Round trip from Chicago

May 22nd, 2014, 03:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
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Hi NorthwestMale,
Thank you for your reply. Frankly we didn't think about going that far southward (or rather we thought of going down to New Orleans, but denied afterwards). Anyway your route looks pretty interesting, we need to think of it.
Oleg1972 is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 04:29 PM
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Late Oct and early Nov can easily be cold weather and even snow is possible (we had substantial snow on Halloween in NYC a couple of years ago) and you will be further north and in colder weather for much of your original itinerary. Also it will be getting dark very early so long driving days will be an issue.

Before heading to Niagara Falls check on the Maid of the Mist - to make sure it is still running - I think it shuts down for the season in late Oct.
nytraveler is offline  
May 22nd, 2014, 04:51 PM
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In late September to mid-October the weather can be very pleasant in this region, and the trees will be showing off their colors. Last year, Chicago was actually quite warm during the daytime in the first week of October. NHL hockey season starts around then, too.
Dave_Ohio is online now  
May 22nd, 2014, 10:55 PM
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Your original itinerary is ridiculous. You'll be spending way too much time driving and not enough time in any one place. Narrow your list. Chicago is like New York or L.A. in that you could easily spend a week there. And if you want to catch a hockey game, well, the Blackhawks are pretty good. From Chicago, you could easily drive up to Milwaukee (or take the train) and then on to Minneapolis. Or rent a car and explore Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

Or, maybe, you go south after a week in Chicago. You could stop in Springfield (see the Abraham Lincoln library), then go to St. Louis for a few days (the Arch, a good zoo, Cardinals if they're still in season). And to whoever said St. Louis is a dump, I disagree.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is excellent, by the way. You could easily fill a day there.
andrews98682 is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 05:24 AM
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If your friend likes to fish, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are all great for it. There are lots of lakes. This website might help, although there are lots more places in Michigan (my father was a fisherman)

Lake Erie is not a particularly scenic lake--don't know what it's like now, but for years it was considered a poster child for water pollution.

I think September would be a better bet and a route through Wisconsin and Michigan, generally along the shore of Lake Michigan, would be interesting that time of year.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 07:02 AM
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The east end of Rt. 66 is at the intersection of Jackson Blvd. and Michigan Ave.
The Cleveland Browns stadium is right next to the R&R Hall of Fame on the lakefront in Cleveland. For a totally different view of Lake Erie, go to Presque Isle State Park on a peninsula outside Erie PA. If you are skipping Niagara Falls, head south from Erie to Pittsburgh.
The Warther sp? Whittling Museum in Dover Ohio is worth a visit.
tomfuller is online now  
May 23rd, 2014, 10:05 AM
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Chicago is accessible with public transport. Not sure I'd have a car there until I'm ready to leave - it's relatively compact and therefore closer to NYC and Boston driving conditions than to someplace more spread out like Atlanta or Dallas.

St. Louis is the #3 city of 250K+ in the US by violent crime rate. Yes, East St. Louis is a known h-llhole, but St. Louis itself is a mess. Memphis is #4, Detroit is #1 and has been for years. Chicago is about #19 based on the available information (Chicago's data are incomplete):

September would be better in that region. You should consider college football games on whatever Saturdays you'll be in the US. Ohio State (Columbus) would be the largest venue on your current trip and probably the best team because you won't venture into the deep south.
BigRuss is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 01:34 PM
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I don't know if anyone can come close to predicting the weather. Last year it got cold early. In the years prior it was still 60 degrees in late November. We have a saying in Michigan, "If you do not like the weather, wait 10 minutes because it is bound to change." If you move your time frame up by about a week you should be good. As someone mentioned, it does start to get dark about 6pm in that time frame.

I am still not clear as to what you like to do in big cities. Look at the Destination section for the cities that you have picked. It may give you an idea of what is actually there. I don't see anything of interest in Indianapolis or Columbus.

Just to give you an idea of distance, Chicago is about a 4.5 hour drive from Detroit and Detroit is about a 3.5 hour drive to Cleveland. Depending on how much time you like to sleep you could drive to Detroit, see The Henry Ford and catch a hockey game. The next day you could drive to Cleveland to see the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, maybe something else or maybe your friend could fish. Then head back to another destination.

I have been to Chicago a few times. 4-5 days will just scratch the surface. One point of interest that I found on my last trip are the Pedways. There is a tunnel system under the city. I took a tour with Chicago's Finest Tours that was interesting but you have to book in advance.
gardendiva is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 08:47 PM
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Oleg, despite the negative stereotypes about Lake Erie that some cling to, it has rebounded and provides excellent opportunities for fishing and water sports. In mid-Sept to mid-Oct, perch are plentiful in the western basin, around the Erie Islands, and perch and walleye are caught in abundance in the central and eastern basins. Your friend should Google "Lake Erie fishing guide" for Port Clinton, Sandusky, Huron, Vermilion, Cleveland, Ashtabula OH, Erie PA, and Buffalo, NY, as well as "Lower Niagara River New York fishing guide" to see where he might be able to set up some trips. The lower Niagara trips in particular, fishing for king salmon, will probably require reservations well in advance.
Dave_Ohio is online now  
May 25th, 2014, 12:43 PM
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Taking into account your advice we're trying to shift our leave from October to September. Last year NHL preaseason started mid-September, assume this year it's going to be pretty much the same. It's a pity we won't catch any of regular season games, but still a few of preseason ones can be caught.
Original itinerary has been refined a lot due to your critics, friends.
I guess only Cleveland (because of RNR HOF) and Indianapolis (just not to take the same route as from Chicago) will be kept.
Then we are gonna head towards Minneapolis.
There is no big cities en route from indianapolis to Minneapolis to spend a night. But there's a city of Des Moines. Could somebody tell me in a nutshell what kind of city is this? Worth a visit? Or maybe there is another preferrable way to get from Indianapolis to Minneapolis? It looks unreal (or at least very exhausting) to make this distance at one jump, so we seem to have to splitting it up into 2 days.
Oleg1972 is offline  
May 25th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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Dave, thank your for the names of the guides, i'll tell him
Oleg1972 is offline  
May 25th, 2014, 02:30 PM
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As a visitor, you won't need a car in Chicago. I would recommend a week there but, then, I really love the city. There are so many things for you to do and see.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
May 27th, 2014, 09:10 PM
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I apologize if I'm misunderstanding you. But I think a big part of the problem is you don't seem to know the lay of the land. Example: You say there are "no big cities en route from Indianapolis to Minneapolis." If you're driving from Indianapolis, you're going right through Chicago. You'll then pass through Wisconsin. Madison (a nice college town) is along the way, and Milwaukee would be an easy detour. Des Moines is completely out of the way and (nothing against it) really not worth the detour. I'm not sure I understand the desire to see Indy, either. Again, a perfectly fine town but not a place I would think of as a vacation spot for someone from overseas.

If I were you, I'd fly to Cleveland and then drive to Indy before going on to Chicago, Wisconsin and Minneapolis. Another option might be to take the train to Milwaukee and Minneapolis after driving to Chicago.

Or, fly to Minneapolis and then make your way to Cleveland via Wisconsin, Chicago and Indy. As others said, you don't need a car in Chicago.
andrews98682 is offline  
May 28th, 2014, 05:04 AM
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Thank you for your reply. It's no wonder I might have been misunderstood or not clear cause my English is far from perfect))))
As for saying that there are no big cities going from Indianapolis to Minneapolis, I meant except for Chicago. But since we start from Chicago I guess there is no point in returning there in 3-4 days. Just because of that I was trying to find another route and Des Moines was the only big city (of course it involves some detour or rather quite a detour). Maybe it wasn't very good idea. Anyway I'm just pondering now, there is pretty much time before the vacation.
As for Indianapolis - you know, having visited the USA for a few times I mostly been to the touristy cities (Vegas, LA, NYC, Miami, etc.) and I assume it might be very interesting to spend a day and a half in a city off the beaten path. And according to you Indy is a perfectly fine town. How can we feel the spirit of the real America not visiting that kind of cities. Or am I mistaken?
As for Madison and Milwaukee - yes, we thought to go there as much, but on the way back from Minneapolis.

As for flying - it's definitely not an option for us especially given that we are gonna have some 12 hour flight with a stopover from home and expect the same flight back in 2 weeks)))))

Again, thanks to you and HappyTrvlr now I know that we don't need a car in Chicago so we can save a bit on a rental car and don't think about parking, traffic, being sober, etc. in Chicago
Oleg1972 is offline  
May 28th, 2014, 06:03 AM
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Here is what I would recommend and I do know the area very well.

At the very least 4 days in Chicago, no car needed. Get a CTA 3-4 day pass for any and all public transportation needs.
Take Amtrak to Milwaukee. Wonderful, fun city on the shores of Lake Michigan, just like Chicago but somewhat smaller. 2-3 days.
Rent a car at the end of your visit and head towards Door County. Beautiful, natural area with some great hotels, motels, resorts, also on the shores of Lake Michigan. This would be the "relaxing time". 2-3 days.
Drive up to Minneapolis. Great music city. wonderful, friendly city. 3-4 days
Drive down to Galena, IL. A historic town on the banks of Mississippi River. Fun, great arts and antique shopping, wonderful nightlife. 2-3 days
Then it's a short drive to Chicago.

Here is the map of the itinerary!3e0
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 28th, 2014, 06:18 AM
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I did omit little more info.

Amtrak from Chicago to Milwaukee = ~$25pp one way.
Milwauke does not have a subway system (AFAIK) but their bus system will take you just about anywhere in the city and surrounding areas. The passes are ~$20pp.

Only when you're done with Milwaukee, rent a car and do the rest of the itinerary.

Have a great trip!
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 28th, 2014, 06:36 AM
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My own feedback as one living in Middle West until recent move to Boston area...original plan does look like an unattractive rust belt tour. In other words, the many times we traveled in these states we sought to avoid large city traffic and smog.

There are indeed things worthwhile seeking out, e.g.,in Chicago (my birthplace) some wonderful museums, in St. Louis (lived there) the Arch and the world class zoo and Missouri Botanical Garden, in Des Moines (went to college there) the Living History Farm.

Other sites mentioned: Door County, Niagra Falls, Galena are worthwhile. And so much else worthwhile in Middle America NOT in the big cities: caves and river canoeing in Missouri, Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL, Mark Twain sites in Hannibal, MO, Wisconsin Dells, and much more but enough already.
Ozarksbill is offline  
May 28th, 2014, 12:42 PM
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thanks a lot for your itinerary, it really looks like fun and does not involve too much driving. I'm going to take a deeper look at the sites along the way. The only thing I didn't understand why do you suggest taking a train to Milwaukee, not a car? Milwaukee seems to fit in quite well in driving itinerary, doesn't it? Or I just misunderstood you and your suggestion is to rent a car in Milwaukee? Anyway, are there any pitfalls in going from Chicago to Milwaukee by car? Why train is preferrable?
I like the route you've suggested even though it doesn't include Cleveland's Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, but we have to sacrifice something, right?
What I see is my original route has little to do with the route we'll take ultimately)))

thank you for your feedback. I guess river canoeing requires some special skills and we're just not prepared for this activities)))Mark Twain sites do sound very interesting but this time however I tend to go northwest of Chicago. Hopefully I'll be able someday to undertake a journey from Chicago down to New Orleans and embrace sites you've mentioned - St. Louis, Springfield, Hannibal, etc.
Oleg1972 is offline  
May 28th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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It's just a suggestion. Why rent a car when you really don't need one? Milwaukee has wonderful public transportation system as well.

That's why I suggested the train to Milwaukee from Chicago and then using public transportaion to get around. Save some $ and don't have to worry about parking, paying a daily fee for rental, etc...

Just a suggestion...
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 28th, 2014, 01:57 PM
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Yes, I see, it makes sense, but in this case we'll have to go back to Chicago by train again. Frankly I have never rented a car in one place and dropped it off in another. I assume there will be additional fee for different place of drop off?
Oleg1972 is offline  

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