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Early morning traffic leaving downtown

G31
Minden, Germany
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Early morning traffic leaving downtown

Hi. I will be in Chicago for a few days in August before starting a 4 weeks roadtrip. I am planning on picking up a car early after staying at the Inn of Chicago for three nights and then driving towards Yellowstone, stopping at Sioux Falls for the night. As this will be a long drive, we want to set off early, about 7 or 8. What's traffic leaving downtown going to be like, will I encounter any issues? I am an experienced driver (managed to survive LA traffic ...) and we will have a navigational system. Any advice? (I haven't booked the car yet but it is probably going to be Hertz from one of their downtown locations.)

Illinois
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1. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

You will encounter traffic on I-90 west out of downtown. It will open up after you pass O'hare. There is construction on 90 on and off all the way out to Rockford. illinoistollway.com/documents/10157/73334aed…

Make sure you rent a car with an I-pass to pay for tolls along the way.

www.illinoistollway.com/tolls-and-i-pass

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

That's a long 900 mile drive. Why don't you start after 9:30 and stop sooner. Sioux Falls is a 10 hour drive, not including stop offs. There are two routes: hwy 80 through Iowa (Des Moines) and north on 29 after Omaha Nebraska, and 90 to, say, Rochester MInnesota and on to Sioux Falls.

This really belongs on the road trip forum, but there is more Americana kitsch along highway 90 that most people know. If you take your time and don't try to make too many miles per day there is something to see along the route. Limit yourself to 600 mile per day if you can.

Take a look at Madison Wisconsin and Baraboo Wisconsin which is the summer home of Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus., Wisconsin Dells, check out the Hormel Spam ( yes, canned ham Spam) museum in Austin Minnesota. Outside of Sioux Falls S. Dakota you'll find The Corn Palace in Mitchell. The whole building is covered with corn product facade. Wall Drug and Wounded Knee memorial.... Out of Rapid City you find that you go down into a canyon like lowland to look up at Mt Rushmore. Make sure you have advanced hotel reservations but check out the hotel... most of the hotels in Keystone seem to have a mold problem.

If you get to Yellowstone Nat'l Park in mid Sept, that is migration season. Don't be suprised that a herd of Buffalo stops traffic. And they are as big as a Sports Utility Vehicle!

G31
Minden, Germany
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3. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

Thanks for your response. Google Map tells me 560 miles for Chicago to Sioux Falls, so that should be doable and is, by the way, our only day where we drive more than 300 miles a day. It just couldn't be avoided. So my question wasn't really about the road trip but how Chicago traffic is early morning or whether we would be better off leaving mid morning.

G31
Minden, Germany
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4. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

Thanks Dave. Will have a look at the construction work and I toll pass.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

It'll take you about an hour to get out of the Chicago area, say out to about Schaumburg. The reverse commute in that direction is still pretty busy.

They're actually just starting some new construction next week on the toll road after O'Hare so right now, no one knows for sure what affect that will have. The bit right after O'Hare is going to be reduced from 3 to 2 lanes all summer, which could create a big bottle neck for a couple of miles. Check back again in a few weeks.

G31
Minden, Germany
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6. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

The Corn palace looks fun, thanks!

Chicago, IL
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7. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

7 or 8 is prime rush hour time. It could take you an hour or more depending on traffic, rain, accidents, etc. I would leave at 6 or 9. We are doing the same trip in June but avoid the rush hour. It drives us crazy.

pgo
Chicago
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8. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

Try to leave by 6 or 6:30 AM. You'll be glad you did.

Chicago's North...
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9. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

yes, if you could get out before 6, even 5.30, you'll be doing yourselves a huge favor... by 6.30, you'll start to run into stuff.... at your planned time, it will likely be a nightmare, unless it's on a weekend or public holiday.... it's amazing what a difference of 15-20 minutes makes during the early morning rush..... get out as early as feasible.... if you get out this early, you can make it out to mitchell, SD via I-90, with minimal stops.... back in the day, i did this after working an entire midnite shift and left right after work.....over 700 miles. so, with 2 drivers, it's very doable....

i can't stress this enough: AM 780 (or FM 105.9).... traffic and weather reports every 10 minutes.... preset this into your radio.... if I-90 (kennedy expwy/northwest tollway) is bad, your other option is I-94 north to wisconsin, then west to I-90 after you pass thru madison, WI... you could continue on I-94 west out to north dakota, where you can visit teddy roosevelt national park..... IMO, it's kinda underrated---it's southern cousin in SD get all the glory, but TR NP is truly a beautiful park.... if you opt for a more southern route, you could take I-80, but i don't recommend it as it's less scenic, IMO.....

G31
Minden, Germany
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10. Re: Early morning traffic leaving downtown

I would love to leave that early but I doubt we could pick up the rental car before 7 am. Will check this out and check back in here again closer to the time we are actually going. Thanks everyone.