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Old 09-30-2013, 05:00 PM   #1
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The Way to Chilliwack

Our scheduled completion date is 5/7. But due to other commitments, we won’t be able to get away until the 5th. We’re thinking of taking a 7-day drive from northern Maryland to Chilliwack. Our intended route will take us into a few areas that prompt the need for local knowledge.

First, we’re thinking of taking The Great River Road from La Claire, IA to Winona, MN. If the Mississippi floods next spring, is it likely that TGRR will be passable in early May?

Second, if the Mississippi and/or the Missouri floods substantially next spring, is it likely that I 90 will be closed at any point in early May?

Third, we assume that US 12 from Butte to Lewiston will be clear. But is there much chance of a closure in the passes due to late snows?

Fourth, we’re thinking of heading northwest out of Spokane and entering Canada at Osoyoos. Is there much chance of late snows btw Osoyoos and Chilliwack that would cause us difficulty?

Our planned route is below. Any thoughts/guidance would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your insights.

5/5 Leave Maryland, MD and drive to Gary, IN via I 83, I 76, I 80, and I 90. (680 miles/10 hrs, 40 min)

5/6 Leave Gary, IN and drive to Rochester, MN via I 80 to La Claire, IA and then via The Great River Road to Winona, MN and then to Rochester via I 90. (466 miles/9 hrs, 38 min.)

5/7 Leave Rochester, MN and drive to Rapid City, SD via I 90. Visit The Badlands via The Badlands Loop Road (SD 240 (Exit 131)(explore Door Trail, Window Trail, Cliff Shelf, and Fossil Exhibit Trail (593 miles / 9 hours, 3 mins, plus time for walking the 4 trails.)

5/8 Leave Rapid City and drive to Cody WY. Visit Mt. Rushmore. Drive though the Black Hills (via Needles Highway & Rt 16). Continue to Cody, WY via US 16 and I 90 and US 16. (424 miles / 8 hours, 8 minutes, plus time at Mt. Rushmore)

5/9 Leave Cody, WY and drive to Butte, MT. Enter Yellowstone and drive the Grand Loop Road southwest to West Thumb & Old Faithful, then northwest to Tower Junction, then loop back to the west entrance; continue to Butte, MT via US 287 and I 90. (393 miles / 9 hours, 49 minutes, plus stops in Yellowstone)

5/10 Leave Butte, MT and drive to Spokane, WA via the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway. Leave Butte via I 90, then US 12 to Lewiston, ID (the NPSB), then US 95 and US 195 to Spokane. (441 miles; 8 hours 6 minutes)

5/11 Leave Spokane, WA and drive to Chilliwack, BC via US 2, WA 21, WA 174, WA 155, US 97/ CA 97, CA 3, and CA 1. (373 miles / 7 hours, 29 minutes)
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:39 PM   #2
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Here is a link to my 8 day drive from Oswego, NY to Chilliwack starting about 3 weeks earlier than you in 2011. There is a map of my intended route at the bottom of the index page. Because of snow in the passes, I switched to I90 for much of the western part of the trip.

I did run into some snow, some of it pretty heavy, but only in the passes & nothing that stopped me. I should note that I live in the Lake Ontario snow belt that gets between 150" & 200" of snow each season, so I'm used to driving in it.

Had a great time on the rest of the trip, only running into a bit of snow after hooking up the trailer.

Have a great trip!
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:42 PM   #3
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Badlands is spectacular, stop at Wall Drug on the way (it is the "South of the Border" of the west) as is Mt Rushmore and do not forget Devil's Tower, not too far away from Rushmore. Needles Highway in and around Rushmore is a pretty drive. Yellowstone was ok, but take BearTooth Highway, from RedLodge, Mt to Yellowstone's Northern entrance, probably the prettiest drive I've ever seen. Chief Joseph's highway in Wyoming near Cody is also really nice. KOA in Cody is clean as is the BadLands KOA.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
Here is a link to my 8 day drive from Oswego, NY to Chilliwack starting about 3 weeks earlier than you in 2011. There is a map of my intended route at the bottom of the index page. Because of snow in the passes, I switched to I90 for much of the western part of the trip.

I did run into some snow, some of it pretty heavy, but only in the passes & nothing that stopped me. I should note that I live in the Lake Ontario snow belt that gets between 150" & 200" of snow each season, so I'm used to driving in it.

Had a great time on the rest of the trip, only running into a bit of snow after hooking up the trailer.

Have a great trip!
Thanks Jon. I'll check out your 8-day link.
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:37 PM   #5
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Badlands is spectacular, stop at Wall Drug on the way (it is the "South of the Border" of the west) as is Mt Rushmore and do not forget Devil's Tower, not too far away from Rushmore. Needles Highway in and around Rushmore is a pretty drive. Yellowstone was ok, but take BearTooth Highway, from RedLodge, Mt to Yellowstone's Northern entrance, probably the prettiest drive I've ever seen. Chief Joseph's highway in Wyoming near Cody is also really nice. KOA in Cody is clean as is the BadLands KOA.
Thanks Jim. I'll be looking to recalculate. Gotta do Ystone, though, as we've seen it only in winter.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:19 PM   #6
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5/6 Great River Road - that is a lot of river. I think that stretch you are considering is a full day trip in itself. The road is extremely curvy and full of hills, plus each of the small towns take a great deal of time. Starting in Dubuque does not save much. How about LaCrosse to Winona, at Winona cross over to the Wis side to the Twin Cities? Or just the stretch to Winona, that is a neat river town, then back south to 90.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:14 PM   #7
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You might consider more time in Idaho departing from West Yellowstone you could then go to Craters of the Moon on 20 then up the 75 to Sun Valley and Stanley then pass through McCall and then take 95 north to Spokane. There are amazing mountains and lakes along the route. The passes will have snow, but will all be clear in May. Hwy 12 is scenic but the 75 in between Sun Valley and Stanley is even better.

We get our trailer in April!
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:01 AM   #8
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5/6 Great River Road - that is a lot of river. I think that stretch you are considering is a full day trip in itself. The road is extremely curvy and full of hills, plus each of the small towns take a great deal of time. Starting in Dubuque does not save much. How about LaCrosse to Winona, at Winona cross over to the Wis side to the Twin Cities? Or just the stretch to Winona, that is a neat river town, then back south to 90.
Thanks fudgebrownie. I was wondering whether that was a reasonable day drive. Is the section btw La Crosse and Winona, or any particular subsection, especially scenic?

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Old 10-01-2013, 06:06 AM   #9
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You might consider more time in Idaho departing from West Yellowstone you could then go to Craters of the Moon on 20 then up the 75 to Sun Valley and Stanley then pass through McCall and then take 95 north to Spokane. There are amazing mountains and lakes along the route. The passes will have snow, but will all be clear in May. Hwy 12 is scenic but the 75 in between Sun Valley and Stanley is even better.

We get our trailer in April!
Thanks for the tip smileycook. Better is better. Recalculating. . . .

Congratulations on your trailer!

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Old 10-01-2013, 06:46 AM   #10
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WOW! You're driving all the way across the country and will be within days of a egg gathering! Consider, after your pickup joining us at 2014, May 16-18: Maryhill (SP) in May
Safe travels!
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:53 AM   #11
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WOW! You're driving all the way across the country and will be within days of a egg gathering! Consider, after your pickup joining us at 2014, May 16-18: Maryhill (SP) in May
Safe travels!
Thanks Donna. We'll keep that in mind as our plans firm up. Would be nice to meet you.

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Old 10-01-2013, 07:39 AM   #12
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Hi Glenn,
Congrats on your new Escape. I wish you well on your trip.
You might be underestimating the amount of time each leg will take. Mountain
roads, small town traffic, meals and breaks, pilot cars as you wait
on road construction, rainy roads, darkness ...

Just driving from the East entrance of YNP all the way to the west could take
you 3-4 hours what with road construction delays, bison
delays, and photography delays!

Just plan for unforeseen delays...

Best wishes.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:31 PM   #13
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Hi Glenn,
Congrats on your new Escape. I wish you well on your trip.
You might be underestimating the amount of time each leg will take. Mountain
roads, small town traffic, meals and breaks, pilot cars as you wait
on road construction, rainy roads, darkness ...

Just driving from the East entrance of YNP all the way to the west could take
you 3-4 hours what with road construction delays, bison
delays, and photography delays!

Just plan for unforeseen delays...

Best wishes.

Thanks Brian. Points taken. The miles/time notes are from MapQuest. Undoubtedly, it'll take more actual time, as we stop for all the usual reasons. I can easily do 13-14 hours in a day. My misgivings go to whether I can do plus-10-hour-days for 7 days straight. (I ain't a spring chicken no more.) Jon Vermilye did his NY to BC in 8 days, so I'm thinking of stretching our timeline out to match that while incorporating suggestions for alternative routing. Plotting the itinerary is as much fun as working on the build sheet. Thanks again.

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Old 10-01-2013, 08:53 PM   #14
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You might consider more time in Idaho departing from West Yellowstone you could then go to Craters of the Moon on 20 then up the 75 to Sun Valley and Stanley then pass through McCall and then take 95 north to Spokane. There are amazing mountains and lakes along the route. The passes will have snow, but will all be clear in May. Hwy 12 is scenic but the 75 in between Sun Valley and Stanley is even better.

We get our trailer in April!
Glenn: I live in the McCall area and agree with the comments re the mountain scenery here and in the Stanley area. And if you were to exit Yellowstone to the south you would travel through the dramatic Teton NP area. The downside is that this route is not at all direct and it will probably add considerable time and mileage to your trip. Snow is generally not a closure issue in May, but significant storms do occur and most higher campgrounds are closed until Memorial Day. If you're circling back later with trailer in tow, Glacier NP is my absolute favorite for mountain scenery and southern Utah is other-worldly. PS for Chris and Jessica: glad to see you're Escaping and I hope seeing ours helped the process....Glenn.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:02 AM   #15
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Glenn: I live in the McCall area and agree with the comments re the mountain scenery here and in the Stanley area. And if you were to exit Yellowstone to the south you would travel through the dramatic Teton NP area. The downside is that this route is not at all direct and it will probably add considerable time and mileage to your trip. Snow is generally not a closure issue in May, but significant storms do occur and most higher campgrounds are closed until Memorial Day. If you're circling back later with trailer in tow, Glacier NP is my absolute favorite for mountain scenery and southern Utah is other-worldly. PS for Chris and Jessica: glad to see you're Escaping and I hope seeing ours helped the process....Glenn.
Glenn,

Thanks for the additional thoughts. We're thinking of expanding the duration of the trip out, so the Grand Tetons may be a doable detour. As for the trip back, we're tentatively considering going down the coast (but will be detouring east for Yosemite, Sequoia, and other inland destinations) at least as far as Carmel/Monterey, then turning east to take in the Grand Canyon and southern Utah. We'll see how hot the weather is in June but I expect turn north no later than Albuquerque. It'll be a challenge to route the western part of the trip back so as to reduce having to double-back. With that itinerary in mind it may be difficult to do Glacier on the way back. Will have to cogitate. Thanks again.

Glenn
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:36 AM   #16
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While there are so many wonderful places to see, if you are taking the time to see Yellowstone, heading south to see the Tetons is well worth the effort.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:33 PM   #17
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Okay---more trips in the future--we'll do Beartooth highway and the Grand Tetons next time we are in that area!!!

Nice views and pictures you guys are posting....

How many months until retirement?? LOL
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:09 PM   #18
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While there are so many wonderful places to see, if you are taking the time to see Yellowstone, heading south to see the Tetons is well worth the effort.
Thanks Jon. Nice images.

Glenn
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:11 PM   #19
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How many months until retirement?? LOL
7. The 19 will be ready in 7 months, 7 days. Coincidence? I think not.
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