When I was about to move to the Midwest, I went to Google with a simple search query: “I-70 vs. I-64.” Operating under the premise that “everyone has talked about everything on the Internet,” I assumed I’d find a direct comparison of the two routes at my disposal to head to my new home.
But I didn’t find much. And now that I’ve had the opportunity to take both routes, I thought I’d write a bit about them for future travelers who run the same query on their search engine of choice.
When first heading West, my wife and I decided to take I-64. The route was almost 100 miles longer for my particular trip (from Washington, DC to Kansas). Despite the added length, I noticed what anyone will when comparing routes: I-64 simply travels through fewer large cities.
My wife and I had a great time on the drive. The roads were remarkably clear, and almost toll-free (we paid for one toll in Topeka). The only traffic we encountered came in an area under construction near St. Louis. We had such a good time on the ride that we didn’t think twice about taking the same route when we headed back East last month.
But that second trip exposed some flaws that we overlooked on the ride out. Specifically, we were exhausted after navigating the twisty roads of West Virginia. The seasons had something to do with it, as did the timing: the scenery was beautiful in the summer, and we were in good spirits at the beginning of our drive. By the time we had arrived back on the East Coast, though, we were both tired, and I was nauseous.
Naturally, we were ready to try a different route by the time we had to go home. A snow storm had crossed both routes the night before we left, which made the decision even easier: we wanted no part of potentially snowy or icy roads in West Virginia.
I-70 is certainly the more boring of the 2 routes: it offers none of the scenery of I-64, but you trade good looks for speed and reliability: the roads were clear and dry despite the storm, and our spirits (and stomachs!) never wavered.
A much shorter way to put it could be this: on our second trip along I-64, we finally felt all of those extra miles. I-70 is certainly the better choice in uncertain weather, or if you’re exclusively interested in making the best time. The major cities along the way don’t provide much of an impediment — the only traffic we hit was again due to construction in St. Louis, because apparently that town’s roads need a lot of work.
I-64 is certainly not a bad option, and if you’re traveling in dry and calm weather, it is arguably worth the extra time to travel its more beautiful and less populated areas. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I-70 is now my go-to choice for trips in either direction.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to retire from the world of highway criticism.