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  1. #1
    dmcjohn Guest


    Hello from Ireland!

    My wife, daughter and I are planning a roadtrip holiday in America this year, and need advice on what would be worth visiting towards the latter end of our trip! Our daughter is 4 years old, and it will be her first trip to the USA, so we want to show her as many amazing sites as possible. We think she is too young to goto places such as Disney, Universal, etc, so instead we plan to visit national parks in the northwest USA to show her what an amazing place it is.

    Here is what we've planned so far - fly from Ireland to San Francisco, arriving on July 27th. Spend 2 nights in SF, then drive to Yosemite. Spend 2 nights in Yosemite, then onto Las Vegas, via Death Valley. 2 nights in Las Vegas, then drive to the Grand Canyon for a full day. Continue that evening to Kayente, so that we are close to Monument Valley for the following morning. Enjoy the sights of Monument valley, and drive to Rexburg, Idaho that night (longest drive of the trip, about 650 miles). Continue the next day to Yellowstone, and spend 2 days/nights there. From Yellowstone, drive to Glacier National Park in Montana, and spend 2 days/nights there.

    From Glacier National Park, we have 9 days to make it back to San Francisco for our flight home, but cannot decide on the best route back - go to Seattle and drive the entire length of the Route 1/101 south, or stay inland to visit other sites, and cut across to the coast for the last few hundred miles!

    Any suggestions on a route between Glacier and SF with interesting things to see and do along the way would be much appreciated!

    I know some of the days driving described above are long, but the routes are so scenic that we will still be having a great time on those days with a long drive planned!

    Forgot to mention, we have about 3 and a half weeks in total for this trip. We planned this one so that every 3 days we have 1 day of driving, so that we have time to rest and have fun :)

    Also, I have done a few roadtrips before in the USA, so I do appreciate the scale of the trip outline that we have planned! I just haven't explored Oregon/Washington States yet, which is why we are having difficulty planning this part of the trip!

    Thanks again,
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-21-2007 at 05:29 PM. Reason: continuation of previous post

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Please Rethink This

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Céad Míle Fáilte!

    There are a couple of very serious problems with your current plan. You say you've done major RoadTrips in the US before and appreciate the scale involved, but I don't really see evidence that you're taking the fact that you will have a 4-year-old with you into account. The two biggest problems are your day from Las Vegas to Kayenta, and the next day on to Rexburg. In these two days you plan on covering 1100 miles while 'seeing' some of the most spectacular geology in the world. Sorry, but there's no way you can show your daughter what an amazing place America is on that kind of schedule. Las Vegas to Kayenta is around 450 miles and that leaves almost literally no time to actually see the Grand Canyon. This would be nothing more than a drive by (picture) shooting. Then the next day, you plan to cover 650 miles to Rexburg. That is way too much for a 4 year old, especially as much of it is on non-motorways. You weren't planning on driving by Arches National Park without stopping and showing your daughter that, were you?

    Look, don't get me wrong. I really think it's great that you want your wife and daughter to appreciate what the American West is like, and much of the rest of your trip is at a more relaxed pace. But unless you address those two days, they're just going to be seeing it half asleep through the windshield. Show them less - they'll appreciate it more.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Bay Area, CA

    Default echo the thought

    I completely agree with AZBuck. This rush trip might definitely be possible with just you & your wife. You have not given time to relax or recover if one of you ever falls sick.
    Of course, summers have long days. You might indeed see a lot.
    Look at an itinerary with a 'max' of 200-250 miles a day. Spread your trip evenly & see what you can in your time frame.
    Do either the NW or SW & include places & activities nearby. Your vacation will be awesome.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    dmcjohn Guest


    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the feedback! The trip is not as crazy or ill-thought out as you may think, let me explain...

    Regarding the Grand Canyon - we plan to leave Las Vegas early that morning, to get to the grand canyon around 11am. Its about a 4 hour drive, with a stop to look over the edge of the Hoover Dam. We'd spend from 11am to about 5pm at the Grand Canyon, then continue to Kayente, about a 3 hour drive, so we'd be checked into the motel around 8 or 9pm, in time for a good sleep. When you break the day down like this, its not as bad as it sounds initially! She is a really great traveller for a kid, and 4 hours in a car is absolutely no problem for her.

    Both my wife and I have seen the Grand Canyon a few times before. I think that unless you plan to actually trek down into the canyon, a few hours is sufficient to walk around part of the rim and take in the sights - I'm sure our daughter will enjoy this. When she is older, we will go there for a few days and do it properly, including hiking down onto the canyon floor, etc.

    I'd agree that the next day is a long hike, and we may end up taking a night off the other end of the trip to break up the journey to Yellowstone, and stay somewhere around Salt Lake City perhaps. We may end up going to Arches after all if we redesign this leg of the trip.

    After that long trip, we have 2 full days to relax and recover in Yellowstone!

    Obviously, if anyone gets sick on the trip, we will rest, and shorten the remainder of the trip at that point, afterall its all about having fun, not torture!

    By the time we go home, we should have covered the essence of NorthWest USA - cities (San Francisco, Las Vegas), natural beauty (Yosemite), deserts(death valley, Mojave), amazing geological sights (grand canyon, monument valley, yellowstone), man made sights (Hoover Dam), rocky mountains & lakes (Glacier National Park), wildlife in natural environment (yellowstone), pacific ocean coastal drive, sun soaked beaches, and whatever else we can see in Northern Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Plus of course, the experience of doing an American roadtrip, where its more about the journey than the destination - isn't this so?! I've driven through about 42 states in America at this stage, and hope that when our daughter is older she will have the same desire to keep exploring as we have!

    So, any suggestions on a route between Glacier and San Francisco, with about 8 or 9 days to complete? Help on this would be much appreciated!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Breaking it down

    When you break the day down like this, its not as bad as it sounds initially!
    You're right, the trip doesn't sound so bad when you break it down like that, but the problem is your breakdown doesn't match reality.

    Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon isn't a 4 hour drive, its at least 5 hours, and that's assuming you don't have any traffic backups at the Hoover Dam.

    GC to Keyente also isn't going to be just a 3 hour trip, I'd say you'd be making pretty good time if you can cover that distance in 4 hours when you consider that you'll be driving on rural 2 lane highways.

    So you've got at least 2 extra hours to tack onto an already full day. You can probably pull that off, but planning to drive another 600+ miles the very next day would really be stressful for both you and your little traveler.

  6. #6
    dmcjohn Guest


    Hi Michael,

    One of the reasons for leaving Las Vegas early that (weekday) morning is to minimise traffic on the Hoover Dam. If it takes us 4 and a half hours, or 5 to reach the grand canyon, so be it, but I've done it before in just over 4.

    Grand Canyon to Kayente is 155 miles or so. Again, the estimate of 3 hours is not far off, but who knows, with stops along the way etc, it may take longer.

    As I've said, I'm aware of the distance planned for the following day, and we may yet end up breaking it up. As per my original post, and my reason for actually joining this forum, it is with the latter part of the trip that I was seeking advice from others who have travelled that part of the country, so if we could move on to a discussion on that part of the country, that would be great!

    Have you travelled around Montana/Idaho/Washington/Oregon Michael?


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Don't rely on online planning tools

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcjohn View Post
    Regarding the Grand Canyon - we plan to leave Las Vegas early that morning, to get to the grand canyon around 11am. Its about a 4 hour drive, with a stop to look over the edge of the Hoover Dam.
    Like Michael said, this is going to be impossible. While it is only 272 miles, I don't think you can go this route and get there faster than 5.5 hours...


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Thousands of miles thus far

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcjohn View Post
    Have you travelled around Montana/Idaho/Washington/Oregon
    A few thousand miles for me thus far.


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