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Author Topic: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)  (Read 691 times)

ChimpOnTheWheel

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Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« on: March 23, 2018, 01:45:18 PM »

I'm planning on going to Bloomington, Indiana, from my hometown of (somewhere in the Chicago suburbs) to look at a music school. I don't know when I'm going cause I have lots of trips to sandwich in, but I want some advice until then.

I'm hoping to go in between spring break and summer break, so I have plenty of time to plan.

Some of the routes I was considering include:


1. I-294 ---> I-80/I-94 ---> Exit 11 to I-65 ---> I-65 ---> Exit 193 to US-231 ---> US-231 ---> IN-46
2. I-294 ---> I-80/I-94 ---> Exit 11 to I-65 ---> I-65 ---> Exit 123 to I-465 ---> I-465 ---> Exit 4 to IN-37 ---> IN-37
3. I-294 ---> I-57 ---> Exit 308 to US-52 ---> US-52 ---> Lafayette Bypass ---> US-52 ---> I-65 (then follow Route 2 from there)
4. (This is a wildcard one.) I-294 ---> Exit 0 to IL-394 ---> IL-394 to Exchange Street ---> US-41 ---> IN-63 ---> I-70 ---> IN-46

Which one is best? If none of them are good, any recommendations? Should I alter parts of my route?

I'm leaning toward option 3 to avoid I-80/I-94 traffic, but I know option 4 also does the trick with that and US-41/IN-63 is much more familiar to me than US-52 (though, US-52 comes in handy just in case I-294 is clogged past I-57).

Would appreciate any advice, thanks.
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KeithE4Phx

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 03:19:02 PM »

Stay off 37.  It's being upgraded to I-69 and is down to one lane in each direction.  Best bet, although it's longer, is I-65 to IN 46 at Columbus, then go west on 46 through Brown County to Bloomington.
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cabiness42

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 03:57:00 PM »

If time isn't a consideration:

I like #4, but instead of getting on IN 63, stay on US 41 to US 36 to IN 59 to IN 46.
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KeithE4Phx

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 05:11:54 PM »

I grew up in Bloomington, and drove down there from Chicago for a couple football games a year in the 1970s and '80s.  I found that staying on the interstates between Chicago and Indy was mandatory.  Somehow I doubt that's changed over the years.

Another route I can recommend, although it might now be taking the brunt of the traffic that would normally use 37, is to get off the 465 at IN 67, take it to US 231, and then get on IN 46 at Spencer. 

A scenic pair of back roads is IN 135 south from Indy to IN 45 at Beanblossom, although 45 is an old road with a ton of curves.  Very nice in the fall.  IN 135 begins at US 31 (East St.) just south of 465.

But whatever you do, stay off of 37 until it's finished (see the Ohio Valley board for a related thread, with construction pictures).  IIRC, it's supposed to be finished between Bloomington and Martinsville by Labor Day.  I don't live there anymore, but my friends back there say it's a nightmare.
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ChimpOnTheWheel

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2018, 06:41:52 PM »

If time isn't a consideration:

I like #4, but instead of getting on IN 63, stay on US 41 to US 36 to IN 59 to IN 46.

Time is sort of a consideration, but so is distance. That's why I also put #1 under consideration, because from Wolcott to Spencer, US-231 goes in a straight line from I-65 to IN-46.

Stay off 37.  It's being upgraded to I-69 and is down to one lane in each direction.  Best bet, although it's longer, is I-65 to IN 46 at Columbus, then go west on 46 through Brown County to Bloomington.

I'm not keen of the idea of using I-65 south of Indy, but thanks for the tip about Future I-69/IN-37. So, #2 is out, and #3 is also sort of out. (Unless I of course, use US 52 to US 231 instead of US 52 to I-65.)
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westerninterloper

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2018, 08:33:27 PM »

I've driven those roads many times. If you'd like a scenic, but direct route, that avoids major town and cities, I recommend something like #4:
US 41 out of NW Indiana>

Either US 41 to Rockville/US 36 (this will take you through the Sugar Creek Valley) to SR 59 - or -
SR 63 to US 36 East > SR 59 to a little save time; -or-
Scenic and uncrowded: SR 63 South to SR 234 (Cayuga) to US 41 South to SR 236 East to SR 59 South.

SR 59 South --> SR 46 East to Bloomington - I've driven this highway a thousand times. Few trucks, nice hills to Bloomington.

I'd go for this route: https://www.google.com.mx/maps/dir/Gary,+Indiana,+USA/Bloomington,+Indiana,+USA/@40.0162852,-87.3974121,90911m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m31!4m30!1m20!1m1!1s0x8811c26949eba4df:0x3ec3739841d01645!2m2!1d-87.3464271!2d41.5933696!3m4!1m2!1d-87.2431203!2d40.1661752!3s0x8812b8ecc0190105:0x155d1405b2a7bbbc!3m4!1m2!1d-87.2425081!2d39.970531!3s0x8812b51325a2bceb:0x4ed00ffe13bb1b8f!3m4!1m2!1d-87.1054356!2d39.7226702!3s0x886d3ba882faeb89:0x1477d9598a6141ec!1m5!1m1!1s0x886c5df6b483d8e7:0xe91a912d8bad33d9!2m2!1d-86.5263857!2d39.165325!2m1!1b1!3e0?hl=en

I would stay off of US 231 - it is surprisingly busy out of Lafayette (traffic there can be heavy), and you miss Crawfordsville and Greencastle - both very nice towns, but they'll slow you down. Here's a recent quote from the Indiana notes about US 231 south of Lafayette; this has been my experience too:

"Drove US 231 from Crawfordsville to Lafayette on Thursday afternoon and it was completely over capacity for a two lane highway. Both directions were non-stop columns of cars, not a single gap ever occurred in which one could do a safe pass. I felt sorry for some car waiting in a rural driveway down in a creek bed where the winding road and rising terrain had no more that 200 feet visibility in either direction. They were waiting for how long for any gap in the traffic to make a desperate turn onto the road which may have 60mph traffic coming around the trees at any second."

The other routes will either take you too far out of the way, or through a lot of traffic, or through dead-boring flatlands. West Central Indiana is surprisingly hilly and forested - I love love love driving through there. Happy trails!
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 08:45:53 PM by westerninterloper »
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ChimpOnTheWheel

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2018, 09:16:57 PM »

I've driven those roads many times. If you'd like a scenic, but direct route, that avoids major town and cities, I recommend something like #4:
US 41 out of NW Indiana>

Either US 41 to Rockville/US 36 (this will take you through the Sugar Creek Valley) to SR 59 - or -
SR 63 to US 36 East > SR 59 to a little save time; -or-
Scenic and uncrowded: SR 63 South to SR 234 (Cayuga) to US 41 South to SR 236 East to SR 59 South.

SR 59 South --> SR 46 East to Bloomington - I've driven this highway a thousand times. Few trucks, nice hills to Bloomington.

I'd go for this route: https://www.google.com.mx/maps/dir/Gary,+Indiana,+USA/Bloomington,+Indiana,+USA/@40.0162852,-87.3974121,90911m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m31!4m30!1m20!1m1!1s0x8811c26949eba4df:0x3ec3739841d01645!2m2!1d-87.3464271!2d41.5933696!3m4!1m2!1d-87.2431203!2d40.1661752!3s0x8812b8ecc0190105:0x155d1405b2a7bbbc!3m4!1m2!1d-87.2425081!2d39.970531!3s0x8812b51325a2bceb:0x4ed00ffe13bb1b8f!3m4!1m2!1d-87.1054356!2d39.7226702!3s0x886d3ba882faeb89:0x1477d9598a6141ec!1m5!1m1!1s0x886c5df6b483d8e7:0xe91a912d8bad33d9!2m2!1d-86.5263857!2d39.165325!2m1!1b1!3e0?hl=en

I would stay off of US 231 - it is surprisingly busy out of Lafayette (traffic there can be heavy), and you miss Crawfordsville and Greencastle - both very nice towns, but they'll slow you down. Here's a recent quote from the Indiana notes about US 231 south of Lafayette; this has been my experience too:

"Drove US 231 from Crawfordsville to Lafayette on Thursday afternoon and it was completely over capacity for a two lane highway. Both directions were non-stop columns of cars, not a single gap ever occurred in which one could do a safe pass. I felt sorry for some car waiting in a rural driveway down in a creek bed where the winding road and rising terrain had no more that 200 feet visibility in either direction. They were waiting for how long for any gap in the traffic to make a desperate turn onto the road which may have 60mph traffic coming around the trees at any second."

The other routes will either take you too far out of the way, or through a lot of traffic, or through dead-boring flatlands. West Central Indiana is surprisingly hilly and forested - I love love love driving through there. Happy trails!

Based off this quote, and my understanding of the difference between US-41 and IN-63, I'll go with IN-63 to US-36 to IN-59 to IN-46. Thanks for the suggestion!

Will let you guys know how it goes when the date is confirmed. Thanks!
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KeithE4Phx

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2018, 11:47:35 PM »

I'm planning on going to Bloomington, Indiana, from my hometown of (somewhere in the Chicago suburbs) to look at a music school.

If you want to be a music major and don't want to mess with the zoo that is NYC, Indiana University is the place to go.
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Rothman

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2018, 12:17:26 AM »

Last time I was in a car from Bloomington (spent my wee younger years there) to Chicago was in 1978.  Something tells me that I won't be much help. :D
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westerninterloper

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2018, 12:52:10 AM »

I'm planning on going to Bloomington, Indiana, from my hometown of (somewhere in the Chicago suburbs) to look at a music school.

If you want to be a music major and don't want to mess with the zoo that is NYC, Indiana University is the place to go.

One of the world's best. I spent four summers at IU music camps in high school, and fortunately realized early enough that music was not my path. I hope you have a great visit.
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Revive 755

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Re: Chicago suburbs to Bloomington Indiana (Unknown trip date)
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2018, 10:15:20 PM »

4. (This is a wildcard one.) I-294 ---> Exit 0 to IL-394 ---> IL-394 to Exchange Street ---> US-41 ---> IN-63 ---> I-70 ---> IN-46

Exchange Street to US 41 can be tricky to navigate, but maybe it's easier going from IL to IN - I've only tried it in reverse so far.  It also involves a lot of underposted (30 mph) rural/light suburban roads on the Indiana side.  I've usually just gone ahead and used IL 17/IN 2 or IL 114/IN 10 and cut over from I-57.
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