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Old 06-05-2016, 06:02 PM   #1
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Cross country route: NH to Seattle

I am just starting to research a cross country trip from NH to Seattle and eventually back to NH is a more southern route. This will be an 8 month trip. I love the planning phase of trips like this but it is a bit overwhelming trying to get started. I am trying to break it down into sections. Right now, I am looking into taking Route 90 for most of the East to west part of this trip and I'd love any input on this route. Our departure date is still uncertain but our target is September, 2017 so I have lots of time to enjoy the planning phase. We will be purchasing a new 5er ( about 36 ft.) and a new truck (a 1 ton diesel) Thanks for your suggestions.

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Old 06-05-2016, 07:02 PM   #2
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In 2010 we covered a lot of the route you mentioned as a return from our cross country trip to Halifax, returning through the Northern States. Left Halifax during the second week of Sept. and to our surprise many parks along the route had started shutting down for the winter. Even as we got closer to home the first week of Oct. the park we stayed at in Rapid City, to visit Mt. Rushmore , had shut down 1/2 the sites and winterized their water system. Owner said by the 15th of the month the gates were locked.
JMHO: If you can get away during Aug. do so ; you'll have better luck finding parks open on your travels. On the north west coast there are many year round parks , across the northern states very few.

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Old 06-05-2016, 07:39 PM   #3
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SKIP426: I appreciate the suggestion. We may be able to move it up a few weeks. That is something for us to think about. Here in NH, most campgrounds don't close until about Oct 15 so that was why we picked Sept. 1. August 15 might give us more time. How was the drive on 90?
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:16 PM   #4
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If you're planning many stops along I-90 I would also advise starting your trip earlier. Once you get to the Pacific Northwest the rainy season will start late Fall. Sept/mid Oct would be perfect for traveling the coastline if you were planning to do that. Also, if you're planning to do the national parks such as Glacier/Yellowstone, etc. go to their national park websites and find out when things start to close down.

When you get into Michigan you might consider taking Hwy 2 across the Upper Peninsula. It's an alternative for I-90 and you'll see more of the country if you get off the interstates.

Have fun planning your trip!
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:43 PM   #5
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I did most of that trip last summer. Because we started out in NJ we began with I-80. Near Chicago we got on I-90 and it was a great trip. We stayed in Rapid City SD , Red Lodge Mt. Bozeman Mt and the I-90 leg ended in Missoula where we went north to Columbia Falls and Glacier Nat'l Park.

I would do that route again in a heartbeat. The only bad part was going through Chicago. That is a portion of any trip that has to be time correctly. Traffic can be a nightmare.

Good luck with the planning!
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:46 PM   #6
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Plan to hit all eastern major cities during none rush hour.

Do not take I90 into Chicago. Take I294 or my way that is I80 west and then I39 north

Lots to see along the way and as I recall only around Cleveland was the road rough. But that was years ago.
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Old 06-06-2016, 06:18 AM   #7
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Cross country route: NH to Seattle

We did that trip in 2012, leaving MA Oct 7 and arriving Seattle Nov 6. Took our time and visited a few folks and places along the way, but no major side excursions. No problems at all finding campgrounds. No weather difficulties.
If you take I-90 from MA, you'll be on toll road all the way to Chicago. Alternate routes are available.
Transit west on I-80/I-90 south of Chicago, but get no closer. Continue westward on I-80. There are about 5 big opportunities between Chicago and Omaha to cut north and rejoin I-90.
Plenty of neat little towns to stop in for a few days, meet some people, and find some dynamite local diners.

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Old 06-08-2016, 07:57 PM   #8
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Fellow Granite-stater here - if you have the time you might want to look at more interesting routes... We find the eastern part of 90, particularly through NY, pretty boring, and tolls are high. We have gone north to Montreal, then west on 17 to Sault Ste Marie and back into the States - pretty ride, as well as 84W to 80W across PA. Once you are past the East Coast "bottleneck" it is much better! ST
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:17 AM   #9
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If you want to avoid tolls all the way to Chicago, you could take I-88 in NY, just west of Albany. It is a scenic route but with hills as you climb out of the Hudson River Valley but it is toll free. I-88 will lead to I-86 and the I-90 again. In Ohio, go south and connect with US 30 which is four lanes and 55-65 MPH from there to Chicago. It would add some time but increase the scenery, things to do and lessen traffic headaches tremendously.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:10 AM   #10
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last year we drove I-90 from IL to the Seattle area and I found it to be a fine road. It had it's boring parts but also some very scenic parts. I've driven it twice now and would definitely use it again if I wanted to go interstate.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:24 PM   #11
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Maybe take an interstate through the midwest, but in the east and in the west, get off the interstate and take the secondary highways. Much more interesting culture, better scenery, fewer trucks. We avoid the interstates except when in a hurry or going through cities.
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Old 06-10-2016, 06:34 AM   #12
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Cross country route: NH to Seattle

Originally Posted by FaithBowls View Post
Maybe take an interstate through the midwest, but in the east and in the west, get off the interstate and take the secondary highways. Much more interesting culture, better scenery, fewer trucks. We avoid the interstates except when in a hurry or going through cities.

True that!
US 30 from Canton OH to Gary IN is a great road, no tolls, nice scenery. It's 350 miles of non-boring, non-turnpike, relaxation.

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