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  1. #1

    Default Advice needed for trip (TX to CA Yosemite)

    My wife and I have two boys (6 and 2) and we want to take a road trip from Fort Worth, Texas to Yosemite and back (about 1600 miles one way). We want to drive to Dumas, TX (near Amarillo) to pick up friends (two adults and three kids, 4, 7, 12). We want to drive to San Diego then go north along the Pacific Coast Highway up to Sacramento. We want to stop to see some sights along the way and enjoy the ocean view as we drive. We'd like to stop in San Diego, LA, and San Francisco. After we leave Sacramento we intend to go to Yosemite for about three or four days then drive back home along the same route. We might consider taking a different route home to see some new sights along the way.

    Does anyone have any tips on this trip? We intend to drive one of the following:
    (1) 4-door Dodge truck (with the extended Magnum cab) and a travel trailer (probably the non-po-up type)
    (2) large 15-passenger van (rented)

    The purpose of the trip is to have fun, visit family in Sacramento, see things wehave never seen before, and develop some great memories.

    Anybody have any tips on places to stay and things to see along the way?

    We want to do this in spring or late summer. Our biggest decision right now is do we drive non-stop straight through to Yosemite and do the slow drive back OR do we do the slow drive up there to Yosemite and the non-stop drive back? I prefer to take our time on the way up (4 days up, 3 days in Yosemite, 4 days back) and on the way back as I feel that the non-stop drive is dangerous (sleepy driver problems) as well as making you miss interesting things.

    SEAN F

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Alternatives

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    What you've got already is a workable plan, so let me just kind of think out loud here for a bit and see if that triggers more of your own ideas. First off, for a trip of this magnitude and with this many people involved, you might want to consider taking two vehicles.That would offer you the chance to mix and match adults and kids throughout the trip as people get on each others' nerves (human dynamics being what they are) and also gives you all the option, on occasion, to split up and do different things.I'm just afraid that with only one vehicle, no matter how big, that might all be a bit too much enforced togetherness. It also allows you all to split off as you near home on your return and not have everyone come back through Dumas.

    I don't think that you necessarily have to choose between taking your time on one leg and hurrying on the other. It's possible, I think, to hit a happy medium on both. Especially with kids, it's best to look at each day's journey as a set of relatively short trips between memorable locations rather than as one long drive to be gotten through. Unfortunately, time is a bit tight for the ambitious itinerary you have laid out. You plan on covering around 4000 miles (with side trips). It looks like you have, at most, two weeks. Still, if you recognize that stops along the way are necessarily going to be hurried (but not fast with 5 children) I think it might be possible. Still, if you could scrape up a few extra days somewhere, this could go from a good trip to a great trip.

    Anyway, with those thoughts in the back of your head, here's a possible routing with some sights along the way. From Dumas, head west on I-40 and check out spots like Petroglyph National Monument outside Albuquerque, Petrified Forest National Park, Meteor Crater, and the Grand Canyon (a bit of a detour, but you can't bring the kids this close and not spend at least half a day on it) before arriving in Sacramento. After attending to family, head on to San Francisco and then down the coast. Going south on the PCH has the benefit that the ocean (and pull-offs) are on your side of the road. Then, on the way back from San Diego, your basic route is I-10 and stops along the way might include the Imperial Sand Dunes, Saguaro National Park, Kartchner Caverns, White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns and/or Roswell before heading home either together or separately to Dumas and Fort Worth.

    A couple of other planning points. If you take this trip in 'late spring' and intend to head into Yosemite through some of the mountain passes from the east side of the Sierras. make sure that they're open before heading up that way. And if you decide you'd like to see Kartchner, reservations are in order. Only a limited number of size-restricted tours go through each day.


  3. #3


    Thanks for the advice. I am continuing the planning process. A neighbor up the street who has had several trips to Clifornia suggested that we stop to visit the Grand Canyon along the way. I did not realize that we would be so close. I am obtaining more information on lodiging/what to see at Yosemite as well as the Grand Canyon.

    Thanks especially for the tips on the other sites to see. We will see if we can build those in. We have plans to stop in Santa Fe, NM, to see my childhood home. I want to stop in Sacramento, CA, to visit my grandmother and other family members. Other than those two stops I am flexible on where we go and how long we take to get there. I want this trip to be fun and memorable for all involved and that means I can't try to set the agenda for everyone else. I'd like for us to spend some time in San Francisco since it has many intersting things to see but I am willing to drive through for the sake of the other family members if need be.

    We are restricted to one vehicle so far as part of the trip's allure is the fact that we can share driving duties among four adults. I don't want the combination of closeness and fatigue to create arguments but there is a chance that that will happen. We will stay as positive as can be. We are going to take a large van, probably a 15-passenger model, so that we have plenty of room. Each kid will get his own personal seatback organizer/backpack so that he can have his stuff where he wants it and set up how he wants. We will have a laptop with mobile internet access to help get information along the way. In addition we will have a DVD player and a host of movies. I am planning on lookign at upgrading to a better cooler/heater so that we can use it for readily-accessible snacks.

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