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  1. Default Chilliwack BC to Wisconsin in November

    Hey, I am trying to determine which route is safest to travel this time of year. (Yes it is essential and I will have preapproval for crossing the Canada/US border.) I'm hoping to get to Wisconsin (Beaver Dam) as quickly as possible as my father is in hospice care. Probably will be resting in my vehicle on the way. Given current world situation I plan on stocking a cooler so we don't have to stop at restaurants or anything except fuel (and coffee!). But I've never done this drive before and I want to make sure we arrive safely, most importantly!

    I will be leaving from Chilliwack, BC, Canada and heading to Beaver Dam WI. Google Maps is showing me 3 route options...

    #1 down through Washington, Idaho and along the lower half of Wyoming and up through Nebraska and Iowa.

    #2 taking I90 through to Billings, then down through South Dakota, onto Hwy 212/34, which turns back into I90.

    #3 taking I90 to Billings, onto I94 through North Dakota, Minnesota and back to I90.

    I've never driven through any of these states before, so I would appreciate any wisdom you can share so I can arrive safely to be with my family.

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

    Default Arriving safe and actually arriving !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You really need to rethink this. I understand you want to get there quickly but you also want to get there safely, to do that you need at least 3 overnight stops in a proper bed and have extra time in hand incase of weather delays. Do not take Google time estimates as a guide, it presumes you can travel at the speed limit for every minute of the journey withoput ever having to stop for food, rest or physical/mental breaks, nor construction and congestion. The only way to do this trip safely is by treating it as a marathon and travelling no more than 600 miles a day and thats in good conditions ! Even this will be tiring as fatigue slowly builds and leaves you weary and far your best, thats why its important to get proper rest in a proper bed, not curled up in a cold vehicle that you have spent all day in.

    To get there safe and well you need 3 overnight stops. Anything less will put you and all those families you share the road with at risk !! !!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default An insiduous, invisible enemy.

    The advice above is sound and solid. Treat this as a marathon. No matter how well you feel at the end of that first day, stop and have a good night's sleep. The following days do exactly the same. An athlete does not extend himself at the start of a race, but goes steady, so that when he nears the finish, there is still energy to sprint to the finish. If you sprint at the start, fatigue is likely to set in. This insiduous enemy of the long distance roadtripper builds up day after day. By the time you are aware of it, you will have already been travelling affected for a very long time.

    For safety's sake, follow the advice above. 600 miles will see you on the road for about eleven hours. Having two drivers does not alter the advice. One needs to be alert to keep the driver alert at all times.

    Have a safe trip.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    I've "been there, done that" with a father in hospice care; my prayers are with you. But on to the subject at

    If you're in that big of a hurry (as it seems you are), this might be a time to don a mask, hop a plane, and rent a car on the other end. Driving non-stop with only snoozes in the car is dangerous, as others have pointed out. much snoozing can you do in a car that will probably need to be running while you do that in order to keep you warm? It's not the restful sleep that you'd get in a bed.

    I think every one of the regulars here, myself included, has driven somewhere non-stop trying to snooze along the way. We know from experience that you don't get much sleep.


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


    I have to agree with what others have posted. Despite COVID, it seems like an airplane is really your safest option here. While it's not an absolute, airplanes do seem to be a relatively low transmission point for the virus, and the odds of you catching it there are certainly smaller than the odds of you having a serious problem by trying to force yourself to drive too far, too fast, with too little rest.

    Trying to drive from BC to Wisconsin, only taking rest brakes in your car (especially in November, where your overnight temperatures will almost certainly be well below freezing) is not at all safe. Nor is trying to use coffee to trick your body into thinking it doesn't need rest - it may work for a bit, but then the inevitable caffeine crash will be even more dangerous. Fatigue is a killer and at more than 2,000 miles, you need to stop multiple times for a full night of sleep to safely carry out this drive, and that assumes good weather. This time of year, snow and ice can also force you to need to slow down or even stop to wait for conditions to improve.

    If you do drive, For the route, stick to the interstates. That could be either I-90 or I-94 - there's not a huge difference there, and weather likely will be the biggest factor to consider. Going all the way down to I-80 is a pretty massive detour that would add additional DAYS to your travel. Shortcuts like the US-212 that google loves to suggest don't really end up saving time vs. sticking to I-90, especially not in winter. But again, if you drive, you need to plan for 3 overnight stops - in a real bed - where you can get getting the kind of rest you need to be SAFE while behind the wheel.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default More to Safety than Route

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yes, most long driving trips will offer multiple possible routes, and your is no exception. But the important part of that last sentence is just three words: "long driving trips". In all seriousness this is a roughly 2,000 mi/3,000 km drive that will require at least three overnight stops for sleep in order to be done safely. If you're truly worried about "arriv[ing] safely to be with [your] family", then getting a good night's sleep each night is far more important than which route you take.

    So, first as to route. No offense to the Trans-Canada highway (which I love), but you'll want to drop down into the U.S. right at the start of your trip and get on the Interstate Highway System. Those are all four (or more) lane, divided, and controlled access roads that are the safest and most consistently open of all tans-continental roads. Also, crossing into the U.S. close to home means that you won't have to do a lot of backtracking if there is a problem at the border. Once in the U.S. I-90 east from Seattle to Billings MT is your best route across the Rockies. From Billings, you have a choice of taking either I-90 or I-94 which will meet up again in western Wisconsin. My personal preferred route out of Billings would be I-90, even though it's a bit longer, because it stays farther south and avoids the only major metropolitan area on this leg: Minneapolis/St. Paul. But do check the weather ahead of you when you reach Billings and be ready to take I-94 should the forecast be problematic for South Dakota or southern Minnesota. In either case, from Portage WI, your route into Beaver Dam would entail a sequence of state and national routes: WI-33 east, US-51 south, WI-16 east and US-151 north.

    Now back to the need for sleep, which is at least as important as the need for speed. I have driven moderately long distances with nothing more than an overnight 'rest' in the car. But always, and usually about midway through that second day, I start to hit a wall of fatigue that forces me to get off the road for safety reasons. The simple fact is that while you too can spend one night in your car you're going to need at least two overnights where you actually spend 8 hours plus in a real bed. As long as you take a few simple precautions, your exposure to the coronavirus should be minimal. Studies are now showing that this virus is not spread through surface contact but is airborne instead. In addition, travel is so reduced in the U.S. these days that you should have no trouble finding lodging. What you can do is ask for a room that hasn't been occupied for a few days. Inn keepers should be so happy for your business that they should gladly and easily fill this request. I do applaud your planning to bring your food with you and minimize personal contact along the way. There are many, many outlets where you can get coffee without a lot of contact, using drive-throughs such as McDonald's and the like, Starbucks (a bit pricey for a cup of joe if you ask me), and Dunkin' Doughnuts among others.

    Whatever you end up deciding to do, do NOT push yourself beyond your limits. It would be the ultimate shame for you to stay 'safe' from the virus only to fall asleep behind the wheel and kill yourself and perhaps others.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you must drive, I'd recommend the following:

    Cross the border at BC-11 Abbotsford/Sumas, take WA-9 and WA-542 to I-5.
    Take I-5 to I-405 to I-90.
    Stay on I-90 to Portage WI, then take WI-33 to Beaver Dam.

    PLAN on overnight stays in Missoula MT, Buffalo WY, and Sioux Falls SD.

    If you take I-94 instead of I-90, change the second 2 overnights to Miles City MT and Alexandria MN. The best way through MSP is I-694.

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