Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Horizons

In our downtime/drivetime travel to Utah last month, the Boy 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, 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 me out through northern Nevada and 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.