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  1. Default Help planning a trip from Chicago, IL to Rockville, MD in mid to late September

    Hi. I'm new on here. I am planning a trip from Chicago, IL to Rockville, MD (just outside of D.C.) and I was wondering what the best route to take would be. I am very interested in the Appalachians and little towns as well as big cities. I would like to know of any annoyances or tolls as well as local eccentricities. Any information would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much!

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

    Default the big variable

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The big question that will make a huge impact on what you can do depends on the amount of time you have available.

    The most direct route, this is a 680 mile trip which is possible in one very long day. It would likely take you about 14 hours, and is more than we'd recommend for a multi-day trip, but as a one day sprint you could do it. I'll also say that if this is a solo trip, it could be a bit too much too.

    Doing that would involve taking I-80 to I-76 to I-70 - so basically you'd be taking the toll roads all the way across Indiana, Ohio, and PA. You also really would not have time to make any stops beyond the basics for food, fuel, etc

    Another option that would pretty much eliminate the tolls and would let you spend a little more time in the mountains would be to go down to Indianapolis, then take I-70 across to I-79 near Pittsburgh, and then use I-68 through West Virginia and Northern Maryland. That adds 75 more miles, and really makes it too far for a one day trip, however if you've got more time, this is an option that is certainly worth exploring.

  3. Default

    I would like to do it in one day, but I really do want to see the Appalachians. Would the first route you mentioned touch them at all (I can't tell with the map I have)? Do you know how much the toll roads cost? Thank you so very much!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Tolls once you get out of IL for a standard Class 1 vehicle:

    Indiana Toll Road from Burns Harbor to OH: $4.18 I-Pass, $7.30 cash
    Ohio Turnpike from IN to PA: $10.25 I-Pass, $15.00 cash
    PA Turnpike from OH to Breezewood: $14.16 I-Pass, $14.20 cash

    The route through Indianapolis is toll-free, 80 miles longer, and takes an extra hour and a half.

    I would not do either way in one day myself. If you do, I'd get plenty of sleep the couple of nights before and get on the road at the crack of dawn. You will still be doing the most scenic part of the trip after dark. You certainly would not have time to get off the Interstate and explore ANY small towns.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default it really doesn't matter

    The reality is if you are going to do this trip in one day, you're basically on the brink of doing what is safe/reasonable, and as such you simply don't have the luxury to worry about what is along the way.

    Any route there is going to touch the mountains, and the only option that is at all reasonable for a one day trip spends a little time in the mountains, but you're not going to get much of a feel beyond zipping through at 70 mph. If you want to "see" the Applalachians, you really need to plan to stop someone along the way for the night.

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