Cross country route advice please! - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-29-2017, 10:06 AM   #1
Name: abcde
Trailer: noneofyourbusiness
British Columbia
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Cross country route advice please!


In mid August we're heading from BC to Lake Louise for a night and then 3 nights at the east entrance to Glacier NP in the US for some hiking. After that we need to get to Ontario!

We are trying to decide between the Highway 2 route east to Sault St Marie and then south through Michigan to a crossing at the Blue Water Bridge versus the Interstate route that will take us south to Chicago and then into ON through Detroit.

The pros and cons of the Interstate route are more obvious. I've been told that highway 2 is more relaxed driving but the RV facilities sound pretty rough and ready and limited in MT and ND, especially. Mixed reviews, put it that way

If anyone has experience of either or both routes would be very grateful for your advice.


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Old 03-29-2017, 11:27 AM   #2
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I have no experience with Rt2 BUT, as a retired trucker who has regularly run the interstate route, I would take a beating from someone with bat before I would take the Chi-town to motor city route...just an opinion, others may have better mileage.........

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Old 03-29-2017, 12:14 PM   #3
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As a Michigan resident who has traveled both of the routes you have proposed, I will say this. My overwhelming preference is to travel through the UP of Michigan as opposed to the Chicago route. The roads, though not freeways, are generally relaxing drives and in quite good condition. My suggestion, rather than strictly following US2 is to divert to State Route 28 after you pass through Ironwood, MI, through the more northern part of the UP. Follow it through Marquette and Munising, then cut down Route 77 to re-connect with US-2 which is a pleasant drive to St. Ignace and the Mackinaw Bridge into the lower peninsula. Along this stretch on the way to St. Ignace, you will have the opportunity to pull to the side of the road and take a dip in Lake Michigan which has a nice sandy beach in this area. Won't find anything like that on the route through Chicago. :-)

Just as an aside, if you follow my suggested route, there is a municipal campground 1/2 block north of the four corners in Bruce Crossing, MI. They have electricity, water and a dump station, as well as heated restrooms and showers. The cost is $10/night - honor system. Not the "Ritz" of a campground, but very serviceable for an overnight stop.
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:45 PM   #4
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We have done US 2 from its western terminus in Everett, WA to St. Ignace. Our trip was a couple of years ago with a 35' RV rowing a car. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It's a good, 2-lane road with great scenery and small towns. Much more enjoyable than the interstate highways.
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:35 PM   #5
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We travelled from Vermont to the west coast last fall. We took route 17 through Ontario. Good road and nice Provincial parks. From the U.P we took route 2 for a while and then interstate 94 across North Dakota as we wanted to visit Theodore Roosevelt NP. Then back to route 2 to Glacier. All easy driving. As we have the Senior Pass, we look for Federal campgrounds first. Lots of Corp of Engineers campgrounds like Fort Peck in Montana. The further east the more NFS campgrounds you find. The state parks tend to be more expensive but will have showers and other facilities not found at the Forest Service campgrounds. There are also numerous town and county park campgrounds along the way. I use the Allstays app and a good road atlas to find them. We normally don't stay at private campgrounds.

We have also headed south across the Mackinac bridge (impressive) following the "thumb" coast through Michigan and crossed into Ontario at Port Huron.

I would compare going around Chicago (I80/90) to riding a roller coaster. I only would do it if I had to. Safe travels, Raz
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:05 PM   #6
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Hwy 2 is your most direct route. However, I too like Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It depends on how much time you have and if you can add a few miles. We have done Hwy 2 and 94 through ND many times. Both are good roads. If I had the time I would drop down from Wolf Point, MT to get to Roosevelt park and then go across 94. You need to be able to be without power at both Fort Peck and Theodore R Natl Park. There is a state Park just west of TRNP where you can probably get electricity. We have never stayed there as we love to stay and drive around the loop at TRNP in the evening.

Ditto what everyone says, avoid Chicago route. Lyle's route through Michigan would be my choice too.

If you come through Bemidji and Duluth let me know when you are there. I will be able to tell you where to overnight. I don't think you mentioned the time you will be traveling.

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Old 03-29-2017, 04:07 PM   #7
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Oh, I see mid August. that is so much better than mid July. Much better. N
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Old 03-29-2017, 04:22 PM   #8
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the St. Malo Provencial Park, MB gathering is Aug 18-20. If you come across Hwy 2 it would just be a short distance back into Canada from Grand Forks, ND. This year we will go during the week before the gathering to avoid the weekend crowd but able to visit with early attendees.

The electric sites are booked for that weekend as soon as reservations open, and the entire park fills for the weekend. A lot of great people return to that friendly gathering every year.

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Old 03-29-2017, 04:42 PM   #9
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Chicago expressway traffic, bleah! Been there, done that, don't want to do it ever again.

Along US-2 in Malta, MT you will find a municipal CG just a block or two N of the highway. Quiet place, no hookups but water spigots available here and there, and IIRC it was $4 (honor system). If you're lucky (like I was), you might see a little calf-roping contest in the corral next door. Very laid-back small town.

The drive N of Duluth is a worthwhile detour. Many state parks with many waterfalls, a high view of the lake (200' straight down IIRC) at Palisade Head, Artist's Point at Grand Marais, and more. Grab a tasty pizza at Sven and Ole's in Grand Marais, and although the state parks tend to be full you can almost always get a site at Eckbeck NF CG near Finland (haven't you always wanted to be able to say you've been to Finland?)

In Michigan's U.P. you have plenty of interesting possible side trips and stops. Porcupine Mountains (more like hills, but hey) SP is nice; the west unit has a pleasant walk along a river containing 3 small waterfalls and emptying into Lake Superior, and the east unit has a great view up high of Lake of the Clouds down below. Bond Falls near Paulding is one of the nicest waterfalls around IMO. Bay Furnace CG just W of Munising has views of the big lake. In Munising, you can buy tickets to ride a boat along Pictured Rocks Natl Lakeshore; the sunset cruise is best (assuming sunny weather) and the captain always entertains everyone with humor and history. West of Manistique, the Big Spring at Palms Book SP is a sight to behold with its crystal-clear water and large fish visible 40' below. Also, Fayette SP has historic buildings and artifacts from the 1800s iron-ore processing that went on there. Stop for a pasty (similar to pot pie), served with either gravy or ketchup. Stop for some smoked fish, too. After enjoying a dip in Lake Michigan east of Engadine, head across the Mighty Mac (bridge) to Mackinaw City, a touristy town with an old fort, many shops, and a couple of lighthouses. The main drag goes E toward the docks to Mackinac Island (maybe you'd like a ferry ride to the island? Ride a bike around the island, no cars!), and just before the dock entrance be sure to go 1/2 block N to the local bakery for the best homestyle cinnamon bread ever or some yummy pecan rolls. Camping options there include rustic Wilderness SP and full-hookups Mill Creek.
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:17 PM   #10
Name: abcde
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Amazing response


This is amazing advice. Thanks so much. We'll be taking Highway 2

At one point I used to fly into O'Hare from Toronto and then pick up a rental car for a drive to a customer in Bloomington, IL. Traffic around Chicago was NOT fun. And that is about 15 years ago. It can only be worse now.

Cheers Ritchie
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:31 PM   #11
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Go east my friend

Not a brag but a fact. I have driven almost every mile of your described routes in the last 6 years. Without a doubt, I prefer highway 2 all the way across to the U. P. Then drop down into the center of the U.P, across the big bridge at St Ignace, and on down to the blue water bridge. I have also driven Chicago with our 19 and Highlander about 10 times on I 80 in the last 4 years. I don't find it all that difficult. Hit Chicago between 10 Am and 2 PM or early Sunday morning. You'll have to drive at least 65 mph to keep up. Speed limit across Michigans U.P. Is 55. Don't speed. Don't ask me how I know. There's ample camping across North Dakota and Montana. St. Malo is nice, was there last year. Great rally. Cheap Crown Royal at the Border. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:01 AM   #12
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I have driven the uppermost highways of the continental USA going from Minnesota to Idaho, Montana area. I found those routes to be very enjoyable, yes there are long desolate portions, but much better that than ever ever trying to go through Chicago or Detroit again. I'd have to be abducted and beaten senseless to drive through OR around those two cities.
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:25 AM   #13
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I have gone both routes several times to and from Ontario with and without a trailer. Chicago is a bit of a white knuckle experience but you'll make better time. I wouldn't consider Chicago without a decent GPS to put me in the correct lane.

My worst experience was trying to stay on on I90 to the North West. It was heavy traffic and frequent tolls. If you are coming in from the Montana area it is easier to pick up 80 at Iowa City and stay to the South of Chicago.

This year I have lots of time and plan to keep to the Canadian side all the way west. The scenic drive North of Lake Superior is worth the extra distance.
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Old 03-30-2017, 09:33 AM   #14
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US 2 is a much better choice than interstates. much of it is 4 lane with at grade crossings, so you have the stay awake. Fuel prices are still lower in the US vs Canada, I guess. Crossing the Mackanac Bridge is an experience, if you haven't done it. Then you can cross to Ontario at Port Huron/Sarnia
Or, go on to Sault Ste Marie, Check out the Great Lakes Freighter museum there which is in an old lake freighter. It has a memorial to the Edmund Fitzgerald.
From there take the Trans Canada around Lake Huron.

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