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Old 03-17-2010, 11:02 AM
 
Location: A dash North of San Francisco
20 posts, read 42,047 times
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Howdy guys,

A friend and I are heading from San Fran to D.C. via my car! We have about a week to do the drive, and since neither of us has done a drive like this, we are soliciting advice!

Our plan is to take I-80, unless others have convincingly good reasons otherwise.

Any advice, thoughts, comments, etc. is much appreciated, but specifically, I was wondering about hotels, restaurants, sites along I-80?

ANY input on this drive is greatly appreciated! Thanks, and Happy St. Patty's!
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:10 PM
 
4,805 posts, read 20,239,591 times
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Quad Cities, Davenport specifically, has a new art museum, the Figge Art Museum that is nicely designed and has had a good repertoire of exhibitions. There is also a river music venue/restaurant/music store a block or so away from the museum, that is a good place to catch lunch or browse.

I've found not making a reservation and checking into a hotel after dark with vacancies in the Edwards CO-Denver stretch of I-80 is a good way to get a discounted rate. By dark, any skiers that might be checking in, have already done so, so by nightfall any empty rooms a hotel has are likely to stay that way, and they are usually happy to offer a discount of 50% or so.

Watch your speed in West Bendover, NV....I mean, west wendover.

Cawker City, KS, world's largest ball of twine (disputed with some town in MN, though). Send a postcard to mom.

Coney Island Lunch Counter in Grand Island, Nebraska.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:59 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,666,896 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kodaka View Post
Quad Cities, Davenport specifically, has a new art museum, the Figge Art Museum that is nicely designed and has had a good repertoire of exhibitions. There is also a river music venue/restaurant/music store a block or so away from the museum, that is a good place to catch lunch or browse.

I've found not making a reservation and checking into a hotel after dark with vacancies in the Edwards CO-Denver stretch of I-80 is a good way to get a discounted rate. By dark, any skiers that might be checking in, have already done so, so by nightfall any empty rooms a hotel has are likely to stay that way, and they are usually happy to offer a discount of 50% or so.

Watch your speed in West Bendover, NV....I mean, west wendover.

Cawker City, KS, world's largest ball of twine (disputed with some town in MN, though). Send a postcard to mom.

Coney Island Lunch Counter in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Uh....I-80 doesn't go through Denver. Or Kansas.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:50 AM
 
4,805 posts, read 20,239,591 times
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Quote:
Uh....I-80 doesn't go through Denver. Or Kansas.
It doesn't go to DC either. OP can leave SF via I-80 and then they will have to split off at some point if they actually want to go to DC.


They can split off at SLC and follow I-70, which goes through Colorado and Kansas. This is the route most take because it is the most direct.

Or they can follow I-80 the whole way, which takes them a few hundred miles north of their intended destination. But if they don't split off at some point, they are going to end up looking at the Statue of Liberty instead of the Washington Monument. If they choose to follow I-80 past SLC, I've offered a few points of interest along the way.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
9,369 posts, read 18,018,108 times
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Driving any interstate cross country in seven days or less doesn't leave all that much time for site-seeing and as a rule, interstates are boring. I-80 is probably one of the most boring. Chicago being the highlight of the journey. Kodaka offered a good suggestion...break off I-80 at Salt Lake City and head down to I-70 for the remainder of the trip. I prefer I-70...while still several long stretches of nowhere (Kansas, Illinois, Indiana), you have more major cities that you'll pass through such as Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and with a short detour Cincinatti then on through a short stretch of scenic West Virginia and into PA. A short detour will take you to downtown Pittsburgh then onward back on course to D.C.

Make it a point to sit down once a day and eat at least ONE real meal that consists of a main course and some veggies. Subsiding on fast food for an entire week is draining, especially on long drives. I always felt better if I stopped once a day and sat in a diner or restuarant and ate a good hot meal.

When are you doing this drive? If it's during the summer months, you better have reservations or it's going to be tough finding a room at night. Often there are conventions, reunions, and lot's of travelers on the road from June - end of Aug.

If don't have it already, get yourself a AAA membership. If not for the possibility of breaking down in the middle of nowhere, you can also get discounts on hotels too. The membership will pay for itself over the course of the trip. They'll give you free maps too.
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 11,806,866 times
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I would also take I-70 from SLC and go up over the Rockies. In the Summer it will be a really nice drive with lots of towns along the way to stop in. I can even recommend a motel in Grand Junction if you need it. Then you can rejoin I-80 at the Nebraska border via I-76 and keep heading east, altho that drive is MONUMENTALLY tedious so be warned.

Good idea re AAA.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Home of the best seafood
645 posts, read 1,288,756 times
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Dang that is a longgg drive.
I'm in DC by the way, make sure you go downtown DC and stop at some museums and the monument, white house, and the cherry blossoms festival begins on the 27th of this month...
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:29 PM
 
Location: In Exile
107 posts, read 257,476 times
Reputation: 137
You will not have sightseeing time on a week long trip of this distance.

We did Boston to central coast 6 months ago and it took us two weeks + a few and that was driving roughly 8 to 10 hours a day. (and yes we hauled a** whenever traffic would allow.) Remember to pad for things like weather, construction zones, and the requisite car breakdown/repair etc.

We did stop at the Grand Canyon & The Oklahoma City Memorial (costs us 2 extra days) but worth it. DC has some wonderful sites and museums that will not empty your wallet.

Safe trip.
gracie
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:24 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,351,483 times
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Another shortcut on I-80 would be to get take Nebraska Route 2 at Lincoln, NE and follow that over to I-29 South down to Kansas City, MO, where you'd pick up I-70. NE 2 is very good road, four lane most of the way.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,666,896 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kodaka View Post
It doesn't go to DC either. OP can leave SF via I-80 and then they will have to split off at some point if they actually want to go to DC.


They can split off at SLC and follow I-70, which goes through Colorado and Kansas. This is the route most take because it is the most direct.

Or they can follow I-80 the whole way, which takes them a few hundred miles north of their intended destination. But if they don't split off at some point, they are going to end up looking at the Statue of Liberty instead of the Washington Monument. If they choose to follow I-80 past SLC, I've offered a few points of interest along the way.

That's true, I-80 doesn't go to DC, but you'd have to have good eyes to spot the Statue of Liberty way, way down the Hudson from the GW Bridge.

If it were me? I'd stay off I-70 for a couple of reasons.

1. To get to it from I-80, you've either got to go down I-15 a long way from Salt Lake City to find it or take US-6 over Soldiers Summit, which is the shortest route but nearly all 2 lane.

2. I-70 across Colorado is up and down with two major mountain passes to cross. Depending upon which time of year the OP is intending to travel, it can get really, really ugly up there. Just because the calender says Spring means nothing at 10,000 ft. Even in early summer, it's still possible to get some snow.

3. Surprisingly, the distance from SLC to Denver via I-80, US-287 and I-25 is almost exactly the same as going via I-70. Check it out sometime. There isn't 20 miles difference and you can make much better time across Wyoming.

My recommendation? I-80 all the way to the Quad Cities (Davenport, IA area), then down I-74 to Indianapolis, I-70 to I-270 at Frederick, MD and on into DC. Pay the toll in Pennsylvania. It's worth it.
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