DAY 2 PLAN: Cuyahoga Valley to Chicago



DRIVE: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH to Chicago, IL

  • Break camp
  • OPTIONAL activity at Cuyahoga Valley National Park
    (HIKE Brandywine Falls or Ice Cave (Ledges Trail) / RIDE scenic railroad trip / VISIT beaver marsh)
  • HIKE 1/4 mile along Towpath Trail back to Jeep
  • DEP Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • DRIVE Cuyahoga Valley / Chicago
    (approx. 350 miles / 6 hours)
  • Time Zone Change from EASTERN to CENTRAL
    (Changes at IN / IL State Line)
  • ARR Chicago
  • Check-in Travelodge Downtown Hotel (2 nites)

NITE: Hotel (2-star) / Travelodge Downtown Hotel, Chicago, IL


04 DEP: 1000 – Cuyahoga Valley Nat Park OH
(DRIVE: 176 miles / 3 hours = 3.5 hours estimated segment time)

05 DEP: 1330 – IN state line
(DRIVE: 173 miles / 3 hours = 4.5 hours estimated segment time)

ARR: 1800 – Chicago IL
(349 miles / 6 hours drive / 8 hours estimated travel)




OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: for the morning at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) – Contact CVSR at (800) 468-4070 or visit

  • Voices in the Valley Audio Tour: Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad invites you to immerse yourself in the stories and sounds of the Cuyahoga Valley through its new audio tour, Voices of the Valley — Hear a young Emily Nash describe the challenges her parents faced on the Western Reserve frontier. Listen to African American canal boat captain John Malvin tell about his interactions with passengers. Learn how people have transformed the Cuyahoga River and its surrounding valley from an environment suffering from generations of neglect to one worthy of its national park designation. Collectively, the stories reveal the people, events, and natural processes that have shaped the landscape outside the train window. (available for all daily excursion trips between Rockside and Akron Northside stations)
  • Regular Excursions: Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates regular excursions throughout the year. Excursions depart from Akron Northside Station, Peninsula Depot, and Rockside Station in Independence.
  • FEE: All day boarding pass: $15 for adults , $10 for children 3-12.

Brandywine Falls Hike (right near our campsite)

  • This trail was recommended by the lady from the park when I called for reservations. There is a beautiful waterfall there, and it is right near our campsite (she said the hike would take about an hour or two roundtrip MAX, and that we could easily do it even when travelling the same day).
  • Here are the details according to the official park website: Length: 1.25 Miles / Hiking Time: 1 hour / Elevation Change: 160 feet Rating: Moderate
  • Trailhead Location: On Stanford Road just west of Brandywine Road in Boston Heights, OH.. (see Trail map)

Beaver Marsh (in the park)

  • Visit Beaver Marsh to see the habitat created by a nearby beavers’ dam. The boardwalk above the wetlands is ideal for viewing other wildlife, including muskrats, wood ducks and fish.
  • Beaver Marsh was created by beavers that built a dam along remnants of the Ohio & Erie Canal, offers visitors the chance to explore a wetland first-hand. (see Trail map)
  • Visit park Wetlands, Marshes, and Swamps web page for more information and a photo gallery.
  • Location: 3801 Riverview Road, Cuyahoga Falls 44264 (81° 34.817′ W) (41° 11.201′ N)

LODGING: Travelodge Downtown Hotel
65 E Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60605 at the intersection of Wabash & Harrison streets
(see hotel website)
Phone: 312-427-8000 / Fax: 312-427-8261 / E-Mail:

RATE: $103/nite plus tax and service charge and additional $28-$33/day for parking

Built in 1928 as the Harrison Hotel, the Travelodge Hotel Downtown has been a mainstay for generations in the area of Chicago now known as the South Loop.

Featuring the charm and ambiance of Chicago along with comfortable affordable accommodations, Travelodge Hotel Downtown Chicago is just the place to make your stay an unforgettable experience. Strategically located, Travelodge Hotel Downtown Chicago enjoys easy access to Chicago’s loop area shopping, theatres, museums, restaurants and most of the famous tourist attractions such as McCormick Place, Sears Tower, Grant Park, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Lake Michigan and others. The hotel offers well-equipped accommodations with conveniences that are sure to satisfy your needs. Enjoy our two on-site restaurants. For the discerning business traveler, there is a well-equipped business center. The lobby, with its comfortable sitting area, is the perfect place to relax and meet.
We offer fun amenities to accommodate our customers’ needs. In-room coffeemakers, voicemail, high-speed Internet access, in-room safes, cable television, and free HBO are among the amenities you will find. We offer access to secured indoor and outdoor parking, and airport shuttle services are available for a fee. Take a look at our amenities page for more details on what we offer and feel free to ask one of our friendly staff members for more details. Let us know how we can help accommodate your needs and make your stay more comfortable and relaxing!

  • Free High-Speed Wireless and Wired Internet Now Available
  • Bar/Lounge In On-Site Restaurant
  • In-Room Coffeemaker with Complimentary Coffee
  • In-Room Safe, Large Enough to Fit a Laptop
  • Modem/Data Port, Free Wired and Wireless Internet Connection Available
  • Parking Rates: $28 per Night, Cars and Small Vans $33 per Night, Large Vans and Pick-Ups
  • Coin-Operated Washers and Dryers
  • Public Transportation within Walking Distance: CTA Red Line and Blue Line, 1/2 Block from Bus Stop
  • Business Center (Free use of Computer/Internet Connection and Printer)
  • Fax and Copy Services
  • Two Restaurants On-Site: Chicago Carry-Out (Fast Food) and Thai Spoon (Classic Pan-Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar) (Independently Managed Restaurants)

LOCATION: From I-90 heading West, take Exit 51H for I-290 west toward Eisenhower Expy/West suburbs. Keep right at the fork, and follow signs for Congress Pkwy/Chicago Loop and merge onto Congress Pkwy. Turn right at South Wabash Ave. (2 blocks after State Street intersection), and make the first left onto E. Harrison street. The hotel is on the Right at the intersection of Wabash & Harrison streets


2 JAN 2010: we need to decide what areas we would be interested in staying in so we could develop a “short list” of possible hotels… there is good intel about accommodations here. and about neighborhoods here.

10 JAN 2010: did some research on hotels and think that we may as well book something sooner rather than later because believe it or not there are already some hotels that do not have rooms available on our dates!

At the moment I am looking at the Red Roof Inn (see below) because they are the “cheapest” in the central city area (there were cheaper ones further away from the city center, but as we are planning to see the city, i don’t see the point in being at some motel near the airport… whatever money we save by being out there we would spend getting back and forth — and or parking in the city — to do our activities)…

Here are a range of choices:

American express travel site hotels for this time period in range of $105-$150/night:

  • Red Roof Inn Chicago Downtown: 162 E ONTARIO ST, Chicago, IL 60611
    2-star | $105/night
    (AMENITIES: restaurant on site, high speed internet, FEE-based offsite parking available)
  • Travelodge Chicago: 65 EAST HARRISON, CHICAGO IL US 60605
    2-star | $111/night
    (AMENITIES: restaurant on site, high speed internet, FEE-based indoor and outdoor parking available)
  • Holiday Inn Chicago-Mart Plaza: 350 West Mart Center Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
    3.5-star | $150/night
    (AMENITIES: restaurant on site, high speed internet, FEE-based valet parking available)

Lonely planet travel site hotels for this time period in range of $200-$250/night

  • Days Inn North: 644 w diversey pkwy , Chicago IL 60614
    2 star | currently has no rooms available in our time frame
    (AMENITIES: breakfast included, high speed internet, FEE-based parking available)
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Chicago Downtown: 33 w illinois st , Chicago IL 60610
    3 star| $225/night
    (AMENITIES: breakfast included, high speed internet, FEE-based parking available)
  • Inn at Lincoln Park: 601 w diversey pkwy , Chicago IL 60614
    2-star | $214/night
    (AMENITIES: breakfast included, high speed internet, FEE-based parking available) selections for this time period similar to american express travel site

12 APR 2010: HOTEL RESERVATION DONE: Travelodge Downtown Hotel in Chicago booked via (see reviews)

Hotel reviews for this place were slightly better than for the other hotels in same price category. Main selling point is the location which is right in the interesting downtown area near a number of key sites/activities. Most nearby hotels are very pricey. This one has basic accommodations, but was rated fairly well by reviewers on for the price-range. We will be there for two days (and there is a place to park the Jeep, that is relatively fairly priced for city parking).

Check-in time is 3PM / Check-out time is 12noon. Self parking for cars and small vans: $28 per 24-hour period / Self parking for large vans and SUVs: $33 per 24-hour period.


  • AAA guide (about the city, plus things to do, etc.)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Chicago (about the city, things to do, hotels, restaurants etc.)
  • Rough Guide to Chicago (about the city, things to do, hotels, restaurants etc.)
  • Chicago gangster tour – 2 hour tour of historical “chicago gangster” locations, with guide who tells you the history etc. (group tour with set times)
  • Tommy Gun’s Garage – interactive dinner theatre, in a 1920s speakeasy, with gangster themed show and jazz music