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  1. Default From Ft. Lewis Enroute to Colorado

    My name is mike and my tour of duty in Iraq is coming to an end. I am planning on taking a roadtrip in july upon my return with my wife and 18 month old son. My trip begins in Ft. Lewis WA, and my destination is a small town called Alma in Colorado. I am currently deciding which route to take and was considering going east from WA across the rockies through the idaho panhandle into Montana and then south from there. I want my trip to be scenic but at the same time I dont want to be too far away from civilization in case of an emergency. My son is still a little young to enjoy a scenic road trip or camping for that matter so I need to know the best routes to take that are both scenic and in close proximity to major cities, hotels, restaurants, and random places to stop for a moment to pacify the antics of a reckless toddler. Any help, advice or points of interest would be greatly appreciated.

    Spc. Farrington
    4-2 Infantry Division
    Baquba, Iraq

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default How long a trip?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike19mbsc View Post
    My name is mike and my tour of duty in Iraq is coming to an end.
    Thank you for your service and godspeed for a safe trip home.
    My trip begins in Ft. Lewis WA, and my destination is a small town called Alma in Colorado.
    As you probably know it is about 1400 miles by the most direct route. If you drove a leisurely eight hours per day, it would take about three days. There are hundreds of scenic routes between those two points -- how long do want to take?
    My son is still a little young to enjoy a scenic road trip or camping for that matter so I need to know the best routes to take that are both scenic and in close proximity to major cities, hotels, restaurants, and random places to stop for a moment to pacify the antics of a reckless toddler
    Just about any of those routes will meet those criteria. But, let us know how long you want be on the road and we will offer some ideas.

    Mark

  3. Default

    I plan on spending 4-5 days on the road and crashing out in hotels in major cities along the way. There will be frequent stops as my son is not fond of marathon rides restrained in his car seat.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A couple of ideas

    18 months is a little young for some of these tips -- but you still might find some of these ideas helpful to you.

    US-2 is a great road and some of the waterfalls might still be flowing in July -- Leavenworth has lots of flower boxes and would provide a fun place to take a walk. The thing to remember about kids, is that an ordinary playground a city park has more to recommend it than the most beautiful scenic byway. Just making time to stop and wander around makes any road trip special when you are under two.

    Sandpoint, Idaho is one of my all-time favorite places (in the summer) nice places to wander and the views of the lake are gorgeous.

    US-93 is a wonderful road as it bisects Idaho -- this area is usually under a severe fire watch in July and August and the forests are frequently burning this this of year -- but if the weather is clear and fire-free -- Salmon is a very nice town.

    US-6 through Price has some awesome views and then you are on I-70 through Colorado. I think you are in for a very special treat. And again, welcome home!

    Mark

  5. #5

    Default Montana section

    Spc Farrington;

    First, thank you for your service. I'm sure you're more than ready to compete this tour and see your family.

    I can heartily concur with Mark about heading down US 93 south from Missoula, MT. I have my own slant on where to go from there.

    At the MT-ID state line, where US 93 passes into ID southbound, you can turn east on MT 43. There you'll enter the most spectacular of Western US valleys--The Big Hole. The valley floor is 6,000-6,500' of elevation and the snowcapped Bitterroots are on one side with the forested/snowcapped Pioneer Range on the other. The valley is some 25 miles wide and is covered in haystacks by early August, at which time the single cutting of hay they are able to produce is being stacked 25-30' high in the unique "Beaverslide" method. It's called the Land of 10,000 haystacks.

    Smack dab in the middle of the Big Hole is Jackson, MT, just down MT 278 from Wisdom, which you will have entered via MT 43. At Jackson, only a wide spot in the road, is the Jackson Hot Springs Resort. This is a very nice place with motel rooms and cabins. The hot springs water is piped into a standard swimming pool. The restaurant enjoys a good reputation. You can check them out on the Web. I'm planning a stay there in September.

    Farther down MT 278 is a short side road to Bannack, a genuine ghost town which was Montana's first capital (when it was still Montana Territory). It's a state park now and while it's restored, it's very much like it was in the 1860s.

    Just a bit farther down MT 278 is Dillon, a college town and county seat where MT 278 intersects I-15. A full slate of regular motels and eateries is there at Dillon. From there, you could head south on I-15 to Provo, UT, thence east on US 6, through Price, down to I-70 just outside of Green River, UT, as Mark suggested.

    From Missoula all the way back to I-70 in UT, there are innumerable places to pull over alongside a river and just get out and stretch the little one's legs and throw rocks into the water. At 18 months, that's probably one of his favorite activities.

    Stay safe and an advanced "Welcome Home" from the father of another active duty servicemember (my son is a Navy Seabee).

    Foy

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