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View Full Version : Map Challenge - Furthest Cities With No Interstate Travel

HeyHomie
03-17-2007, 04:08 PM
Here is a fun game (or at least, in my head it seems like it would be fun):

Pick the two U.S. cities that are furthest apart, whose most direct driving route involves NO driving on interstate highways.

Rules:

1) By "interstate highway," I mean, "federally-designated interstate highway." Other four-lane, divided highways are OK.

2) I'm referring to the MOST DIRECT ROUTE, and not the FASTEST ROUTE. If you can shave time by going out of your way one direction or another to get on an interstate, that may be fine in real life, but for purposes of this game, no dice.

3) Crossing an interstate is OK, but driving on one, even for a fraction of a mile, is out.

---

The best I could do so far is Fresno, CA to Nephi, UT, which is 478 miles as the crow flies (http://www.indo.com/cgi-bin/dist?place1=Fresno%2C+CA&place2=Nephi%2C+UT). I couldn't calculate how far it would be driving there, because all of the mapping programs that I used had me going 200 miles out of my way south to catch the interstate.

Surely someone can do better!

panamajack
03-17-2007, 05:00 PM
Agaņa, Guam - Seattle, Washington : 5673 miles
(probably someone can beat that)

If you require driving only :

Cantwell, AK - Sault Ste. Marie, MI : 3614 freeway miles

tomndebb
03-17-2007, 05:44 PM
If you stayed in the U.S., (no Canadian or transoceanic sections), it would probably be Sault Ste. Marie, MI to Everett, WA. You'd have to take a couple of state and county roads out of the Soo to avoid I-75 (e.g., M-129 to M-28 to M-117), getting to U.S. 2 and once you got into Washington, you might extend the trip by diverting to another city in Washington on its state highways. If that is not sufficiently "direct," you could make essentially the same trip starting in St. Ignace, MI.

Polycarp
03-17-2007, 09:30 PM
I had the same concept as Tom, but started in Grand Marais, MN and ended in Bellingham, WA.

Another alternative might be from Niagara Falls, NY, to Skowhegan, ME (and possibly further) -- obviously a shorter trip but fascinating that one can cross that much of the Northeast without encountering an Interstate other than to cross it.

Final option is totally intrastate, but a contender: Point Barrow to Seward, Alaska.

Chefguy
03-17-2007, 10:16 PM
Agaņa, Guam - Seattle, Washington : 5673 miles
(probably someone can beat that)

If you require driving only :

Cantwell, AK - Sault Ste. Marie, MI : 3614 freeway miles

Why Cantwell? Fairbanks is farther north, and there's always the town of Deadhorse on the Arctic Ocean. It's technically an oil camp, but has a restaurant, airfield, gas pump and hotel. It's 500 miles north of Fairbanks and 800 miles north of Tok, Alaska.

panamajack
03-18-2007, 12:35 PM
Why Cantwell? Fairbanks is farther north, and there's always the town of Deadhorse on the Arctic Ocean. It's technically an oil camp, but has a restaurant, airfield, gas pump and hotel. It's 500 miles north of Fairbanks and 800 miles north of Tok, Alaska.

Checking the map I see I'm wrong, but I thought the most direct driving route involved going through either Fairbanks or Anchorage from there (Cantwell was sort of a random pick in the middle). I did figure there were other towns further out but didn't know exactly which roads connect them.

Now that I think about it, the Alaska highways are technically designated interstates, so that disqualifies them anyway. You can still do a pretty long stretch on the parts that aren't interstate, though.

panamajack
03-18-2007, 01:29 PM
Tom & Poly - I'm wondering if that route really is more direct when you avoid the Interstates. I would say the best destination is somewhere like Mt. Vernon (or points west) instead of Everett. Bellingham is good, but once we've crossed I-5 near Mt. Vernon you can go to Whidbey Island, which will be a little further.

Checking Google maps - Newport, WA (since we've avoided I-90 that's the Idaho border crossing) to Everett is 350 miles via Spokane and I-90, but ~400 if you avoid it.

I was also curious about getting through Idaho, but it looks like at least from Kalispell it is 10-15 miles shorter by avoiding the interstates. I'm still not 100% sure it's more direct to head north through Montana, since those roads could get windy and long.

If ferries are allowed (these transport cars), you could extend the trip from there, heading south and then across to Port Townsend. Once you're on the Olympic Peninsula, the most direct route to anywhere along the coast will not involve an interstate. Pick somewhere like Neah Bay, or maybe where 101 hits the coast.

If ferries are strictly not allowed, then you can head as far south on Whidbey Island as you can (probably to the ferry terminal) once you get through Mt. Vernon.

So here's a verified portion of the trip using Google maps to measure distances :

Neah Bay to Mt. Vernon, WA ~165 miles (with 6 mi. on ferry)

Mt. Vernon, WA to Kalispell MT (via Inchelium & Newport) -540 miles

panamajack
03-18-2007, 01:46 PM
Forget what I said about Newport-Everett being shorter on I-90. Rechecking, it's approximately the same distance, and probably 20 miles or more shorter if you use local road shortcuts. Still, the Whidbey Island extension gives a little bit more length.

Then again if we are allowing ferries, then the shortest distance to Neah Bay may involve going through Everett, since there's a ferry from there to Whidbey Island.

on edit : except I think the most direct route to that ferry requires a short bit on I-5 south, so never mind.

Key Lime Guy
03-18-2007, 02:05 PM
Havre, MT to Brownsville, TX is 2046 mi.