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La Crosse Wi To Spokane Wa - Routes, Sights, Etc.


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Hi folks. I'm about to take my long-delayed retirement trip. Connecticut to the West Coast and back again. You can see the proposed route at the bottom of my blog homepage:




I'll be driving my 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190b:





I've got most of the routes covered, but would appreciate your suggestions on getting from the La Crosse WI area across to Spokane WA later in September. That's a long way! I have friends and family along the rest of the trip, but none between Minnesota and Washington.


What scenic routes and sights along the way would you recommend? I have five days for that part of the trip, so I figure I-90 will be the backbone for MN to WA.


All ideas and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Tom M.

Eastford CT

Edited by NutmegCT
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If you would like to follow the route of the historic 1912-1930 Yellowstone Trail, "A Good Road From Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound" visit www.yellowstonetrail.org for basic information. From LaCrosse you would travel to Minneapolis and then head west on the old highway through South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho. A great route off the Interstates through small towns. In places you can stop ON the road and look at the scenery.


Some of the route has a guide available. See the web site.


You can contact us through the web site if you have questions. Do it.


John Ridge

Yellowstone Trail Association

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I personally would recommend US 12. It's been almost 20 years since I drove it, but I really liked the desolation (I've lived in the northeast my whole life so lack of people is a novelty.) John would have to confirm how much of current US 12 was originally the Yellowstone Trail. I'm confident US 12 in Idaho wasn't, since I don't think they got the road through the mountains until the 1960s, but still a lot of history even along that route (Lewis & Clark, Nez Perce Indians). Like John said, in a lot of places you can stop in the middle of the road and get out, there may be 10 minutes or more before another car comes along (and you'll hear them coming long before they get to you it's so quiet). I have some pictures here http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadandrailpictures/sets/72157631716572379/ if you want to see what it looked like 20 years ago (you'll have to go forward aways to get to the pictures west of Wisconsin).

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I was mesmerized by every single photo. Thanks for posting them. It's exactly the type of driving I'm looking for on at least half of my trip.


Out in Montana, were there any steep mountain passes to work through? I'll be out there toward the end of September, but I'm not sure how the ol' Mercedes handles high altitudes and steep angles.




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Thanks, glad they helped. In Montana it's flat to Helena. I don't recall the crossing west of Helena being especially steep, and then you're on I-90 to Missoula. West of Missoula you're in mountains for a long time, but I seem to recall the road hugging the sides of the mountains rather than climbing & dropping. The altitude is surprising low, only 5233 feet at the highest point west of Missoula (vs. almost 12000 feet on the US 6 crossing west of Denver). It has been almost 20 years so I can't guarantee there are no steep grades on US 12 in Montana (and Idaho), but I don't remember any. I do seem to remember a pretty long steep grade heading west out of Clarkston, Washington though, but that was about it until the Cascades.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have nothing to add by way of suggestions but I want to shout that I'm delighted you're closing in on this trip. Anyone who can line up help from the British Car Forum for a Mercedes powered trip has certainly got my admiration. I'll keep an eye on your progress and, if things align, would love to meet up as you pass through Ohio.

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