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Old 11-01-2011, 12:46 PM
 
Location: The Lakes
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I'm driving up to North Dakota and can either pass through the Wisconsin or Iowa. For those knowledgable about the freeways of both states, which would be more scenic/less congested?
I94 through Wisconsin, the entire way.
I80-I380-HWY27/218/18-I35 through Iowa.
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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Not sure about I94, but I80 through Iowa is the most god awful drive you can imagine. I will go out of my way to find an alternate route if I can.

When we drive Des Moines to Milwaukee We cut up through Cedar Rapids just to get off I80 asap. We have even considered highway 30 from I35 just to miss the rest of it.

The biggest plus I see to your IA route is getting off asap.

I hate I80.
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Old 11-01-2011, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKUKUK View Post
I'm driving up to North Dakota and can either pass through the Wisconsin or Iowa. For those knowledgable about the freeways of both states, which would be more scenic/less congested?
I94 through Wisconsin, the entire way.
I80-I380-HWY27/218/18-I35 through Iowa.
more scenic- I'd say the I80 route but only because you'g get off the interstate for a little while. I94 has some very nice scenery as you get into western Wisconsin.
less congested- I80 route

from Chicago, the I80 route is close to 520 miles, the I94 route is just a little over 400 miles.
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Old 11-01-2011, 03:22 PM
 
Location: The Lakes
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Originally Posted by Ghengis View Post
more scenic- I'd say the I80 route but only because you'g get off the interstate for a little while. I94 has some very nice scenery as you get into western Wisconsin.
less congested- I80 route

from Chicago, the I80 route is close to 520 miles, the I94 route is just a little over 400 miles.
I'm coming from Lexington, KY.

There's a difference, but my current path has me either going through Chicago just at rush hour or through Iowa. Another possibility is to go up through Rockford to Madison from I74 to I39 then 94 west.

I'm using Cincinnati/I74 to get to Indy, then it all differs from there. In fact, most of this drive will be at night anyway.
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Old 11-01-2011, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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consider the toll road through Chicago if you choose that route. Saw a helpful tip on the Chicago post pointing out that you can use the fast pass lanes and bypass the toll booths. You have 7 days to sign on to their web site and pay after the fact. I believe the cost was about $5.80. Did this on the way through in August on a Saturday afternoon and it saved a lot of grief.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:10 PM
 
Location: around the way
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Your I-80 to 218 to 18 route along the Cedar River is a good one. Another possibility I would recommend is taking 218 on up to Waverly, heading west on 3 to Allison, and then north on 14 through Greene, and then following "Greene Rd"/County Highway T26 to Marble Rock, Rockford, and on up to 18/27 near Rudd. That's very pretty country up there, with a nice mix of farm, prairie, woods, and even some native wetlands and a few hills to keep things interesting. It's mostly state and county highways so it won't be incredibly fast, but it will be more scenic and definitely less congested.

Another thing you could do is take smaller state highways from Davenport or Clinton on up to Dubuque and basically just follow roads near the river until you hit I-90 in Minnesota.

Basically the closer you are to a river and the further away from an interstate, the more interesting your drive is likely to be.

That being said, this is better for the day driving, not the night. Hitting a deer at night along an unfamiliar county road miles away from any town is no fun.

Last bit of advice is to not do the Chicago to Rockford drive, especially at rush hour. I did it myself this summer and it was excruciatingly slow and uninteresting. It may have improved a little now that it's fall and there's probably less road work, but I wouldn't count on it.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:32 PM
 
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HWY 61 from Davenport up thru Dubuque into Wisc. is a nice drive. It 2 lanes wide like an interstate and the scenery is nice once you get closer to Wisc.

I disagree with Tek ^ about I-80 in Iowa, not much to look at but it's flat and straight. Can't get much easier than that.

From Chicago to Davenport, I like I-88, it has tolls but it's a breeze to drive on. I think it runs about $7.50. I use it all the time and the construction back ups are non existint compared to 80 in IL
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:49 PM
 
Location: St. Paul, MN
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If you want a drive where you can zone out as much as possible and not have to deal with as much traffic, take 74 to 80 to 380 to 218 to 35. Some parts, most notably the short distance of 80 you'll be traveling, still have traffic, but other parts, such as most of 380 and 218, have relatively little traffic.

If you want to get there as fast as possible, if it's during rush hour, take 74 to 39 to 90 to 94 in Madison. 90 and 94 through Wisconsin have a lot of traffic compared to almost anything in Iowa, but not so much traffic that you'll have to slow down to less than speed limit hardly at all. This route is 33 miles shorter than the Iowa route. Unless there's a lane closure or two, there's NO WAY you'll lose enough time due to traffic to come out ahead time-wise compared to the Iowa route.

If you want to get there as fast as possible, and you're not going through Chicago at rush hour, take 65 to 80 to 294 to 290 to 90 to 94 in Madison. In my very limited experience, 294 around Chicago isn't all that bad traffic-wise, it's just the freeways going inside the Chicago city limits proper that get really bad. I personally would take this route if it were not rush hour. Unless you have an issue with multiple lanes and lots of vehicles around you.

Do not take 94 or 90 through Chicago proper unless you have extra time and want to see the city.

If you have a couple extra hours and want scenic, take 74 to 80 to 61 north to Dubuque, from there take 52 to the Twin Cities. 52 is very hilly and scenic as such, and Dubuque is a very beautiful town with the bluffs on the river. If you wanted even more scenery, you could take 67 north from I-80 up along the Mississippi until it meets 52 and then take 52 through Dubuque.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dport7674 View Post
HWY 61 from Davenport up thru Dubuque into Wisc. is a nice drive. It 2 lanes wide like an interstate and the scenery is nice once you get closer to Wisc.

I disagree with Tek ^ about I-80 in Iowa, not much to look at but it's flat and straight. Can't get much easier than that.

From Chicago to Davenport, I like I-88, it has tolls but it's a breeze to drive on. I think it runs about $7.50. I use it all the time and the construction back ups are non existint compared to 80 in IL
Flat and straight has nothing to do with it. And it's not flat. Where do people come up with this? Never driven the highway? It's the amount of traffic, especially truck traffic.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
Flat and straight has nothing to do with it. And it's not flat. Where do people come up with this? Never driven the highway? It's the amount of traffic, especially truck traffic.
There is some traffic, but it cruises along at 75 mph since there is nothing to slow it down. And flat is a relative term. If you are from Fargo, Iowa looks downright mountainous. But compared to many other parts of the country, IA is pretty flat.
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