Route Comparisons Across The Central States
I'm interested in some feedback from other travelers regarding the various major interstate routes across the Great Plains/Central States:
* I-10 across Texas
* I-40/Route 66 across Oklahoma/Texas panhandle
* I-70 through Kansas
* I-80 across Nebraska
* I-90 through South Dakota
* I-94 across North Dakota
Which would be the most scenic? Least scenic? Overrated/underrated?
Easiest to drive/most tiresome?
Most/least interesting for attractions?
I have some opinions of my own, but would like to hear some comments and comparisons from others.
Unlike some posters, I actually enjoy driving on Interstates. The only route, mentioned above, that I have not driven several times is I-94 across N. Dakota.
I-10 across Texas in the winter months can be an "E-Ticket Ride" with frequent ice storms. I like those endless miles moving east to west -- almost a meditative drive.
I-40 crosses some gorgeous country and is probably my choice for relatively rapid travel in the southern routes. Although again, ice storms in the Texas panhandle can be notorious in December.
I-70 across Nebraska. I am not particularily fond of this stretch, although the section that crosses the divide in Colorado is one of my all-time favorite Interstate roadways. Plus the Nebraska section is ROUGH in places!
I-80 where it parallels the Platte River is very scenic. One of these days, I plan to stop at the "The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument" near Kearney, Neb if only for the recognition of the sheer audacity of the builders in placing it directly over the roadway.
I-90 For scenic variety -- great access to the Badlands and the various monuments in eastern South Dakota. I-90 is always my choice for winter weather travel, often it is too darned cold to snow heavily.
I'm with you, Mark. I enjoy interstates too, and in fact many of them are marvels of engineering and offer some good scenery as well.
I-94 is a bit off the beaten path for most travelers. I'd be interested in learning more about I-94, since my only experience with it was just a few miles out in far western North Dakota.
It seems I-10 receives an awful lot of bad-mouthing. True, there are many grueling stretches of emptiness. But the scattered rugged sections (such as the Pecos River basin) offer nice geographical benchmarks along the way. Few routes can compare in offering such quintessetial scenery that transitions from east to west. I especially enjoy driving it eastbound, as the first tentative oak trees appear in anticipation of the splendid Hill Country, promising greenery ahead and relief from those hundreds upon hundreds of miles of arid landscape. The absolute worst part of I-10 of course, is the spectre of traversing traffic-choked Metro Houston. Rating: B minus
I-40 is like a reliable old friend. I see it as not so much spectacular as it is gentle and mesmerizing, worthy of songs, offering tantalizing glimpses of even greater things beyond the horizon. Like I-10, the hilly, wooded country extends surprisingly far to the west, ending abruptly at the Sooner Road exit on the eastern outskirts of Oklahoma City. An hour or so later, you start seeing the first miniature gypsum buttes representing the real West. A very nice transition. Rating: B plus
I-70 offers a single caveat - it is immensely enjoyable in May, at the height of spring, when the ocean of green rolls away into the endless horizon, speckled by millions of wildflowers. If by chance you're traversing Kansas on a day when storms are rumored, you recognize you're in Tornado Alley, and the heart quickens noticeably as you eye with suspicion those towering thunderheads looming around you. The rest of the year, well, I-70 doesn't offer a whole lot. If you travel westbound, you know the Rockies are dead ahead, somewhere, perhaps years away, and by the time you finally sight them, you are more relieved than exhilerated - then you remember that you'll probably hit Denver's Mixing Bowl at precisely 5 pm, and so all bets are off. Rating: D plus
There's no denying the splendid history of I-80 as it intertwines with the Platte on the mutual journey across Nebraska. This was truly the Route 66 of the 19th Century. Beyond Ogallala you finally part company with the muddy companion, and you feel a tinge of remorse. But if you're heading eastbound, when you first see the Platte, you moan in realization of the long miles ahead. Not even the weird obelisk outside Kearney can relive the sheer tedium of this particular route, and you curse the Platte as a pathetic and fickle river. Rating: C minus
I-90 is the most underrated of the great east-west interstates. For some reason, it seems to go by faster than the others....is it the scenic variety or the comfortable distance between towns? One minute you're chuckling at the quirky Corn Place, then soon you're crossing the Missouri, then after a while it's the Badlands, which quickly point towards the looming dome of the Black Hills. I recommend I-90 as often as possible, and yes, at any time of year! Rating: A minus
I-94 is not that interesting. the painted canyon right before you hit montana is beautiful but that is about the only thing.
I-94 not scenic at all?
Ever hear of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Kristy?
I-94 cuts right through the southern end of the park, and I believe it even intersects with Park Road, the scenic drive that loops through the park.
Further east, it brings you within miles of the Wisconsin Dells.
It's not the most scenic route in the country, but it's surely underrated
yes i have heard of it. maybe I should have been more specific. i was very tired when i wrote that and was referring strictly to North Dakota which is the state mentioned in the original post. Reading the post today when i have had more than 3 hours of sleep it is obvious he meant the whole interstate not just North dakota. i apologize for my sleep deprived airhead response. : )i drive I-94 once a year(sometimes I take I-90) from Ny to Seattle and it has some very beautiful scenery especially in Montana and through wisconsin like angus said. again i am sorry and promise not to make anymore sleep deprived responses.
Sleep-deprived is the only kind I make
We don't mind those sleep-deprived responses here! Truth be told, I think ALL of my postings are rendered from such a position!
lol glad to hear i am not the only one. i usually operate very well on very little sleep but apparently not this time. thanks for making me feel like less of an airhead. i am really strawberry blonde and sometime the blonde is more prevelant than the red!!!!
I've posted during times of insomnia as well...sometimes from late nights in the office.
Listen, I love this country too much (not necessarily from a patriotic standpoint) to criticize any stretch of road too much...but if I had to pick one state above all others that TRULY SUCKS TO DRIVE THROUGH, North Dakota gets my vote.
Theodore Roosevelt NP aside, of course.
(and if I knew you were strawberry blonde, Kristy, I'd have been more likely to hit on you than jump all over your posting ;)
it's not too late to start! : ) lol