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Old 08-03-2019, 02:15 PM   #1
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US/CA Border Tour

Looking to tour the northern US border to include WI, MN, ND, MT, ID, WA, and OR next Aug-Oct. Figuring the main route E/W will center on US rt 2 and the Trans Canada Highway. For the W/E return trip I'd probably stay south of the border on US Rt 2 as it'd be later in the fall

The only things I know I want to visit are Glacier, Roosevelt, Olympia, Waterton, Banff, and Jasper NP areas. The only place I've been in the past is Seattle and Mt Rainier.

This may well be a one time trip and I'm looking for don't miss things to see within 2-3 hours north or south of those routes, nature and wildlife types of things. Searching the internet for the few best in each state or province is overwhelming.
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:41 PM   #2
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Badlands NP in North Dakota is accessible from I94, part of Theodore Roosevelt NP west of Bismarck, ND
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:57 PM   #3
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Looking to tour the northern US border to include WI, MN, ND, MT, ID, WA, and OR next Aug-Oct. Figuring the main route E/W will center on US rt 2 and the Trans Canada Highway. For the W/E return trip I'd probably stay south of the border on US Rt 2 as it'd be later in the fall

The only things I know I want to visit are Glacier, Roosevelt, Olympia, Waterton, Banff, and Jasper NP areas. The only place I've been in the past is Seattle and Mt Rainier.

This may well be a one time trip and I'm looking for don't miss things to see within 2-3 hours north or south of those routes, nature and wildlife types of things. Searching the internet for the few best in each state or province is overwhelming.
I have read in various places that US 2 is in the top ten most dangerous highways in the country. Don't know why that is so, if it is.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:03 PM   #4
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I have read in various places that US 2 is in the top ten most dangerous highways in the country. Don't know why that is so, if it is.
It is still my favorite way to cross the US, at least in warm weather.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:09 PM   #5
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Read it in Trailer Life a while back. US 2 was #4 on the 'Most Dangerous' list. Very monotonous driving in many places. Huge trucks up that way.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:39 PM   #6
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North Cascades National Park- cross Washington on 20 instead of 2 and you go right through it. Or come down 97 from Okanagan or 3 and then take 20.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:40 PM   #7
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Something to evaluate is how you want to travel and how immersed you wish to be in the various attractions. On the Escape Facebook pages we have the reporting of Dan Dial. It appears he moves just about every day. Some friends just completed a Lake Superior Circle Tour and they commented their dislike of moving (albeit not very far) everyday.

There are some attractions that just take a long time. I believe Yellowstone, because of the distances involved, requires two weeks with at least two campsite locations. The Tetons need at least a week. I guess I am saying your time should be spent enjoying your destination, not hitching up and driving to the next one. Do not get caught up with trying to see too much.

Just because you pass by the International Peace Gardens does not mean you need to stop. I think any travel requires much research. You need to find what each place offers when you are planning, not when you drive nearby. Your decision making has to look at the big picture, only possible through your prior research. Travel requires planning. That is not to say you cannot vary from your plan, those deviations can be the highlights.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:54 PM   #8
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North Cascades National Park- cross Washington on 20 instead of 2 and you go right through it. Or come down 97 from Okanagan or 3 and then take 20.
Both 20 & 2 have their good points. Try to do each through the Cascades.
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:04 PM   #9
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Read it in Trailer Life a while back. US 2 was #4 on the 'Most Dangerous' list. Very monotonous driving in many places. Huge trucks up that way.
Sure don't agree with that. My preferred route. Trucks, you want to see wall-to-wall trucks, well not on 2 compared to other routes.

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Old 08-03-2019, 05:09 PM   #10
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Badlands NP in North Dakota is accessible from I94, part of Theodore Roosevelt NP west of Bismarck, ND
That's already on my map as part of TRNP, didn't know it was badlands.
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:30 PM   #11
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Something to evaluate is how you want to travel and how immersed you wish to be in the various attractions. On the Escape Facebook pages we have the reporting of Dan Dial. It appears he moves just about every day. Some friends just completed a Lake Superior Circle Tour and they commented their dislike of moving (albeit not very far) everyday.

There are some attractions that just take a long time. I believe Yellowstone, because of the distances involved, requires two weeks with at least two campsite locations. The Tetons need at least a week. I guess I am saying your time should be spent enjoying your destination, not hitching up and driving to the next one. Do not get caught up with trying to see too much.

Just because you pass by the International Peace Gardens does not mean you need to stop. I think any travel requires much research. You need to find what each place offers when you are planning, not when you drive nearby. Your decision making has to look at the big picture, only possible through your prior research. Travel requires planning. That is not to say you cannot vary from your plan, those deviations can be the highlights.
We're not exactly new to long trips, this is just our 1st along this part of the country. I'm not looking for everything there is to see, just looking to see if there is something I don't about that IS worth seeing.

Typical for us is a 2 or 3 days at 300 or so miles then stop somewhere decent for a a few.
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:33 PM   #12
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There are badlands in both South Dakota (east of the Black Hills) and in North Dakota too. You want to see trucks drive Interstate 80 from Ohio to Omaha, through Chicago about 11AM on Monday morning or Friday after 2 PM. I find highway 2 across Montana and North Dakota fascinating. Big country, lots of Native American History, interesting geology and plant communities. As some have noted you can’t see it all in one trip and you have to make a decision on whether you want to totally immerse yourself and your time on one area or just hit the Highlights. I can spend a week in a one hundred mile radius or run 500 miles between stops, depends on the goal and the interest for us. Research and planning with judicious driving distances seems to be the key. I like driving hard to a destination and staying several days, YMMV
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:48 PM   #13
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Badlands NP in North Dakota is accessible from I94, part of Theodore Roosevelt NP west of Bismarck, ND
The Badlands National Park is in my home state of South Dakota just south of I-90 near Wall, SD. If I'm not mistaken, the North Dakota Badlands are located within the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:10 PM   #14
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We saw Waterton this year and loved it. It has some great hiking. Be prepared for the wind though. Also if you go to East Glacier don’t miss Many Glacier just north of st Mary. The road in is horrible but the views in the park and reduced crowds are worth it. We liked it better than East Glacier.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:24 PM   #15
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We saw Waterton this year and loved it. It has some great hiking. Be prepared for the wind though. Also if you go to East Glacier don’t miss Many Glacier just north of st Mary. The road in is horrible but the views in the park and reduced crowds are worth it. We liked it better than East Glacier.
Many Glacier is already on the map, going to try to get to Two Medicine also.

Anyone have anywhere along the WA/OR coast? Farthest north along the Pacific we've been is Pt. Reyes.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:34 PM   #16
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That's already on my map as part of TRNP, didn't know it was badlands.
Yes, it is similar to the Badlands NP in South Dakota, identical scenery up in North Dakota...but part of TRNP
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:39 PM   #17
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We like Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria OR and Grayland Beach State Park in WA.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:37 PM   #18
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It is worth staying a night or two at Dry Falls / Sun Lakes state park in WA. During the last ice age, Lake Missoula in Montana was held back by an ice dam. As the ice receded, the dam as breached and reformed several times. The lake drained and scoured eastern Washington. Afterwards the Columbia River changed course and left the former falls (that were bigger than Niagara today!) high and dry. The state park includes the dry falls and the resulting cliffs. It is just off highway 2. Here is a Wikipedia Link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_...lls_State_Park
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:20 PM   #19
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I find it hard to believe that Highway 2 is that dangerous. Last year I took it from Kalispell to nearly all the way through North Dakota, in many places in MT I saw few other vehicles on the road. From Williston ND through to east of Bemidji MN the highway is four lanes. Duluth/Superior is well worth stopping at, try the Duluth Grill for great food.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:14 PM   #20
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Well, Padlin, if you try to follow the advice of all of us, you will likely be stopping to see something someone found to be interesting every 200' along any highway you travel! The end result will likely be terminal boredom.

I'm new to Escape, but as a lifetime traveler have found some of my best memories have been the unexpected attractions and events. And don't forget to meet the people-sometimes I have met the most interesting people in some otherwise (to me) uninteresting places. Never fail to follow your own muse, because then everything you find will be genuinely your own adventure.

As a "framework" to give some structure to your travels, if you are a member of AAA, you might pick up free copies of their regional TourBook guides of the areas you expect to pass through. Mark whatever interests you and give it a try. Yogi Barra's travel advice is still about the best available: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." You are unlikely to be disappointed.

Happy travels.
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