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driving to CO

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driving to CO

Postby alpinejason » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:15 pm

Anybody have a preferenace for driving to Colorado from the Midwest? I-70? I-80? I'm heading out after Christmas from Michigan. Both are approx. 24 hours drive time. Is one more scenic than than the other? (Yes, I realize the states I'm driving across are less than scenic...) How about major traffic jamming construction?

Any opinions would be appreciated!
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Postby JonW » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:57 pm

I've driven both within the past few months. Can't really say either one is a particularly scenic. Both Nebraska and Kansas suck to drive through. The I-80 route has Chicago to deal with, which can be a pain. Your decision might be dictated by the weather.
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Postby kiwiw » Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:08 pm

ouch... the midwest...
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Postby MarkDidier » Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:11 pm

I've done both routes starting from NE Indiana (Fort Wayne). If you are leaving from Michigan than I-80 is absolutely the way to go. It is much shorter and faster regardless of what part of CO you are going to. Scenery sucks either route.
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Postby drjohnso1182 » Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:55 pm

80 has tolls around Chicago. 70 has a toll in Kansas. 80 is permanently 75 mph once you're west of Lincoln. I don't remember where in Kansas that happens, but you drive through Topeka, so probably after that. The only landmark along 80 is that wooden bridge over the interstate in Kearney. On 70, you won't even see the arch if you take the northern bypass around St. Louis. From the Chicago area at least, 80 seems more direct.
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Postby rasgoat » Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:46 pm

Go to Colorado on one and come back on the other... The most scenic route.
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Postby Day Hiker » Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:49 am

I grew up in Michigan, until I left at age 32. Being a fan of the West and driving, I took numerous road trips from Michigan, and on those trips, I have had the opportunity to travel most of the country's Interstate Highways, including every east-west Interstate across the middle: 10, 20, 30, 40, 44, 70, 76, 80, 90, and 94.

I lived near Detroit (yuck), and from there to Denver, I think the most-direct way is I94-I80-I76-I70. Taking I94-I69-I70 is another option that I have done. According to software, that route is 140 miles longer than taking Interstate 80. But that's not the only reason I would recommend I80 over I70.

In my numerous trips out west, including many summer trips across the country with my parents, I have been on Interstate 80 and have become somewhat fond of it, in spite of the "dreaded" Nebraska stretch. I have so many good memories of traveling on that highway, as a child and an adult, that I actually miss driving it, now that I live in Nevada.

The Nebraska part actually isn't so bad, in my opinion. (The worst part is Iowa. And drive through Gary, Indiana at night, so you don't hit traffic, and you don't have to see Gary, Indiana.) Once you get west of Lincoln, Nebraska, the population density drops off, and the scenery has a wonderful open feeling that is appreciated by someone who spent his entire young life living in the densely-populated Midwest. The western plains are really a beautiful place if you're the type that appreciates open spaces and big-sky views.

Past Grand Island, Nebraska, Interstate 80 parallels the Platte River, and I remember enjoying this scenery as well -- watching in the distance, the river and its trees accompanying me for over 200 miles as I drove, all the way into Colorado. There is one place where it switches from one side to the other, where the Interstate crosses it, and I think this is where I stopped one time to take a photo of a bald eagle flying over. (This is part of their winter range.) Bald eagles are fish eaters, so they are typically found near rivers, and this one was apparently fishing the Platte.
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Postby xDoogiex » Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:09 am

How is 90 out to SD and MT?
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Postby Day Hiker » Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:18 am

xDoogiex wrote:How is 90 out to SD and MT?


Less traffic than I-80. And I-94 has less than I-90, if I'm not mistaken, but of course you'll go through ND instead of SD that way.

I've been on those, but it's been something close to 15 years since I've been on I-90, so I don't have good memory of it, other than the fact that there is less traffic than I-80, and I-90 goes by Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Devil's Tower, which are all worth checking out.

When we drove that way from Michigan, we also used I-90 to access the east entrance of Yellowstone, via Cody.

Unfortunately, using I-90 or I-94 from Michigan, instead of I-80, means you have to go all the way around Chicago, instead of just past it. When I was there, they had a really irritating toll system on one of those roads (I-294, I think) that made you stop what seemed like every 3 miles to throw another $.25 in the machine. What a waste of time and fuel, stopping every few minutes like that.
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Postby xDoogiex » Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:47 pm

Trying to figure out tolls before mine and hotoven's summer adventure. Hitting up oh, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, then SD,a highpoints then heading south to Nebraska and Colorado
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Postby aedwards » Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:59 pm

xDoogiex wrote:How is 90 out to SD and MT?


Southern MN, and much of eastern SD are pretty boring, but it's not a bad drive, goes by pretty quickly, roads aren't terrible, no tolls. Like day hiker says, the Badlands, Devils Tower, etc are all cool and worth checking out. A little west into Wyoming is a fun drive too.

Something like this might get you through the less exciting parts quickly, so you have more time to check out the cool stuff. No advice about Chicago area though.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 665527&z=6

Plans in Colorado?
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Postby drjohnso1182 » Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:55 pm

Day Hiker wrote:
xDoogiex wrote:How is 90 out to SD and MT?

...
Unfortunately, using I-90 or I-94 from Michigan, instead of I-80, means you have to go all the way around Chicago, instead of just past it. When I was there, they had a really irritating toll system on one of those roads (I-294, I think) that made you stop what seemed like every 3 miles to throw another $.25 in the machine. What a waste of time and fuel, stopping every few minutes like that.

If you have an E-Z Pass, you can use the IPASS lanes on the Chicago tollways. I don't know if you get the IPASS "discount" (when Illinois installed the open-road tolling, they doubled all the tolls, but with IPASS you pay the original rate). If you pay cash, you'll have to stop at each toll.

The Skyway has a steep toll, $2? Leaving the city to the NW, 90 is a tollway from the 90/94 split all the way to Wisconsin. 294 is indeed a tollway all the way around the city, and the tolls are $.80 now, I think; I'd estimate there's a toll every ~10 miles.
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Postby xDoogiex » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:10 am

drjohnso1182 wrote:
Day Hiker wrote:
xDoogiex wrote:How is 90 out to SD and MT?

...
Unfortunately, using I-90 or I-94 from Michigan, instead of I-80, means you have to go all the way around Chicago, instead of just past it. When I was there, they had a really irritating toll system on one of those roads (I-294, I think) that made you stop what seemed like every 3 miles to throw another $.25 in the machine. What a waste of time and fuel, stopping every few minutes like that.

If you have an E-Z Pass, you can use the IPASS lanes on the Chicago tollways. I don't know if you get the IPASS "discount" (when Illinois installed the open-road tolling, they doubled all the tolls, but with IPASS you pay the original rate). If you pay cash, you'll have to stop at each toll.

The Skyway has a steep toll, $2? Leaving the city to the NW, 90 is a tollway from the 90/94 split all the way to Wisconsin. 294 is indeed a tollway all the way around the city, and the tolls are $.80 now, I think; I'd estimate there's a toll every ~10 miles.



80 aka the OH turnpike just went to easy pass and i pay cash and it's way more expensive. shit sucks
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Postby xDoogiex » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:15 am

aedwards wrote:
xDoogiex wrote:How is 90 out to SD and MT?


Southern MN, and much of eastern SD are pretty boring, but it's not a bad drive, goes by pretty quickly, roads aren't terrible, no tolls. Like day hiker says, the Badlands, Devils Tower, etc are all cool and worth checking out. A little west into Wyoming is a fun drive too.

Something like this might get you through the less exciting parts quickly, so you have more time to check out the cool stuff. No advice about Chicago area though.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 665527&z=6

Plans in Colorado?


trying to hit up OH, IN, IL, IA, SD, NB, CO,KS,NM,OK,MO state highpoints on a round trip
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Postby Day Hiker » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:47 am

xDoogiex wrote:trying to hit up OH, IN, IL, IA, SD, NB, CO,KS,NM,OK,MO state highpoints on a round trip

Sounds like a cool trip. Of those eleven, I only have Elbert. I like the highpoint idea, and I would like to do all of those strange little ones, even the ridiculous one in Florida.

aedwards wrote:No advice about Chicago area though.

On many of my trips, I left the northeast Detroit area in the evening, and it's about 3.5 hours (260 miles) to the south end of Lake Michigan, where the population gets heavy. So I would drive through that area at night, and I don't remember ever having traffic problems on those night drives.

So that's my advice; just plan to stay up late and drive through the Chicago area at night. Drive to at least Wisconsin before you stop. I remember we stayed near I-90 in Janesville, Wisconsin, because that's where there is a Motel 6. :D

It's not like you're driving through Canyonlands, so you won't miss anything spectacular by driving in the dark. And there is something really cool about the feeling of driving at night, WEST, across the country, on a vacation. Keep the windows down and feel that great summer night air. I wish I could go back 15 years and have that again.

O.P., alpinejason: winter trip
xDoogiex: summer trip
I'm not confused, and I've got it straight, really.
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