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Old 04-26-2015, 06:45 PM   #1
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PA to Montana

I'm leaving Central PA June 1 for the summer in Alaska. To get west, I will probably use the PA Turnpike to I-70 thru W.Virginia. Going to Great Falls, MT then north. I want to avoid big cities like Chicago and Cleveland. Seems like there are many choices to drive west. What are the suggestions on what interstates to choose or which ones to avoid (traffic, construction, campgrounds, etc.)?
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:28 PM   #2
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I80 is South of Chicago, and South of Cleveland, busy interstate(some toll areas) but IMO the best choice driving from your area. That is assuming you are more interested in time getting there because of the late starting date.
Another option that involves more miles is to drop down to I 70 until you reach the West side of Indianapolis, then head NW on I 74 to Cedar Rapids where you pick up I 80 W.
For current road construction information I use The National Traffic and Road Closure website .
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:54 AM   #3
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Bertman, if you get on I-70 in New Stanton, just stay on until Indianapolis, and then take I-74 NW up towards the Quad Cities, where you get I-80, like Ray said. There is no heavy traffic to speak of (at least in the estimation of those of us from the East coast... ) Once on I-80, there's no big city traffic either, unless you count Salt Lake City (which I don't). Once out that far, I don't know where you'll head north, but bottom line, once you're west of New Stanton, it's clear sailing. I-70 and I-80 keep you well south of any congestion.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:27 PM   #4
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I strongly recommend you stop by a large Truckstop and purchase a Rand McNalley Motor Carrier's Atlas. This is the same atlas used by truckers, it will show all major truck approved routes for United States and Canada, entry points for border crossings etc. It also shows locations for low bridges, but here's the main point, you are safe traveling on any US highway. Most all Interstates will go thru or near a major city, you can avoid the amount of terror by selecting your time to go thru these city's, or by selecting a US Highway to go around. Rest areas are shown and most states will allow up to 8 hours parking. I 80 is south go Chicago, but not so south as to not have major traffic slowdowns or backups. I-70 goes thru St.Louis and at times can be bumper to bumper traffic so don't let large cities stop you from your travel desires. one of my favorite routes when coming home from easterly destinations is on I-80 in Wyoming, at Little America I use US 30, it brings me out at Pocatello Idaho, I've completely missed Salt Lake and have seen beautiful landscape, with plenty of fuel stops, and dining selections. And have cut off 90 miles from my route.
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:43 PM   #5
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I will give you a different route
  • I-70 West to Indianapolis, IN
  • I-74 Northwest to Bloomington, IL
  • I-39 North to Rockford, IL
  • I-94 Northwest to St Paul, MN
  • I-694 bypass around Minneapolis, St Paul
  • I-94 northwest to I-15
  • I-15 North to Great Falls

This route avoids I-80 ... there are tons of truck on I-80 all the way from Chicago to the I-80/I-76 split in western Nebraska ... I have travelled I-80 across Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming a lot.

There is one toll booth on I-94 in Illinois ... I was just through there about 10 days ago ... toll was $4 for motorhome and toad (4 axles)
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:23 PM   #6
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Another option, depending where you are in PA, is to head to Toronto to Michigan 69 west to Flint, Michigan and I-75 north into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Then take Hwy 2 to Great Falls. It's a good road with little traffic and a beautiful drive. No issues for big rigs. From Hwy 2 you can take many choices of roads north into Canada.

One campground we loved soon after entering Montana is Fort Peck Corp of Engineers at Glasgow, MT. It's a beauty and it's where you really get the feeling of why Montana is called 'Big Sky Country'. It has huge sites with grassy manicured lawns.
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:42 PM   #7
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If you come into Montana via I-94, you may be tempted to use State road 200. FYI, it's not a bad route. Very direct to Great Falls. 2 Lanes only, 70 MPH daytime limit. Just be aware that there is no fuel or restaurants between Glendive and Lewistown (250 Miles). Be prepared, and it's a scenic route with small rolling hills.


Have a great trip.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:39 AM   #8
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I-465 that circles Indy is not where you want to be during morning or afternoon rush hours. Minneapolis is another you want to hit during non-rush hour times. I also like I-90 better than I-94. Jim.
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 04fxsts View Post
I-465 that circles Indy is not where you want to be during morning or afternoon rush hours. Minneapolis is another you want to hit during non-rush hour times. I also like I-90 better than I-94. Jim.
I always try to be on the other side of Indy NLT 3 PM weekdays, weekends are the same all day-busy. If he spends the night at Richmond, IN., he'll be at Indy in 1.5 hrs.
I wouldn't stay on I 70 through Indy, whoever laid that route must have spent the night with Mary Jane.
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