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  1. #1

    Default CA-MN Road Trip with a five year old

    In just under a month, my best friend and I will be driving from Northern CA to Minneapolis, MN with our daughters. Mine is five and hers is 16. We have planned a couple of days each in Denver, Deadwood, SD and Minneapolis before heading back through ND, MT, ID & OR. We have sights that we absolutely want to see and others that we will only see if we have time. Did I mention we are doing this in two weeks? lol

    This will be a first real road trip for all of us and I'm a little curious about other people who have done this with their kids. How do you keep the little ones entertained? Mine is a good traveller but I think that with 6-8 hours a day (or longer, 14 hrs the first to make it to Utah!) she may get a little cranky. Any suggestions?

  2. Default

    That sounds like a lot of fun!
    I'm not a parent, but I remember going on long trips with my parents and my brother when I was younger. My mom would buy little things like Mad Libs to keep us kids occupied, and those were fun to an extent, but I think the one thing that was the biggest hit was the portable DVD player. It made the hours pass by like that, and kept us from getting restless. Frequent stops are good as well. Just little pit stops every once in a while to walk around for a few seconds. It didn't take more than 2 minutes and it gave us all a chance to strech our legs, breath some fresh air, and get out of the close quarters of a car, even just for a few seconds.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by chani29f View Post
    How do you keep the little ones entertained? Mine is a good traveller but I think that with 6-8 hours a day (or longer, 14 hrs the first to make it to Utah!) she may get a little cranky. Any suggestions?
    Fourteen hours is too long of a travel day, especially if you're concerned about the state any of your fellow travelers will be in after that much of a stretch.

    I did some rough estimates of the route:

    Redding - Denver 1246 miles 2 days en route, 2 days there
    Denver - Deadwood 392 miles 1 day en route 2 days there
    Deadwood - Minneapolis 647 miles 1 day en route 2 days there

    already you are at 10 days, and that's giving you some slack because we generally recommend not much more than 500-550 miles a day; you will average around 57mph once rest stops are factored into the mix.

    I think if you cut back on the distance expectations - ie, take Minneapolis out of the mix - you will be able to comfortably enjoy the other sites you have listed, without feeling rushed or pressed for time. Everyone involved will appreciate that.

  4. #4

    Default

    Well, the big plan on our trip is to see the Mall of America so we really want to make it to MN. Thankfully, I'm not as far North as Redding & we are stopping in Utah for the night. We plan on leaving at 2:AM so the passangers can get some sleep early in the morning. I know the 500mi day rule is good but we really want to do this. We've been planning this for a year now. All the people involved (including my daughter) understand that we are going to be in the car for a very very very long time and everyone is fine with this. We have reservations set with motels along our route & we have checked with all of them in regards to check in times & they all say midnight the day of our reservation is the cutoff so we don't have to hurry to get where we are going. Plus, two of us will take turns driving so I think we'll be ok. :-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Here is a good thread for that

    Quote Originally Posted by chani29f View Post
    In just under a month, my best friend and I will be driving from Northern CA to Minneapolis, MN with our daughters.
    Moderator Judy and I just posted some ideas about traveling with kids here.

    Mark

  6. #6

    Default Update on itinerary-NorCal to MN & Back

    Earlier I posted my plans for driving Ukiah, CA to Minneapolis & back in 15 days. A few people expressed concern in our making such a big day the first day (Ukiah, CA to just south of SLC, UT). My roadtrip partners & I discussed it & we have revised our trip as follows.

    June 15th-Leave Ukiah 4:00PM to arrive 8-9pm in Reno, NV. Stay overnight.
    June 16th-Leave Reno, drive to Provo, UT. Stay overnight.
    June 17th-June 20th-Leave Provo, drive to Denver, CO. Stay 2 days 3 nights.
    June 20th-June 23rd-Leave Denver, drive to Deadwood, SD. Stay 2 days 3 nights.
    June 23rd-June 26th-Leave Deadwood, drive to Bloomington, MN. Stay 2 days 3 nights
    June 26th-Leave Bloomington, drive to Bismarck, ND. Stay 1 night
    June 27th-Leave Bismarck, drive to Bozeman, MT. Stay 1 night.
    June 28th-Leave Bozeman, drive to Boise, ID. Stay 1 night.
    June 29th-Leave Boise, drive to Salem, OR. Stay 1 night.
    June 30th-Leave Salem & drive home.

    I think that this is far more do-able by adding that extra stop between Ukiah & Utah. What do you all think? Thanks.

    Michele

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Yeah, better

    But I still think it's gonna be a bit much for either of the kids. On the way there, you do have more stop-and-explore days. That's good. But on the way back you're on a speed run and these can be hard enough on adults, moreso for kids.

    Is there anyway you can add one more day? If you could add that to the drive home, and either drive shorter hours each day to allow more time to play along the way, or add a 2-night stop somewhere, I think it would be better.

    At the very least, plan numerous stretch-and-play stops for the 5 year old. Hopefully this will be able to happen at locations that the 16 year old will enjoy, too.

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