Cleveland to LA
I am moving from Cleveland to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks and I have not yet completely decided on my route. I know that I want to spend a couple of days in Milwaukee to visit some family, and I'd also like to make a pit stop in St. Louis.
I am leaving Cleveland on the 26th and driving to Milwaukee, leaving Milwaukee the 28th and having lunch in St. Louis.
From there, I am not sure if it would be better to take the southern route through Oklahoma or the northern route through Colorado. I know that the southern route is supposedly shorter, but what would be the most scenic drive? I would assume through Colorado. Is there anything else I might want to consider? Does driving across Kansas suck as much as I think it will?
I have given myself about 5-6 days to complete this trip, so I am not going to be doing a lot of site seeing, but I want to make it as enjoyable of a journey as possible. Any places of interest I might want to check out?
For scenic routes, you really can't beat I-70 through Colorado and Utah. But beware! you will be tempted to stop frequently in the many wayside pullouts to admire the scenery.
Lifey who never tires of I-70
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First of all if your "5-6 days to complete this trip" includes the "couple of days in Milwaukee" then you simply don't have time to make the trip safely, let alone ANY sight seeing. The drive you've laid out is around 2650 miles by the slightly shorter southern route and so will take 5 days minimum to drive, not 3 or 4. If you really do want to spend 2 days in Milwaukee, then your going to have to add at least a seventh day to your schedule.
Secondly, going by way of Colorado adds only about 50 miles to your total drive, hardly worth mentioning. Since I-70 through Colorado and Utah is one of the most scenic highways in the Interstate system, I would recommend going that way. And to be honest, Kansas will be exactly what you make of it. If all you do is try to go through on the freeway and expect the road to entertain you, then you're in for a disappointment. But to be honest, some of my most memorable experiences on the road have occurred while crossing Kansas at a slightly slower pace on the older U.S. Highway system, with my eyes open and a willingness to accept what I found as I found it.
I too share some of Buck's concern about how much time you think this trip will take. The line about having lunch in St. Louis after leaving Milwaukee sets off some alarm bells. That's a 400 mile trip that takes about 7 hours in the best of conditions. While you can certainly cover more miles than that in a full day on the road, its far more than just a half day "morning" drive.
I would agree that taking I-70 through Colorado is a great choice, but if you have the kind of timeline you are talking about, I'd take I-80 through Nebraska, and skip the extra miles needed to go to St. Louis. I suspect you'll still need more time than you are anticipating this trip to take.
Thanks for the tips everyone. Now that I look at the map, I am obviously trying to cram way too much driving into a short amount of time. I have reworked my potential route a little bit, tell me if you think this is reasonable or if you think I'm gonna need another day.
8/26 - Cleveland to Milwaukee
8/27 - day in Milwaukee
8/28 - Milwuakee to Lincoln, NE
8/29 - Lincoln, NE to Denver
8/30 - Denver to St. George
8/31 - St. George to L.A.
Cleveland to Milwaukee - expect delays getting through or around Chicago. There really isn't a good way to get through or around right now due to multiple construction projects. Avoid the whole area between around 2 to 8 pm CDT, adjust your start time accordingly. I think what I might do is this - stay on the Indiana toll road to the Chicago Skyway (I-90) onto the Dan Ryan Expy - then at the Loop, stay on I-94 (Kennedy Expy, then Edens Expy) - and where I-94 exits off, stay on US-41 to the Wisconsin border to rejoin I-94. Perhaps Michael may have a better suggestion.
The rest of your plan looks very reasonable.
I don't have to go up into the North Suburbs of Chicago very often, but I'd tend to avoid the Skyway and the Dan Ryan. If it were me, I'd probably take I-80/94 to I-294 (the tri-state tollway) and follow that all the way around until it rejoins I-94. I-294 can back up, especially if you are paying cash, but its usually a bit easier than trying to go through downtown. If you don't have an I-pass, and the cash toll plazas are backed up, you can "run" the tolls, and pay them online. Just make sure you go back ASAP and pay them, or you'll get a bill in the mail complete with a $20 fine for each plaza you went through.
There also is some major construction on I-94 from the WI/IL state line all the way to the south side of Milwaukee, so that could slow you down a bit too.
From what I can see, there are 3 major construction projects on the Tri-State right now, which will have the speed limit reduced to 45 mph on a large portion. That's why I suggested going through town and up US-41, the Dan Ryan project is finally completed.
If you can follow the jargon, the best real-time traffic reports in the Chicago area are on WBBM 780 AM - they have traffic and weather every 10 minutes "on the 8's".