North American Loop Tour!

yellocoyote

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In our downtime/drivetime travel to Utah last month, Aaron and I had a conversation about various U.S. Highways that we knew of – specifically the ones that travel near where we live in NE Illinois - and whether or not we knew where these highways originated and terminated. So I dug up the handy Google Map application on my phone and investigated some of these roads in question.

The one that sparked the most interest is US. 20. This highway passes within a few miles of our house, and other than using this road as a route to and from work on occasion and the intermittent drive out to the west 40-50 miles, I’d never given it any significant consideration. I learned that it begins in Boston to the east, and ends in Newport, Oregon to the west.

How cool, I thought, would it be to drive the expanse of that highway… or least even drive it from here around home (near Chicago) all the way out west to the coast? That thought led to the idea of driving out to the west coast and back using only U.S. Highways and lesser roads – little to no interstate usage if at all possible.

All of these thoughts and daydreams… and now I’m planning this trip.

I've dubbed the trip the 'North American Loop Tour.' The goal is to go late summer/early fall of next year – a two-week solo trip. I have a preliminary route… although it will likely go under constant revision based on points of interests, construction issues, meeting with friends, etc. The plan, thus far, is this:

* US 20 west from home to Newport, Oregon
* US 101 north to the Seattle area (still working on the specific logistics as the 101 doesn’t physically end IN Seattle)
* US 2 from Everett, Washington back east to US 51 near Hurley, Wisconsin
* US 51 South to Rockford, IL… and then back east to home on US 20

I’m already investigating alternate routes to take through northern Nevada and northern California. However, there isn’t a very good east-west route that I've found that travels through Nevada other than the interstate… so I may scrap that idea.

So, other than routing, I’m researching points of interest and things worth checking out on my route – please feel free to throw some ideas my way if you have them. Nothing is off the table at this stage of the game. :D
 

tommudd

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Route 50 is another great road to do starts in Maryland and runs through Va, WV, Ohio, In, Il, Mo, Ks, Co, Ut, Nv and ends in California. I've done all of it except for Nevada and California.

Or the Lincoln Highway which was the first trans-continental highway passes fairly close to you. I've done everything on it from beginning to out in Omaha area.

Both were done when I was younger and had more time and money and my rear didn't get so tired sitting on the Harley all day :happy175:

There are several great routes to take East to West or just head west on whatever roads you find going your way!
 

yellocoyote

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My general opinion is that as long as it's not an interstate highway, I'll consider it. (cool)
 

Jo6pak

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YC, you're starting to sound like a motorcyclist.:hmm: I think every rider has a list of tours, or ramblings in the planning stage.

One dream cycle tour of mine is the Park to Park highway, which would also work well in the Jeep.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Park_to_Park_Highway

http://theplaygroundtrail.com/Playground/Map_of_Park-to-Park.html
maybe part of this could be incorporated into your wanderings.

As for interesting stuff, concerning of Hwy 51 thru WI. Hop east a little thru Rhinelander, WI and take Hwy 55 south from Crandon to Shawano.
 
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Dave

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Sounds fantastic YC. I have driven to Cali and back several times but using the interstates. But I did take some side trips away off the main roads and they were the most interesting when we camped our way across. The interstates can be boring. I always wanted to drive the Alaska/Canada highway up to Alaska but never got to it yet.....

Dave
 

al7fi

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Sounds fantastic YC. I have driven to Cali and back several times but using the interstates. But I did take some side trips away off the main roads and they were the most interesting when we camped our way across. The interstates can be boring. I always wanted to drive the Alaska/Canada highway up to Alaska but never got to it yet.....

Dave

Caveat re AK/CAN Highway: Did it back in 83 and never went back. This place gets in your blood!

It is one beautiful drive and in my opinion, the "only" way to go. One could then go back south by ferry (AK Marine Highway) and see a goodly portion of SE AK as well. Plus you get to see some drop dead beautiful country in Canada and meet some really great folk!

Come on up!
 

yellocoyote

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I always wanted to drive the Alaska/Canada highway up to Alaska but never got to it yet.....
That's in the plans also... hoping to go up in a couple of years.

As for interesting stuff, concerning of Hwy 51 thru WI. Hop east a little thru Rhinelander, WI and take Hwy 55 south from Crandon to Shawano.

I'll check out those links. Thanks! :D The route above - good scenic route, or am I looking for something else?

Caveat re AK/CAN Highway: Did it back in 83 and never went back. This place gets in your blood!

I hope so and I'm afraid of that... all at the same time. :) I'd love to relocate to your neck of the woods, but the hubby's job won't let that happen anytime soon.
 

KeswickDave

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You Americans... you are missing a couple of countries in your "North American" tour... haha. Seriously though, it sounds like a nice "American" tour though! :D
 

yellocoyote

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No passport... :( Or I'd hop over to your side. :D

I should looking into getting one of those, come to think of it...
 

Jo6pak

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The route above - good scenic route, or am I looking for something else?

Hwy 55 runs right along the Wolf River for a good portion of it. I always suggest it to folks travelling in the area. That being said, Hwy 51 is also pretty nice inspite of being 4 lanes.

No passport... Or I'd hop over to your side.

I should looking into getting one of those, come to think of it...

Check into getting a "Border Card" which is quicker and easier than a full passport. It will get you into Mexico and Canada
 

Dave

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You Americans... you are missing a couple of countries in your "North American" tour... haha. Seriously though, it sounds like a nice "American" tour though! :D

I am not that far from the border actually. Will be up there in a couple of weeks. I just can't cross anymore (no passport or one of those special licences). Everytime I am up near Plattsburgh I get stopped by the Border Patrol in NY.

Canada is beautiful too. I would like to drive across it but they say that Canadian Pacific train ride across Canada is just awesome.

Dave
 

Clyde Frog

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20 runs by my house. I use it daily! It would be pretty cool following it end to end.
 

al7fi

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No passport... :( Or I'd hop over to your side. :D

I should looking into getting one of those, come to think of it...

It's pretty painless. I did not have one until this year, when I needed to get one for a snowmachine trip from Tok, AK to Dawson, YT, Canada and back. Went ahead and got the book and the card and turn around was like 5 weeks.
You can print the form from an online template, get a set of pictures (only needed 1 for some reason) and go to your post office. Check online for which ones in your area do passports and in some cases, when. Website also tells you just what you need to bring.
Easiest thing I have done with the US Govt in a long time.
 

KeswickDave

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I am not that far from the border actually. Will be up there in a couple of weeks. I just can't cross anymore (no passport or one of those special licences). Everytime I am up near Plattsburgh I get stopped by the Border Patrol in NY.

Canada is beautiful too. I would like to drive across it but they say that Canadian Pacific train ride across Canada is just awesome.

Dave

Dave,

Looks like you could sneak across by canoe pretty easily from there... ;)

VIA Rail is the national passenger train service, I just looked up a cross-Canada train trip, 21 days starting at $6,631! Although this is a third-party deal with tours/excursions at major cities and attractions... sounds kind of like a cruise in that respect.

http://www.train-canada.net/tour_coast_2coast_YHZ.htm

The other Dave
 

yellocoyote

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Hwy 55 runs right along the Wolf River for a good portion of it. I always suggest it to folks travelling in the area. That being said, Hwy 51 is also pretty nice inspite of being 4 lanes.

I've been rafting in the Wolf River a few years ago... gotta love Shotgun Eddie's! :D I'd love to go do that again sometime.

It's pretty painless. I did not have one until this year, when I needed to get one for a snowmachine trip from Tok, AK to Dawson, YT, Canada and back. Went ahead and got the book and the card and turn around was like 5 weeks.
You can print the form from an online template, get a set of pictures (only needed 1 for some reason) and go to your post office. Check online for which ones in your area do passports and in some cases, when. Website also tells you just what you need to bring.
Easiest thing I have done with the US Govt in a long time.

Check into getting a "Border Card" which is quicker and easier than a full passport. It will get you into Mexico and Canada

That's the type I was looking at getting. We don't fly much (ever), and so the land-based one for Canada/Mexico would be the best bet for us... for now. Knowing that it's really THAT easy to get, I'll probably pick one up. Thanks guys! :)

20 runs by my house. I use it daily! It would be pretty cool following it end to end.

Yeah, me too - I take it to/from work all the time. Small world that it runs by your house too. :D I'll wave the next time I'm driving eastbound! :p
 

Ry' N Jen

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I've driven the whole length of the Trans Canada Highway in one trip!
Started in Victoria, B.C. (Vancouver Island) and drove all the way to
it's terminus on the East Coast of Canada in St. John's, Newfoundland
and Labrador. The whole route spanning 8,030 km (4,990 mi).
Awesome drive up until you hit the Eastern part of Alberta and then it's
foot to the floor through the Prairie provinces...
 

yellocoyote

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Hehe, sometimes the planning is almost as much fun as the trip. I've got about 5 cycle trips in the planning stage...never enough time tho:shrug:

I've found that if I don't assign a date to something I really want to do, I don't ever go do it. It would always remain as a "someday when I do this trip..." and it never takes shape. Now there's a deadline. :)
 

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