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Old 09-14-2013, 07:50 AM   #1
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Planning Advice - Maine to Chicago

I'm doing some more arm chair planning as we gear up to go fulltime next year. We plan to spend next summer and early fall in the northeast, Maine mostly, which is one of our favorite states of all time. We need to stop in and see relatives in the Chicago area in mid to late October. Looking at a map, I see 3 basic routes: 1) stay in the US, south of the Great Lakes and drive thru New York, PA and Ohio, 2) go into Canada staying north of Lakes Ontario and Erie and drive through Michigan or 3) go into Canada staying north of all the Great Lakes except for Lake Superior and drive south through Wisconsin.

We love natural scenery and wildlife and prefer state and national parks over commercial campgrounds. From this perspective, one of the Canadian routes seems best but when I look at the rates for Canadian parks, they seem ridiculously high especially when you add in the daily use fee per person. I'm curious to see what others have to think about these routes and what your experiences were. Are there any must-see sights along the way and is there any low or no cost boondocking available?
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:03 AM   #2
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I just know when you hit Ohio and get to cleveland you get smacked with a bunch of tolls ($$$$$$). We went south to Hwy 20 south of Cleveland and took it to Illinois. We really enjoyed that part of OHIO it was a great drive. We came out to I57 and headed to Chicago.

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Old 09-14-2013, 08:12 AM   #3
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Keep on mind that lots of campgrounds in Ohio, Pennsylvania, NY will begin closing in October.

If you need hookups, plan accordingly.


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Old 09-14-2013, 08:50 AM   #4
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I just know when you hit Ohio and get to cleveland you get smacked with a bunch of tolls ($$$$$$). We went south to Hwy 20 south of Cleveland and took it to Illinois. We really enjoyed that part of OHIO it was a great drive. We came out to I57 and headed to Chicago.

Brian

OK, I'm trying to figure this one out. The only toll road I know of in northern Ohio is the turnpike. Stay off of it, and it's free!

Also, if you want to stay in the Cleveland area and explore the south shore of Lake Erie & the islands, you've got some great camping options!
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:36 AM   #5
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And, Ohio state parks are very nice, also take Passport America Sun-Thurs.


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Old 09-14-2013, 01:36 PM   #6
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Maine - Water or Mountains?

If you want to see some beautiful scenery in Maine, you can't miss Acadia National Park. If your rig isn't too big, Blackwoods Campground in the national park is great. There are many commercial campgrounds outside the park that are very nice. US 1 runs up and down the coast and is very scenic. Of course, where we live in Boothbay Harbor, you'll find a great place to explore lighthouses, islands, fishing, and of course lobster! There are also many great state parks inland where it really becomes a wilderness. Baxter State Park is one of the best. Have a great trip!
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:00 PM   #7
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Try to avoid Acadia during July and probably August, if you can, or be prepared to be shoulder to shoulder to the unwashed masses. Not really unwashed, but really masses.

Crazy, crazy busy during those times.

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Old 09-14-2013, 05:04 PM   #8
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courtesy parking

And if you decide to go through northern Ohio, you can courtesy park with us. We have full hookups and are just off of the highways. We are about 25 mi. sw of Cleveland. You can "pm" us when you are coming this direction.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:41 PM   #9
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My wife and I met Larry and Lou at the first TAC ralley and they let us Stay at their house on our drive back. It was great and they were wonderful people. We left their house and took 20 the rest of the way to Illinois. Larry and Lou again thanks for letting Adrienne and I stay at your place. This is my last year teaching and hopefully we can make it back to Ohio. You folks live in a beautiful State.

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Old 09-14-2013, 08:42 PM   #10
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Thanks

Thanks for the kind words, Brian. We would love for you to come back to our driveway! Happy trails!
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:42 AM   #11
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You can't beat Michigan's U.P. for scenery in early October. There are many, many camping options and many state campgrounds are open all year..lot's of boobdocking too. Traveling from east to west, there's the Soo locks, then Tehguanamem(spelling?) Falls, then Picture Rocks Nat'l Lakeshore, then the beautiful shorline of Lake Superior through Marquette, then on to Porkupine mtns. From there you can continue on to the Apostle islands and/or go south through Wisconsin. Sounds like a great adventure. One thing you will like about the UP is the lack of tourists and crowds, and the friendly locals.
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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Try to avoid Acadia during July and probably August, if you can, or be prepared to be shoulder to shoulder to the unwashed masses. Not really unwashed, but really masses.

Crazy, crazy busy during those times.

Maggie
We been many, many times and always go after Labor Day. Kids are back in school, the weather is cool, bugs are gone and the park is much less crowded. Bargains can often be had since the retailers will be closing for the season soon. I agree it's the best time to go.
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:27 PM   #13
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If you want to see some beautiful scenery in Maine, you can't miss Acadia National Park. If your rig isn't too big, Blackwoods Campground in the national park is great. There are many commercial campgrounds outside the park that are very nice. US 1 runs up and down the coast and is very scenic. Of course, where we live in Boothbay Harbor, you'll find a great place to explore lighthouses, islands, fishing, and of course lobster! There are also many great state parks inland where it really becomes a wilderness. Baxter State Park is one of the best. Have a great trip!
We been countless times. Maine is our favorite state and Acadia our favorite park. We retire next summer and Maine is first on our list of places to visit as we begin our fulltiming lifestyle. Previous visits were never more than a week and we always stayed in inns or hotels. This time will be staying a month or more and camping in our new AIrstream. We can't wait.
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:32 PM   #14
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You can't beat Michigan's U.P. for scenery in early October. There are many, many camping options and many state campgrounds are open all year..lot's of boobdocking too. Traveling from east to west, there's the Soo locks, then Tehguanamem(spelling?) Falls, then Picture Rocks Nat'l Lakeshore, then the beautiful shorline of Lake Superior through Marquette, then on to Porkupine mtns. From there you can continue on to the Apostle islands and/or go south through Wisconsin. Sounds like a great adventure. One thing you will like about the UP is the lack of tourists and crowds, and the friendly locals.
I've always read good things about Michigan's U.P. I remember seeing some beautiful photographs of fall foliage from this area which made me want to go there and see this for myself. Right now, I'm leaning for taking this route.
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