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16 April 2014

There and back again.

Keeping it between the lines on the back highways.
Our niece's wedding is in October. This isn't much of a problem, but she lives in the Seattle area. My wife and I have a choice: Fly? Ride the Train? Drive?
If we fly, we'd take up little more than an extended weekend getting there, touring the area with my sister-in-law and her family and coming back. Rush. Rush. Rush.
If we take the train, it would definitely be an adventure. However, to do it properly would cost almost twice as much
as flying.
The third option is to drive. We'd bring the travel trailer and keep to the non-interstate highways. As a rule, they are far more interesting (like the views from the train). The truck would less stressed from avoiding the higher interstate speeds. Our mileage under tow is anywhere from 9-12 mpg at 55-60, depending on slopes and winds. Push it to 65 and that drops to 7-9 mpg. It does take longer, about five days out and five more back. But out of a 16 day vacation block, that leaves time to visit with family and a side trip or two to look up friends in Idaho and our first trip to Yellowstone National Park. It also would cost about the same as if we flew out to Seattle, rented a car and stayed in a hotel for a few nights.
You'll never know what you'll find on your
travels off the interstates. This dragon
made entirely of tires greeted
us off of US 18 in Iowa.
Another benefit to driving is that we won't need a puppy-sitter. The pooch can come with us just about everywhere except the wedding itself. We won't be able to eat at a lot of restaurants, but we like to do our own cooking in the
trailer, anyway.
Most times, the cost of a campsite with full hook-ups is far less than a hotel room (although we have been known to take advantage of a local hotel when there is a dearth of campsites).
We'll take separate routes out and back. We plan to follow US-2 from Minnesota all the way to Seattle. The plan is to follow I-90 as far as Livingston, Montana and then turn south for Yellowstone. From Yellowstone, the route will take us southeast to Cheyenne, Wyoming to pick up I-80 or parallel to it on US 30 for the return trip.
There are a bunch of interesting places on our routes. One is Deception Falls in Washington. It's a pretty place, but the falls themselves actually cross under US 2, making for a challenging picture like this one of Brownstone Falls in Wisconsin. We hope to be able to take in the Beartooth Highway on our way back if if it isn't closed due to snows when we get there.
I do look forward to the trip. Seeing my niece get married will be good, too.
Road picture: copyright 2013 W. Clinton Hotaling.
Dragon picture: copyright 2013 Mary A Hoffman, used with permission.