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  1. Default Boston to Seattle at the end of August - Advice Please!


    I just stumbled onto this forum the other day while researching how to plan my trip. Let me share some ideas and if anyone has done this, tell me if this is possible within my time constraints. I am Moving to Maui on September First - my flight is at 10:25 am, but first I have to drop off my car at the ship at 8:00 AM. So, this trip isn't by choice, but I figured why not see some sights along the way, who knows if I will ever be back here. I am going with a friend, and both the ship and flight are from Seattle, WA.

    Ideally we would like to leave the 24, 25, 26th of August, and arrive in Seattle on the 31st night, or just go straight to the ship at 8:00 AM on 9/1.

    I think we are going to be taking I-90 Most of the way, so here is what I have thought of so far. If you think I have enough time to do this, please let me know, and if you know of any other sites close to I-90 that I could have time for, that would be appreciated as well. Thanks!

    Idea for my Itinerary:
    8/25 (Don't know if I can make it to Chicago in one day, but I should be able to!)
    Leave Boston 6-8 AM
    Drive through Cleveland - Stop at rock and roll hall of fame
    Drive to Chicago - Stay the night

    Leave Chicago early, by 9 am
    Drive to Milwaukee - Check out the city (not sure of sights)
    Arrive in Keystone SD, Spend the night

    Wake up 7 am
    Explore Badlands and Mount Rushmore
    By 11 AM be on the road to Yellowstone
    Get to Yellowstone - Maybe Drive on to Montana
    Stay somewhere between Yellowstone and Seattle

    Get up early - Drive to Seattle.

    So I don't know if that itinerary works, but if that all fit, I could have 3 more days to play around in between my dates, if there were more interesting things to do along the way, and some might not be realistic, like going straight from boston to chicago. If we have to stay places, we ideally would like to stay cheap $40 a night total (20 per person) or just sleep in our car.

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

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

    Default sorry, try again

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Sorry to tell you, your current plan just is not workable.

    Boston to Chicago is a 1,000 mile drive. That's not something you should try to do in one day, and there's no way you could possibly stop at the RR HoF or anywhere else if you did. Realistically, you're looking at a 20 hour trip here, which should be done in 2 days. Even if you did it in one, you'd be completely exhausted and in no shape to continue traveling the next day.

    Your next day is just as bad, another nearly 1000 mile day that will take more hours than you have, and certainly will not leave any time for a detour to Milwaukee or anywhere else. Again, even as a one shot trip we wouldn't recommend this kind of drivng, but on a multi-day trip it really becomes impossible.

    The same theme continues on day three. Seeing 2 national parks, a national monument and driving about 700 miles (about 13 hours on the road) just isn't going to be physically possible.

    In the real world, you need to limit your travel days to the 500-600 mile range, which puts you on the road for 8-10 hours a day. It leaves time for some short stops, and a little exploration, but even still you're spending a lot of time on the road. Keeping to those guidelines will require the 3 "extra" days that you have, but trust me when I say, you really do need them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Too Many Miles, Too Many Stops, Too Little Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums!

    In order to make this trip work, you are going to have to treat it like what it is, work. This is over 3,000 miles, not something you toss off in 4 days while also having a grand adventure. You need to budget 6 full days to making the drive and that means leaving on the 24th. That will leave you a couple of hours each day to visit places like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Badlands, and maybe even a quick detour to Yellowstone. But if you try to do this in 4 days you will end up exhausted, having had a terrible time, and will possibly even literally miss the boat.


  4. Default

    Thanks for your advice guys - here is my new/realistic itinerary. I tried to drive around 600ish miles a day and broke it down. Please let me know if you think this would work, or if you would make any adjustments. Mahalo!

    Day 1 Boston -> Cleveland 638 mi
    8/26/09 -leave Boston @ 7am
    -arrive in Cleveland by 4:30pm
    -go to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (closes @ 5:30pm; $22)
    -spend night

    Day 2 Cleveland -(344mi)> Chicago -(92mi)> Milwaukee 436mi
    8/27/09 -leave Cleveland @ 8am
    -arrive in Chicago around 1pm
    -explore Chicago and have dinner @ 5pm
    -leave for Milwaukee by 7pm
    -arrive in Milwaukee by 9pm
    -spend night

    Day 3 Milwaukee -> Sioux Falls 502mi
    8/28/09 -leave Milwaukee @ 9am
    -arrive in Sioux Falls by 4pm
    -check out the city and sights
    -spend night

    Day 4 Sioux Falls -(366mi)> Badlands -(161mi)> Gillette 528mi
    8/29/09 -leave Sioux Falls @ 9am
    -arrive in Badlands around 2pm
    -explore Badlands and visit Mount Rushmore until 5pm
    -have dinner in Keystone
    -leave by 7pm to Gillette, WY @ 9:30pm
    -spend night

    Day 5 Gillette -(360mi)> Yellowstone -(222mi)> Butte 582mi
    8/30/09 -leave Gillette @ 8am
    -arrive in Yellowstone @ 2pm
    -explore Yellowstone and have dinner; leave by 6pm
    -arrive in Butte, MT @ 10pm
    -spend night

    Day 6 Butte -> Seattle 595mi
    8/31/09 -leave Butte by 10am
    -check out any interesting sights along the way
    -arrive in Seattle around 6pm
    -spend night

    Day 7 Seattle -> Maui 2640mi
    9/1/09 -wake up by 7:30 to take car to the ship @ 8am
    -take taxi to the airport; 15 min ride from the pier
    -catch flight @ 10:35am
    -arrive in Maui @ 1:35pm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Long days.

    Your drive times are wildly optimistic and look as though they have come straight from a mapping program where they allow no time for Gas,food or bathroom breaks or traffic delays. As a tried and tested average we recommend timing to 55mph in the East and 57 mph in the West on Interstate and highway driving. That would put your first days travel at approx 11.5 hours, or 1 hour after the R@R hall of fame has closed.
    I think you are going to need an extra three days to make it an enjoyable trip and to see some sights.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default better but

    This trip is at least on the reasonable level of what you can safely do, but you are still being extremely optimistic about how much you can actually do in a day. Most of the driving days will actually take around 2-3 hours more time on the road than you are factoring, which is really going to cut down on the sightseeing time you are hoping for. Just in general, when you are trying to schedule a roadtrip down to the hour, things probably aren't going to go as planned.

    If this is the time you have, then you can certainly work with it, and you can make the trip safely. Just don't be surprised when you end up doing a lot less sightseeing than you are hoping for.

  7. Default Boston to Seattle

    I moved from Boston (Salem, actually) to Seattle in 1997. It's a long drive, and as previously noted will need more time if you want to see some sights. Boston to Buffalo alone via the Mass Pike and the NY Thruway is 8 hours--I know from several trips to my original home town of Toronto. And Chicago traffic should never be underestimated; this is, after all, the nation's third largest city.

    That said, there's a lot along I-90 if you allow more time to see it. Niagara Falls would be a good detour in the Buffalo area. Never been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but timing your arrival in Cleveland to when it is open makes a lot of sense. If you like offbeat attractions that don't require a great deal of time to see, the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD is fun. And while the Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth MN will hardly require much more time than an average potty break, it's a photo op not to be missed.

    I like the Badlands/Mt Rushmore area of SD. The Badlands should be seen in early morning or near sunset for the best pictures. Wall Drug is in this area--you'll be seeing billboards for it as soon as you cross the state line. Don't know what eating opportunities there are in Keystone--my last visit was in 2001 and I only remember souvenir shops. You may need to go back to Rapid City. And you don't want to miss Devil's Tower over the border in Wyoming.

    You will hit mountains in western Montana. One of the best used bookstores I have ever seen is in the tiny town of Alberton. And Old Mission State Park in Idaho makes a good stop. Once you get close to Seattle, however, you will hit traffic. It will probably start around Issaquah. The afternoon commute from the east side suburbs into the city over the I-90 or SR 520 floating bridge is just as bad, if not worse, than traffic flowing in the opposite direction. As someone who lives in the city and works in the east side suburbs I know.

    You can drive from Boston to Seattle in 6 days if you don't mind seeing nothing but the interstate. But if you really want a road trip worth remembering I would recommend more time.

  8. Default

    thanks for the advice, that really is the only time that I have, it's a road trip out of necessity. We really have no problem driving, and if we find we are behind on time, we wont get a hotel and will just drive through the night.

    Also, I know some of my times are optimistic, but aren't some parts of the road 85 mph? I mean we will probably be traveling at 70-75 most of the way anyway.

    I hope the Jolly Green Giant Statue is on our route!

  9. #9

    Default Beartooth Highway

    Hello ekardz,

    You're getting some very sound advice concerning overall daily travel distances and average speeds. And no, I don't think the posted limits are > 75 mph anywhere in the Dakotas or Montana. Yes, traffic will run along at 80 to 83 or so, with some faster traffic, but once you consider fuel, nature, and general rest/recovery stops, it's very tough to average much over 55mph from the beginning to the end of a day. Far less than that for the segment suggested below.

    I would only add my personal preference for a route from the Rapid City area on into Montana: I'd head directly west to Billings, thence down US 212 through Red Lodge and Cooke City into Yellowstone via the Beartooth Highway (the name for US 212 west of Red Lodge. That will allow you to experience a unique above-timberline drive, enter the Park via a rather less-traveled route, run a partial "loop" around the Park's interior, and come out at Gardiner or even West Yellowstone, MT to head back north towards I-90. One could easily spend a full day just from Red Lodge through the Park and back to I-90. There won't be much time for stops--a dozen or dozen and a half short picture and leg-stretch stops is probably it, but boy-o-boy will you love the Beartooth Highway!

    Last edited by Foy; 07-13-2009 at 07:45 AM. Reason: Posted speed limit observations

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

    Default nope

    There are no places in the US with an 85 mph speed limit. The highest some stretches of Interstate in West Texas that get up to 80, but throughout your trip, 75 will be the highest you see.

    However, driving at or slightly above those limits, over the course of a day, you can't average it. The stops you need to make for fuel/food/restrooms alone will drop that average down significantly. Even maintaining a 60 mph average requires you to be traveling above 80 for most of the day, and being very methodical to keep your stops short. Any sightseeing stops, even for something as small as to take a picture of the Jolly Green Giant will put your average down in the 57-55 range, which is what is we use as a rule of thumb around here.

    Driving through the night so that you can do more sightseeing is not smart, and will make you a danger on the roadways. Driving without proper rest is not something to joke around with. You've got the time to make this trip safely, but you need to make sure you keep that safety as your first priority, and sightseeing your a distant second.

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