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Highway, Road and Weather Forecast and Radar Conditions Sometimes as we travel throughout the country it may help to know what the current Highway, Road and Weather conditions are. Here is a good place to list current conditions and also good and bad roads that you have found in your travels You will also find here links to all of the USA road conditions and Weather Forecast and Radar condition web sites.

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  #1  
Old 07-14-2008
konehd konehd is offline
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Default I 80 past Chicago?

We're continuing on east bound and wonder how Rt 80 is going to be past Chicago??

Should I go that way towards Cleveland or head south and bypass the Chicago traffic??

Thanks, Joe
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  #2  
Old 07-14-2008
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Default I80 Past Chicago

Quote:
Originally Posted by konehd View Post
We're continuing on east bound and wonder how Rt 80 is going to be past Chicago??

Should I go that way towards Cleveland or head south and bypass the Chicago traffic??

Thanks, Joe
Joe,
Definitely head south, unless you would like to spend two hours to get around Chicago!!!
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  #3  
Old 07-15-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konehd View Post
We're continuing on east bound and wonder how Rt 80 is going to be past Chicago??

Should I go that way towards Cleveland or head south and bypass the Chicago traffic??

Thanks, Joe

Joe,

If you are a daytime only type driver, then I would pick an alternate route to get past Chicago, but that means heading quite a bit out of the way if you want to stick with Interstates. If you want to use Ill or US marked highways which will be mostly two lane in Illinois and Indiana, there are a variety of ways to get around that area, but I have found after living in the Illinois and Iowa area for quite some time before moving to South Carolina, that the Midwestern roads take a real beating from the weather and seasonal changes and they can be quite rough, especially the heavily traveled ones.

What I used to do when I wanted to get through the Chicago area, was to do that at around between 2-4AM and that reduced the traffic tremendously, as it does in most major metropolitan areas.

Maybe Jay Darst will post a reply, as he lives in south-central Illinois and he keeps a log of highways in Illinois that are good to use. I like using the back roads to drive on all of the time if I can, but I have gotten on some of them around the country, that after a short distance of traveling on them, I was looking for an alternate to get onto as soon as possible, it's a gamble that I like to take.

Fortunately for me I have kept a log of a lot of the routes around the country that we used to move those big loads on when I had my business and I refer to them when I travel, as 90% of them are fairly good back roads. However I do not have any that I can recommend to you, that would be a quick way around the Chicago area.

I had used this route coming from the Iowa/Illinois State line to Ft. Wayne, Indiana;

Interstate 80 (east) - Interstate 39 (south) - US 24 (east) - Interstate 69 at Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Keep in mind the last time that I used this route was in 2003 shortly before I retired and it was 90% two lane road and had a lot of truck traffic using it.

Here are a couple of web sites to use to find out about the current construction going on in Illinois and Indiana;

http://dot.state.il.us/tpublic.html
http://www.in.gov/indot/2353.htm
How to find US Highways Road and Travel Information - Conditions

Here are a couple more points of interest for you if you travel this route, or even a portion of it;

Interstate 80 (Iowa)

Exit #225 Homestead, Iowa
AMANA COLONIES
Travel north on US 151 approximately 10 miles to Amana, Iowa, where you will find excellent restaurants that serve meals homestyle such as at the OX YOKEN IN. The OX YOKE INN located at the Interstate, in my opinion is not as good as the one located in Amana itself. In Amana, Iowa you will also find the Amana Colonies RV Park I have not stayed here myself.

Exit #254 West Branch, Iowa
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
This is a very nice and educational museum and boyhood home, located right in town where the former president was born in. I lived in West Branch before I moved to South Carolina and I have no political opinion about the former president, but recommend visiting this site, located just off of Interstate 80.

Exit #267 Moscow, Iowa
Hwh Corporation
The World's Largest Manufacturer of RV Leveling & Room Extension Systems, they are very courteous and hospitable people and I highly recommend them

Exit #284 Walcott, Iowa
Iowa 80 Truckstop and Chrome Shop
Over recent years, the Iowa 80 TA Truckstop has underwent significant expansion projects to widen the gap as the largest truckstop in the world.

Walcott CB Superstore & Repair
We're located at Exit 284 on Interstate 80, across from the Iowa80 Truck Stop, the world's largest truck stop. I have been using this outfit since they started out in a small trailer located in the parking lot of the Iowa80 truckstop back in the 70's.

Exit #292 Davenport, Iowa
Flying J Truckstop
Fuel prices are usually cheaper in Iowa than in Illinois, for complete list of fuel prices at all major truckstops go to DieselBoss


Interstate 80 (Illinois)

Exit #1 Illinois Route 84
Fishermans Corner Campground (USACOE)
Approximately one mile south of the interstate on Ill 84 you will find the campground on the right side. I stay here whenever I'm visiting relatives and friends in the Quad Cities area. I highly recommend it.

Exit #77 Illinois Route 351
Flying J Truckstop

Exit #81 Illinois Route 178
JC Whitney
If you feel the need to do some browsing in their retail store, you actually can see it from Interstate 80, this is actually one exit past, or 2.5 miles east of the Interstate 80 & 39 interchange.

I hope that this helps.
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  #4  
Old 07-15-2008
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I live in northern Indiana. I'm a retired state trooper and know the roads. There are routes around Chicago that I would take a car but not my Bird. Too many low birdges and/or too much traffic. There is construction currently going on at Gary on I-80. It is do-able but like John said not during rush hour times. If you can schedule it very early or very late you are better off. You can go south down to US 24 but that is a long way out of your way and with the price of fuel now, not worth the cost, as I see it. I would adjust my schedule and go through Chicago, if it were me.
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  #5  
Old 07-15-2008
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This fall (September) I'm traveling from the Denver, CO area to Scranton, PA with a stop in Omaha to visit old friends.

I have no need or desire to go into or near Chicago -- so even though it's perhaps 100 miles further, I'm thinking of taking I-74 south east out of Davenport IA, I-70 past Indianapolis and on to Columbus, thence I-71 to I-76 and picking up I-80 again near Youngstown to cross Pennsylvania. Does this seem like a reasonable routing?

This route also avoids both the Ohio Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
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  #6  
Old 07-15-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteaeonix View Post
This fall (September) I'm traveling from the Denver, CO area to Scranton, PA with a stop in Omaha to visit old friends.

I have no need or desire to go into or near Chicago -- so even though it's perhaps 100 miles further, I'm thinking of taking I-74 south east out of Davenport IA, I-70 past Indianapolis and on to Columbus, thence I-71 to I-76 and picking up I-80 again near Youngstown to cross Pennsylvania. Does this seem like a reasonable routing?

This route also avoids both the Ohio Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
I-74 from Davenport/Bettendorf, Iowa goes right through town and the traffic crossing the twin span bridges into Moline, Ill can be backed up at times, unless you want to visit the John Deere Pavilion or the John Deere Collectors Center and they are both located at the first exit on I-74 in Illinois on River Drive, in Moline. The museum at the pavilion is much more than farm implements and has a lot of historical information about the region, I grew up next door in Rock Island, Ill, and even though they are gone I like RED better than green, as my dad retired from the old Farmall Works there.

My suggestion is to continue on I-80 into Illinois and then pickup I-74 at the 10 mile marker on I-80, the road take you directly onto I-74 at that point and then you will be at about the 13 mile marker on I-74, go around Peoria on I-474 as I-74 goes directly through town. I-74 just skirts the edge of Bloomington / Normal and also at Champaign / Urbana, so that isn't a problem normally. It can get a little windy crossing Illinois so just expect it and if it is calm, that is in your favor.

Jim may have a better idea than what I used in the past, but the only bottleneck that I see is I-70 doesn't go past Indianapolis "Circle City", it goes right through it, but if you take the I-465 bypass around Indy (It is the same mileage I believe either to go around north or south to get back to I-70) the traffic moves very swiftly and it is four lanes in each direction in places, but watch your speed as Jim's old buddies are still watching it very closely. Avoid the high traffic hours in the early morning and late afternoons and you should be OK.

If you have time and are interested the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is worth the short side trip of about 2.5 miles from where I-74 and I-465 meet on the west side at Speedway, Indiana,

I-70 over into Ohio was usually a good ride, with moderate traffic, but then a little west of Columbus, my experience with the roads in Ohio are mostly back roads from there, with the exception of I-75 up to Toledo, moving Oversized Superloads.
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1982 FC35RB
I'm NO EXPERT, but I did stay in the FINN'S INN EXPRESS last night
HOPKINS, SOUTH CAROLINA
VISIT THE FINN'S INN EXPRESS REMODELING ADVENTURE AND TECH. TIPS
I'M SO SLOW ON THE HILLS,THAT I GET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS AS I GO BY.....AND WATCH THEM GROW TOO!! NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE
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  #7  
Old 07-16-2008
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Pete,
I agree with John about taking I-465. You can go downtown late in the evening or weekends and it is a breeze, just don't do it during a weekday. Again, going through Chicago isn't so bad if you do it at a good time. My daughter and her family live in Chicago and they make the trip regularly to come and see the old man. I have gone up there using the same route as they do. If you want to use interstates just come in on I-80 at a good time. Sundays are usually pretty good most of the day, until late afternoon. If you don't want to take the toll road drop down onto SR 49 south to Vlapo. Then take US 30 east. A great 4 lane road but you still have to put up with an occasional town. You can take US 30 all the way to Mansfield, OH and then pick up I-71 and I-76. I have taken this route many times and find it not too bad. It is better in Ohio because the speed limit is higher and it by-passes most of the towns. Not all but most of them. That can save you a few miles but whether the stop and go part depleats your milage enough to not make it worth your while, you have to decide. Your route you suggested seems good too. It's all a matter of preference and how much of a hurry you are in.
Jim
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  #8  
Old 07-16-2008
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Appreciate the pointers --

I was thinking about either the 80-74 route to the north of Davenport/Rock Island or the 80-280-74 route that swings south of the metro area. (I know to avoid freeways that go right through the centers of towns.)

I was also considering taking the I-465 beltway/loop around Indianapolis, depending on the day and time of day we reach that point.

Living in the SF Bay Area, I do have some experience in heavy traffic with the coach -- not that it's a pleasure. I-80 between the Bay Area and Sacramento is one of the highest traffic count routes in the whole country -- and I've driven it many times...

A primary concern I have with the toll roads is that they have a per axle weight limit and I'm borderline on the drive axle -- I'm likely under the limit, but it doesn't take me much to be over (but within the weight rating of the axle). Apparently, they have in-motion scales at the toll booths, if I understand correctly... These 'birds are heavy...

We have a fixed date to be in the Scranton area (an event for my wife) and she's now talking about getting there "a few days early" ... so I guess I'm "in a hurry" <sigh>.
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  #9  
Old 07-17-2008
konehd konehd is offline
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Hi All...

Since we where out of internet range the last few days we just bit the bullet and took I80 east.
It wasnt really bad though...
When we looked at the map it appeared that I80 went through just south of Chicago so we figured it would be OK if we missed rush hour.

Traffic was a heaver through that area than I80 in other parts but still not as bad as the San Francisco traffic Ive been through. Pete will know what I mean :}

Thanks for the pointers John, wish we had some time to see them, I sure wanted to stop at JC Whitney and the I80 truck stop, but my wife wanted to get to Ohio so we went right through.
Did stop in Moline though, the company I work for has an office there and I wanted to see some of the guys. Its a block from the Deere museum and pavilion so we took a walk around the farm machinery. Pretty interesting, especially if your a city boy!

We're in the Akron, OH area for a few days then we start home next week. It will be an easier trip as we'll have 10 or 12 days to get to the west coast. Hopefully that will mean a day driving and a day touring.

Any thoughts on the best way back?

Thinking of heading through Indianapolis and Denver or Salt Lake City... ??

AND I hope to get the POS Verizon phone working so I'll have connectivity on the way!


Thanks, Joe & Pat
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  #10  
Old 07-17-2008
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From Denver, taking I-70 over the Rockies is a beautiful trip -- although there are some really heavy, long grades. The road is above 11,000 ft near Aspen. Be sure your oil is topped up and cooling system is working well. You may need to pull off occasionally to let 'er cool down.

The Eisenhower Tunnel is also impressive, if you dig tunnels. I-70 in Utah has some stunning geology -- take in all the rest stops and take a few photos. There's a stretch with more than 230 miles with "no services" (and a LOT of nothing but interesting rock formations). Of course, with a 300 gallon tank, that won't present any problem for a 'bird.

If you really want to go through SLC, from I-70 you can take US-191 (Just west of Green River UT) north into SLC and pick up I-80. I note that just east of Green River is Arches National Park -- if you have time, it's worth the side trip. I stayed in Green RIver at an RV park that had recently changed hands and became a KOA -- overpriced and low quality. There's a competing park at the other end of town (I should have checked it out.) However Green RIver is the only place in a long way, and they know it.

Personally, I'd skip SLC (although I've been through there several times -- and that plays a role). I'd follow I-70 and exit at Salina UT and pick up US-50 -- and take it across Nevada. It's called "the loneliest road in the world" for good reason. Between Ely and Fallon, other than two or three tiny hamlets, there's hardly anybody. I went for an hour or more without seeing any other traffic in either direction. While it's 2 lanes, it's fairly decent with only a couple of curvy sections through the mountains between the Utah border and Ely.

At Fallon, I'd take US Alt-50 to hook up with I-80 east of Sparks. There are plenty of RV parks around the Reno-Sparks area (some run by casinos). I stayed in one about 15 miles north on 395 (Bordertown RV Resort and Casino). It was very clean and quiet. (The mostly two-lane US-50 over the Sierras might not be that pleasant.)

As you probably already know, I-80 over the Sierras is kind of beaten up (like many California freeways). The right lane can be a very pounding ride -- I drove in the "fast" lane when conditions permitted. The upgrade on the east side is fairly steep (and quick). Then the downgrade heading from the 7000+ ft at Donner Pass down to the 150 ft at Sacramento runs for more than 40 miles. A nice stop for lunch is Headquarters House just off I-80 between Bowman and Weimar. There's also a nice, relatively short trail that loops into the forest at the Donner Pass rest stop.

The 49er truck stop at West Sacramento is one place to fill up as you get closer to home. There's another, small truck stop west of Davis near Vacaville (I can't recall the exit -- but keep your eyes pealed as it's not well marked). I suspect you know your way home from there...
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