Although you are not so good with technology, I highly recommend that you download the free app called iExit. I’ve found it to be very helpful even on short trips.
You select your state, highway and direction. You can then scroll through a list of every exit, including rest areas. I find THAT very helpful.
Select an exit and you will see a sorted list of gas stations, hotels, restaurants, hospitals and other places of interest. Sometimes a special hotel rate will appear. I believe this app is sponsored by one of the free travel booklets you get at the rest areas.
I also find it helpful to have a travel app such as WAZE. They can sometimes reroute you around accidents, construction etc. If not, they can at least show you how far ahead the congestion continues. KNOWING you have a three mile backup is much less trying on the nerves than NOT knowing! Also, pack an “emergency” snack box to be opened only during such delays. Some snacks, a bottle of water and maybe a tuna lunch kit will make such delays much more bearable.
And whatever you drive, make sure you have a good set of all weather tires.
Have a safe trip.
Let's just run down the two best all-Interstate options you have. BTW, I used Groton as your starting point.
1) Shortest: I-95 to Rye NY, I-287 around NYC, I-80 through PA and OH where it merges with I-90, and I-90 the rest of the way. You can, of course use options like staying on I-80 just past Chicago and then I-39 north to rejoin I-90. That route is roughly 2,960 mi. (city center to city center).
2) glc's route: As listed I-84/I-81/I-80/I-76/I-71/I-70/I-74/I-80/I-29/I-90 (with bypasses). That comes in at 3,100 mi., but saves a lot on tolls, certainly more than you'd spend on gas for the extra 150 mi. or so, and while CT-9 from Groton to Hartford is technically not an Interstate, it is of Interstate quality.
If you're starting from New Haven (DLA) or Waterbury (ACE) you'll have to make slight adjustments to your initial route, but the object is to get around NYC as easily as possible and then onto I-80 ASAP. The basics of the main portion would still be the same. Given a choice, I'd probably go with glc's route which is only a bit longer and does avoid some major cities and the attendant tolls.
Oh, and BTW, there are very nice 'rest areas' all along whatever route you choose.
Last edited by AZBuck; 02-18-2021 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Route Correction
If you are in fact from Groton, avoid Hartford by taking CT-9 to Middletown, then CT-66 to I-691 to I-84 if you are taking my route.
Even though this is a road tripping forum, I also ride the rails when it makes sense. If the Army is willing, I would explore options for a family type room on Amtrak from Hartford to Seattle. All meals are included (at least on the D.C. to Chicago and Chicago to Seattle legs) and would likely be delivered to your room. So ma ny things would be simplified.
Thank you. Never heard of that app but it sounds like a very useful tool for the tool box. Is amazing how far we have come with technology...I could only imagine the arduous task of having to map and trace your interstate trip using hardcopy maps. Although coming to think of it is a skill that if mastered could be a life saver. Love the tuna suggestion 😋
Thank you for that detailed explanation. I cannot thank you enough. This has got to be the most help I've ever had in my life. I'm thankful for there are still people who not only take their passion for the road seriously but are also very supportive in sharing it with others. 🙏🏽
And they always work, regardless of cell service.
The hilighter that I applied to the pages of my paper maps tracing my cross-country motorcycle trip in 1983 (post-Navy service celebration trip) is still legible. Try THAT with your fancy computer files......
I am also one to prefer paper maps and guides. Technology is only as good as its weakest link. Too many times, a GPS will lead you down the wrong path. You DO have to use common sense when deciding to rely on a GPS. A paper map, paired with some common sense and road signs, should lead you on.
As far as iExit, etc., I prefer a book called "The Next Exit". It gives the same information, probably more detailed than the electronic version, and I can look ahead a whole lot easier than on my phone.
The only apps I really, really like when we travel, are TripAdvisor, and GasBuddy. The latter helps me find out what the gas/fuel prices are in various places, so we can plan fuel stops to take advantage of "better deals". Still, we've been known to see a sign at an exit and immediately get off, though we hadn't planned on fuel there, if the price was better. TripAdvisor is good for both lodging reviews/prices, and food reviews/prices. For reviews - if one person had a bad experience and the rest of the reviews were good, we go.