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  1. Default Vermont to Wyoming

    Hi everyone — I'm so glad I found this forum! I've already learned a lot in preparation for a trip from Vermont to Laramie, Wyoming, early in August. My boyfriend and I are making the drive to move me out to grad school in Laramie, and we're planning on making stops in Door County, Wisconsin, Mankato, Minnesota, and South Dakota to visit friends and family. So far, our initial itinerary looks like this:

    VT to Grand Rapids, MI
    13 hours, 735 miles.
    Saturday, Aug. 7

    Grand Rapids, MI to Ludington, MI (to catch SS Badger carferry across Lake Michigan)
    Ludington Dock
    Arrive at dock by 8 a.m. for 9 a.m. ferry departure. (Leave Grand Rapids by 6:30 a.m.)
    Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI by ferry, arrive 12 p.m.
    Mantiwoc to Sister Bay, WI. Arrive mid-afternoon.
    Sunday, Aug. 8

    Sister Bay, WI to Mankato, MN
    Approximately 8 hours driving time, 431 miles.
    Tuesday, Aug. 10

    Mankato, MN to Sioux Falls, SD
    Approximately 2.75 hours driving time.
    Thursday, Aug. 12

    Sioux Falls, SD to Laramie, WY
    Approximately 10.75 hours driving time.
    Saturday, Aug. 14

    Our priority is to push through the two long days of driving time on either end, with an emphasis on seeing family and friends at each stop rather than sight-seeing along the way. (I'm anticipating having to make this drive three more times before my graduate degree is finished, so there's plenty of time for that later!)

    My biggest question at this point is, is it feasible for two people to make a 735-mile drive in one day? We'll be leaving bright and early, and anticipate switching off every few hours. Still, it's a long day, and I'd love to hear from others who have done it.

    Second, is it worth tying in a trip to Niagara Falls on our first day? It seems like we could time it so we hit Niagara Falls around lunchtime, then head west. What do you think?

    We're sticking to major roadways, but if you've driving portions of the route before, and have any must-see, must-stop suggestions, please let me know!

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

    Default Take two.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    We recommend travelling no more than the 600 mile mark to have a safe and bearable journey and therefor I would recommend you visit Niagara and take 2 day's for the journey if possible.

    With 2 people in the car you would still both need to be awake while the car is moving, or the driver is left alone and unattended as the two of you are starting to feel weary and at your most vulnerable. I haven't driven in that area but realistically I would say you are looking at a 15 hour day just to cover the distance with no time for anything else but short stops for food and bathroom breaks and to fill up with gas. That is going to leave you pretty exhausted when needing to rise at 5 am for a 6am [ish] start to get to your Ferry on time.

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

    Default common issues

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    You really slipped into some common errors - the biggest is that you've assumed that the travel time estimates you got from a computer are accurate. They never are - and they use a very faulty premise that you'll never have to stop for food, fuel, restrooms, etc.

    Your first day really is too much time on the road. Once you factor in basic stops and remember that you'll be crossing the border twice (you do have your passports already, right?), if you're able to complete this trip in under 14 hours I'd be quite surprised. If this was just a one day trip, with two driver, you might be able to do it, but when you're going to have to wake up early the next day, you're going to really start running into problems that will linger throughout your trip.

    You certainly don't have time to start adding additional stops at places like Niagara Falls when even considering a trip that is more than 100 miles beyond what we recommend for the upper end even of a speed run.

    I assume you have noticed that the ferry is rather expensive ($200 for the one way trip), but if you're going to get to the dock an hour before your 9am departure, you're going to need to plan to leave GR by 6 am to cover the 100 miles.

    One other things you might consider is looking if you plan to Ferry, is to take the Lake Express Ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee. It usually costs a little more, but the ferry leaves later in the morning (1015) and is 60 miles closer to Grand Rapids. This would mean you could cut down your miles on day one rather signficantly. If you planned to stop in Flint MI, you'd still have a very long day on day one at 650 miles, but then you could stop for a night of rest. You'd still be able to leave the next day at 6am, but you'd be able to make that Ferry too, and since the Lake Express takes half the time as the SS Badger, you'd likely get to Door County earlier too!

    Your final day from Sioux Falls to Laramie at 650 miles is another day that's a little longer than we recommend. You should be able to do that, but not in 11 hours. It will take you at least 12-13.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the help, everyone. I'll definitely see what I can do to split up that first chunk of the trip. The 600-mile rule is helpful, and we're definitely building in more time for our schedule than straight "on the road" time. (That is to say, I know a 10-hour day won't mean 10 hours door to door, but a bit longer with breaks.) I've also realized we'll be setting out for Laramie from Yankton, rather than Sioux Falls, which will cut down on the distance a little bit.

    On that note, does anyone recommend any one path from Yankton to Laramie over the other? One way is obviously cutting down to 80, and then it's a straight shot, but has anyone driven 20 across the northern portion of the state?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Yes, I've driven 20 all the way across NE. It's a good fast road, but from a mileage standpoint it's no shorter than the fastest way - US-81/US-30/I-80. It will actually be considerably slower due to the lower speed limit and the prevalence of towns.

    No way are you gonna get from Yankton to Laramie in only 10.75 hours, by the way. That's gonna be at least 12 hours. Sister Bay to Mankato is also more like 10 hours. Mankato to Yankton is 5 hours.

  6. #6


    A general rule also is to add 25% to whatever google maps or other mapping programs tell you when considering stoppage time.

    A 10 hour drive will take 12.5 hours for example.

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