Help me put the 'fun' in 'funeral.'
September 20, 2011 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Funeral road trip this weekend: from Minneapolis, MN to Medina, OH. Is it really going to take 12 hours? Any can't-miss stops along the way? Route suggestions?

My husband says Football Hall of Fame seems to be nearby enough, so we will try that.

(He is from WI, so we are familiar w/ WI spots. Planning to visit my lil bro in college at Madison on the way back. Also, already have plenty of Chicago experience.)

Glancing at the mapquest link, can you point out anything we should be sure to know/see/do on this short-notice trip? Awesome restaurants? Time-consuming detours/construction we might run into? Another route altogether? Thanks!
posted by jilliank to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
Going through Chicago/Gary on 290/90 is not fun. There isn't a better way, though. If you can avoid rush-hour traffic (and about 2 hours before/after), it'll be bearable but still not fun.

The FHoF is about an hour from Medina, depending whereabouts in Medina you end up (north of, more than an hour).
posted by cooker girl at 10:53 AM on September 20, 2011

Route suggestions?

Well, just on the Chicago portion I'd be very tempted to take 294 (tolls) around the city instead of driving on 90/94. There's that section of 90/94 between the 55 and 290 interchanges that always seems to backup during the day.
posted by sbutler at 10:53 AM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Take 290/294 around Chicago instead of 90/94 through it. Only slightly map-longer, and way less chance of getting jammed up. At least, by my Detroit-Madison experiences.
posted by Etrigan at 10:54 AM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

My bad. I was thinking you were going on 294 (so why I typed 290/90 is anyone's guess). Yes, it's better than 90/94 but not much better (that's the route we take to get to my family and it's never a fun drive), just so you know.
posted by cooker girl at 10:56 AM on September 20, 2011

And the interstate around Gary is always, always backed up.
posted by cooker girl at 10:57 AM on September 20, 2011

Yeah, driving through Chicago sucks, avoid.

My in-laws are doing a similar trip and I think they're actually going through the UP and then down through Michigan because of the scenery, but I think they have more time to take with it so I don't know that it would be good for you all.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:57 AM on September 20, 2011

Stop suggestion: Norkse Nook has a huge selection of outrageous pies made by legit old Scandinavian ladies. There's one in Eau Claire. (I've only been to the one in Rice Lake.)
posted by sararah at 10:57 AM on September 20, 2011

GoogleMaps says the exact same route is going to take 13.5 hours, so 12 sounds like an entirely reasonable estimate.

And Canton is the better part of an hour from Medina, so while it's a lot closer than Minneapolis, it's still going to be a half day.

You might try this route though. It's an extra twenty miles over the Toll Road/Turnpike route (and takes 294 around Chicago, as others have suggested; I concur), but you can go faster on US-30 than routing algorithms give you credit for. You also save something like $20 on tolls ($28 if you don't have an EZPass or equivalent), and you'll wind up paying less for gas and food than if you were sticking to the turnpike rest stops. Seriously, they tack on a solid $0.15-0.20 per gallon. All told, you could save $50 or so, for very little in the way of extra time.

The fact is that US-30 going through western Ohio has a whole not of nothing going on (other than a really cool new wind farm just inside the border, but it isn't exactly a stop to make). Of course, that's also true of the Indiana Toll Road and Ohio Turnpike, so that's not a real loss there. The upshot (and I can't believe I'm saying this) is that US-30 takes you through Fort Wayne, IN, which has more going on than anything for about three hours in either direction, and traffic on the beltway around town is never an issue. If you do decide to take this route, I can make all kinds of suggestions, as I kind of live there and take US-30 back to Pennsylvania a few times a year.

Of course, if your husband likes football, the College Football Hall of Fame is in South Bend, just south of Notre Dame. But it's kind of pathetic, so I'd skip it.
posted by valkyryn at 11:03 AM on September 20, 2011

There's a big 45MPH construction zone between Belvidere, IL and Elgin, IL and cops like to camp in it and give out $400 tickets, presumably prefering out-of-state drivers.
posted by michaelh at 11:04 AM on September 20, 2011

Try to avoid the construction zone on the way into Chicago, it's very slow and bumpy and there are signs that make absolutely no sense.
posted by miyabo at 12:02 PM on September 20, 2011

It would add a couple hours to your trip to visit, but the Japanese Gardens in Rockford, IL, are very cool.

Nthing all the cautions about traffic on 94/90 going through downtown Chicago. If you go that way during working hours on a weekday, factor into your schedule the distinct possibility of spending an hour or two in stop-and-go traffic jams.
posted by aught at 12:04 PM on September 20, 2011

If you like grilled cheese and are tired when you get into town (well, Cleveland, which -- if you go on I-90, you'll be heading through), I recommend Melt. Or if they're all booked up, Deagan's.

Medina's very pretty (a nice little town square, etc -- my family's from there) but there isn't too much to do in the super-close vicinity other than going to Cleveland or Akron to see things.

Canton looks a heck of a lot closer on the map than it really is, FYI. And I don't know that the football hall of fame is really worth it (note, I also don't think the Rock Hall in downtown Cleveland is really worth it, either, so your mileage may vary)...
posted by at 2:37 PM on September 20, 2011

From Ms. Vegetable:
Yes, it's going to take that long.
Also, it's apple picking season! I recommend Garwood Orchards in Indiana - easy to get to. And delicious!
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:16 PM on September 20, 2011

The INDIANA DUNES are just off the road, and amazing. I shout because they are so awesome, and so make the Indiana part of your trip bearable.
posted by gregglind at 7:43 PM on September 20, 2011

If you really want to avoid Chicago traffic, the better route yet is this one -- I-39 to I-88. You still get into south Chicagoland, but you can't go too much further south and still go east. It's only 10 miles longer than using the Northwest (sorry, Jane Addams) Tollway. In my experience, there's much less traffic, although sometimes more trucks. On the other hand, less interesting stuff to stop at, so there's that. If you go as far south as I-80 (add another 20 miles), you can stop at Starved Rock State Park. If you're still allowing for a longer trip (and I recognize this is stretching things), I'd actually go down the Mississippi and stop at places like Effigy Mounds National Monument, Mississippi Palisades State Park, and Dubuque and/or Galena. (And if you end up taking I-80 you can bop a bit south from that and visit Bishop Hill.)
posted by dhartung at 9:01 PM on September 20, 2011

I second taking I-39S to at least I-88, and maybe I-80. When I drove in this area 3 years ago, 39 had minimal traffic. Miles with no traffic (and good music) pass faster than miles with Chicago traffic, regardless of the quantity of absolute time spent on each.
posted by Jorus at 2:33 AM on September 21, 2011

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