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Road Trip from Chicago

New Boston, New...
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Road Trip from Chicago

Planning on driving from Chicago to Santa Fe Not sure which route to take.

Hoping to do this in 2 days travel time.

When I mapquest the drive it takes me down through Missouri down 55 across to 44 and 40. Thinking we would stop somewhere passed Tulsa for the night then continue on the next day.

Or should we go west on 80 through Iowa and Nebraska to Denver then take 25 south?

There doesn't seem to be to much difference in the mileage (60 Miles difference) but what is the difference in the terrain and what you may be able to enjoy along the way if you added a day more onto our travel time.

Thanks again for your ideas.

Marina, California
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for Tucson
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1. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

When are you doing this? I would choose the I-80/25 route unless it was during snow season.

New Boston, New...
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2. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

We will be doing this some time after May but before August.

Albuquerque, New...
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3. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

I agree your fastest route would be Chicago to St. Louis to Oklahoma City then Albuquerque/Santa Fe. I can't imagine doing it in two days myself, but I'm getting older. LOL. The interstates also get "so boring!.

Southern Missouri, and eastern Oklahoma are pretty...from OKC west to Tucumcari at least, it's the "Great Plains." How aptly named! Especially the "plain" part. :-)

With Mapquest, my travel experience says add on at least another 20% to their optimistic travel times.

You use the word "enjoy"...so please take 3 days! You'll have a lot of walking to do while in Santa Fe, so save some energy, and have a safe trip.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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4. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

I would head into Colorado, then take I25 south. Colorado is a great place to visit.

From Denver to Albuquerque is about 7 hours of driving.

Edmond, OK
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5. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

It's 15 hours Chicago to OKC, if you drive non stop (OK, potty breaks) - that's the fastest way. OKC to SF is 7.5 hrs. non stop. The absolutely fastest, and not extremely boring, way from anywhere East of Missouri is I-44 to I-40 west. Agree with NMPhoto, the scenery through the Texas Panhandle is flat, NO trees. But, it only takes about 2.5 hrs. and you know when it when you get there, on either side of the state lines.

It will probably be 3 days of driving, unless you can drive more than 8 hours at a time.

But take your time, lots to see in St. Louis, Tulsa and don't miss the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in OKC.

Have fun and drive safely

Marina, California
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6. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

It's kind of a tough call with only two days because that doesn't give you any time for side trips. The 55-44-40 route is the original Route 66, but the Route 66 iconology mostly picks up in New Mexico and further west.

I think that I would try to make western Nebraska or Denver on the first day, then head to Colorado Springs the next, check out a few things there (Gardens of the Gods, Manitou, etc.), then continue south to Santa Fe and get in late there. I-25 doesn't get into the mountains though, so, although you'll see them, you don't really experience them.

You could also cut west on US 160 from I-25, then south on SR 159 to San Luis and Taos. That'll add some time, but it's a little prettier and you go by some interesting stuff.

New Boston, New...
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7. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

Okay so I think we will try to make it to Colorado Springs in one day - enjoy a day there then head on to Santa Fe -

Now, does any one know the difference between I70 west through Kansas versus I80 through Nebraska.

I70 seems to be more direct to Colorado Springs than I80.

Can't wait for my atlas I ordered to come in so I can look at it all at once.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

we can definately drive more than 8 hours in a day - the most we have done is 13 so I think we can stretch it on this leg.

Goal is to have more time in NM when we arrive before having to drive all the way back to NH.

Atascadero...
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8. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

Only difference I can think of between Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska is boring, really boring and really, really boring.

Not even any quirkiness, weird people or offbeat attractions to help offset the mindless driving required to just get through those states. Even eastern Colorado and for much of the route down I-25 is pretty flat and droll.

That is the rub of any road trip originating in the midwest and peaking in the mountainous or desert west. That is why after getting my love of the mountains and desert in my blood in my teens, I moved west as quickly as possible so as to not face a lifetime of doing that drive every vacation.

You have to drive through at least two contiguous really flat, boring states before getting into much natural beauty. Unless of course you find mile after mile of corn fields and zero elevation or horizon line change beautiful.

Thats why I prefer the down I-55, through Southern Illinois, Missouri into OK and then west into NM route.

It is as direct time wise and at least it has less of the above mentioned lack of interest and some scenery changes.

Oceanside...
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9. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

Here's my 2-cents:

If you're just looking for the quickest way and aren't concerned with seeing anything, then go with what you got from Mapquest. It looks like Joplin, Missouri is right about in the middle and would be about 10 hours from Chicago and then 10-11 hours to Santa Fe. I'm one of those who don't mind 10-12 hour days, so to me 2 days to Santa Fe isn't that bad.

If you took the extra day, what would you want to see, scenery, cities or both? You might consider checking out Route 66 in Missouri and Oklahoma. I haven't been on that stretch, but plan to drive it on my road trip in September. What about St. Louis?

The most scenic route is probably taking I-70 into Colorado and then down I-25 to Santa Fe. The western part of Kansas and the eastern portion of Colorado has a lot of open plains. The area around Colorado Springs is very scenic. In fact, just west of Pueblo is Canon City where the Royal Gorge Bridge is and that's very cool, if you don't mind heights.

Edmond, OK
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10. Re: Road Trip from Chicago

Since Route 66 was mentioned - it is well maintained and totally driveable in OK from Tulsa through OKC and points west. Lots of places to see along the way. Pops in Arcadia for eats. Route 66 museums in Weatherford and Clinton.