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  1. Default Road trip to Washington DC from Minneapolis

    Iím moving my son to Washington DC in a couple of weeks. Looking for suggestions about the best route to take considering Covid and places closing again. All suggestions or recommendations are greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,978

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    What are you using to make the move? Rental truck, car/truck, car/truck towing a trailer?

    I would recommend the following route to avoid the Chicago metro and excessive tolls:

    I-94/I-90/I-39 to Bloomington IL
    I-74 to Indy
    I-465 south bypass to I-70
    I-270 south bypass around Columbus
    I-70 to Washington PA
    I-79 to Morgantown
    I-68 to Hancock
    I-70 to Hagerstown
    I-270 to DC

    This is just over 1200 miles, you MIGHT be able to do this in 2 long days if you share the driving, but I'd spread it out more into a 3rd day, especially if it's a rental truck or you will be towing.

    What you need should be open. Hotels and gas stations are no problem.
    Restaurant seating may be an issue but you should be able to get food to go and use drive throughs, eat in the car, outside, or in hotel rooms. Bring hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves for fueling. Assume everywhere you go will have a mask ordinance, even if not, it's the smart thing to do.

    The only toll on this route will be I-90/I-39 between the WI/IL state line and Rockford.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,524

    Default

    Hi, welcome to RTA!

    My husband and I just got back from a trip to check on family, and it's possible to travel if you take certain precautions. As for routing, are you going to be driving a U-Haul truck or towing a trailer? That might affect the routing choices we can suggest. Sightseeing is the most difficult -- can't tell you how many things we had to remove from our trip!

    The route I'll suggest is one to avoid Chicago and some of the other huge cities: Take I-90/94 to I-39. At Bloomington, IL, pick up I-74 and take that to I-70. In PA, pick up I-79 and take it down to I-68 which will take you down to I-70 and into DC. It's a little over 1200 miles, and that can be about a 2-1/2 to 3 day drive if you have a U-Haul truck or are pulling a trailer. It also avoids all the toll roads except for a small portion of I-39 which is toll in IL.

    Precautions: take along hand sanitizer and hand sanitizing wipes. Use gloves to put in fuel, but if you feel they're cumbersome, then immediately wash your hands or use sanitizer after fueling! You might feel more comfortable bringing along your own hand soap. Take care using public restroom facilities and use hand sanitizer or wash your hands for 20 seconds!

    Hubby and I stayed in mid-range properties (Quality Inn and Comfort Inn) and found them to be very very clean. We brought our own pillows, though.

    Restaurants - well, yes, here's where the closures are more likely to be. They may be at "take out only" status, or "al fresco dining" (nice if it isn't 100 in the shade), or they may have dine-in. We found ourselves looking on TripAdvisor and calling a place as we approached, to ask "are you open for dine-in?" The vast majority had all staff in masks and gloves.

    Speaking of masks .... don't forget yours. Several, if you can, because they do get dropped, misplaced in the vehicle, etc.

    EDIT: I see GLC offered the same routing and same suggestions. We were typing at the same time! I won't delete mine because we have different details in our posts.

    Donna

  4. Default

    Thank you! Iím so happy that I found this site. We will be taking a u-haul truck one way. Iím thinking. I thought about driving my car too. So that we have a way to get around once we drop off the truck. Not sure. Looking forward to the road trip!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,978

    Default

    If you are going to be driving a truck and a car, each driving solo, plan on 3 full days to avoid fatigue.

  6. #6

    Default

    Three day should allow you to get into the DC metro area mid day which you want to do especially with a uHaul truck. While many are still working from home the traffic and rush hour is not for the faint hearted.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,524

    Default

    Another thing to think about, if one is driving a U-Haul truck and the other is driving the car, is *communication*. The U-Haul truck will not have the modern convenience of Blutooth phone handling, that a more modern car would have. Trying to contact each other could be frustrating. I'd suggest a pair of family radios with brand-new batteries. They're good if you get up to about a mile apart.

    Another thought would be to rent a car-trailer for the personal vehicle to ride 4-wheels up. It might be the same price as the extra fuel that the personal vehicle would take, would be less wear and tear on that vehicle. Just be prepared for it to need a good wash when you get to DC!

    The other thing that having the car will help with? Getting you back to MN. If you don't have it, you'll have to fly. The airlines have returned to stuffing as many folks into their jets as they have seats, and to me, driving is MUCH less risky than flying. Everytime my husband and I have to fly some place, one of us comes down with a cold or flu right after we get back. And that was BEFORE Covid-19!


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,978

    Default

    Look what U-Haul sells!

    Scosche Universal Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit with FM Transmitter and 10-Watt USB Car Charger
    List price:$34.99
    Price
    $23.95

    https://www.uhaul.com/MovingSupplies...harg/?id=22027

    Speaking of rental trucks - I don't know how big a truck you are renting, but U-Haul trucks all have gas engines. My nephew rented a 26 footer for a move from Michigan to California. They claim 10 miles per gallon, don't believe it. It had a Ford V-10 which is a notorious gas hog, he got 6 miles per gallon. Penske 22 and 26 footers are diesels, which should get at least 10 miles per gallon. Rates are competitive, and Penske also offers a 12% AAA member discount.
    Last edited by glc; 07-27-2020 at 10:36 AM. Reason: Added truck rental info

  9. Default Coincidence - with some differences and questions :)

    Just joined the forum - have this exact question - moving my son to DC area - so thank you Nawlins, glc, donna...
    My son has a car of his own and we will be driving a minivan - so here are my questions
    a) does the route you guys suggested make for some sight seeing along the way? we are not pressed for time
    b) should i consider hauling the car ('18 Civic) on a dolly behind the van ('12 Odyssey) - i think this is more $ than worth the convenience of us being in the same car
    c) should i buy a pair of two way radios to stay in touch - in case of bad cell signal

    thanks in advance!

    AK

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,975

    Default Good Route

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums!

    Yes, the basic routing outlined by various posters above is a good route between MSP and DC. While it is about 100 miles longer than the shortest possible route, it misses a lot of congested traffic around Chicago and Cleveland, it's still doable in three days of driving and it saves a LOT on tolls.

    As to your other questions...

    I would not put the car on a dolly. Your opinion may differ, but I consider one of the most enjoyable aspects of a RoadTrip to be the actual driving. Also putting the car on a dolly and towing it with the minivan might not even be the most fuel efficient combination. Then there's the fact that you'd both (all?) have to squeeze into the minivan. And it's just not that hard to stay together when driving a couple of vehicles. The trick is to let the slower vehicle (the minivan?) lead so that it doesn't drop too far behind the car. Also, this lets the car pull into the left lane and 'block' for the minivan when it has to pass slower traffic.

    I would think your cell phones would be fine. Using some new technology would make you more of a distracted driver than using devices you're already familiar with. And you simply don't have to stay in constant immediate contact with each other while on the road.

    There are many, many places to stop all along every highway and the suggested route covers the same basic geography as the shortest possible route while missing a good bit of the traffic.

    Don't hesitate to come back if you have more questions.

    AZBuck

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