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  1. Default Seattle to Raleigh NC

    I will be moving from Seattle to Raleigh at the end of May. Can anyone suggest a route?

    I will be driving a 16ft moving truck while towing a car, with my wife and a dog. I would like to cover about 500 miles a day, so I will need to stop at motels along the way that are dog friendly (female yellow lab). I would like to avoid bad weather, and drive the flattest route possible.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default rural interstates

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Personally, I think driving in cities with traffic is far more challenging in a moving truck and trailer than traveling over mountains.

    The route I would take would probably be to head down to Salt Lake City, take I-80 across Nebraska, the NE-2 shortcut at Lincoln to I-29, then I-70/I-64 from KC to West Virginia and then down I-77. Other than KC and StL, you pretty much avoid big cities on this route, and it should be fairly easy for you.

    There are several other choice that you could pick from, all would be about 3000 miles, so you'd be looking at 5 overnight stops.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Just Plan ahead

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Weather, of course, can't be known this far in advance. So your best option is to have options. Generally, the shortest route is best because it leaves yo on the road, and at the mercy of the elements, for the shortest possible time. In your case that is I-90 east to Chicago and then I-65 to Indianapolis, I-70 to Dayton, US-35 to Charleston, WV, I-77 to just in side North Carolina, US-52 to Winston-Salem and I-40 to Raleigh. If weather looks unfavorable on that route a day or two before you leave, then you can consider an alternate route: I-90/I-82/I-84 down to the Salt lake City area, I-80 to Lincoln and NE-2 to I-29 and Kansas City where you'd pick up I-70 to St. Louis, I-64 to Charleston and then continue as above. This alternative is only about 60 miles longer than the shorter first route and so should only cost you about an hour more of driving.

    Interstate highways are built to specifications that limit grades to 6%, so as long as you stay on them through mountainous areas you should be fine. The dog will present an additional obstacle, so what I'd suggest you do is figure out ahead of time roughly where you'll be staying each night and do your comparison shopping from home. I make your stops along the first route roughly Missoula, Miles City, Fargo, Madison, and Dayton, That's 6 relatively easy days of just under 500 miles. The alternative is 5 harder days of over 560 miles each. But knowing where you'll end the day let's you surf the web (just search on {cityname motel}), find a good affordable motel near the highway and call ahead to determine their pet policy. Again, if the weather turns against you and you have to take the alternative route. You can usually cancel motel reservations on 24 hours notice without penalty, and then you can just determine hew stop over spots for your new route and repeat the process. But my guess is that by May the weather will not be anywhere near as iffy as it is at this time of year.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I believe that all Motel 6's are pet friendly - allowing one pet per room.

    I just ran the route on Microsoft S&T, biasing it completely toward Interstate highways and breaking it down to 6 days. Route is as follows, with an adjustment from personal experience (stay away from Chicago):

    I-90 to Billings
    I-94 to Madison
    I-90 to Rockford
    I-39 to Bloomington
    I-74 to Indy
    I-65 to Louisville
    I-64 to Charleston
    I-77 to outside Mount Airy
    I-74/US-52 to Winston-Salem
    I-40 to Raleigh

    Use appropriate bypasses around major cities.

    Overnight stops near:

    Last edited by glc; 04-04-2009 at 10:54 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Welcome to Raleigh

    Hello future neighbor,

    A couple of fine-tuning points and an opinion:

    Taking I-80 east of Salt Lake City best involves not ever entering SLC. You'll see on the map that I-84 passes through Ogden, some 30 miles north of SLC, and at a point around 30 miles east of Ogden it joins I-80 east towards WY. Taking that route also avoids the 12-13 mile grade to Parley's Summit, immediately east of SLC, a ride which picks up around 3,500' of elevation, only to lose it immediately east of Park City. Not much reason to climb that one.

    Closer to here, I'd have a look at the distance involved in dropping down to either Nashville or Knoxville and connecting to I-40 there for the remainder of the drive to Raleigh. It's been nearly 7 years since I drove it, but the stretch of I-77 south of Charleston, WV was very hilly and the concrete was as rough as any Interstate I've ever driven. By contrast, passing through the Blue Ridge and Smokies before and after Asheville is rather quick, with just a few long grades. Most of I-40 is asphalt, too.

    And by all means, if you come down I-77 from Charleston to Winston-Salem, take I-74 from near Mt Airy to Winston-Salem instead of US 52. US 52 is the old road (replaced by I-77 and I-74) from Winston to Wytheville, VA, and it's two lane and terribly curvy.

    Have a safe trip here. You'll be arriving just about the time summertime weather kicks in.


  6. Default Thanks and more details

    Thanks for the replies and advice everyone! We're trying to pin down a definite route so we can figure out where we'll be stopping, find hotels that will take the dog, etc. We do plan on taking 6 days for the trip (about 500 miles a day). We are NOT experienced roadtrippers. The only long trip we've really done was Seattle to Phoenix in 2 days (stopping in SLC). There's no way we're going to try to do that many miles per day on this trip!

    I did some looking around on different sites - Mapquest, Yahoo, Google, Rand Mcnally - and got several routes.

    They all show us going from Seattle to Billings on I-90. Then one route takes us north on I-94 to Fargo, Minneapolis, Chicago, down to Indianapolis, and over to Charleston. I would think we'd want to avoid Chicago though, so I'm not sure about that option?

    The others show us staying on I-90 to Sioux Falls and then either going down I-29 and over on I-80 to DesMoines, and I-74 to Peoria, Indianapolis, Dayton, Charleston


    From Sioux Falls, staying on I-29 down to Kansas City, over to St. Louis, Louisville, Charleston.

    Do all of these seem okay? Advantages or disadvantages?? A few of you guys mentioned going down to SLC and over on 80 through Nebraska, but the websites I tried didn't show that route and it looks longer on the map. Are there any particular advantages to going that way?

    My wife and I are both total wimps about heights and mountain roads with terrible overhangs! Traffic doesn't bother us so much since we're used to driving in Seattle - but then we haven't driven a moving van with a tow dolly around Seattle!

    Thanks for any further advice - we really appreciate the help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Did you examine my suggested route closely?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default as was stated

    The simple fact of your trip is that there are probably 100 different combinations of routes that will get you to your destination, and they'd all be about the same distance and time to travel. There just is no one right answer to this question.

    If you are traveling on an interstate highway, you're talking about roads that simply don't have steep climbs, sharp turns, or big dropoffs. All interstate highways have certain standards that they must be built to, even when going across mountains.

    And, I would certainly try driving a large van, with a trailer, that is about 3 times longer than what you typically drive and has significant blindspots in traffic before you declare that its not a problem! Its not to say it can't be done, but its certainly not the same as driving a car in bumper to bumper traffic.

    Personally, of all the routes suggested, I-94 is the only one I really wouldn't take, simply because that's going to route you into both Minneapolis and Chicago, which can easily be avoided by using I-90 to Sioux Falls and then south on I-29 to either I-80 or I-70 as you've listed. Even if you used GLC's option of taking I-94 to Madison, but bypassing Chicago with I-39 at Rockford, its a little big shorter and faster to use the route via Sioux Falls and Peoria, plus you'd avoid the tollway at Rockford.

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