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Author Topic: Salt Lake City to Chicago. 8 days so we can take our time...  (Read 2974 times)

brickhouse

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     We are buying a new Subaru forester in Salt Lake City and then we are driving to Chicago.  Family of four with two young kids.. 3 and 2.   We are in no rush and we are looking for ideas about which roads to take.  We have never made this trip before.  We don't need major attractions or big amusement parks.  We would love cool scenic drives and easy camping ( next to car.  ( in a few years we will go back to real camping).                   I was told by a friend that this site had plenty of nice and slightly twisted people.. Perfect for us.   We will not go south , but we can go north first .    I do not want to just drive 80 back.  I have a union job and every 5 years I can take a few months off.  So this is the first family road trip!!   After Chicago we have nice plans by the lakes and then into Maine and then all the way to Nova Scotia.  But between salt lake and Chicago I am very open.   Any help would be greatly appreciated!!   
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nexus73

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Re: Salt Lake City to Chicago. 8 days so we can take our time...
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 04:10:26 PM »

Head north on I-15 to Montana, then hook up with I-90 if you want the scenic northern route.  Yellowstone would be a good detour if you want to see that park.  The downside is that you're stuck driving across eastern Montana and the Dakotas once you're done with the mountains.

Head south and conenct with I-70.  That'll get you Denver, after which you hit dry eastern Colorado, then Nebraska or Kansas depending on the route. 

The path less taken would be US 40 from I-80 just north of Park City to Denver. 

Anyways, those are the main E/W routes heading out of Utah.  Maybe just dash across the Plains PDQ and spend the real travel-n-explore time with a loop that combines a couple of the Utah-anchored routes so you see some mountains.

Whatever you choose, have a great trip!

Rick
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Brandon

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Re: Salt Lake City to Chicago. 8 days so we can take our time...
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 04:32:17 PM »

Through Illinois, you have a few choices near I-80 without actually using I-80.

1. US-6.  You can follow US-6 to Joliet.  It goes near the Illinois River between Spring Valley and Morris, and allows for a detour to IL-71 by Starved Rock State Park.  If you choose to stop at the Lodge for an overnight, get reservations well in advance.  The restaurant there is very good.

2. US-30 and IL-38.  You can also follow the Lincoln Highway via Sterling, Dixon, and DeKalb toward Chicago.  It is well marked from Iowa to Indiana through the state.  I'd avoid US-30 between Rock Falls and Sugar Grove in favor of using the Lincoln Highway (IL-38) for history and scenery.

3. You can go well to the north and use US-20 from Dubuque eastward into the Chicago area.  It starts off scenic in the Driftless Area and goes through Galena, home to the U.S. Grant House.
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Re: Salt Lake City to Chicago. 8 days so we can take our time...
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 05:15:00 PM »

The downside is that you're stuck driving across eastern Montana and the Dakotas once you're done with the mountains.

the grasslands are gorgeous this time of year.


photo taken July 2nd, 2011.  side road to US-212 in eastern Montana.
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CtrlAltDel

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Re: Salt Lake City to Chicago. 8 days so we can take our time...
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 06:38:32 PM »

You say you won’t go south, but might I suggest I-70. It is absolutely gorgeous through the mountains and Glenwood Canyon. Well worth going a bit out of the way. Plus there’s plenty of places for camping and the like once you get into Colorado. Now what you do after you get out of the mountains, I don’t know. Maybe take I-25 north a bit. Still, in my opinion I-70 is worth it.
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formulanone

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Re: Salt Lake City to Chicago. 8 days so we can take our time...
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 07:22:26 PM »

My first question would be: Have you taken your kids on a long drive before?

They'll likely need restroom breaks more frequently than you will. Do your little ones freak out at the sight or sounds of a public restroom? No? Good. The other method is to diaper them and deal with it when you're ready; have lots of plastic bags, in that case.

Save a few surprises for them when they're bored/cranky/hungry; it's amazing how fascinated they will be with a giant map (and that's why many of us are here)...stow away some silly/odd stuff and bring it out at the right moment to occupy their time. If you engage them in what's going on, they don't get as bored; but remember that they can't see as much out the window nor the windshield. And snacks, many snacks. Don't forget those.

My kids are randomly surprised by silly and offbeat stuff on the road, or even explaining to them the mundane. Sometimes, they're not impressed...Oh well.

Have a great time, and keep cool!
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 07:25:09 PM by formulanone »
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brickhouse

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Re: Salt Lake City to Chicago. 8 days so we can take our time...
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2014, 05:40:16 PM »

Thanks so much for the advice.  I'm already looking into it.   Any advice if I do go north and drive through Montana?
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