Saturday, March 27, 2010

Toronto to Vancouver, via Mt Rushmore & Missoula

Hi Jamie -

Thanks a lot for your taking questions. I am moving from Toronto to Vancouver in April and am looking at what route to take westward. I've driven the Trans Canada and Route 2 so I'm looking for a slightly different route, built around some places I'd like to see. The result is the draft itinerary below.

Toronto to Cleveland 471 km
Cleveland to Madison 790 km
Madison to Sioux Falls 700 km
Sioux Falls to Mt Rushmore 600 km
Mt Rushmore to Billings 550 km
Billings to Butte 360 km
Butte to Missoula 250 km
Missoula to Portland 884 km
Portland to Vancouver 505 km

I wonder if you had any advice about real highlights west of Madison? My interests include key historical sites, interesting pro or collegiate sports experiences, good hikes (I'll also have my snowshoes) and quirkiness of all varieties. Any advice much appreciated.



Hello Pat --

Thank you for checking in with Road Trip USA.

I've had a look at your plans, and (after translating from KM to miles) it sounds like you should have a fun trip. (If the weather cooperates...)

Some notes: There's plenty of "quirkiness" around Mt Rushmore (inc a huge Crazy Horse carving, plus my favorite roadside sculpture, Carhenge in northeast Nebraska), not to mention Wall Drug in Wall SD, and a neighboring Cold War missile silo, open as a National Historic Site!

So maybe you might want to set aside a bit more time for this Black Hills area (Even if it means skipping Cleveland...)

Also, to my mind Missoula is more fun than Billings or Butte -- and if you picked up the pace across Montana, you'd give yourself more time to enjoy the scenic splendors of the Columbia Gorge and Mount Hood, east of Portland (which is now on your longest driving day.) There are many great quick hikes here along the Columbia River, and it should be gorgeous in April (and if you feel the need to use your snowshoes, Mount Hood is perpetually snowcapped, as are all the other cascade volcanos -- Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, et al)

April is a tough month for sports (college basketball season will have just ended, and baseball isn't yet fully in action, though Portland's Class AAA Beavers start playing around April 7th!), but there are tons of fascination historical sites -- almost your whole route you'll be tracking Lewis & Clark and the Oregon Trail, both of which I cover pretty thoroughly in my Road Trip USA book (abridged on the website version).

You've got a great trip ahead of you -- let me know what you get up to!

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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