San Francisco to Maine in December
I plan on driving from San Francisco to Eastern Canada Actually. I'm relocating and leaving here sometime in late november or early December. I am driving my 77 Land Crusier and would liek to take my time and drive on state highways, secnic routes etc. I've doen the x country thing on interstates and would like to stay away from them as much as possible.
Does any one have a recommended route??
Consider the weather...
You'll need to study the use of these roads in winter weather, perhaps Gen can comment on some of them as they go through her backyard! Here's how I'd go, if I could.
SR4 TO SR88 TO US50 (CARSON CITY). US50 TO US6 AT DELTA UT; US6 TO US191 (IN UTAH); US191 T0 US40 AT DUCHESNE; US40 TO US34 AT GRANBY CO; US34 TO HASTINGS NE; US281 FROM HASTINGS TO US30 AT GRAND ISLAND NE; US30 TO US169 NEAR OGDEN IA; US169 NORTH TO US18 AT ALGONA; US18 EAST TO NEW HAMPTON IA; US63 NORTH TO US10 AT ELLSWORTH MN; US10 EAST TO MANITOWOC WI -- FERRY ACROSS LAKE MICHIGAN -- AT LUDINGTON MI, US31 NORTH TO MACKINAC BRIDGE, I-75 NORTH TO CANADA 17; CANADA 17 EAST TO ROUTE 62, RTE 62 TO ROUTE 148, RTE148 TO AND THROUGH OTTAWA, THEN CONTINUE TO LACHUTE AND ONTO ROUTE 158; RTE158 TO ST LIN; RTE 339 TO RTE 138 AT SAINT SULPICE; RTE 138 TO FERRY AT LOTBINIERE, FERRY, THEN RTE 132 UP ST LAWRENCE SEAWAY TO CANADA 185 AT RIVIERE DU LOUP; CAN 185 TO CAN 2, AND ON TO YOUR FINAL DESTINATION, WHEREVER THAT MAY BE!
ROUGHLY 4,000 MILES IN 77 HOURS AVERAGE DRIVING TIME.
First of all, on many Quebec maps, they show you I-50 between Hull and Mirabel, but the 2 lane way ends somewhere in the middle and you have to take a little twisted road for a few hours until you get to Mirabel. Not that it's not nice, you follow the side of the Outaouais River, but I just don't know what the road conditions are like in winter...
Highway 401 would be much safer and direct to my advice (even though Ottawa is definitly a must see), since main roads are usually better maintained in the winter, but don't expect to see much sceneries. 401 follows the St. Lawrence Coast but you have to get off the highway to actually see it.
If you go that way, be sure to stop at Kingston (very nice and clean town) and Brockville (home of the 1 000 islands dressing and of the islands of the same name). Too bad you're going in the winter, because there are nice campgrounds near where you can watch the tiny islands by night, it's magnificient.
The ferry's not a bad idea, but usually our ferries are seasonal...Since that one in Lotbiniere is not one of the major crossing point, to my knowledge, it'll probably be closed until next spring... Route 132 and 138 are both magnificient once you hit Quebec City, I never drove them in December, but as major roads, I'm pretty sure they're well maintained.
But that doesn't mean the ice, the snow and the high winds won't be there though. Be sure to bring lots of warm clothing (hat, scarf, etc) and keep them with you inside the car in case your car slides off and you're stuck in a gutter somewhere. Bring plenty of winter windshield washer (minus 40 degrees Celsius and below), window scrapers, charged cell phone and or cb, an emergency aluminium poncho, be sure to have great winter tires on especially if you plan on taking secondary roads. Make sure your heater is working correctly, bring spare headlights, something to put under your wheels if you get stuck in the snow.
While on route 132, don't forget to stop once in a while to eat seafood! If route 132 is too snowy, you can always take I-20 but you'll sure miss a lot of great places and sceneries. There's one thing I can guarantee, you won't hit any traffic jams in the whole province once you passed Montreal except if there's a car collision.
If you're into winter sports, you'll find many opportunities along the way, just ask around, every area as its own specialities : alpine skiing, snowshoe, cross-country skiing, winter hiking, skiing off the trails, ice skating, ice fishing, sliding. There's also a two or three dwellings ice hotel built near Quebec City every year, people come from around the world to sleep there. A night there is pretty expensive I think, but it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. People there are simply lying on an ice bed with nothing more than a deer skin...the funny thing is, they're not freezing at all! Apparently it's like sleeping in an igloo or something, the ice and snow have isolating powers... God I wish I could have one of those deer skins!:-)lol
However, if you go through Maine, be sure to hit the White Mountains region (I-93) in NH, especially if you're a ski lover. Usually the route is ok in winter but watch out for ice and occasional snowstorm typical to these moutain areas. Also, apparently Northern Maine sceneries are worth the detour (Mt Katahdin area).
Have a great trip!
Ontario part of trip
You're only talking about late November or early December, so roads through ONTARIO shouldn't be that bad. Some years we hardly even have snow by Christmas (sob!!).
To avoid possible bad roads, snowstorms, you might want to come past Chicago into Michigan & cross at SARNIA Ontario rather than coming down through Northern Ontario from the Sault or Manitoulin.
From SARNIA, Ontario --
#402 east to #21 north past Grand Bend, to #83 east to #23 northeast (to Listowel) to #9 east (name change #31) to #48 north & east, to #12 south to #7 east.
Follow #7 all the way to #417 near OTTAWA.
This route will take you through flat farmland, rolling hills, interesting small villages & towns, 2 lanes (one lane each way), 80 kilometres per hour max.