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wanted: a flatlander's route from oregon to chicago
i'm going to be driving from portland to chicago in august and i am looking for the flattest, most boring drive i can find.
even though i have lived here for 7 years now, i never have gotten accustomed to mountain passes and driving through them and enjoying the scenery.
i get vertigo and my head spins when i am up high and looking down the road at the descent.
when i drove out here from the midwest years ago i took a long, circuitous route from chicago through texas, new mexico, arizona and california and then into oregon. i had relatives in texas and i was able to visit them and it worked out, though i drove twice as many miles as needed. it wasn't too bad, though I-5 had some interesting mountain driving in california.
i'm looking for a faster, shorter route and i have been thinking about I-90 or I-80.
what i am looking for is a route with the fewest mountain passes, the most boring interstate highways and the flattest, fastest road possible.
thanks for your help.
Not much more flat or boring than this, of course this is sending you pretty far out of the norm and some of the roads are pretty darned deserted. If you don't have some kind of high powered cell phone and radios you had better stock up on fuel and flares...
The more direct route is probably a lot faster and the mountains is does go through are going to interstate:
I've driven every route between Illinois and southern Caliotania. Between mid-Kansas and sunny CA, there isn't any flat land. But, there still may be a route.that will keep you out of the highest mountains.
1-40. Between the Continental Divide and the Texas panhandle there is one 9 degree hill. Everything else is rolling hills and flat land. The farther east, the flatter the land. 1-90 and 1-80 all route thrrough mountainous areas. You do not get out of mountains until you reach Kansas or Nebraska.
1-40 more southern route, but not as southern as Phoenixx. For the most part there is little to see or do (except truck stops) on this route unless you detour into the Grand Canyon or Palo Duro Canyon in Texas.
Anytime you travell east or west of the great mountains it is a craps shoot as to which is the best/worst route.
You can also pick up US 60 at the Colorado/Kansas border. It's a quiet two-lane lane that meanders into SW Missouri. But when you get around 75N. you can shoot up to 1-80 via Witchita without a lot of
trouble. The Amana Colonies are on 1-80. 1-80 is south of Chicago;
I-90 is one of the busiest routes into Chicago. I believe it is called the Eisenhower Expressway. It travels under the main Chicago Post Office and ends at Outer Lake Shore Drive. But I could be wrong about the name. .
linicx, what about the drive in california, arizona and new mexico?
i'm not really certain where the continental divide would hit I-40.
it looks like an intriguing route.
when i drove out, i used, highway 10, i think. it took me from dallas through el paso and tuscon. i think it was about as south as i could go. it took me through at least one pass - outside of tuscon - and i think another one in new mexico. but i'm not certain. it wasn't bad, though, as just about everything is on a pretty easy grade.
I-40 would cut off some mileage of that southern-most route.
but does it take you through the mountainous areas of southern california and arizona and new mexico?
again, i don't mind boring. as far as i'm concerned, the more boring, the better.
thanks for the info.
I-80 is generally regarded as the best route over the Rockies. The early pioneers figured that out. Once you get east of I-25, it will be pretty flat. I don't know exactly where from Portland you would go south to pick up 80.
Yeah, I-40 from the NM/TX border all the way to Springfield, MO is about as flat as it gets in most places. MO has some really nice hills, but they come and go in spurts as I-40 weaves in and out of the ranges. Once you hit I-55 in IL, its flat as a board again, with the only hilly terrain being around the Illinois River.
i'm not really certain where the continental divide would hit I-40. it looks like an intriguing route.
I-40 would cut off some mileage of that southern-most route.
but does it take you through the mountainous areas of southern california and arizona and new mexico? thanks for the info.
I don't remember where the Divide is becaude its just a wide spot in the road with a marker but is about 10,000 feet. Don't give up hope though.
Most of the "mountain areas" are a gentle climb and a gentle descent as they are foothills. They are more rolling than mountain passes. I understand where you are coming from as I have been in some of those 'dandy's in New Mexico. Even the stuff around Bull Head, AZ isn't bad by comparison. The reason being is, as I recall, there is only one sharp descent that might give you fits. You only do it one time, and that is near the AZ/CA border facing west. But that is really the only one that I recall. If vertigo bothers you during the day, you might try driving through those pesky areas at night. I like late at night; it's peaceful and I can actually enjoy the nothingness without driving 80 mph.
The one thing I will say is that I would not drive through the CA desert in the summer during the day. Even at 2 am the desert floor is very hot, but you can drive without A/C.
Try 1-40 and if you hate it you can drop down to 1-10 at Phoenix. The one piece of advice I will give you, though, is invest in a good trucker's map. They are plastic coated, spiral bound, they list every possible route in the US, and they cost about $50. And remember in Texas there is a difference between a county road and a FTMR - Farm To Market Road. I use it to shortcut between Amarillo and Los Cruces. It is a beautiful drive that takes you past the Inn of the Mountain Gods, but the descent into Riodosa is short and quick. The mountains between Bull Head and Las Vegas aren't very nice either. It's 90 miles of misery.
If you decide to use 1-40 I'll show you some places to try and why. like in Winslow, Az., Sweetwater, Texas, Tulsa, OK, . Mount Vernan and St. James, MO.
But, Springfield, MO is where you decide if you really want to drive through the construction and traffic messes in St. Louis and in Springfield, Il or if you would reather knock off a few hours and a lot of miles while you meander over Illinois byways. If you want to miss the mess then you'll follow I-44 E to Mo 5 N to US 54, E to !-270E and continue on I-270 two hours to your next exit. It really is a pleasant trip,
I-40/1-44 offers some nice opportunities to experience a mpre relaxed trip with some fun or educational things (free) to see if you want to take the time to poke around.
Ditto -- basically all interstates are designed for speeds of at least 60 MPH...
Originally Posted by Katiana
I can't understand taking I-40 to get from Portland to Chicago. It seems very much out of the way, down south and then back up north.
The combo of county roads and such that I mapped out specifically go through valleys and farms, conditions on them could be iffy.
Using I-80 does involve some long climbs and a few extended downhills, but it is such that other than seeing the roads drops or rises significantly for several miles there are no real vertigo inducing stretches -- the cliffs and such of Carmel are NOT what you enconter on the Interstate system anywhere...
thanx for the info.
i've never driven through the desert during the summer months.
i've only done it during the spring.
my plan was to get up fairly early, say 4 or so, and get about 6 or 7 hours of driving in before it got too hot.
according to your experience, would i be able to get several hours in during the morning hours before it got just intolerably hot, or is strict night driving the way to go?
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