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Author Topic: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?  (Read 1101 times)

Strider

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Hello all,

I am planning to visit Denver, Colorado for the first time in the first weekend of October. It will be 6 day road trip for me, so I will leave NC on Thursday using I-40 West going to Nashville, then up I-24 and going through Kentucky and Illinois to I-57, from there to I-64 West to St Louis, MO, then pick up I-70 from there and going all the way to Colorado in which I plan on arriving on Friday sometime. And then, on the way back to NC on the following Monday: the reverse route and finally arriving back in NC on Tuesday.

I plan on driving half of the total mileage before stopping for the night somewhere. Google Maps put the half way in Boonville, MO or Columbia, MO. (Between Greensboro and Denver) However, I don't know those cities very well....

The question is: Do you know of any towns that is safe for me to sleep in a hotel there overnight in Missouri and/or Kansas? (Or any suggestions would be great too.)
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SkyPesos

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Columbia is MO's flagship's college town, so you should be fine there. Also it's the larger of the two cities you've mentioned, so more hotel options.

thenetwork

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Most of the towns outside of your larger Metropolitan areas in Kansas and Missouri (Kansas City and Topeka) are of the small-town variety and are generally safe towns.  However, nearly every town does have at least one shady hotel/motel near the interstate exits. 

I would do my research on specific properties via Yelp or TripAdvisor.

I would also recommend doing the majority of travel miles on Day 1, so the rest of the trip into Denver is shorter on the 2nd day -- There is a lot LESS scenery between Salina, KS and just before Denver...unless you are into flat-lands, fields and cattle.
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Rothman

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What exactly is the safety concern?
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dlsterner

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Hello all,

I am planning to visit Denver, Colorado for the first time in the first weekend of October. It will be 6 day road trip for me, so I will leave NC on Thursday using I-40 West going to Nashville, then up I-24 and going through Kentucky and Illinois to I-57, from there to I-64 West to St Louis, MO, then pick up I-70 from there and going all the way to Colorado in which I plan on arriving on Friday sometime. And then, on the way back to NC on the following Monday: the reverse route and finally arriving back in NC on Tuesday.

I plan on driving half of the total mileage before stopping for the night somewhere. Google Maps put the half way in Boonville, MO or Columbia, MO. (Between Greensboro and Denver) However, I don't know those cities very well....

The question is: Do you know of any towns that is safe for me to sleep in a hotel there overnight in Missouri and/or Kansas? (Or any suggestions would be great too.)

Columbia is MO's flagship's college town, so you should be fine there. Also it's the larger of the two cities you've mentioned, so more hotel options.

One concern with Columbia being home to a major college (and one in the SEC) is the football schedule, which can wreak havoc on nearby motel and hotel availability (sometimes for a day or two before and after the games as well).  Looks like on October 7, Missouri is hosting LSU.  Be prepared for the possibility that room availability may be limited.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2023, 09:38:24 PM by dlsterner »
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Strider

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What exactly is the safety concern?

The world is a violent place. So, everything that potentially threaten my safety as a traveler.
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Strider

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Hello all,

I am planning to visit Denver, Colorado for the first time in the first weekend of October. It will be 6 day road trip for me, so I will leave NC on Thursday using I-40 West going to Nashville, then up I-24 and going through Kentucky and Illinois to I-57, from there to I-64 West to St Louis, MO, then pick up I-70 from there and going all the way to Colorado in which I plan on arriving on Friday sometime. And then, on the way back to NC on the following Monday: the reverse route and finally arriving back in NC on Tuesday.

I plan on driving half of the total mileage before stopping for the night somewhere. Google Maps put the half way in Boonville, MO or Columbia, MO. (Between Greensboro and Denver) However, I don't know those cities very well....

The question is: Do you know of any towns that is safe for me to sleep in a hotel there overnight in Missouri and/or Kansas? (Or any suggestions would be great too.)

Columbia is MO's flagship's college town, so you should be fine there. Also it's the larger of the two cities you've mentioned, so more hotel options.

One concern with Columbia being home to a major college (and one in the SEC) is the football schedule, which can wreak havoc on nearby motel and hotel availability (sometimes for a day or two before and after the games well).  Looks like on October 7, Missouri is hosting LSU.  Be prepared for the possibility that room availability may be limited.


You're correct. I just checked. Looks like Columbia, MO is a no-no.
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roadman65

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Use the phone app and do what I do wherever I go. I book from it and saves me the trouble of searching and it’s great to not have to worry about payment at the front desk.

You can find a great list among many places along the route and you pick the price and lodging type as seeing and walking in to find the best deal is time consuming. This way with the apps you know ahead of time. Including special events that limit booking or raise the price at the time you travel.
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Sheryl Crowe

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I am planning to visit Denver, Colorado for the first time in the first weekend of October. It will be 6 day road trip for me, so I will leave NC on Thursday using I-40 West going to Nashville, then up I-24 and going through Kentucky and Illinois to I-57, from there to I-64 West to St Louis, MO, then pick up I-70 from there and going all the way to Colorado in which I plan on arriving on Friday sometime. And then, on the way back to NC on the following Monday: the reverse route and finally arriving back in NC on Tuesday.

I plan on driving half of the total mileage before stopping for the night somewhere. Google Maps put the half way in Boonville, MO or Columbia, MO. (Between Greensboro and Denver) However, I don't know those cities very well....

I have driven pretty much the entire itinerary except for the I-24/I-57 connection.  My concern would be that an overnight stop in mid-Missouri front-loads the outbound and back-loads the return journey with a lot of difficult mountain driving.  I-70 is also considerably more congested and geometrically deficient in Missouri than in Kansas and Colorado.

I would instead suggest stopping in the vicinity of St. Louis, say in Wentzville or one of the western suburbs on the way out and on the Illinois side on the way back.  This allows you to tackle I-70 in Missouri both ways with the sun at your back while sidestepping morning rush-hour traffic.

The question is: Do you know of any towns that are safe for me to sleep in a hotel there overnight in Missouri and/or Kansas?

I don't know of any towns that aren't, but common sense should be exercised.  When I travel, I usually try to empty out the passenger cabin before I leave the car parked for the night.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2023, 10:21:02 PM by J N Winkler »
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roadman65

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I am planning to visit Denver, Colorado for the first time in the first weekend of October. It will be 6 day road trip for me, so I will leave NC on Thursday using I-40 West going to Nashville, then up I-24 and going through Kentucky and Illinois to I-57, from there to I-64 West to St Louis, MO, then pick up I-70 from there and going all the way to Colorado in which I plan on arriving on Friday sometime. And then, on the way back to NC on the following Monday: the reverse route and finally arriving back in NC on Tuesday.

I plan on driving half of the total mileage before stopping for the night somewhere. Google Maps put the half way in Boonville, MO or Columbia, MO. (Between Greensboro and Denver) However, I don't know those cities very well....

I have driven pretty much the entire itinerary except for the I-24/I-57 connection.  My concern would be that an overnight stop in mid-Missouri front-loads the outbound and back-loads the return journey with a lot of difficult mountain driving.  I-70 is also considerably more congested and geometrically deficient in Missouri than in Kansas and Colorado.

I would instead suggest stopping in the vicinity of St. Louis, say in Wentzville or one of the western suburbs on the way out and on the Illinois side on the way back.  This allows you to tackle I-70 in Missouri both ways with the sun at your back while sidestepping morning rush-hour traffic.

The question is: Do you know of any towns that are safe for me to sleep in a hotel there overnight in Missouri and/or Kansas?

I don't know of any towns that aren't, but common sense should be exercised.  When I travel, I usually try to empty out the passenger cabin before I leave the car parked for the night.

I’ve stayed in Wentzville and had no issues. It’s a great motorist service community and far enough away from Columbia and  St. Louis to avoid traffic issues and high rates. It’s also very much a great location along the interstate and is where both I-64 and 70 converge.

 Also Wright City nearby is also good, but haven’t stayed there but also a motel town for travelers.  It’s about ten minutes west of Wentzville.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2023, 10:33:15 PM by roadman65 »
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SkyPesos

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2023, 10:54:09 PM »

Iíve stayed in Wentzville and had no issues. Itís a great motorist service community and far enough away from Columbia and  St. Louis to avoid traffic issues and high rates. Itís also very much a great location along the interstate and is where both I-64 and 70 converge.

 Also Wright City nearby is also good, but havenít stayed there but also a motel town for travelers.  Itís about ten minutes west of Wentzville.
If the OP is using I-64 through St Louis (I'm not sure if they're using I-64 or I-70 there), Chesterfield is another good option, with lots of hotel options.

Could do 64 on one way through St Louis and 70 coming back. I recommend 64 westbound as you're on the upper deck of the double deck section.

Konza

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2023, 11:01:44 PM »

Lawrence, Kansas.

Right on I-70; you can get there from the Kansas City area on K-10 and save yourself the tolls on the Kansas Turnpike.

Home of the University of Kansas.  Good restaurants and breweries.  Interesting history.  Neat downtown.
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KCRoadFan

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2023, 11:03:03 PM »

It's too bad I don't know you personally - otherwise, I'd put you up in my apartment in Kansas City.  :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

Seriously, though - in KC, there's a somewhat new Hampton Inn in the downtown/Crossroads area, just a block off I-670. It's pretty ingeniously located, actually - it manages to be a "downtown hotel" and "highway motel" at the same time. And if you can make it to KC on the first day, you can get to Denver a couple hours earlier.
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Strider

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2023, 11:24:44 PM »

Iíve stayed in Wentzville and had no issues. Itís a great motorist service community and far enough away from Columbia and  St. Louis to avoid traffic issues and high rates. Itís also very much a great location along the interstate and is where both I-64 and 70 converge.

 Also Wright City nearby is also good, but havenít stayed there but also a motel town for travelers.  Itís about ten minutes west of Wentzville.
If the OP is using I-64 through St Louis (I'm not sure if they're using I-64 or I-70 there), Chesterfield is another good option, with lots of hotel options.

Could do 64 on one way through St Louis and 70 coming back. I recommend 64 westbound as you're on the upper deck of the double deck section.

Yeah, I will be using I-64 through St. Louis since I will be coming up from Nashville (via I-24 and I-57). I know I-70 meets I-64 on the Illinois side, but I am not using I-70 until Wentzville.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2023, 11:29:11 PM by Strider »
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Rothman

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2023, 11:27:08 PM »

What exactly is the safety concern?

The world is a violent place. So, everything that potentially threaten my safety as a traveler.

By that standard, nowhere is safe.

I've found that it's harder to find places that aren't safe than to find places that are.  Read reviews of hotels through Tripadvisor or even Google.  People will mention if they felt unsafe in the area that the hotel was in.
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Strider

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2023, 11:28:25 PM »

What exactly is the safety concern?

The world is a violent place. So, everything that potentially threaten my safety as a traveler.

By that standard, nowhere is safe.

I've found that it's harder to find places that aren't safe than to find places that are.  Read reviews of hotels through Tripadvisor or even Google.  People will mention if they felt unsafe in the area that the hotel was in.

I am reading the reviews of hotels from Tripadvisor as I type. A little bit ahead of you here. lol.
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Scott5114

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2023, 11:34:15 PM »

Seriously, though - in KC, there's a somewhat new Hampton Inn in the downtown/Crossroads area, just a block off I-670. It's pretty ingeniously located, actually - it manages to be a "downtown hotel" and "highway motel" at the same time. And if you can make it to KC on the first day, you can get to Denver a couple hours earlier.

I just stayed in the Legends development near the Kansas Speedway (not too far from I-70/I-435 in KCK). Nice area, lots of food options nearby. Would be a decent option for someone going through town on I-70.
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roadman65

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2023, 11:34:56 PM »

What exactly is the safety concern?

The world is a violent place. So, everything that potentially threaten my safety as a traveler.

By that standard, nowhere is safe.

I've found that it's harder to find places that aren't safe than to find places that are.  Read reviews of hotels through Tripadvisor or even Google.  People will mention if they felt unsafe in the area that the hotel was in.

I am reading the reviews of hotels from Tripadvisor as I type. A little bit ahead of you here. lol.

Hotel booking apps also features reviews by customers as well. So you can read how good or bad a property is that you see attractive.
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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2023, 11:36:04 PM »

What exactly is the safety concern?

The world is a violent place. So, everything that potentially threaten my safety as a traveler.

By that standard, nowhere is safe.

I've found that it's harder to find places that aren't safe than to find places that are.  Read reviews of hotels through Tripadvisor or even Google.  People will mention if they felt unsafe in the area that the hotel was in.

I am reading the reviews of hotels from Tripadvisor as I type. A little bit ahead of you here. lol.

Hotel booking apps also features reviews by customers as well. So you can read how good or bad a property is that you see attractive.
I find reviews on hotel chain's own websites or apps to be less reliable than general travel review sites or even Google reviews.
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roadman65

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2023, 11:45:03 PM »

What exactly is the safety concern?

The world is a violent place. So, everything that potentially threaten my safety as a traveler.

By that standard, nowhere is safe.

I've found that it's harder to find places that aren't safe than to find places that are.  Read reviews of hotels through Tripadvisor or even Google.  People will mention if they felt unsafe in the area that the hotel was in.

I am reading the reviews of hotels from Tripadvisor as I type. A little bit ahead of you here. lol.

Hotel booking apps also features reviews by customers as well. So you can read how good or bad a property is that you see attractive.
I find reviews on hotel chain's own websites or apps to be less reliable than general travel review sites or even Google reviews.

Booking is not a hotel chain website nor is Priceline or any other booking websites.  So you would not get censored reviews as hotel websites would do so. 

I find Trip Advisor, Booking, etc. to be helpful in traveling as I like to have a room waiting for me when I arrive.  True it’s a chance as OYO Hotel in Pensacola had a backed up toilet when I arrived and had to change rooms.  Plus I stayed at a Rodeway Inn in Lagrange, GA that promised a free breakfast, but did not.

Needless to say, I wrote a review of my own calling the Rodeway a false advertiser and let all know there is no free breakfast nor a restaurant on property.
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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2023, 09:00:06 PM »

Two points I would note:

You're probably more unsafe (relatively speaking) while driving down the interstate than you would be while stopped for the night.

Also, most routing sites/apps prefer I-70 over I-64 for a trip that involves I-70 in Illinois and I-64 in Missouri. Is your choice to use I-64 over I-70 a personal one, or is it the result of a Google Maps/Apple Maps/Mapquest/etc. routing?
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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2023, 01:12:42 AM »

I have driven cross country several times, and never once have I felt concerned for my safety in any rural or small town hotel/motel on any remotely significant highway. You'll be fine. As JN Winkler stated above, simply exercising common sense (i.e. lock your car and don't leave anything valuable-looking in view, lock your room door especially if it opens to the exterior) should be sufficient for 99% of cases.

For large cities you aren't familiar with you probably do want to read up on the reviews. I once stayed in a motel in the SC-side suburbs of Charlotte that was clearly located in a somewhat sketchy area. Probably would have picked a different location if I'd seen reviews mentioning that, but the usual common sense worked out fine for me.

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Re: Road trip to Denver via I-70. Suggestions to stay in Missouri and/or Kansas?
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2023, 10:24:35 AM »

Sorry I didn't notice this till now.  I've stayed in Columbia once, and I remember it being hard to find an inexpensive hotel near the Interstate there that wasn't a bit of a fleabag dump.  For example, if you filter your Google Maps results to only display 4-star ratings and higher, then almost all of them disappear from the map.  Even the one that I stayed at back then, which at the time had decent reviews, now only gets 2.9 stars on Google.

My own tendency would be to push slightly farther west before staying the night, and then try to get through KC before Friday morning rush hour starts.  With that in mind, I'd probably settle on the Comfort Inn at I-70 & BB Hwy in Grain Valley.

However, if you're not up to pushing that far before stopping for the nightóand I totally understand if you're notóthen I see a local mom-and-pop motel with really good reviews at I-70 & MO-127 in Sweet Springs.  I've never stayed the night there, but I have stopped for gas at the Casey's next door.  Sweet Springs appears to be just a typical, sleepy Missouri town, with no reason to be concerned for one's safety.
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