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Old 02-23-2014, 03:39 PM   #1
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Advice Needed on Drive Across northern States in Winter

We are leaving in a week with our truck (filled with camping gear) to drive from Ontario to British Columbia via Alberta to purchase a 2006 Safari 25'. (We sold the 1998). We are going around Chicago across to Minnesota, up to N. Dakota, and to Montana before turning north to Medicine Hat, Alberta.
We would greatly appreciate any advice on reasonable driving distances (considering it's still winter), best routes, and accommodation for overnight stays in any of these states.
I will post again for advice after we pick up the AS and start heading to Washington, Oregon, and California.
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:56 PM   #2
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I don't know much at all about the route. However, here is what Google Maps says it the quickest way.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Ferg...d49.261226!3e0

Personally, I'd stay out of the US, those yanks are a PITA. (Especially since the Olympic hockey match)

Ken
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:03 PM   #3
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Why do you want to go down below Chicago?

Winter travel over unfamiliar road needs good preparation for emergency survival. This includes a cell phone. Have you got US coverage? Roaming charges are expensive. Have you got US Travel Insurance? Why pay expensive tolls in that Chicago area? Fuel is cheaper BUT our $ is now 12% discount and going down.
(I will not be going to the USA this year. As Ken says, they are not going to treat us well this year! )


Did you consider going the Mackinac and across #2 up into Manitoba or Saskatchewan to shorten the time in the USA? No tolls on that route last time we travelled it and I think you will find it is shorter?

The suggested route has some 2 lane highway but most of #2 is now twined.

Travel time should be in daylight hours only this time of year.

Dave
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:15 PM   #4
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Hey curio
We have driven highway 2 several times during the summer. Duluth to Seatle and another to Glacier national park. It's a lot less traveled than the other interstate routes, we enjoy that. There is a nice Minn state park at grand forks it's in town and on the river.
The upper Midwest is going to be fairly cold this next week, dress warm.
Tim
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:32 PM   #5
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Just watch the weather - if any significant snow is forecast for the Benton Harbor area, avoid the 80/94 corridor. The snow belt around the south shore of Lake Michigan can be dangerous. Otherwise, just follow the 294 beltway around the city of Chicago. Going through downtown makes sense only if you want to stop there for dinner or to visit someone.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:20 AM   #6
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Good advice so far! We are re-thinking our route. Thank you!
We joined the WBCCI club last summer and found the members very friendly and helpful, especially the USA members. I'm sure that a hockey game hasn't changed that especially when you consider that only 4 players on the Canadian Olympic team still play for Canada in the NHL - the remainder play for the USA!
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:30 AM   #7
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Depending upon where in BC you're picking up your new Airstream, I would consider staying on I-90 as long as possible (gas prices and road quality). If you have to go through Medicine Hat, the crossing north of Havre, Montana (Wild Horse) and Hwy 41 to Medicine Hat would be a good bet.

Safe travels!!
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Old 02-24-2014, 03:24 PM   #8
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I have a short 2 min. video clip of a segent of US #2 West on this thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f313...ml#post1419478

The hockey comments were in jest. Everyone accepts Canada is #1!

Dave

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Originally Posted by curioscat View Post
Good advice so far! We are re-thinking our route. Thank you!
We joined the WBCCI club last summer and found the members very friendly and helpful, especially the USA members. I'm sure that a hockey game hasn't changed that especially when you consider that only 4 players on the Canadian Olympic team still play for Canada in the NHL - the remainder play for the USA!
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Old 02-24-2014, 03:39 PM   #9
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A lot depends upon when you are driving. We did the southern Ontario to Vancouver route several years ago in April. I was keen to take extra time and drive the North Shore of Lake Superior, but the problem was that none of the campgrounds listed in then-Woodall's guide were open yet. This wasn't a problem in the US. Plus we have family near Chicago, so that settled it. You have to get around the Great Lakes somehow!

Bring lots of US change, as there are a lot of toll booths around Chicago.

If you're leaving soon, arguably the roads should be better further south.

We've not done the car ferry across Lake Michigan (from Ludington, MI) but that could save you the nasty traffic congestion around the toe of Lake Michigan if you're up for an adventure.

It is always a good idea to avoid rush-hour in a big city. Other than Chicago and the Twin Cities, it wasn't a problem to do most of the route on I-94 to I-90. I can't remember where we turned north to Canada again, but since we had no reason to go through Alberta, I think it was west of where you want to be (probably via Whitefish, MT).

In addition to the great advice you've gotten above, if you travel with a pet, be sure to bring its rabies certificate. We've seldom been asked to produce it, but customs officials on either side of the border can ask for it. Also, both sides are pretty strict about your quantity of liquor; and the US, about fresh produce. If you check the customs websites, you'll find what info you need.

Have a wonderful journey!
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:47 PM   #10
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I drove to western Canada from Burlington 4 times over the last year, three times with the Airstream. Twice we went around Chicago and twice over the North Shore. Massey Farm even caught me once. The North Shore is by far the easiest and most beautiful, lacking the heavy congestion of the interstates and the mess around Chicago. You would miss The Mall of America, the peace of #2, and the clatter of Williston. (North Dakota's Fort McMurray) but there is something awesome about rubbing shoulders with the folks who live along the lakes, perch on the shield, and survive on the prairie. And the site of Calgary and the Rocky Mountains as seen from the Trans Canada makes one understand why so many Canadians are rushing to Alberta. So the question really becomes, when stranded in the inevitable blizzard, do I want to be in Fargo or Moose Jaw? I prefer the far less stressful Trans Canada. Jim
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:17 PM   #11
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Right on Jim! But it may no be so scenic next week when they are planning to go.

Dave
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