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Author Topic: Cross-Country August 2018  (Read 905 times)

cl94

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Cross-Country August 2018
« on: January 29, 2018, 10:37:25 PM »

As I've mentioned a few times in the forum and discussed somewhat-extensively in Chat, I'm planning to take a cross-country roadtrip with one of my younger brothers this August. Main road-oriented goals are to clinch I-70 and I-90, but there's a ton of other stuff I'd like to see, such as national parks.

My general route as it stands is as follows:
  • Start from parents in Buffalo, use I-90, US 24, I-69, I-465 to get to I-70 on the east side of Indy
  • I-70 west to I-15, overnight somewhere in Kansas and again in western Colorado/eastern Utah, detouring down to Mount Sunflower in KS
  • I-15, UT 20, US 89, UT 9 to drive through Zion National Park
  • I-15 and CA 58 to Bakersfield, up CA 99 to Visalia, overnight in the Bakersfield/Visalia area
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs (significant hiking), head back to CA 99 and over CA 132 to I-580, I-238, and I-880. Overnight between Modesto and Oakland.
  • Head west across the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge and north across Golden Gate, head up CA 1 to the north end and US 101/US 199 from there to Grants Pass. Overnight in northern CA or Grants Pass
  • SB I-5, OR 234/62 to Crater Lake. Loop around the park and head out the north end, head over to US 97. Up US 97 to US 12 and WA 410 across Rainier to Seattle. Up I-5, loop around to the west end of I-90, I-90 EB to the Issaquah area, where I'll overnight
  • I-90 EB to US 93, looping through Wallace on the way. Head up US 93 to the Whitefish area. Overnight between I-90 and Whitefish.
  • Glacier National Park (mostly Going-To-The-Sun Road and maybe a short hike), get back to I-90 and head east to Butte, overnight in Butte
  • I-90 east to Rapid City. Will detour down US 212 to drive the Beartooth Highway east of WY 296, looping back to I-90 via 296-120-MT 72-US 310. Overnight in Rapid City.
  • US 16/16A, SD 244, SD 87 down to Black Elk Peak, hike up/down that (probably get back to car mid-late morning). Drive SD 87, Wildlife Loop Rd, and Iron Mtn Rd through Custer State Park, back to I-90, overnight in Wall. Do Wall Drug that night or the following morning. NOT stopping at Rushmore, but we'll be able to see it from the road in several places.
  • I-90 east to I-94 in Chicago, looping through Badlands NP and taking a detour to Hawkeye Point. That'll clinch I-90 for me. Probably overnight near Chicago
  • From Chicago, I-94 - I-75 - I-280 - OH 2 - I-90 or similar.

Is there anything else neat within a short distance of the road where we could stop? Any lodging suggestions for the areas I'm planning to overnight? Food I should try and get? Other general tips?
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2018, 12:52:02 AM »

I wouldn’t really have loding suggestions for you in California aside from stay at something off 99.  There is a decent Comfort Inn near the Visalia Airport.  If you can take 198 and 25 to get to the Bay Area since it way more scenic drive, it would take you by Pinnacles National Park also if hiking is a big item on your list.  The big view points for Sequioa and Kings Canyon are Moro Rock then Panoramic Point.  CA 180 down to the Kings River is a beautiful drive to the bottom of Kings Canyon.   I really enjoy Little Baldy and the Crescent Meadow Trails also.  I’d really recommend CA 9, 236, and 35 to San Francisco rather than trying to slog through Oakland on the Bay Bridge...but I’m more a mountain road fan over Interstates. 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 12:55:33 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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cl94

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2018, 12:50:52 PM »

I plan to drive through San Francisco on a Saturday, so it shouldn't be too much of a slog. Plus, I get to see I-238. I did consider going by Pinnacles, but it would add quite a bit of time. Unfortunately, the 12 or so days I have planned for this thing is the longest I can realistically take.
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hbelkins

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2018, 02:28:48 PM »

Not sure how far you'll get into Kansas before you will want/need to stop, but there's plenty of lodging in Lawrence. I have stayed twice at the Quality Inn there and like it.

As for Indy, if you're staying there, I stayed at the Microtel Inn that's just off US 421 on the north side of town when I attended the Indy multi-day meet a few years ago and it was the typical Microtel.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 03:05:56 PM »

I plan to drive through San Francisco on a Saturday, so it shouldn't be too much of a slog. Plus, I get to see I-238. I did consider going by Pinnacles, but it would add quite a bit of time. Unfortunately, the 12 or so days I have planned for this thing is the longest I can realistically take.

I see, looks like you’re in for a hell of a drive on CA 1 in the North Shore Highway.  The Marin Headlands have the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge IMO, totally worth a stop.  One short cut you might want to consider back in Utah is taking US 89 directly south from I-70.  There isn’t much difference time wise versus hopping over UT 20 from I-15.  There is a new Quality Inn at the junction of UT 12 and US 89 that I really like and the Econo Lodge isn’t half bad either.  If you got an hour I’d really recommend swinging east on UT 12 to at least one of the high overlooks of Bryce Canyon.  Personally I prefer it over Zion due to the lack of crowds. 

cl94

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2018, 04:12:27 PM »

Not doing any Utah shortcuts from I-70 because I want the clinch. Bryce Canyon is definitely an "if we have time" detour. Don't think Zion would be too bad on a Thursday. It'll be 11 hours of driving that day minimum, probably quite a bit more, so Bryce Canyon might just not be doable, unfortunately.

Marin Headlands was a planned stop. Probably stopping somewhere in that area to walk on the bridge a little bit, too.

Not sure how far you'll get into Kansas before you will want/need to stop, but there's plenty of lodging in Lawrence. I have stayed twice at the Quality Inn there and like it.

As for Indy, if you're staying there, I stayed at the Microtel Inn that's just off US 421 on the north side of town when I attended the Indy multi-day meet a few years ago and it was the typical Microtel.

Definitely keeping both in mind. I was wondering about that Lawrence Quality.
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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2018, 04:28:36 PM »

Marin Headlands was a planned stop. Probably stopping somewhere in that area to walk on the bridge a little bit, too.

Both must-do's! We walked the entire length of the bridge on my senior trip, and it was so worth it. Took less than an hour.
We missed the Marin Headlands due to time constraints, but the previous classes were all able to fit it in. That was (and still is) hard to swallow.

Max Rockatansky

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2018, 05:15:31 PM »

Not doing any Utah shortcuts from I-70 because I want the clinch. Bryce Canyon is definitely an "if we have time" detour. Don't think Zion would be too bad on a Thursday. It'll be 11 hours of driving that day minimum, probably quite a bit more, so Bryce Canyon might just not be doable, unfortunately.

Marin Headlands was a planned stop. Probably stopping somewhere in that area to walk on the bridge a little bit, too.

Not sure how far you'll get into Kansas before you will want/need to stop, but there's plenty of lodging in Lawrence. I have stayed twice at the Quality Inn there and like it.

As for Indy, if you're staying there, I stayed at the Microtel Inn that's just off US 421 on the north side of town when I attended the Indy multi-day meet a few years ago and it was the typical Microtel.

Definitely keeping both in mind. I was wondering about that Lawrence Quality.

Zion should be fine coming from the east on UT 9 but the shuttles will be running on the Canyon Floor.  If you get in early enough I think you can park at the Zion Lodge or Grotto if you are heading to Angels Landing.  North of Baker Beach there is a NPS parking lot about a half mile south of the Golden Gate Bridge at some coastal batteries that rarely is ever full with good access to 1/101.   The battery Trail is takes you to the bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge. 

corco

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 08:13:56 PM »

I would consider reversing the direction of the loop on the Beartooth - I think WYO 296 is cooler westbound and the Beartooth eastbound than the other way around, but otherwise it looks good.

Oddly, I've also stayed at the Lawrence Quality Inn and would echo it's a decent place to stop. It's old but clean, which is what hurts it on TripAdvisor.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 08:19:46 PM by corco »
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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 08:57:06 PM »

Perhaps drive through the Avenue of the Giants at Humboldt Redwoods State Park in northern California. I drove back in 2012 and it is impressive, plus it's an old alignment of US 101.
http://avenueofthegiants.net/

cl94

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2018, 05:46:17 PM »

Thanks again for the suggestions. Didn't realize there even were a ton of hotels near Bryce Canyon (will probably end up booking a room at that Quality later this week) and stuff like the Beartooth direction and Avenue of the Giants is EXACTLY why I thought I'd make a thread.

One more question I had: does anyone have lodging suggestions for the Kalispell/Whitefish area? I'm well aware I'm going to be paying through the nose for anything at that time of year, but I also know that the utility gained from driving the extra distance the night before Glacier makes up for the cost. Thinking the Econo Lodge at this point in time (reasonable cost), but if anybody had experience staying in that area and had suggestions and knew of good, cheap places...
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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2018, 01:48:50 PM »

As I've mentioned a few times in the forum and discussed somewhat-extensively in Chat, I'm planning to take a cross-country roadtrip with one of my younger brothers this August. Main road-oriented goals are to clinch I-70 and I-90, but there's a ton of other stuff I'd like to see, such as national parks.

My general route as it stands is as follows:
  • Start from parents in Buffalo, use I-90, US 24, I-69, I-465 to get to I-70 on the east side of Indy
  • I-70 west to I-15, overnight somewhere in Kansas and again in western Colorado/eastern Utah, detouring down to Mount Sunflower in KS
  • I-15, UT 20, US 89, UT 9 to drive through Zion National Park
  • I-15 and CA 58 to Bakersfield, up CA 99 to Visalia, overnight in the Bakersfield/Visalia area
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs (significant hiking), head back to CA 99 and over CA 132 to I-580, I-238, and I-880. Overnight between Modesto and Oakland.
  • Head west across the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge and north across Golden Gate, head up CA 1 to the north end and US 101/US 199 from there to Grants Pass. Overnight in northern CA or Grants Pass
  • SB I-5, OR 234/62 to Crater Lake. Loop around the park and head out the north end, head over to US 97. Up US 97 to US 12 and WA 410 across Rainier to Seattle. Up I-5, loop around to the west end of I-90, I-90 EB to the Issaquah area, where I'll overnight
  • I-90 EB to US 93, looping through Wallace on the way. Head up US 93 to the Whitefish area. Overnight between I-90 and Whitefish.
  • Glacier National Park (mostly Going-To-The-Sun Road and maybe a short hike), get back to I-90 and head east to Butte, overnight in Butte
  • I-90 east to Rapid City. Will detour down US 212 to drive the Beartooth Highway east of WY 296, looping back to I-90 via 296-120-MT 72-US 310. Overnight in Rapid City.
  • US 16/16A, SD 244, SD 87 down to Black Elk Peak, hike up/down that (probably get back to car mid-late morning). Drive SD 87, Wildlife Loop Rd, and Iron Mtn Rd through Custer State Park, back to I-90, overnight in Wall. Do Wall Drug that night or the following morning. NOT stopping at Rushmore, but we'll be able to see it from the road in several places.
  • I-90 east to I-94 in Chicago, looping through Badlands NP and taking a detour to Hawkeye Point. That'll clinch I-90 for me. Probably overnight near Chicago
  • From Chicago, I-94 - I-75 - I-280 - OH 2 - I-90 or similar.

Is there anything else neat within a short distance of the road where we could stop? Any lodging suggestions for the areas I'm planning to overnight? Food I should try and get? Other general tips?

For No. 13, I'd recommend not using I-94 all the way to Detroit, and instead hop off at US-23 in Ann Arbor. Then use US-23 to I-475 to the Dussel Drive/Salisbury Road exit. Then US-20 to I-80/I-90.
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cl94

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2018, 03:49:05 PM »

For No. 13, I'd recommend not using I-94 all the way to Detroit, and instead hop off at US-23 in Ann Arbor. Then use US-23 to I-475 to the Dussel Drive/Salisbury Road exit. Then US-20 to I-80/I-90.

I have US 23 between I-64 and Saginaw. I-94 gets me new miles. Same reason I'm using SR 2 in Ohio.
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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2018, 04:49:46 PM »

I have US 23 between I-64 and Saginaw. I-94 gets me new miles. Same reason I'm using SR 2 in Ohio.

That would mean you have traveled all of US 23 in Ohio, and Travel Mapping says you haven't.
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cl94

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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2018, 05:03:10 PM »

I have US 23 between I-64 and Saginaw. I-94 gets me new miles. Same reason I'm using SR 2 in Ohio.

That would mean you have traveled all of US 23 in Ohio, and Travel Mapping says you haven't.

I'm missing the section between SR 15 and US 20. Either way, there's no reasonable way to get that on this trip.
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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2018, 05:12:18 PM »

I have US 23 between I-64 and Saginaw. I-94 gets me new miles. Same reason I'm using SR 2 in Ohio.

That would mean you have traveled all of US 23 in Ohio, and Travel Mapping says you haven't.

I'm missing the section between SR 15 and US 20. Either way, there's no reasonable way to get that on this trip.

Then why did you say that you had all of US 23 from I-64 in Kentucky to Saginaw?
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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2018, 06:45:53 PM »

For No. 13, I'd recommend not using I-94 all the way to Detroit, and instead hop off at US-23 in Ann Arbor. Then use US-23 to I-475 to the Dussel Drive/Salisbury Road exit. Then US-20 to I-80/I-90.

I have US 23 between I-64 and Saginaw. I-94 gets me new miles. Same reason I'm using SR 2 in Ohio.
What about taking I-275 from the DTW Airport down to I-75 in Monroe, then taking I-75 to I-280 to SR 2?
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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2018, 09:28:43 PM »

1. I-90 does not connect to US24 in Toledo.  You'll need to transfer to I-75 south to I-475 west, then get off at US24.  In case you didn't know.
2.  Don't stay near the inner city, regarding Chicago or anywhere, as lodging will be more expensive.
3.  The best redwoods in California are immediately off of US199 near Crescent City.  There really isn't any lodging along US199 except near its two termini.  I stayed at the Hiouchi Motel right in the redwoods last October--our stay was nice and very affordable.  Look up the Stout Grove Trail.  Very short hike and takes you right into one of the best redwood experiences you can have with pretty low effort involved.
4. Prepare for traffic in some of the national parks to be.....slow (especially Zion). With Zion, and potentially others, it may take a LONG time to get into the park, and another LONG period of time to get through the park.
5.  I-70 has some very long dry spells of hotels and services in Utah and western Colorado.  Last year I stayed at the Super 8 in Green River, UT, and it was one of the best Super 8's I've ever been to.
6.  Be sure to allot time for food--especially if your plans require to pick up food and pack it into a national park or other natural area.
7.  And the most important thing--make sure you don't ruin yourself with exhaustion from driving.  I usually plan 6-7 hours of driving if I'm driving somewhere on my lonesome; my gf and I are going to try a cross-country road trip where the two of us combined accomplish up to 10-11 hours in a day.  It's possible that you are hardier than I (who am I kidding--it's VERY possible), but be careful not to cram more driving than the two of you can handle into one day.  Especially if you're reserving hotels in advance that will literally require you to drive a designated distance on a particular day.  You can only half-enjoy the experience of a wondrous place if you're only half-awake when you're there.

I went to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Crater Lake, and Redwood NP's last year (my GF and I want to collect them all!) so I can speak to those, to some extent anyways.  We might be planning to hit up Glacier in August--maybe we'll bump into each other!  :sombrero:
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Re: Cross-Country August 2018
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2018, 09:57:59 PM »

The first thing I'll say is that without stopping at all, getting from east UT/west CO to Bakersfield is going to be 11.5 to 12 hours. Zion NP traffic is going to make that a whole lot worse. If you have an extra day, you may want to spend the night somewhere in the Southern UT/NV area.

Moab is only 30 minutes south of I-70 on US 191. You could spend your eastern UT/western CO night there and hit Arches and/or Canyonlands National Park. As Max mentioned, Bryce Canyon National Park is only 20-30 minutes east of US-89. You may also want to consider Cedar Breaks National Monument, although that might be a slightly longer detour than you'd like. Another often-overlooked site near St. George is Snow Canyon State Park, which is the best state park I've ever been to. Even if you don't feel like hiking, the drive through the park alone is worth it.

Also, August is monsoon season in the southwest, and there can be some pretty nasty thunderstorms. Especially if you'll be doing any hiking in the afternoons, keep track of the forecast, especially any flash-flood alerts. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "flash flood warning for Zion" on the news.

Although I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge is one of the most scenic interstates, you can still drive the old alignment of US 91 between St George and Littlefield AZ, which is maintained as a county road and is in decent shape.

And as Paul pointed out, there are indeed some big service deserts on I-70. At all costs stop in Green River, because the next services are 110 miles away in Salina.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 10:04:00 PM by roadguy2 »
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