Yeah, we have no problem paying a little more b/c of the additional axles, but 5x more is just ridiculous and a ripoff. imho.
Thanks for the suggestions on SPs. On the way out and more so on the way back home, we were very motivated to avoid as much of Chicago as possible (we are SO over Chicago ). So the last few years we've minimized our travel through/around Chicago by staying on I-80 (which is VERY congested) and then heading north on I-39. More miles, but for the most constant speeds, no switching from one lane to another and getting onto different hwys/exits/entrances and no tolls once you get past Chicago.
Wisconsin, especially between Rockford and Madison is also VERY congested and slow b/c of the construction. We remember when there was NOTHING out there! What happened?!?!
On the way home, we actually went further south and avoided Chicago altogether. We also took longer, but we really enjoyed the stress-free drive on State highways rather than interstates.
During the week, we had no problem getting our pick of camp sites in SPs in Indiana and Illinois. The camp hosts did tell us that they are booked solid on the weekends, so good to know for in the future.
We're also looking at taking the northern route through Canada and upper peninsula of Michigan.
Lots of options, especially now that time isn't an issue.
Depending on your destination in MN, the northern route through Michigan's UP isn't a bad option, especially if time isn't as much of a factor. Or you can take one of the car ferries across Lake Michigan - The Badger runs from Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI, and the Lake Express runs from Muskegon, MI to Milwaukee, WI. They're not cheap but you get a break from driving. The Badger charges $7/foot for trailers, in addition to the vehicle fee plus the passenger fee.