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Thread: Westward bound

  1. Default Westward bound

    This is my first time posting. We are planning a trip for two weeks or more to go out west. We live in Indiana and want to see as much as possible. We are definitely wanting to see a few things. For sure we want to see St. Louis, Denver, Utah (not sure what), Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore. We are taking 9 and 14 year old boys. Should we make reservations for any parks or places? I heard about National Park Passes is that worth it and where can I get it? So please help fill in where else we should make sure we see. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A Western Holiday Adventure!

    Quote Originally Posted by dash9 View Post
    We are planning a trip for two weeks or more to go out west
    This is very exciting and so Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    For sure we want to see St. Louis, Denver, Utah (not sure what), Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore
    The ride to the top of the Arch in St. Louis is a must-do! Your kids will find it amazing. From there, I would follow I-70 to Colorado and eastern Utah (here is some info about the San Rafael Swell -- you boys will love Goblin State Park) and then diagonal north to South Dakota for some of the site. Here is a field report from this area. Here is some information about the park passes and I would think they would also enjoy enrolling in the Junior Ranger Program.


  3. Default The Arch

    Yes. The Arch is way cool. My 3 boys (9, 11, 12 at the time) loved it 2 years ago. Be prepared to ride up in cramped quarters but part of the fun. Check on ticket prices. Not bad but not free. Awesome free museum in the basement of the Arch while you wait, or for after your ride to the top. Take your camera! Definitely worth the stop. Not sure of your time but world-class St. Louis Zoo is FREE ($8.00 to park) and Grant's Farm not far from city is also a freebie. Did the 6-Flags thing. Kids had most fun on the waterpark side. $s. We stayed at Drury Inn just south of city. With free breakfast buffet and snacks in the lobby each evening... Saved us some $s.

  4. #4

    Default St. Louis Zoo

    but world-class St. Louis Zoo is FREE ($8.00 to park)

    We natives often park just uphill at the St. Louis Art Museum (which also has free admission except for special exhibits - and those are free on Fridays) for free and walk a bit downhill to the Zoo.
    Last edited by jcorb2d; 05-30-2007 at 06:24 AM. Reason: Added Title

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Variety is the spice

    My brother and I were about the same ages when we first went from the flat lands of Omaha to Rocky Mountain National Park and on to Yellowstone. The strongest impressions we have are the views from the top of high mountain passes ("I see it but I don't believe it" was my 10 year old brother's awed reaction), Old Faithful Geyser and the hot springs pools/mud pots, and the bears in Yellowstone. In those days (mid 60s) black bears were quite common because little was done to keep them out of the garbage, but that isn't true any more. You'll see far more bison than bears. The other biggie was the hike and overnight campout in the woods (neither of us were in boy scouts yet).

    As you are well aware, boys that age need variety and extremes. Here is a list of possibles:

    Collinsville, IL - Cahokia Indian Mounds (biggest in US) and museum

    St. Louis - Gateway Arch (lunch on riverboat) and zoo

    Denver - drive to top of Mt. Evans

    Vail, CO - ride gondola to top of ski runs

    Arches National Park, UT - hike to Delicate Arch and other formations

    Canyonlands National Park, UT - view of deep canyons

    Heber City, UT - steam train ride ("sherrif" and "robber" on train, scenery)

    Pocatello, ID - Old Fort Hall (reconstructed fort on Oregon Trail)

    Yellowstone - white water rafting, Yellowstone Canyon and Falls, searching for wildlife, geysers/hot springs, fishing bridge

    Cody - Buffalo Bill museum, Trail Town log cabins, rodeo (nightly)

    Devil's Tower, WY - seen in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"

    Mt. Rushmore, SD, sculpture, Keystone to Hill City steam train ride (mostly forest scenery, fun towns at both ends for kids), gold mine tours, Wind Cave or Crystal Cavern, Mammoth Fossil beds, Custer State Park (bison and pronghorn antelope), Black Hills Wild Horses (south of Hot Springs, SD)

    Badlands, SD - wild land formations, prairie dog town

    Mitchell, SD - Corn Palace (exterior decoration using corn)

    To do all of this would take longer than 2 weeks so you may have to do some trimming, or add some time.

    If you want your kids to remember this trip, get each of them a camera (same kind if possible) and encourage them to take pictures of anything they want to remember. You do the same. Also have them do a daily journal of what impressed and interested them the most.

    When you get home let each person pick out their favorite shots from the entire collection of photos and do their own photo album with captions and/or commentary (parents can be considered one person). And provide each person with a map showing the route. Trust me, they will remember the experiences far better if they document the trip for themselves.

    We did this with our kids when they were a little older than yours, but they each have their photo albums of our month-long journey to this day (13 years later) and can recall places and events with remarkable clarity. It truely was a life altering experience for both of them.

    Also, we rented a 24 foot RV for the trip which made the whole thing more of an adventure (stayed in a hotel 1 night in a 28 day trip). We posted the itinerary on the refrigerator so everyone knew what was coming up, and how long it would take to get there. We had none of the "are we there yet" questions, and best of all, no fighting.

    Needless to say, this is an expensive endeavor, but if you can get the boys involved, they will have an experience they won't soon forget.

    Have a great one,

    Craig Sheumaker

    co-author of America's Living History-The Early Years

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