Boston to Seattle: Something New
I have a lot of free time on my hands this winter, and I want to go from Boston to Seattle via I-90 sometime next month. Basically I want to relocate to the west and start a new life. As Horace Greeley said, "Go west, young man, go west".
To anyone who's made the 3000+ mile venture from coast to coast on I-90, please tell me what it's like. I know all about the metric road signs in Syracuse, the lack of a divider in Montana, and the high peaks in South Dakota. I'll probably spend about 5-6 days traveling. How much will it cost in tolls from Springfield, MA to Seattle?
Also, can someone who's been to both cities describe for me the differences between a cold town like Boston and a northwest rainy town like Seattle?
The road that started long-distance trips for me!
I've been as far as Rockford, IL from MA (then we took US-20) and from Murdo, SD to Ranchester, WY, on I-90.
There won't be any tolls from Springfield to the NY state line (depending on where you get on), as the Western part of MA doesn't pay tolls, unless they're coming East (I believe it's exits 1-6).
Look for the striped cows in Ludlow (on the North side of the highway).
In Blandford, MA, there is a sign denoting high elevation (1724 feet), the next time the road gets this high is in Oacoma, SD (1729 feet) - I don't know if there's a sign there.
I-90 in NY, from MA to PA, is $12.15. Not a real exciting journey.
It's been awhile, but I seem to remember that I-80/90 in Ohio was around $5.00 (that was in '97). There is a hairpin turn on I-90 in Cleveland.
Indiana was relatively flat. Gary, IN, is a very disturbing, post-apocalyptic view of a city. It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. Think Monsanto in Chicopee, MA, but very dirty and much bigger. This prepares you for...
....the dumbest toll system on earth, Illinois - the majority of toll booths aren't located off the highway, like the Mass Pike, but are in the middle of the road, so every few miles, you have to stop and throw some change in a basket, the amount varies due to some quantum equation that takes into account the color of your hair and what you had for breakfast. It is, perhaps, the most frustrating section of highway I have ever travelled. The sheer stupidity of that setup cannot be overstated.
South Dakota (Wall Drug...) and Wyoming were by far my favorite parts of the road (not having been on all of it, I reserve further judgment). The scenery is just so much different than what us Easterners are used to. It's very beautiful in Summer - Winter should add a special touch.
Good luck and enjoy your trip. Let us know if you see anything special.
I can't contrast the cities for you as I've not spent any time in Boston much. But the biggest difference between east and west -- and I'm only HALF joking -- is trees. The East has them. The West doesn't. Yes, yes, I KNOW we have forests out here, but generally speaking...
Travel west of the Big Muddy and you can see the horizon, often 100 miles or more away. The views are expansive, and standing in it, looking around, you can feel very small sometimes. In the east, there's not always sky visible even on a clear day, you're entangled and enveloped (and to a western boy's mind), SMOTHERED by the green canopy. Also, we have vast extremes of elevation in the west -- my own state (Arizona) has land ranging from BELOW sea level to alpine -- more than 12,000 ft and that is similar in most western states.
They call Montana the "Big Sky Country" (but the same moniker could be applied to MOST western states). You'll either love it, or you'll hate it. Myself, I can't imagine living anywhere else.
You'll still have to pay a toll to get off of I-90. If you travel between any exits 1-5, the ride is free. You think the Turnpike Authority would let you leave for free? Uh uh. :)
And since when does Springfied = Boston? :)
I haven't taken I-90 the whole way, but I've taken it as far as St. Paul.
tolls & trees
Strange - I just realized that whenever I've driven into NY, my point of entry was never between exits 1-6!
Either way, the toll is minimal, compared to the Thruway.
Every time I come back East, I feel smothered by the lack of sky, too.
Well, I'll be leaving from Springfield sometime next month. I know it's about $12 in tolls from Lee, MA to Buffalo, NY.
I can't wait to get out west. I went to Vegas once on a gentleman's weekend during college, but other than that I've hardly ever ventured from the east side of the Hudson River.
boston vs seattle
i have driven between Long Island and seattle at least once a year for the past several years. I believe I pay somewhere around 6 in tolls through Ohio and only a couple i Indiana. (you would think i would have this info memerized) Anyway if you set aside 25$ you should be fine.
Bob may have been right about no trees through most of the midwest and western states but not when it comes to Seattle. It is called the Emerald city for a reason. I personally find the people in Boston to be friendlier (and I grew up in WA state much of that time in seattle). Seattle is more laid back and outdoorsy. I have run with some very diverse crowds in boston from artsy to business to collegiate and i find them overall to be more intellectual. (not necessarily smarter just better spoken maybe is a better way to put it)
Contrary to popular belief it doesnt always rain in seattle. they actually get less annual rainfall than new york. they just have more frequent short bursts of rain as the clouds dump before passing over the cascades.
The drive can be monotonous but you will go through just about every type of landscape america has to offer. My personal favorite is the badlands at sunset. Indiana is annoying but takes only about 1 1/2 hours to get through. south Dakota can be boring if you arent into stopping at any or all of the little touristy spots like Wall Drug, the Dances with wolves place. of cours Mt. Rushmore is a must. Central Washington in the worst. Most people dont realize it is practically desert. I dont know how much of that stuff will be open in the winter so the drive might be more boring than it is in the summer.
Anyway when you arrive in Seattle have fun exploring. Take time for a 3-4 day weekend trip down the oregon coast into california and the redwoods.(farther if you can take the time)go into Canada, vancouver is one of the most beautiful places. you can take the ferry from seattle. explore all the national forests in the pacific northwest. explore all of western canada. You will experience people and places so different from the east coast it is like two different countries some times.(not counting canada in that statement)Have fun and be safe. good luck.
I have had that notion in my head since i first ran away to california from New York at age 14.Been comin and goin ever since.Anyway, whatever you do....DON'T GO GREYHOUND..
Tolls are minimal once you get out of the godforsaken North East... (at least as far as Chicago) - I made a power run to Chicago via Rt 80, then on to 90 last Winter, made it in 14 hours. The sights up to this point are a lot better in Summer, but it's still a nice ride.
If you have the time, you gotta dip a foot in the Great Lakes somewhere(just to say you were there); check out Green Bay Wisconsin (I think one of the best places to live in the US). Chicago traffic makes Long Island look like Nirvana.
On the Western Front, before you settle down to work, check out the Boeing Museum in Seattle, and the Timberline Lodge (I think that's the name, the hotel used for ex. shots in 'The Shining').
Good Luck on your Quest!
Boston to Seattle
My son and his girlfriend did this in September. They really enjoyed it, however they did run into snow even in September! Not the usual dusting that we may sometimes get here in New England but several inches of the whitestuff! Also even in September obviously they ran into colder weather than they anticipated. I know as a result of the snow they wantedto drive the Highway to the Sun and could not as it was closed due to the snow and would not re-open until spring. The scenery was gorgeous!I will have him,if he has a chance to post something here on your thread.