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  1. Default Minneapolis to Seattle and then on to Oregon

    Iím glad I found this website! Iím a 22 year old female from Minneapolis planning my first extended solo camping/road trip, and am a little nervous (but vastly more excited). The rest of this paragraph is just background info I feel compelled to share because Iím new hereógo ahead and skip it, because my question starts in the next one. Iíve gone on more than a dozen solo trips from Minneapolis to the Canada, did a camping/road trip to the FL Keys with my boyfriend, and drove alone to central OH last summer. Iíve done a lot of camping, but never solo (am confident I have all the skills though). When I found out my parents will be in Seattle in July, I instantly decided I want to drive out there to meet them, and camp at all the national parks Iíve always wanted to visit along the way. I've been wanting to do a huge solo trip like this for a long time.

    Iíve spend past couple weeks planning, but Iím not experienced with routing. I have always relied solely Google Maps and MapQuest, and then often my dadís revision of those. Iím not asking my dad this time because I want him to be as confident as possible that I know what Iím doing when I explain to him my plan :) But the two websites are giving me drastically different routes for one leg (DAY 2) of my trip.

    Hereís the basic plan (these days arenít consecutive; Iíll be spending 2-3 nights at each spot)

    Day 1: Minneapolis to Theodore Roosevelt NP (Medora ND)
    DAY 2: TRNP to Glacier NP
    Day 3: Glacier NP to Seattle, WA.
    Day 4: Seattle to Olympic NP

    (Iíll be stopping at Yellowstone and Badlands NP on my way back instead of Glacier and TRNP.)

    Google Maps is telling me to take I-94 all the way down to Forsynth, MT and then take a number of US highways, eventually coming into Glacier with a total of 676 miles. Map Quest it telling me to take I-94 just 60 miles, then taking US-2 for the last 300 miles, eventually coming into Glacier with a total of 624 miles. Map Quest's route looks lest convoluted, and is times shorter, but I've become a big Google Earth fan recently, and for some reason it feels more reliable.

    Iíve put links to each map below. Iíd appreciate any advice any of you can give me about which route is better, or if thereís a third route that trumps those. I've also come here to solicit advice in general on my trip!--anything you'd like to share about first-time solo camping/road trips, visiting these parks, favorite camping sites in the South Unit of TRNP, best campgrounds in Glacier and Yellowstone... Also, I'm bringing my hardy little rat terrier along, so if you have tips on road tripping w/ pets, I'd love to hear those, too!


    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-15-2009 at 12:11 AM. Reason: New title due to merged threads

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default 200 Trumps

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Usually, when software based mapping routines differ by that much in their recommendations, what it really means is that there is not much difference in their recommendations and minor algorithms in their 'decision making process' cause one to pick one route and the other to go off somewhere else. If I had to choose between the two options they've given you, I'd probably go with US-2, just for the change of pace and the chance to drive through (rather than by, on the Interstate) some interesting western and high plains towns. My personal recommendation, though, based on actually having driven the road, is to take MT-200 from Glendive, MT to Grassrange, MT and then US-87 to Great Falls and US-89 to Glacier. This is as beautifully desolate a road as I've ever found in the US. It traverses badlands topography with maybe a small town off on a side road every 50 miles or so. Speed limit is probably 65 or so, so you can make good time and as I say, there won't be much to slow you down. Just make sure that you trust your car and that you top off the tank in Circle and Jordan.

    Oh, and even with a 65 or 70 mph speed limit, trying to drive 650 to 700 miles a day is going to prove to be too much. If you absolutely
    have to, you might pull off 600 if you eschew all stops, but 500-550 will give you time for meals, gas and restroom breaks, and a couple
    of stops to exercise the dog. Do NOT believe the time estimates you get from software mapping programs.


  3. Default where to stay over night in Montana?

    Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely follow it. I was kind-of planning stopping overnight a few hours short of Glacier at a hotel--the only reason I didn't include that in the plan I posted is because I'm worried I won't be able to find a reasonably priced one (under $50), and I haven't yet figured out where I'll pass lodging along the way. Maybe you could recommend one? It doesn't have to be a few hours short--if you can think of a decent, cheap hotel anywhere from about the halfway point beyond, that would be great.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Great Falls has a Motel 6 and Super 8, but their rates are considerably higher than $50 a night in July. The normal "mid-priced" chains are over $100. However, there are plenty of hotels in town. Cheapest one that came up at was Extended Stay America, and I don't know if they rent rooms for only one night.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the tip, glc. I'll probably stop there, or somewhere closer to Shelby.

    Mark Edit: Jumping in here (so it doesn't get too confusing...) There is a great motel right on the edge of the park in downtown Great Falls -- and a very nice beer brew pub in walking distance).

    The thing you need to remember is that motels in the smaller towns (like Shelby) will fill up much faster in the summer months due to swim meets and other athletic tournaments.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-15-2009 at 12:15 AM. Reason: More infor

  6. Default Seattle to Humbug State Park, OR

    I'm driving from Minneapolis to Seattle, and would love to drive from there to the Oregon coast, eventually hitting Humbug Mountain State Park, and then, time permitting, further down, possibly into the Redwood area of CA. I'm wondering which route is best from Seattle to Humbug? Or advice about traveling down the OR coast is general? I'm not just talking "most practical,"--I'm looking for something both practical and scenic. Are there places you'd recommend stopping along the way?

    I'm also wondering if anyone here has camped at the various state parks or private campgrounds located along the OR and northern CA coast, and if you have any advice? I'm looking at Humbug and Lighthouse in OR, and the "lost highway"/Redwood in CA...

    Thanks, preemptively!

    Last edited by Marie86; 04-14-2009 at 09:07 PM. Reason: Spelling and whatnot

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Just about all of the state parks along the coast

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie86 View Post
    I'm also wondering if anyone here has camped at the various state parks
    Oregon State Parks are some of the nicest in the country -- Over the years, I've probably stayed at all of them. From memory, because I can't reach my trip journals from here -- Beverly Beach is hard to beat. Here are some field reports you need to read and think about -- excellent advice therein.

    Peter Thody looks at Crater Lake

    Ten days on the road from California Redwoods to Seattle

    An excellent overview of the PNW threads,

    One of my favorite roads north of Eureka, California (Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway)

    Avenue of the Giants -- South of Eureka

    Just a few ideas to get you started!


  8. Default

    Oh, golden. Thanks a lot, Mark.


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