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Old 06-09-2016, 09:29 AM   #1
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Virginia to Glacier: Route Options?

We are traveling from NoVA-ish to Glacier with our '68 Overlander later this summer. As I'm super excited, and a big map and planning geek, I'm already plotting our course. The plan is to get to Glacier basically as fast as possible, with one or two really long days of driving and then an easier third day for when we pull into camp (where we have a reservation).

Google maps shows the "shortest" route takes us through northern Ohio, through Chicago, and the up through Minneapolis/St. Paul and across ND.

The problem is I think getting through Chicago, especially as we're likely to hit tat area around 5pm, seems like a terrible idea.

Other potential routes hit mid-Ohio through to Omaha and up through SD and WY, or the I-64 route through Lexington, KY to Kansas City to Omaha and then on through SD and WY. These both clock in an hour or two longer overall, but they avoid Chicago and seem like they might be easier on traffic, especially on the first day.

Thoughts on which way you'd pick? We're leaning toward one of the more southern routes, but I was hoping the AirForums hive mind might have an opinion.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:58 AM   #2
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Just avoid Chicago. The Federal stimulus money is being spent to try and get the trains that move through Chicago to more than 7 mph. If that succeeds then they will work on the traffic but that won't happen before you get there
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:07 AM   #3
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Don't forget that there are ferries across Lake Michigan that cut off using Chicago. One of them docks in Milwaukee. However these are not free so must be calculated into you costs.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:12 PM   #4
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Which side of GNP is your reservation?

Which "side of Glacier" is your reservation? That will make a difference once you get into Montana. I am in the midst of planning a trip back to Southern West Virginia where I used to live. From there to my home here there is only a 70 mile difference between a "northern route verses a southern route".

I've driven the route from Raleigh to Missoula twice and personally I find their is more to see along the way going thru South Dakota verses North Dakota....especially if you are a "history buff". Depending on which side of the park your headed to "Billings Mt" would be were you'd make that determination.

Why not stop in Missoula! Nice town....great coffee and micro beer. Bring some money....we'll put it to good use.

Enjoy

Pat
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Old 06-10-2016, 06:30 AM   #5
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Thanks all. You're certainly solidifying what we'd already thought: Avoid Chicago and SD would be interesting.

I think we're leaning towards a "middle route" that heads through central Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and takes us through SD, rather than ND. We think that with some aggressively long travel on the first day and a half, we can get to Wyoming, and then take our time getting to St. Mary where we'll be staying outside of Glacier. There are one or two places I'd like to see in MT along the way, so we're trying to make some time that last day for a more leisurely drive.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:44 AM   #6
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A good alternate route to avoid St. Louis and KC and I 70 is to take I 74 west from Indy and then I 72. It will take you through Springfield, IL, Hannibal, MO, (where it becomes Hwy 36) and to St. Joseph, MO where you will be at I 29. You then can go north to Omaha, NE. Its all good 4-lane roads. It sounds as if you are going a different way, but this is a nice alternative to I 70 in MO.

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Old 06-10-2016, 12:22 PM   #7
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Just a quick note regarding "travel times in Montana". Keeping in mind what speed AS should be traveling....normal speed limits on MT Interstates is 80 as of last September. With that consideration travel times ....say...from Billings to Missoula is 6 hours, Bozeman to Missoula is 4. When you get on the secondary roads speed limits are 70. And....I might add...you may feel you are in the middle of "nowhere" but they are "patrolled" very effectively. I've found cops parked in some of the most desolate locations....doing a pretty good deal of business.
We are happy your coming to Montana....I sure hope you have a good time while your here.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:30 PM   #8
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Not sure if my idea will be of help but here goes. We happen to be on the road now headed to Glacier by way of Teddy Rosevelt NP. We left Mt Pleasant, SC three days ago and average 300+ each day. In St Charles, MO tonight and will stop in St Joseph, MO, Sioux City, ID, Rapid City, SD and then on to Medora, ND. From there, Lewistown, MT, Shelby, MT and finally West Glacier. You can get I-64 into St Louis on to I-70, etc. If you are a NP buff, TRNP shouldn't be missed if you have the time. Have a safe trip.
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Old 06-11-2016, 07:22 AM   #9
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We plan to hit TRNP on our way home!
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:31 AM   #10
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I live just north of you in Warrenton, and I have traveled back to my childhood home near Sioux City, IA many times and find the following route which avoids Chicago (which is a must in my opinion) the best route: I-64 to Louisville; I-65 to Indy; I-74 to Rock Island, IL/Davenport, IA; from here you have two choices, I would take the Hwy 20 choice; first choice take I-80 to Omaha, then take I-29N to Sioux Falls, SD, where you take 90 out to MT; second choice (my preference) take I-80 to IA City, and then jog north on I-360 to Highway 20 (newly completed divided highway across IA, no traffic (enjoy corn and bean fields) per se, and no city's. Take 20 across Iowa to Sioux City; from there take I-29N to Sioux Falls, and then I-90 Wesr to MT. I have taken this route all the way to Glacier myself and that would be the route for me if I were headed to Glacier from NOVA.
I know you said you plan to get to Glacier quick, but if you have not seen the badlands in South Dakota it is worth a side trip, Sunrise in the badlands can be pretty spectacular...Enjoy, and remember what ever the route make the best...
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Old 06-14-2016, 09:16 AM   #11
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RD-Seadog -

Have you ever taken I-68 to I-79 to I-70 through Columbus to Indianapolis?

I've heard that the drive over I-64 through WV can be very not fun with a trailer from my friends who have drive to Lexington with horse trailers.
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Old 06-14-2016, 06:42 PM   #12
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When you get close to Glacier, be sure that you DON'T take Hwy 89 from Browning. There is another route that goes north then west which is an easy drive but a little longer. I don't recall how long that section of 89 was but it was the drive from hell! I have never been so exhausted when we got to our destiation.

Enjoy one our favorite parks!
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Old 06-18-2016, 01:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eponacelt View Post
RD-Seadog -

Have you ever taken I-68 to I-79 to I-70 through Columbus to Indianapolis?

I've heard that the drive over I-64 through WV can be very not fun with a trailer from my friends who have drive to Lexington with horse trailers.
I have taken the route through Columbus, it is has significantly more traffic but as your friend has pointed the WV section is a challenge. For what ever reason I still prefer that route...The northern route has a short section in western PA that also catches the mountains but nothing like the WV section.
If you are really wanting to push hard and get to MT, the northern route through Columbus may be the best..

Seadog
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Old 06-18-2016, 02:58 PM   #14
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Definitely avoid the Chicago area, any time of day or night, in my opinion.

I would suggest taking 74 west to 39/51 North right here in Bloomington/Normal, which will take you thru Rockford and on into Wisconsin, at which point you can start navigating westward.


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