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Author Topic: Baltimore - Chicago in August  (Read 4633 times)

iwishiwascanadian

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Baltimore - Chicago in August
« on: March 25, 2013, 10:03:05 PM »

My friends and I are planning a road trip from Baltimore to Chicago and back.  I'm planning the route for the trip and I'm thinking the best thing to do is to take 695 to 70 to the Penn Turnpike and keep going on the Ohio Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road into Chicago on the Skyway.  Does anyone have any advice for the trip or any other alternatives?  We plan on leaving on August 1st and coming back on the 5th (we're going up for my birthday/Lollapalooza). 
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hbelkins

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 10:28:46 PM »

Take I-68 and I-79 to Washington, PA. Then you can take I-70 and I-65 for a free alternative, or stay on I-79 to I-76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) and then the turnpikes across Ohio and Indiana.
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1995hoo

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 10:50:46 PM »

I-68 to I-79 south, then US-50 west to Athens, Ohio.  From there, US-33 up to Columbus and then I-70 to I-65.

US-50 from Clarksburg west to Parkersburg is a great drive, excellent road with a 65-mph speed limit, no traffic, and no traffic lights for about 80 miles. Ms1995hoo and I used it last October on the way home from Dayton on the recommendation of folks here and we liked it enough that it's the way we will go in the future. Far more pleasant than the Interstate.
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BrianP

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 11:39:09 AM »

US-50 from Clarksburg west to Parkersburg is a great drive, excellent road with a 65-mph speed limit, no traffic, and no traffic lights for about 80 miles. Ms1995hoo and I used it last October on the way home from Dayton on the recommendation of folks here and we liked it enough that it's the way we will go in the future. Far more pleasant than the Interstate.
I agree that's a much better drive than the interstate.  I'm planning on taking Corridor H to US 50 the next time I go to Dayton.  I'm not sure which way I'll go from there.  I've already taken US 35 and OH 73 so I may try something else next time.

I've also taken OH 32 from the Cincinnati beltway to the east.  I like it a lot since it's a leisurely drive.
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kphoger

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 03:02:52 PM »

If speed is not of the essence, you could work in some of US-40 across Ohio & Indiana....
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1995hoo

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2013, 09:25:09 AM »

US-50 from Clarksburg west to Parkersburg is a great drive, excellent road with a 65-mph speed limit, no traffic, and no traffic lights for about 80 miles. Ms1995hoo and I used it last October on the way home from Dayton on the recommendation of folks here and we liked it enough that it's the way we will go in the future. Far more pleasant than the Interstate.
I agree that's a much better drive than the interstate.  I'm planning on taking Corridor H to US 50 the next time I go to Dayton.  I'm not sure which way I'll go from there.  I've already taken US 35 and OH 73 so I may try something else next time.

I've also taken OH 32 from the Cincinnati beltway to the east.  I like it a lot since it's a leisurely drive.

We haven't gone that way because it'd put us further south than we'd need to be. Next time we head out there I think from Athens I may continue west, instead of cutting north towards Columbus, and take US-35 past Chillicothe up to Dayton from the southeast. If US-35 is comparable to most of US-33 between Athens and Columbus (Nelsonville excluded!), then it should be an excellent route.

I'm glad we took US-33 last time, though, just because we passed the BGSs pointing the way to the town of Logan. We have a four-year-old nephew named Logan who liked the pictures of those signs.

Frankly, to me the nicest thing about any of the routes using Corridor D (US-50 west of I-79) is that you can completely avoid Pennsylvania and its substandard Interstate network. The new PA-43 Turnpike near Uniontown is a very nice new modern road, but it's all too short and you wind up back on crappy old I-70. Using the Corridor H route, the only portion of road that was truly outdated like that was the segment of US-50 right around Clarksburg. It's just an old road. But it's a short segment and once you're west of there it opens right up. I didn't go much above 65 on there because it was raining and I didn't know the road, but on a dry day I imagine you could make very good time. Unlike I-70, you're not constantly struggling to pass trucks while dealing with people who like to make a "cruise control pass."

BTW, on our trip home last fall we used Corridor D to I-79 to Corridor H (I avoided the corridor letters in favor of numbers in my previous post so as to help the OP spot the roads on a map), though we detoured off the latter since Ms1995hoo had never seen Seneca Rocks. I didn't recommend that route in this thread because the OP is coming from Baltimore and that route is considerably further south and likely slower than I-70 to I-68. I think I-68 is a pretty nice drive as it is.

For the OP....my brother drives to a lot of music festivals and other concerts (he generally gets photo passes from Ratdog) and he warns that if you're going to a music festival, don't even consider speeding in Garrett County, Maryland (last one on I-68 before you reach West Virginia). He says a lot of his friends have run into trouble there.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2013, 11:14:55 AM »

For the OP....my brother drives to a lot of music festivals and other concerts (he generally gets photo passes from Ratdog) and he warns that if you're going to a music festival, don't even consider speeding in Garrett County, Maryland (last one on I-68 before you reach West Virginia). He says a lot of his friends have run into trouble there.

Most of the time, it seems that the speed limit on I-68 in Allegany County and Garrett County is not enforced (65 most of the way, except much lower through Cumberland for very good reasons).

But certain (warm weather) weekends, the MSP, the Sheriff's Offices from both counties and even the Cumberland municipal police will be out in force writing speeding tickets.  Not sure if that enforcement correlates to any particular cultural events, but perhaps it does.
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Stratuscaster

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2013, 10:55:15 PM »

US 30 from I-71 west through Ohio to Indiana isn't a bad drive either. But it sounds like you might be shooting more for speed/efficiency than scenery and such.

There's a bit of security knowing you aren't that far away from food or gas along the Turnpike/Toll Roads, for what that's worth.
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iwishiwascanadian

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2013, 02:42:49 AM »

I'm not used to the speed enforcement here in Maryland because I'm originally from Connecticut.  The amount of cameras and cops that just sit around and wait are mind-blowing.  I would rather speed over anything because we want to spend as much time in Chicago as we can but we just want to be able to avoid excessive traffic or construction.  Tolls aren't a big deal because of EZ-Pass. 
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1995hoo

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2013, 11:58:21 AM »

I'm not used to the speed enforcement here in Maryland because I'm originally from Connecticut.  The amount of cameras and cops that just sit around and wait are mind-blowing.  I would rather speed over anything because we want to spend as much time in Chicago as we can but we just want to be able to avoid excessive traffic or construction.  Tolls aren't a big deal because of EZ-Pass. 

Last October there was construction at the junction of I-70 and I-77 in Ohio that caused a substantial backup on our drive west. I have no idea if it might be ongoing, but that would be a reason to avoid that portion of I-70. I think it delayed us for about half an hour.

I assume you know that on the return trip, in particular, Breezewood is a notorious bottleneck. If you do choose to take the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I've found that US-220 south to Cumberland moves pretty well (though not as fast as the Interstate, which makes sense since it's a two-lane road) and is a nice scenic alternative. You simply take the Bedford exit (one prior to Breezewood) and just follow US-220 south to I-68.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Stratuscaster

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2013, 12:10:46 AM »

Breezewood has never been much of a bottleneck in my travels through there. Certainly not any worse than the Circle Interchange in Chicago.

I found taking I-68 west to I-77 north back to I-70 only added about 80 minutes to the trip and was more enjoyable than I-70 and the Turnpike - but that's probably because I've driven the Turnpike/Toll Road combo quite a few times already.
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vtk

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 07:13:56 AM »

I think by August, some rural Interstates in Ohio should be posted at 70 MPH, as the Turnpike currently is.

If you hit Columbus, I-70 through is usually faster than I-270 around the south side (which will have a couple of construction projects in progress).  Downtown, taking I-71 to I-670 west might be an option worth considering, but I don't know if that ramp will be open by then.  VMS in Columbus are typically good at warning of major incidents which call for a reroute.

If you go via Indypolis, I recommend ignoring I-465; just go right through on 70 and 65. (If you're coming through at rush hour, try to catch a traffic report. I don't know what usually gets congested in that city.)
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Brandon

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Re: Baltimore - Chicago in August
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 01:35:00 PM »

My friends and I are planning a road trip from Baltimore to Chicago and back.  I'm planning the route for the trip and I'm thinking the best thing to do is to take 695 to 70 to the Penn Turnpike and keep going on the Ohio Turnpike and the Indiana Toll Road into Chicago on the Skyway.  Does anyone have any advice for the trip or any other alternatives?  We plan on leaving on August 1st and coming back on the 5th (we're going up for my birthday/Lollapalooza). 

Save your money.  Take I-80/94 (Borman/Kingery Expressways) to I-94 (Bishop Ford Freeway) into the Dan Ryan Expressway.  That route is fine except during the morning rush hours.  The Skyway charges $4 for a mere 7.7 miles.
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