Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicago to California -- late October 2011 (like, now!)

Greetings Jamie,

I plan on leaving Chicago mid to late October and I am heading to Tahoe. What will give me the biggest bang / most fun for for my ahh.. gallons?

Do you suggest Hwy 20 or 50? I have done many trips from the midwest to west coast, pretty much all on interstates, so I have seen most of the big sites going west and back. Any advise on a better choice would be greatly appreciated.


Comrade FZ


Greetings Comrade FZ --

Thank you for getting in touch, and I hope I can help with your trip west.

Rather than decide between US20 or US50, I think I'd like to suggest a combination of the two. (With maybe a little bit of Interstate 90 thrown in, to get you across the Great Plains...)

The best parts of US20 and US50 are midway between your start and your finish, so maybe you'd do well to spend as much time there, in Yellowstone + Grand Tetons + Craters of the Moon + Sawtooths + Arches and Canyonlands.

Those are places that give the most "bang" -- or if you want something less famous, try Nebraska via US20, and see for yourself how wild and scenic the Niobrara River can be. I've posted a picture of the Niobrara, near Valentine NE, at the top of this note

And to get you in the mood, I'd also suggest a little prelude closer to home -- maybe cruising from Galena to La Crosse along the Great River Road, following the Mississippi River through what is likely to be some pretty "fall color" scenery.

Then hop onto I-90 and bomb west to Mt Rushmore / Black hills?

Depending on weather reports, Yellowstone may then beckon, but if snows are forecast you can slip south to Utah for Arches _ Capitol Reef scenery, then make your way to Tahoe via the "Loneliest Road" and Great Basin Nat'l Park, along US-50.

Hope this helps you have a great trip. Keep in touch, and Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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