  9. Default

    Very cool. Of course, I'll be checking the weather daily and take it from there. As of right now, there *should* be decent weather driving into Clarksburg, so if that stands it would actually be pretty neat to take a different, yet more direct route.

    We're leaving tomorrow and I'm excited! I'll let you know how it goes. By the way, we've decided to take Michael's suggested route, barring excessively wintry weather there, and we're doing it in four full days. I'm gonna see (briefly, anyway) a lot of states I've never seen before!

    Thanks for all the advice,

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Good Luck

    Best of luck on your trip, and hopefully the weather will remain clear for your travel. We'd love to hear how it works out in the end, so if you have a chance, stop by and let us know how it went once you reach your destination!

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