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Old 01-26-2018, 06:29 PM   #1
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Minnesota to London Ontario

So I'm going from St. Paul MN to London Ontario for a visit to Andy Thompson at Can-Am. I hear horror stories of driving around Chicago. Anyone have any advice, good routes to avoid craziness? Has anyone driven the UP (Upper Peninsula, MI) route in the winter?
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:49 PM   #2
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Iíve gone through Chicago a few times with the trailer in tow. I donít remember the route. It was busy but no big deal. I guess it depends if heavy traffic bothers you our not.
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Old 01-26-2018, 07:46 PM   #3
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We prefer the northern route (not in winter of course) to avoid Chicago, Detroit and all that hubbub. Heavy traffic does bother me. Add some construction, lane closures, traffic accidents and confusing intersections and I'm a wreck. I lived in the Twin Cities metro for many years, but we timed our escape from the metro during off hour times. No I-94 at rush hour for me when pulling my trailer. I think it is a good way to get side swiped or rear ended.

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Old 01-27-2018, 09:51 AM   #4
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Chicago is fine. I wouldn't even consider the northern route, unless it was summer and I was camping along the way. I lived in Chicago for several years. Made several trips up to MSP to get cars for restoration/parts. Take the Tri-State/294 around the outskirts hitting town between 10-2 or after 7pm and you'll be fine. Several ugly spots that used to be ridiculous have been widened and improved, such as the 80/94/294 junction. If you can get an I-Pass toll transponder, it'll make your life even easier (getipass.com). Anyway, take the tristate around to 94, and then follow 94 into Michigan. If you need gas along the Tristate, the Oasis stops are great options with a trailer, and not priced crazy. Try to keep an eye on the weather, as lake effect snow can be BRUTAL coming around the bottom of Lake Michigan, and there's a risk of hitting white out walls/storms along 94 (great videos on YouTube of major accident near Kalamazoo, MI where this happened a few years ago). IL highways are pretty good. 94 in Indiana has seen a lot of construction lately, especially around MM 20-30. Don't stop for gas until you're past MM20 or so in Indiana - not a lot of great spots, and even the truck stops are sketchy. Michigan highways are rough in several areas. The 2-lane section of 94 from about MM 40 is always crazy. You will want to consider 65 north into Lansing, and then the Port Huron border crossing to avoid Detroit. We live in Michigan now, and take that way on a monthly basis to NY. From Lansing east is pretty low traffic, except Flint. Get gas around MM 51 on I69 before crossing the border to save some money. You should be able to make it in and out without refilling that way. Roads in Canada are better than Michigan. CanAm isn't far off the highway. $3 toll getting in and out of Canada. Don't forget your passport or enhanced driver's license.
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:29 PM   #5
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We really dislike Chicago freeway driving, but then we've lived in a rural area for a decade. If you can avoid rush hour, it's slightly better. (One thing that might be kind of fun is the Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI car ferry. Probably expensive and out-of-the way, but then it looks like a fun trip. It only runs from mid-May through mid-October.) But winter driving can be crummy no matter what your route. We prefer the border crossing at Port Huron, MI/Sarnia ON as a lot less busy than going through Detroit. It's called the Blue Water Bridge and you should be able to check wait-times on-line. There are some lake-effect snow zones where you're going, so please be careful

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Old 01-28-2018, 09:58 AM   #6
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I live in the Chicago area, and the absolute best way around Chicago congestion would not be 294.
Drive down I-90 to Rockford, and take I-39 south to I-88 east. Take 88 to I-355 south to I-80 east to Indiana and beyond.
Parts of this will have you supporting the great Illinois toll system (thank you), but so would just about any other route.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmox View Post
I live in the Chicago area, and the absolute best way around Chicago congestion would not be 294.
Drive down I-90 to Rockford, and take I-39 south to I-88 east. Take 88 to I-355 south to I-80 east to Indiana and beyond.
Parts of this will have you supporting the great Illinois toll system (thank you), but so would just about any other route.
I don't live in the Chicago area. But I do travel often from Michigan to Madison Wisconsin to see the grandkids.

I agree this is route around Chicago is the best IMO.

Also check this routing...I would recommend avoiding the Detroit Border crossing, it is way too busy. This route is the one I would recommend.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Madi...42.8645309!3e0

If you get the IPass or EZPass your tolls are cut in half and save a bunch of time too.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:15 PM   #8
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I like the route suggested further west of town, and didnít consider it based on where I lived in Chicago. Good suggestion!
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:29 PM   #9
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When we drive through Chicago we don’t go through the middle. We take the freeways around the center of Chicago. We also try to go through on Sunday mornings. Much less traffic. Doable. I would advise getting an IPASS before you do so. Otherwise you have to hit all the tolls. That will waste time and will cost you dearly. I would definitely go that way this time of the year. You could run into major lake effect snow in the UP.

If I were to go that direction I would cut across WI and go North by Green Bay, etc.

Highway 29 through WI is all 4-lane and good travel. Road going north from Green Bay is pretty decent. The only question is once you get by Escanaba be careful about lake effect snow.

If you want save time and not do all that driving you could ferry across Lake Michigan. But that will be very expensive. Might be kind of fun though.

By the way the IPASS will cut your toll fees in half. All you do is stick it on your windshield and drive. No stopping.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:49 PM   #10
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One other thing. My advice might be to find a campground just outside of Chicago camp and drive through early in the morning (before rush hour) while you are fresh. You don’t want to go through Chicago when you are tired. Also we use our IPHONE GPS system when going through because it is more accurate then our navigation on our pickup.
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Old 01-28-2018, 02:39 PM   #11
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I would go due south to Quad cities and pick up I 80 east there. Joliet to Gary is bad enough. Go north to Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo and Lansing then east again to Flint and Port Huron. Minimal tolls this way. London is just 2 hours east of Port Huron. 403 to Talbot road 4 south and 5 miles to Can Am.
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