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-   -   Michigan to Pacific NW and back 6K+ miles (https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f135/michigan-pacific-nw-back-6k-miles-438817/)

Mjjstang 01-05-2018 06:21 PM

Michigan to Pacific NW and back 6K+ miles
 
3 Attachment(s)
Hi all, Just purchased an 06 Elise and have been stuck in this flat land working 2 jobs every day.... I feel I need to plan a trip to take a 2 week break from life. And what better way to get to know my car than 6k miles of road?

Looking for suggestions on what I might be near that I don't want to miss, or alternate routes. Also looking for recommendations on the tire situation and other necessities. Currently have LSS wheels and stock tires with maybe half life left. Will be even less in July when I plan for the trip.

Was thinking of taking a tent and only hitting the hotel when necessary. Also realize that I won't have much time to really explore as I don't think 16 days is enough to dig in much along the way. I do plan on doing some 4k video and some photography, but have to make it quick. No waiting for animals to do funny/cute things or time lapse.

Couple maps show what I have planned so far.

1. Long boring drive to Mt. Rushmore.
2. Devil's Tower Monument.
3. Little Bighorn
4. Beartooth Pass on to Yellowstone. Mapping software sucks at seasonal roads so I have somewhat changed the route to include Beartooth, which I picked for the awesome driving.
5. Yellowstone to Tetons. Originally planned to do the full loop but this particular route doesn't lend well. I think this route should hit much of the big attractions. Haven't looked into this enough yet.
6. Through to Crater Lake and down to the Oregon Coast.
7. Up the coast over to Columbia River Gorge.
8. This is where I think it gets real interesting. Funny I was just looking around at maps and thought the way up to St. Helens looked best to Windy Ridge. Reading the sites indicates most go the I-5 route, but then I stumbled on other posts from LT that confirmed my original path was best for driving. Going up the forest road 25 over to windy Ridge and then up to Rainier (not shown is the seasonal route that I would take to do a little exploring of Rainier) and then out to Wenatchee.
9. Not shown on the map is the Cascade Loop from Wenatchee around 450 miles and back. I really want to do this with limited stops, but know it adds quite a bit to the trip.
10. Heading up to Glacier to drive the Going-to-the-sun Road. I hear this is a must-do for any enthusiast of 2-4 wheels.
11. the sad long road home.

I am a bit crazy, have the "more comfortable 2006 seats", and am not the type that needs to be comfortable all the time. I think I can do this but I would love to hear some input from those who live or have traveled around the area. I have been to Seattle/Spokane to visit family in the past, but other than that, this will be mostly uncharted territory for me.

Grunschev 01-05-2018 09:50 PM

Back in 2014 I did a trip from Denver to Portland and vicinity.

I have two rules I try to follow, but sometimes have to make exceptions.
Rule #1: No interstates
Rule #2: No night driving

In your case, I might be tempted to violate Rule #1 in the flat bits of the Dakotas and Montana. I have a "Hierarchy of Lotus Roads". Worst are Interstates. Too much truck traffic, too straight and flat. US highways are better, but still may have many large trucks. Numbered state routes are best. Minimal truck traffic. Numbered county routes may require local knowledge, as they're not always paved.

But I'd recommend keeping Rule #2 violations to the minimum. First, for me, one of the main ideas of the road trip is to see the country. Can't see it very well at night. But more important, perhaps, is wildlife.

I blogged that trip and posted links to each entry here: Epic Northwest trip

My route and your proposed routes don't have a lot of overlap, but you may find some helpful info in there somewhere. I found some nice Lotus roads in Oregon, followed parts of the Oregon Trail and the Lewis & Clark Trail, and visited Grand Teton NP.

See here for how I packed the car for a couple of extended road trips:
Portland trip prep
Laguna Seca trip prep

For a long road trip like this, I'd go with a UHP summer tire rather than the stock tires. I've only been getting about 5k miles on the rear tires on the stock Yokos. For both these trips I ran on Dunlop Direzza DZ102 (actually 101 for the Portland trip, but the 102 replaced the 101). You won't need a higher performance tire for the road, and these are better in the rain than the stock rubber. I'm aware that almost nobody on this forum likes the Direzzas, but so it goes.

Most important, though: Have fun!

oldmansan 01-05-2018 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grunschev (Post 5674817)
For a long road trip like this, I'd go with a UHP summer tire rather than the stock tires. I've only been getting about 5k miles on the rear tires on the stock Yokos.

How are you getting 5K miles on the stock rear Yokohamas? My rears practically evaporate with any normal use.

San

ZQQM 01-06-2018 01:20 PM

I suggest you take the car ferry S.S. Badger that leaves from Ludington Michigan and sails to Manitowoc Wisconsin, the ferry takes about 4 hours to cover the 60 mile distance. Its a cool experience and isnít too expensive, about $60 per person or car. Getting the Exige on and off was no problem at all, Iíve taken this ferry a few times. You canít stay with the car during the trip, but thereís food and entertainment on the various decks, or just sit in some deck chairs and catch some sun.

There is another service, Lake Express which goes from Muskegon to Milwaukee. Its more expensive but is a new high speed ferry and only takes about 2.5 hours to cover 85 miles. Its has a jet plane feel to it and its drive on / drive off which makes unloading very quick. Both should be booked in advance, both were very cool experiences and either/both could add some uniqueness to your trip.

These options also put you at the doorstep of some great driving Wisconsin roads as you cut across the middle of the state westward. And youíll only be 30-40 miles from Road America, which is worth a visit and or lunch in downtown Elkhart Lake ( Paddock Club or Off the Rail recommended ).

Last and maybe most importantly, you'll avoid the whole Indiana / Chicagoland portion of the drive and Iím guessing ( depending on starting point ) it could save you ~300-350 miles oneway driving distance.

https://www.ssbadger.com/

https://www.lake-express.com/

Motorcycle Roads | Motorcycle Roads and Rides | MotorcycleRoads.com

Iíd also suggest you check out the website motorcycle roads. You can sort by state / regions and by road ratings, I would just search 5 star roads and if thereís something close to your route, just try to incorporate it into the drive. Though it sounds like you already have some epic roads picked, so maybe see if this website can help with some of the flatter states ( Wis / Minn / S.D. / Neb ). I found some great scenic East - West roads using this website a few years ago, though my drive wasnít as westward as what your planning and wasnít taken in the Lotus.

3carmonte 01-06-2018 02:20 PM

A Little piece of your trip
 
4 Attachment(s)
Here are some pics of our last trip to the Dakota's (to the in-laws). 94 through ND is as straight as an arrow but speeding is not an issue outside of the city's. Take an hour or so to drive the roads in Teddy Roosevelt National Park in Medora ND. The Badlands are unique and beautiful and the twisty roads in there are worth it. Hey, it's on the way right? (Western ND). In South Dakota, Mt. Rushmore is near Rapid City. If you're going through in warm weather, check out "Evans Plunge" a natural spring (indoor) water park that's inexpensive, refreshing and a blast. It might be run by the Rapid City parks dept. but I'm not certain of that. Here is one of my favorite pics of a North Dakota road outside of Williston. Following that, some shots of the Badlands in Medora. The Bison cross the road in the park all the time so keep an eye out for those guys! The Interstates are boring but time saving across the prairie. And yes, this is a real Prairie Dog!

Mjjstang 01-07-2018 12:10 PM

Thanks a lot everybody for the info. I'll have to check out all the links.

Grunschev 01-07-2018 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldmansan (Post 5674833)
How are you getting 5K miles on the stock rear Yokohamas? My rears practically evaporate with any normal use.

San

Yeah, I'm probably misremembering. Could be I got 5k miles on the fronts, less on the rears. It's been ages since I ran the Yokos on the street. My last set was track only, and lasted all of four days. And I'm not likely to buy the Yokos again.

TedR 01-08-2018 08:56 AM

After the Grand Tetons, find your way to Idaho Falls and follow hwy 20/26 across Idaho. Make sure to stop at the Craters of the Moon Monument.

It looks like you picked hwy 20 across Oregon. You might want to consider hwy 26, it is a little more scenic. Take 26 to Prineville and then 126 west through Redmond and into Sisters (a nice little town). From Sisters take the Old McKenzie Highway (hwy 242) across the cascades stopping at the Dee Wright Observatory. Follow 242 down to 126 and then turn around and come back across 242 (trust me, it is worth it, especially if you can drive it on a weekday.

Back to Sisters, take 20 south to Bend and find your way to SW Century Drive, it turns into the Cascades Lakes National Scenic Byway. From there take a short hop down hwy 97 to hwy 138 that will take you to Crater Lake.

If you have an extra day, I recommend driving down I-5 into California and crossing to the coast on hwy 96. This is a great highway and puts you into the heart of the redwoods.

Depending on how far you want to make it up the Oregon coast, I recommend taking hwy 53 from Wheeler to hwy 26 (lunch at Camp 18?), then hwy 103 north to Jewel, then hwy 202 to Mist, then hwy 47 north to Clatskanie and hwy 30.

Hwy 30 will take you along the Columbia River to Portland and hwy 84 through the George.

me73 01-08-2018 08:58 AM

Go through Colorado instead and take the state roads. They mainly follow canyon rivers...

WileECoyote 01-08-2018 10:22 AM

I grew up in Salmon, ID. Lots of wonderful sites to see in the NW. Glacier National Park in Montana is a must!

Going from Montana into Idaho, Lolo Pass or Lost Trail Pass are two nice routes. Lost Trail Pass is where Lewis & Clark crossed the Continental Divide.

In Washington, be careful on Snoqualmie Pass. Depending on the weather, it can be quite treacherous or closed. Of course it may have changed some in the 30 years since I've been through Snoqualmie Pass.

jturn17 02-02-2018 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grunschev (Post 5674817)
Rule #2: No night driving

But I'd recommend keeping Rule #2 violations to the minimum. First, for me, one of the main ideas of the road trip is to see the country. Can't see it very well at night. But more important, perhaps, is wildlife.

This is actually really good advice. I did a road trip to California about 7 years ago, and got turned around at around 11pm outside of SF in my 300z TT. Took a corner and saw something jump out of the way. Looked to the right, and saw a deer just standing there.

If only someone had given me this advice back then.

Mr.C 02-02-2018 04:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TedR (Post 5677545)
Depending on how far you want to make it up the Oregon coast, I recommend taking hwy 53 from Wheeler to hwy 26 (lunch at Camp 18?), then hwy 103 north to Jewel, then hwy 202 to Mist, then hwy 47 north to Clatskanie and hwy 30.

Hwy 30 will take you along the Columbia River to Portland and hwy 84 through the George.

Hi Ted, hwy 53 used to be my favorite Lotus road around here, but it now has some sunken grades where I almost bottomed out in my MB SUV last time I drove it last fall. Not recommended for t Lotus anymore, unfortunately :(
And instead of hwy30, I would definitely recommend to take 202 from Astoria towards Vernonia and then the Scapoose Vernonia hwy over to Scapoose.

brianbement85 02-10-2018 06:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr.C (Post 5704617)
Hi Ted, hwy 53 used to be my favorite Lotus road around here, but it now has some sunken grades where I almost bottomed out in my MB SUV last time I drove it last fall. Not recommended for t Lotus anymore, unfortunately :(
And instead of hwy30, I would definitely recommend to take 202 from Astoria towards Vernonia and then the Scapoose Vernonia hwy over to Scapoose.

^^this.

And if you choose this route, i live in St. Helens, Oregon (sister town to Scappoose) and would LOVE to meet you up somewhere around here or Vernonia and buy you lunch. Some VERY amazing driving roads right out my backyard there near Vernonia.


Also-your thoughts of heading through the Columbia River Gorge then heading up towards Mt. St. Helens from there is a great idea. VERY awesome drive that route.


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