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Old 08-26-2011, 08:13 PM   #1
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Route Advice Wanted

Some of you may know that I'm going on a long haul recovery mission in October. I'll be heading from my home in Ontario Canada crossing in to Michigan at Port Huron. From there I'll head west to Chicago. This is where I could use some advice or tips on roads routes etc. Mapquest wants to send me west on I-80 through Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming and on to near Twin Falls Idaho. I want to swing north from Chicago using I-94 through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and then down into Idaho to the Twin Falls area. This way I can drop in on some forum friends on the way out west. Does anyone have any tips on the northern route especially through Billings Montana and then south by the west side of Yellowstone into Idaho.
I'm going into unchartered waters for myself and would like to know what kind of roads, hills etc I'm headed for.
I will be definitely headed back east on I-80 al the way to Ohio and then headed south through Pennsylvania on I-70 to end up in Baltimore. The trip back east I will be in tow so any advice you can shed on this route will also be helpful.
Thanks so much for anything you have to say about this trip.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:38 PM   #2
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It's probably best that you are taking the "Northern" route first.When you get to the western part of your trip, this is where you will begin to run into the hills and start of the mountains and most likly SNOW about November. Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois ets will be flat. Again Nebraska and Iowa will start to have snow about November. You should know how to drive in that.
I'm in Davenport Iowa, about 15 miles before you cross the Mississippi just off of I 80. Sorry, but I don't have parking in town. There is a campground on 80 here that is open and it is by the Flying J which also has overnight. We also have a AS dealer/service in town. You should also have a big tail-wind heading east.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:54 PM   #3
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Thanks Mike I do live in Canada so I am very used to snow and driving in it. I am really wondering about the route from Idaho through Salt lake City Utah and through Wyoming to Nebraska. That's when I'll be in tow so would like to know what i'm facing. I'm assuming that the interstates are easy to negotiate but was wondering about the hills and mountains etc. The trailer is very light, only 1500lbs so it won't bother my truck but still like to know what I'm facing.
It won't be camp ready so I will be using hotels on the way so I don't need courtesy parking. Thanks for the heads up aout the campground and the Flying J anyway.
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:43 PM   #4
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Chris, when you approach Chicago on I 94 go on to I 80 till I 39 and you will avoid all the tolls and traffic of Chicago take I 39 north to Madison then connect back on I 94. We've done it a few times and it's so much easier and faster.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the heads up Doug. The first stop is just west of Madison.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:44 AM   #6
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If you route north of Yellowstone, there should not be many big hills to climb. Traveling west from Yellowstone is OK. Long down hill into Salmon Idaho but mostly flat afterward.

The only real climb on east bound I-80 is just out of Salt Lake City. Long hill but should be no problem for your TV. Once you are on top of the Colorado Plateau you will probably have some wind through UT & WY but no real seep grades. Otherwise it is just a long haul.

If the AS is a single axle you might consider getting a tire pressure monitoring system before you begin towing.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:47 AM   #7
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Chris,
We just did the Northern Route in May and June, following the trail of Lewis and Clark on the Journey of Discovery. It was WONDERFUL. Camp suggestions include Buffalo River State Park in western MN; and two camps in Medora, ND, but can't remember the names (we stayed at the private one, over the tracks); The Square Dance Center and Campground in Lolo, MT (I kid you not, nice people); and on the way back via the more southerly route, the Mountain Home RV Park on American Legion Blvd, Mt. Home, ID. The best place we've seen so far.

Also, don't miss the Enchanted Highway between Bismark and Dickenson, ND. Take it south to Regent, ND, from the Interstate and see all the metal sculptures, but start with the flying geese just NORTH of the highway at the Exit. Too Funny.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:34 PM   #8
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Thanks Eagle & Bear for the tips about the roads.
Greg Thanks also for the tips. I will be doing the motel thing as the trailer will not be towed on the ground and is definitely not camp ready.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Does anyone have any tips on the northern route especially through Billings Montana and then south by the west side of Yellowstone into Idaho.
I'm going into unchartered waters for myself and would like to know what kind of roads, hills etc I'm headed for.
I will be definitely headed back east on I-80 al the way to Ohio and then headed south through Pennsylvania on I-70 to end up in Baltimore. The trip back east I will be in tow so any advice you can shed on this route will also be helpful.
Thanks so much for anything you have to say about this trip.
Eastbound, I'm not familiar with Salt Lake City to Cheyenne, because I didn't drive it, but east of Cheyenne, you can count on it being relatively (almost eerily) flat through the rest of Wyoming, and especially Nebraska. Around North Platte, you'll see hills, but you won't drive through them. East of Omaha into Iowa, it becomes rolling hills that will hurt gas mileage but not your truck.

There are no challenging hills on I-80 east of Cheyenne and the quality of the road is quite good. There were no significant construction areas when we travelled it in early July. That may have changed.

One thing you should be aware of on I-80 is that there are sections that may cause porpoising, as a result of the concrete being laid in sections and curving up at the edges. Nebraska has made attempts to counteract this by cutting grooves where people normally drive, but there are still areas where you'll be bouncing for miles.

Cool trip. Enjoy!
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:23 PM   #10
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There's a notorious bad weather problem spot west of Cheyenne called Elk Mountain and it is usually the first place that the interstate closes when the blue winds blow. There is a bypass at lower elevation around the south side of it on state highways which adds some miles but you can keep going when the interstate gates close.

Western Wyoming is up and down a lot but it's not too bad to drive. The wind there on the other hand can be ferocious.

Once you get to Cheyenne headed east it's smooth sailing for thousands of miles.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:41 AM   #11
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I-94 west is best choice

Chris: I've been on I-94 all the way from Chicago to the Pacific, and it's the most enjoyable with plenty of amenities. The route through Wisconsin and Minnesota is picturesque. Navigating the Twin Cities is easy. North Dakota, my home state, is the loveliest of the prairie states: rolling landscape actually (not flat), beautiful sky, evidence of trees, wonderful crop and ranch land and plenty of accommodations, even in the smaller towns. If you're taking your time and happen to be a golfer, most all the towns in Minnesota and N.D. have sweet little golf courses that are cheap and fun to play. I like the Radisson Hotel in West Acres in Fargo, which has resurrected its downtown with eateries and shops. Farther west, Castleton has a winery and Jamestown has the world's largest buffalo, as well as an albino one. Bismarck has plenty of hotel rooms and places to eat, too. Tour the N.D. Heritage Center at the State Capitol and check in at the governor's office to see if he has time to have his photo taken with you. (It's that kind of state.) Farther west, Medora is a historic little ranch town near where Teddy Roosevelt had his ranch. There's a big motel there, which shouldn't be full in October, as well as the RV choices mentioned above. The one by the Little Missouri River is sort of tacky, but it's got all the facilities and is by a very scenic stream. There's also a 25-mile tour of the N.D. Badlands starting at the edge of town. Medora is a tourist town with a number of good restaurants, but I don't know if they'll be open in October. Montana? Well, you're on your own, but friends have told me that a tour of the Battle of the Little Big Horn site is worth the time.
Weather? October is usually very nice up there?
Hope this helps. Have a great trip.
BTW, why not take the TransCanada Highway? Talk about scenery! And Winnipeg is a great prairie metropolis with lots to do (I'd stay at the Fort Garry), and the towns and cities farther west have every accommodation.
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