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Author Topic: noelbotevera travels!  (Read 6794 times)

webny99

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #125 on: July 17, 2020, 08:29:04 PM »

Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.

What can I say about Elmira? It's got Mark Twain's childhood home, I guess.
Uh huh! Definitely not a world class city, so that suffices!  :-D


NY 14 wasn't a terrible drive, except near Geneva. Do wish the Seneca Lake views were more frequent.
Yes, Geneva is a slog. You can use part of US 20/NY 5 (Lake Front Drive) to bypass the downtown area, but a proper alternate for north/south traffic is badly needed. Ditto for Watkins Glen, of course.


I took exit 18 there onto NY 31 west to Dogtown! A venerable Rochester institution, where I enjoyed their version of the garbage plate - two hot dogs on top of a bed of mac salad and home fries. Paired with a bottle of Stewart's, I felt like I was truly an Upstate New Yorker.
FTFY! But yes, definitely! :D


NY 104 was a pain in the rear to get through; 2 lanes east of Webster, for the 50 miles to Oswego? With traffic lights? Ugh. I stayed on NY 104 for 25 of those miles, exiting onto NY 14
It's a nice highway through Webster... if only the freeway extended a bit further. The two-lane portion is known for parades of 20+ cars forming, as traffic allows almost no passing opportunities. Williamson to Sodus is the worst. Glad you got to experience it though, as it's one of few real Super 2's in Upstate New York. I suppose one can always dream of a second carriageway...
Sounds like a classic Chimney Bluffs experience too: sorry about the sun, we've had plenty of that lately!


We took I-81 all the way south home from Syracuse, arriving home at 3 AM on July 8th and exploring more of the state that most New Yorkers probably have in their entire lives.
Likely true, because of New York City. I know I'm an exception, and I like to think that everyone else north of the 42nd parallel has done their share of exploring, but that still leaves millions of people from the city that probably haven't seen much of their own state.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 10:14:06 PM by webny99 »
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vdeane

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #126 on: July 17, 2020, 08:30:29 PM »

Notable about the journey is the missing NY State Fair signal on I-690 (no clue where it went)
It was only ever installed during the fair in late August.  The rest of the time it sits in storage, with only the wires visible on I-690.  Additionally, the Fair is cancelled this year, and they're building a flyover that will eliminate the traffic signal.
Outside of the Fair: http://nysroads.com/photos.php?route=i690&state=NY&file=100_2931.JPG
During the Fair: http://nysroads.com/photos.php?route=i690&state=NY&file=101_7644.JPG
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csw

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #127 on: July 17, 2020, 08:41:04 PM »

Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.
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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #128 on: July 17, 2020, 09:38:50 PM »

Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.
I'm up for a mini meet somewhere but I can't drive so IDK.
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webny99

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #129 on: July 17, 2020, 10:13:32 PM »

Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.

I was actually in Maryland for the 5th-6th of July, but if I had known he was coming right through Webster on the 7th, we possibly could have arranged something.
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noelbotevera

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #130 on: July 17, 2020, 10:22:33 PM »

Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.

I was actually in Maryland for the 5th-6th of July, but if I had known he was coming right through Webster on the 7th, we possibly could have arranged something.
I didn't have much time in Rochester/Webster - I didn't want to be in Chimney Bluffs at dark, and my dad had to work the next day. Unless webny99 wants to brave the five hour drive to Chambersburg one day, I don't think we'd be meeting in the near future.
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webny99

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #131 on: July 17, 2020, 10:46:28 PM »

Paid another $8 for Treman. I hadn't swam in a while, so to warm up I practiced a bit. I noticed that the waterfall is near the diving board - so why not dive, then swim there? So I then attempted the diving board; fear overcame me and I bowed out. My dad was also filming me, making it more embarrassing. Okay, round 2; a bit more swimming, I feel confident. I ask how deep the watering hole is; it's 18 feet. I was never used to the deep end, but I was encouraged by a girl telling me to just tread my way there - easy enough. I forget to tell my dad, and I jump; I managed to make it to the waterfall and grasp onto the rocks. My fingers slip, and I begin to sink - I panic and call for help, along with reaching out to somebody. That same girl (who told me that I'll be okay) supports me for a moment while a lifeguard saves me from drowning. I escaped with a nosebleed, numb legs, and a rapidly beating heart.

Alright, I deserved that. I shouldn't have pushed myself to jump off if I couldn't do it the first time.

No, I'm proud of you for going off the board.  You worked through both the realistic fear and also the potential embarrassment.  Good for you!

Plus, you had two encouraging encounters with a nice girl, which is nothing to sneeze at.  Admittedly, the story would have been better if she had helped you out of the water herself but, then, that's what the lifeguards are for.

Some of life's best experiences end with a rapidly beating heart, and occasionally they come with a little bit of blood too.

Very well put. Sometimes, getting a scare is part of what makes an experience unforgettable. The setting always helps, too!

I got a scare at Kinzua Bridge once that was certainly unforgettable for me. I had hiked down into the valley at the base of the bridge, walked around for a bit, grabbed some pictures, and then made the grave mistake of deciding to run back up to meet the rest of my family. I started off, and just kept going, oblivious to the steep grade and the fact that I was in no shape to be doing such a climb at such speeds (you can get some idea of the dynamics of the trail  here and here - looks can certainly be deceiving!). All of a sudden about 2/3 of the way up, I started feeling faint, and had to stop to sit down and breathe for a while. I almost started to black out, and didn't think I was going to make it the rest of the way up the hill. It was scary stuff for a few minutes: I made it eventually, but learned my lesson and won't forget it anytime soon, either.
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webny99

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #132 on: July 17, 2020, 10:57:56 PM »

Wow, great trip report, noel! Found myself smiling and nodding through the whole thing.
Surprised you two didn't get together and turn this into a mini-meet.

I was actually in Maryland for the 5th-6th of July, but if I had known he was coming right through Webster on the 7th, we possibly could have arranged something.
I didn't have much time in Rochester/Webster - I didn't want to be in Chimney Bluffs at dark, and my dad had to work the next day. Unless webny99 wants to brave the five hour drive to Chambersburg one day, I don't think we'd be meeting in the near future.

Well, I have been past on I-81 (twice), and even stopped at the Wendy's on US 30/Lincoln Hwy last year. So you never know!
I'd like to meet people from this forum in real life someday, but am unsure if I could ever make it work for a number of reasons I won't get into.

No hard feelings though, and I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 01:19:43 PM by webny99 »
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noelbotevera

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #133 on: July 25, 2020, 04:48:20 PM »

Yet another trip in the works: August 14th is the day I leave for New York City. My brother starts his new job on the 24th at Lockheed Martin, in the Hempstead/Uniondale plant; so we're getting him  settled in first. We'll leave NYC on August 22nd.

Anything to watch out for? Looks like NYC's been easing on the restrictions, and NYS doesn't require PA visitors to quarantine.

I might revisit the High Line and several locations in NYC; if I'm lucky I could finally visit the Catskills. And, maybe next year, I'll get to visit the Adirondacks.
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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #134 on: July 25, 2020, 05:32:30 PM »

Yet another trip in the works: August 14th is the day I leave for New York City. My brother starts his new job on the 24th at Lockheed Martin, in the Hempstead/Uniondale plant; so we're getting him  settled in first. We'll leave NYC on August 22nd.

Anything to watch out for? Looks like NYC's been easing on the restrictions, and NYS doesn't require PA visitors to quarantine.

I might revisit the High Line and several locations in NYC; if I'm lucky I could finally visit the Catskills. And, maybe next year, I'll get to visit the Adirondacks.
I have heard of improving conditions there. But you may still want to be careful and be sure to check the official government websites for more info. The High Line I clinched not long ago before I ended up here in FL. Just let us know what the rest of your itinerary looks like. I’ve driven through the Catskills, but I have ended up in the Adirondacks.
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noelbotevera

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #135 on: December 26, 2020, 11:56:59 AM »

Welp.

Got my license.

That's cool.

(and yes, I've also been on several trips to NYC since - it takes time to cover them in meticulous detail given they're week-long trips)
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kkt

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #136 on: December 26, 2020, 02:20:50 PM »

Welp.

Got my license.

That's cool.

(and yes, I've also been on several trips to NYC since - it takes time to cover them in meticulous detail given they're week-long trips)

Congratulations!
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noelbotevera

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #137 on: January 24, 2021, 11:11:46 PM »

License update: It took forever for them to mail my license; so long that my interim license actually expired. Toss in a mild case of COVID and the new year was off to a rough start. But I have my license! And everybody is fine! With that, here's my summer roadtrip ideas:

-Great Smoky Mountains - a return to my home state, with some of the finest BBQ in Asheville. Mostly an excuse to see some of the best roads in the country, like Tail of the Dragon or the Cherohala Skyway.

-Chicago - somewhere new, and the furthest west I'll have gone in a while. Depending on how summer 2021 looks like, this might not happen. Fingers crossed COVID isn't a threat by then.

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kkt

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #138 on: January 25, 2021, 12:37:39 AM »

congratulations!
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noelbotevera

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #139 on: January 25, 2021, 01:06:32 AM »

congratulations!
Thanks x2! So far I've done a bit of urban driving around DC and NYC - hoping that Chicago won't be too bad. The Smokies will definitely be interesting driving challenges.
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noelbotevera

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #140 on: February 04, 2021, 10:43:54 PM »

I've got to make a choice for next summer's roadtrip. Because of funds, we can only choose one place to go (usually we can do both). So, I've considered the Smokies of NC/SC/GA/TN, or Chicago. Both would be a week long vacation, and are new territory for me.

Some things to consider:

Smokies
  • Generally cheaper; no need to pay for parking (not sure if Great Smokies NP or Blue Ridge Parkway charges admission)
  • Less overall traffic, though depends on how COVID plays out
  • Exciting trip there and back, would go through WV and over the New River Gorge
  • More distance to cover - ex. Mt. Mitchell is far from Tail of the Dragon, or even Asheville
  • Less variety of food, unless I want to drive all the way to Atlanta or Asheville. Personally, I like barbeque but still something to think about

Chicago
  • More expensive - hotels, restaurants, parking, transit, etc.
  • Boring trip through Ohio and Indiana
  • More variety - though the suburbs are boring
  • More interesting, world-class restaurants; special dishes like the deep-dish pizza can be found there versus BBQ extravaganza

Would still have to deal with tourist traps. Maybe would ride an alpine coaster in TN to say I've done it. Still, tourist traps in Chicago are more expensive than the Smokies - though being at the top of the Sears Tower is a tempting proposition, even though I've been on taller towers (CN Tower in Toronto).

Again, feedback is welcome, especially if any of y'all have experience with these places.
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Ketchup99

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #141 on: February 04, 2021, 11:18:43 PM »

I'd go with Chicago, just because as soon as it's safe to get into a big city again that'll be the first thing I'll do. I cannot WAIT to leave this state again, haven't crossed a state line since September. (Although I'll be going to Worcester later this month for a vaccine trial, so I can get out then.)

Good luck!
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kphoger

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #142 on: February 05, 2021, 09:38:00 AM »

Chicago is my favorite city to visit.  If you do go there and if you do go up the Sears Tower or Hancock, then make sure it's a clear day.  It stinks to get all the way up there, only to realize you can't see very far.  One not-so-tourist-trap thing to do in the summer is to go swimming at a Lake Michigan beach;  everyone has their favorite beach, but my two are Oak Street and Ohio Street.  The museums in Chicago are a must if you visit (assuming they're open then);  there are many different sorts, depending on what you like.  The aquarium, field museum, science and industry, plus some excellent smaller ones dotted around.  For the zoo, I'd skip the free Lincoln Park Zoo and take Metra out to Brookfield instead.  Lodging is definitely expensive in Chicago, though, so it might be more economical to find an airbnb instead.

Haven't been to the Smokies since I was so young I can barely remember.  Would be a totally different trip, though.  Do they still have horseback riding there?  If so, I'd do that.
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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #143 on: February 05, 2021, 10:00:25 AM »

Chicago is my favorite city to visit.  If you do go there and if you do go up the Sears Tower or Hancock, then make sure it's a clear day.  It stinks to get all the way up there, only to realize you can't see very far.  One not-so-tourist-trap thing to do in the summer is to go swimming at a Lake Michigan beach;  everyone has their favorite beach, but my two are Oak Street and Ohio Street.  The museums in Chicago are a must if you visit (assuming they're open then);  there are many different sorts, depending on what you like.  The aquarium, field museum, science and industry, plus some excellent smaller ones dotted around.  For the zoo, I'd skip the free Lincoln Park Zoo and take Metra out to Brookfield instead.  Lodging is definitely expensive in Chicago, though, so it might be more economical to find an airbnb instead.

I'll second pretty much everything Chicago - I picked Oak Street Beach last time I was out there and we wanted a lazy beach day, largely because it's within walking distance of the Clark/Division L stop (and we used CTA to get pretty much everywhere, including arriving at & departing from MDW - a 7-day unlimited pass for both bus & rail cost $28 per person at the time, and we more than got our money's worth!)

We went up Sears Tower (glad we agree on its real name, kphoger :-D) at night last time and it was honestly just as incredible as, if not more than, during the day.  Lights in every direction (except to the east, of course) as far as the eye can see, and I could even see the landing lights of planes arriving at both MDW & ORD (and a sea of red taillights on the Kennedy :awesomeface:).
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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #144 on: February 05, 2021, 10:29:37 AM »

There are no entrance fees at GSMNP or the Blue Ridge Pkwy.

But there IS lots of traffic on US 441 through the park and in Cherokee NC and Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge during the summer tourist season.

An alternative to Tail of the Dragon is TN 32 from the NC line to US 321 - has more curves, is narrower and has zero traffic.  Can be accessed from I-40 Waterville TN and dipping into NC briefly.

The US 441 portion of the park is essentially scenery only (though you can access the App Trail at Newfound Gap to take a stroll), so to see cultural exhibits and structures from the pre-park days you should go to Cades Cove.  If you are not interested in this aspect of the park, you could skip the park altogether if you drive a significant portion of the BRP.  Lots of people use Asheville as their base to do things around that region.

Haven't been to Chicago except passing through on the train, so I have no personal insight on being there.
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webny99

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #145 on: February 05, 2021, 11:16:30 AM »

I'd pick the Smokies, because the trip would be so much better. On my two trips to Tennessee, the trips there and back were the highlight. On my two trips to (and beyond) Chicago, the trips were entirely boring and forgettable.

But purely as a destination, Chicago is a great option as well. I've never been up the Sears Tower, but I did visit the Shedd Aquarium and spend most of a morning in that area, including getting some great skyline views. (I also remember witnessing what I'm pretty sure was child abuse at a McDonald's in that area and being pretty scared by it.)
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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #146 on: February 11, 2021, 01:54:17 PM »

I've got to make a choice for next summer's roadtrip. Because of funds, we can only choose one place to go (usually we can do both). So, I've considered the Smokies of NC/SC/GA/TN, or Chicago. Both would be a week long vacation, and are new territory for me.

Some things to consider:

Smokies
  • Generally cheaper; no need to pay for parking (not sure if Great Smokies NP or Blue Ridge Parkway charges admission)
  • Less overall traffic, though depends on how COVID plays out
  • Exciting trip there and back, would go through WV and over the New River Gorge
  • More distance to cover - ex. Mt. Mitchell is far from Tail of the Dragon, or even Asheville
  • Less variety of food, unless I want to drive all the way to Atlanta or Asheville. Personally, I like barbeque but still something to think about

Chicago
  • More expensive - hotels, restaurants, parking, transit, etc.
  • Boring trip through Ohio and Indiana
  • More variety - though the suburbs are boring
  • More interesting, world-class restaurants; special dishes like the deep-dish pizza can be found there versus BBQ extravaganza

Would still have to deal with tourist traps. Maybe would ride an alpine coaster in TN to say I've done it. Still, tourist traps in Chicago are more expensive than the Smokies - though being at the top of the Sears Tower is a tempting proposition, even though I've been on taller towers (CN Tower in Toronto).

Again, feedback is welcome, especially if any of y'all have experience with these places.
I live in the suburbs of Chicago, so I know a thing or two about Chicago if you decide to come here.

First of all, there are a select few things outside Downtown that are worthwhile seeing if you haven't seen them already. I always recommend the state park extravaganza in the Illinois Valley, which is just 1.5 hours west down I-80. Though the drive is boring west of Joliet, there are an abundance of canyons, and a few small little waterfalls right off the side of the canyons, at Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks. (Off Exit 81 on I-80 in Illinois)

Second of all, Chicago (and its suburbs) has a lot of diverse food too. Aside the usual deep-dish pizza, I've had some of the best Pakistani food in my life (and that's saying a lot, since I've been to Pakistan) at Bundoo Khan (Devon Ave "Little India", Chicago) & Bundoo Khan Express (Naperville). Would recommend the chicken tikka, you have the choice of spicy or non-spicy (but you gotta specify!).

Finally, the route from Pennsylvania to Chicago is indeed a snoozefest west of Toledo. If you're going in any season other than the winter, you could try one of these two partial shunpikes. (If you're crunched on time, try Shunpike #1 or stay on the normal course).

Shunpike #1: (Adds 5 miles & 14 minutes)

Take the usual route from Pennsylvania to Bristol, Indiana - then exit at Exit 101 off I-80/I-90 to IN-15.
Take IN-15 southbound to US-20 westbound (which will turn into the freeway alternative to I-80/I-90 through the South Bend area), then exit 73A to IN-2 westbound.
IN-2 goes west until it turns back into US-20, then follow to I-94 west in Michigan City, off MM 40 (I-94).

Shunpike #2: (Adds 65 miles & 51 minutes)

Take the usual route from Pennsylvania to Toledo, Ohio - then exit at Exit 64 off I-80/I-90 to I-75.
Take I-75 southbound to I-475 northbound (the Toledo bypass), then US-23 northbound (a freeway) to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Pick up I-94 at Exit 35 in Michigan (MM 180 off I-94).
Follow I-94 westbound to Indiana.

Whether to pick Chicago or not is up to you, but these tips are from a Chicago-suburb resident to you! Enjoy.
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noelbotevera

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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #147 on: February 12, 2021, 03:08:53 PM »

How useful is mass transit around Chicago? Are we talking New York levels where practically anywhere is reached by subway, or LA where you have to drive around and find parking?

Speaking of which, what is parking like in Chicago?
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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #148 on: February 12, 2021, 03:18:18 PM »

How useful is mass transit around Chicago? Are we talking New York levels where practically anywhere is reached by subway, or LA where you have to drive around and find parking?

Speaking of which, what is parking like in Chicago?

CTA is excellent.  You can plan on getting anywhere in Chicago itself on transit with no problems.  Service is frequent and the map is covered by bus routes.  The L trains are easy to use.

Out in the suburbs, it's not quite so easy.  The closer-in suburbs have some decent Pace bus routes, but you'd need to look into that in advance.  Most Metra lines (commuter rail) are a decent option, but only if your destination is in the downtown of that particular suburb.  If your travels would take you out to the suburbs, then I recommend checking out the maps here.  Otherwise, don't worry about CTA, as it's a superb transit system that goes anywhere you need to within the city itself.

Finding street parking near tourist destinations is like searching for the holy grail.  (I have early childhood memories of hunting for street parking near Cubs games, and of my father's frustration.)  Parking garages and lots are expensive.  Personally, I don't find it to be worth the hassle, considering how good CTA is.
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Re: noelbotevera travels!
« Reply #149 on: February 12, 2021, 10:51:56 PM »

I've got to make a choice for next summer's roadtrip. Because of funds, we can only choose one place to go (usually we can do both). So, I've considered the Smokies of NC/SC/GA/TN, or Chicago. Both would be a week long vacation, and are new territory for me.

Some things to consider:

Smokies
  • Generally cheaper; no need to pay for parking (not sure if Great Smokies NP or Blue Ridge Parkway charges admission)
  • Less overall traffic, though depends on how COVID plays out
  • Exciting trip there and back, would go through WV and over the New River Gorge
  • More distance to cover - ex. Mt. Mitchell is far from Tail of the Dragon, or even Asheville
  • Less variety of food, unless I want to drive all the way to Atlanta or Asheville. Personally, I like barbeque but still something to think about

Chicago
  • More expensive - hotels, restaurants, parking, transit, etc.
  • Boring trip through Ohio and Indiana
  • More variety - though the suburbs are boring
  • More interesting, world-class restaurants; special dishes like the deep-dish pizza can be found there versus BBQ extravaganza

Would still have to deal with tourist traps. Maybe would ride an alpine coaster in TN to say I've done it. Still, tourist traps in Chicago are more expensive than the Smokies - though being at the top of the Sears Tower is a tempting proposition, even though I've been on taller towers (CN Tower in Toronto).

Again, feedback is welcome, especially if any of y'all have experience with these places.

Hi Noel,

I've been to both places.  Only once to Chicago (if you don't count air transfers at O'Hare).  So I'm probably not that qualified to recommend things in Chicago.  About eight times to Gatlinburg, so I can pass on some observations there, if you are planning to spend some time there if you ultimately choose the Smokys.

You may want to watch the time of year, as sometimes it can be hard to find a room, especially if an event is happening at the Convention Center.  Parking is pretty scarce, but everything is close so you will likely leave the car at the hotel and walk (or take the trolley) wherever you want to go.  The town is quite hilly though!

Don't discount the "variety of food" - you mentioned barbecue - off the top of my head Gatlinburg has Calhoun's and Bennett's for BBQ, both of which I found quite good.  If you like freshwater trout, many places offer that.  And lots of local restaurants - no need to settle for the chain places you can go to at home.

On the other hand, it can give off a "tourist trap" vibe.  That may turn some people off, others may find it kind of charming.  Lots of souvenir shops and the like.  Ripley's museum.  Guinness World Record Museum.  Aquarium.  Miniature golf.

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