How is Interstate 80?

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Smoky

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We are trying to figure out which route to take west from our week long stay at Camp Newmar in Indiana. 

Last year we took I90 and thoroughly enjoyed the visit through the Black Hills of North Dakota via  Chicago Illinois.  But we did not like traveling around Chicago.  Also, we originally were going to meet up with several motorhomes in Rapid City, but those plans have gone awry.

Now we are left with no deadlines, and lots of freedom.

One route might be even more northern through North Dakota and then dropping down into Montana.  Still have to get by Chicago though.

The other route, and the one we are most interested in, is taking 30 to I 80, thus staying south of Chicago, and then across Nebraska and Wyoming and then on up to Montana via Yellowstone.  This is the route I prefer but I have nightmare memories of awful washboard I80 sections in 2003.  There was a lot of construction going on so I am wondering if Wyoming and Nebraska have got their I80 act straightened out.  Has anyone traveled I80 through Wyoming and Nebraska recently?  And if so, how about a report?

Also can a big rig make it through the Yellowstone Park roads?  I took a trailer through in 2003, but am wonderinf about a 40 footer pulling a station wagon?
 

ArdraF

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Smokey,

When we came east in May that stretch around Chicago is still terrible.  We were coming down from WI to Indianapolis and it was NOT fun on I-80.  VERY narrow lanes, rough, miles and miles of construction with cement barriers on both sides.  Even the truckers were going slow.  Of course, they didn't have any opportunity to go any faster because there was so much traffic at a crawl.  They're redoing major bridges and interchanges and even getting off is difficult.  We would have been better to take surface streets all the way because it took forever on I-80!  Jerry even made me drive it!  ;)

ArdraF
 

Shayne

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Smokey? You can get around The Windy by going south, about 12 to 15 miles, on 61 Take Highway 10 west to ILL 17 and you come out at Kankakee? Stay due west to 31 and then north toward Rockford and pickup 80 again and head west.? I've made this trip many times and loped off 3 to 4 hrs? messing with that traffic.? Good luck and Say hi to the Admiral for us.? Audrey is working me to death on this 2nd place.? Putting in hardwood floor thru out.? Man I'm too dang old for this.? Have a good trip.? See you in a couple of months.
 

blueblood

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Smoky said:
We are trying to figure out which route to take west from our week long stay at Camp Newmar in Indiana.?

Last year we took I90 and thoroughly enjoyed the visit through the Black Hills of North Dakota via? Chicago Illinois.? But we did not like traveling around Chicago.? Also, we originally were going to meet up with several motorhomes in Rapid City, but those plans have gone awry.

Now we are left with no deadlines, and lots of freedom.

One route might be even more northern through North Dakota and then dropping down into Montana.? Still have to get by Chicago though.

The other route, and the one we are most interested in, is taking 30 to I 80, thus staying south of Chicago, and then across Nebraska and Wyoming and then on up to Montana via Yellowstone.? This is the route I prefer but I have nightmare memories of awful washboard I80 sections in 2003.? There was a lot of construction going on so I am wondering if Wyoming and Nebraska have got their I80 act straightened out.? Has anyone traveled I80 through Wyoming and Nebraska recently?? And if so, how about a report?

Also can a big rig make it through the Yellowstone Park roads?? I took a trailer through in 2003, but am wonderinf about a 40 footer pulling a station wagon?

I crossed I-80 two weeks ago but went way below Chicago. A Friend went that way the other day and had a 20 mile backup. AS to NE/WY, there were those terrible washboard sections in some places i.e.some sections have been repaired but others still exist. In several places I drove in left lane and people seem to understand why I was doing it and passed on inside with no problem. If a person hung behind me, I moved over long enough to let them pass and then got back. I'd say about 80+ percent of road is okay.

As to Yellowstone, be aware that the road from east entrance in is under construction for several miles and waits up to an hour are common and its closed from 8 PM to 8 am. Length is not a huge problem but one must be an alert driver. Steep dropoffs w/.o guardrails and narrow roads and tourists doing quick stops when they think they have spotted something can be wearying.
 

Ron

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Smoky,

We came across just this week.  We went to Lowell IN Flying J for fuel, hadn't filled up since Rapid City on our way to Traverse City, then North to highway 30 and west till we connected with I-80.  Was a good ride but there are some sections of the washboards along the way.  We Fueled up again in Cheyenne Flying J and spent two nights at Terry Bison Ranch just South of Cheyenne exit 2 off I-25 then on to Green River were we are at presently.  Will be heading North to Riverton on 05 July for a couple days then on to Powell for a couple days.  Arriving at Sam's Camp on 10 July.  Have a great trip.
 

Smoky

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OK gang, good reports all.

Blueblood, if it is 80% OK in Wy and Neb, then I might try your idea of hanging out in the passing lane during those washboard sections.

Karl, I will see if I can push US 30 a little further than IL before picking up 80.

Ron, the current plan is for the Admiral to split from me after Yellowstone and head for her mother in the toad while I head for Sam's Camp to get that 7000 installed.  Then I will meet up with her in Chester and Mom gets to ride shotgun with the Admiral moving back to the sofa to Kallispell.  I do not know whether that will be an improvement or a disaster!!??

 

rhmahoney

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I80 is a fast route past IL, but way too busy!

Much better to get off the freeway.

Try this: 30 across much if Iowa, dropping S to Amana colonies for superb germanic meal ( just past Cedar Rapids).
At Carrol, work your way up to 20 and go a 100 miles into Nebr. to detour N a few miles to ashfall state park ( near hywy 14). 10 million yr old ashfall killed a lot of critters about a waterhole and the in-situ excavation is fascinating.

I have not done 20 west of there, but route looks interesting. I have transited Nebr across the middle after overnighting at Fremont (NW of Omaha) I took 91 and 2 to Alliance. S to Scotts Bluff, then N to black hills.
 

Bob Maxwell

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Smoky,

If you don't do Omaha this trip, do put "Henry Dorley Zoo" on your map by it It one of the top three in the country and has won top awards in various catigories. I don't know if their desert world is completd yet but the Jungle [originally Central American Rain Forrest] absolutly is not to be missed. Ask Betty & Terry. Mutual of Omaha is a great supporter. [G]

If you have the time, Hy 2 across Neb to Chadron through the sand hills was one of Charles Karualt's top 10 drives in the USA.
 

Ron

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Smoky said:
Ron, the current plan is for the Admiral to split from me after Yellowstone and head for her mother in the toad while I head for Sam's Camp to get that 7000 installed.? Then I will meet up with her in Chester and Mom gets to ride shotgun with the Admiral moving back to the sofa to Kallispell.? I do not know whether that will be an improvement or a disaster!!??

Sounds good to me.  We will arrive Sam's Camp 10 July.  What is you estimated arrival date?
 

Smoky

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Ron:

Don't have an ETA yet, but it will be after the tenth.

Russ, thanks for interesting route suggestions.  Will be looking at the map today.

Bob, that jungle exhibit sounds interesting, will see if we can do it.

Our current plan is to stay on or near I-80 to Cheyenne.  From their up to Jackson Hole.  then through Yellowstone after which the Admiral will take the toad to Mom's house and I will head back east to Ron's house.  Maybe I can also work in a visit to Cody.

I will post my I-80 findings on current road status.

Shayne, we took Ill 30 and 31 from Nappanee to I80 in Illinois, thus avoiding traffic an tolls.  Great decision!  I think all the July 4th traffic was on the Interstates on not through the small towns.
 

Bob Maxwell

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Smokey,

It's on the main I-80 route, and is the 1st exit after crossing the Missouri river leaving Iowa, South on  13th street. The Henry Dorley Zoo sign should be there as a place of interest as well.
 

Smoky

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Well we made Laramie via I-80. I-80 all the way from Indiana to Wyoming.  I am happy to confirm Blueblood's report that most of the washboards have vanished.  In both Nebraska and Wyoming we never had more than ten minutes at a time of washboards.  Blueblood's technique works well in moving to the passing lane to ride them out.  I would say this year is a huge improvment over what we experienced in 2003.  In fact I found this year's I-80 route much smoother than last year's I-90 route.

Today we begin moving toward Jackson Hole.

Ron:  Our ETA for your place is around July 17.
 

N Smock

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Smoky


Did you take the detour suggested around the Windy? I will be going to Vegas in Sept, can't decide on I-80 or 70 from Jersey. The mountain guide shows less grades on 80, mileage difference is insignificant.

Nelson
 

Smoky

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We took US 30 from Indiana to Illinois, then hopped on I-80.  This saved us tolls and likely was faster because there was very little traffic in the small towns on 30.  We figured the July 4th traffic was on the Interstate and we were right.

I have never traveled I-70 so I cannot advise you there.  But I can tell you that I-80 went from being the worst Interstate we ever traveled in 2003 to one of the best if not THE best this year.  It is very scenic through Nebraska and Wyoming with lots of historical sites along the way.  If you like stopping at Wal Marts on a long haul there are some wonderful ones, with Laramie being a terrific WM overnight.  Laramie WM offers the most spectacular sunsets and surises ever.
 
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