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  1. Default Two Month Road Trip

    Iíve been reading this board for a few weeks and really enjoy everyoneís posts.

    Here is the summary of my 2008 Summer Road Trip:

    June-September (9 weeks)

    NYC, PA, DC, VA, Atlanta, TN, OK, NM, Grand Canyon, maybe Vegas, San Diego, LA, SF, Seattle, Vancouver, Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone, ND, Minnesota, Chicago, Columbus, Buffalo, PA, NYC (looping around the US)

    It will be me and my almost 9 year old son in our 2007 Honda CR-V. Weíll be staying with family and friends about half the time. My son has autism and food allergies- so some things are limited- like where to visit and what to eat. Iíll be the only driver, but I organized the trip so I usually have a day of rest in between long journeys. Iíve got a GPS, Ipod, DVD player, Blackberry and large Igloo cooler.

    Here are some questions I have for the group:

    Between Squamish, BC and Naples, ID- where would you cross the border?
    Are there any yearly passes for Childrenís Museums?
    Iím thinking of staying in Flagstaff and driving up to the North Rim of the Canyon. Does this make sense?
    From San Fran to Seattle- would you take 101 (by the ocean) part of the way or the interstate the whole way?
    Iíve read a lot of the articles you have on the site, but are there any specific laws I should be concerned about- like no right on red?
    Any gas or credit card I could get that would save me money?
    What paperwork should I have with me other than license, passport, insurance card, registration, military ID and letter from my sonís father saying itís ok to travel out the country?
    We have roadside with our car insurance USAA. Do I need to let them know ahead of time that weíre going to Canada?
    What are the best places in Northern NM to see? Iíve never been to that area and there seems to be so much.
    Anyone have some really good insider tips on traveling in your car? I know I canít drag all of our stuff in and out of hotels. Should I pack 1 small bag with all that is needed for 1 day (shampoo, clothes, computer, etc.) and leave the rest in the car? Iím thinking of getting some type of carrier for the top of the car. Are they secure?
    Do most gas stations in the west have ice? I do have to carry around some food for my son.


    I took a greyhound 20 years ago to and from NYC - San Fran and then NYC - Denver. I also drove from NYC to Chicago and NYC to Myrtle Beach by myself. A few years ago I did NYC to Minnesota with my husband and son. Iíve been on the road before- but not for this length of time. I think the longest Iím going is a week without seeing someone I know. My son, despite his disability is really good in the car. I guess my biggest worry is safety and fatigue. Thanks everyone----

    "Kirby"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default good start

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've raised some good questions, but I think overall you've got a good foundation for a great trip.

    Are there any yearly passes for Childrenís Museums?
    Not that I'm aware of. I just don't know of any association or other way that various museums are linked together. However, they usually are very reasonably priced, and many small to medium sized cities have excellent kids museums.

    Iím thinking of staying in Flagstaff and driving up to the North Rim of the Canyon. Does this make sense?
    Not really. The North Rim is a good 5 hour drive from Flagstaff. The South Rim can easily be done as a trip from Flagstaff or Williams.
    From San Fran to Seattle- would you take 101 (by the ocean) part of the way or the interstate the whole way?
    If you've got a few days to work with, I'd take the coastal route. If you need to make the trip fast, I-5 is your best bet.
    Iíve read a lot of the articles you have on the site, but are there any specific laws I should be concerned about- like no right on red?
    Not really. This thread is aimed at foreign visitors, but it covers some of the basics of this kind of question.
    Any gas or credit card I could get that would save me money?
    If you find a card that gives you a rebate on all gas purchases or some other reward and you can trust yourself to pay off the card every month, you might save a little. Some gas stations also have free rewards cards where you can earn free drinks and the like, but with any station specific program you have to make sure you aren't paying more money to "save" through the rewards program.
    Do most gas stations in the west have ice? I do have to carry around some food for my son.
    Almost every gas station and grocery store in the US and Canada will sell you ice.
    We have roadside with our car insurance USAA. Do I need to let them know ahead of time that weíre going to Canada?
    US insurance policies are valid in Canada, although you might want to check with your agent to double check the roadside element of your coverage just to be 100% sure you're covered with that aspect.

  3. Default OK to the Grand Canyon

    Hello everyone,

    Part of my 2 month cross country trip is traveling from Norman OK to Taos, NM to the Grand Canyon and then to San Diego.

    I don't know this part of the country very well and everything is starting to blend together for me.

    It will be in July- Leaving Norman OK on a Monday, Taos for 2 nights, then ??? Grand Canyon hotels over the weekend are a killer (price wise). Thinking maybe
    Mon & Tues in Taos, NM
    Wed in Holbrook, Arizona
    Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun ???
    then staying at GC - Monday and Tuesday, Wed. leave for San Diego.

    We can't do camping because my son has special needs. He also will probably be bored if we are looking at rocks and mountains all day long. He won't be able to do any hiking or biking. We are also on a tight budget.

    I really have to figure this out so I can make my reservations for this area in time.

    Thanks for any feedback in advance-

    Kirby
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-11-2008 at 08:42 PM. Reason: fix title after the merge of the threads

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

    Default What are the $$ parameters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby View Post
    We are also on a tight budget.
    Given all you have shared with us, it might be helpful to know what the budget constraints are at this point.

    Mark

  5. Default $$

    I would like to spend less than $100 per night

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Actually, I meant the whole budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby View Post
    I would like to spend less than $100 per night
    Probably doable -- what is the rest of the budget?

    Mark

  7. Default budget

    I don't really have a "whole budget" - just trying to stick to some rules to keep costs down. If we are doing about 70 nights- half of those with family and friends- then 35 nights at hotels/hostels will cost less than $3500. Most places I've found are $50-$60 per night. It doesn't have to be fancy, just safe, clean, and internet access.

  8. Default another question

    what is the best road to take between flagstaff and san diego?

  9. Default

    I have three children and road-trip with them every Summer...just me and the kids and it's wonderful! You're smart giving yourself down time.

    When I'm planning a trip (we're camping Florida to Wyoming this Summer), I find all the little towns along the way that might have something interesting to do or see, I print out the information from the web and I put it all in a big binder organized by state. When I get to Oklahoma, for example, I just have to open to the Oklahoma tab to find where the Big Blue Whale is in Tulsa or what the hours of the Zoo and Aquarium are. I can't always bank on being able to find an internet connection!

    This is a little extra work, but it works for us. I also include the nearest hospitals and hotels along the route. I don't have any special needs kids, but I do have one that is a dare-devil and the hospital thing has come in very handy!
    I’ve got a GPS, Ipod, DVD player, Blackberry and large Igloo cooler.
    You didn't specify where your son falls on the autism spectrum, but he may enjoy guidebooks to read along the way. We sometimes get National Geographic DVD's about the places we're going to watch in the car along the way.
    Are there any yearly passes for Children’s Museums?
    You can often find museums along the way that have free admission days. I have found that Children's Museums are often expensive! I like to find smaller, locally run museums that have children's activities (you may have to call them). In the Summer months, you can find all kinds of free children's programs at art museums, natural history museums and State Parks. No passes required!

    I also have a pass to my local Zoo that allows me to visit any other Zoo or Aquarium who is a memeber of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums at a discounted rate (sometimes for free!)

    National Parks and State Parks all over the country have programs and activities for children. Many of them have museums, playgrounds and picnic areas, walking programs and fun indoor stuff to do, not just looking at rocks! You can get a pass from the Federal government called the America the Beatiful pass. You may be able to get the pass for free if your son is considered disabled. The pass costs $80 and covers your entrance fees at sites managed by the National Park Service, the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife sites, just about any federally run recreation area in the US. If you're just planning to go to the Grand Canyon, this might not be worth it, but if you plan other stops along the way, it can be a great money-saver.
    I’m thinking of staying in Flagstaff and driving up to the North Rim of the Canyon. Does this make sense?
    The South Rim is much, much closer. From Flagstaff, it will take you about an hour and a half to get to the South Rim. But if you're looking for a day trip, you can make the drive to the North Rim in just under 5 hours. You can also get to the West Rim where the skywalk is located, in much less time than it will take you to go up to the North Rim.
    Any gas or credit card I could get that would save me money?
    I use my Discover card, at least I get a little money back for all the gas!
    What paperwork should I have with me other than license, passport, insurance card, registration, military ID and letter from my son’s father saying it’s ok to travel out the country?
    Be very careful with this! I took my children to Mexico and was required to have a signed order from a judge stating that I had the right to take my children across the border. Your son also requires a passport, a birth certificate won't work anymore. Since he has medical problems, you will probably want a copy of his medical and immunization records.
    We have roadside with our car insurance USAA. Do I need to let them know ahead of time that we’re going to Canada?
    Won't hurt!
    What are the best places in Northern NM to see? I’ve never been to that area and there seems to be so much.
    Northern New Mexico is a big area! It really depends on where you're going. There are great petroglyphs to see, Santa Fe is kind of artsy, there are pueblos to see (Taos pueblo has been inhabited for more than 1000 years!), there are mountains, there is desert. I'd have to know a little more where you're planning to be.
    Anyone have some really good insider tips on traveling in your car? I know I can’t drag all of our stuff in and out of hotels. Should I pack 1 small bag with all that is needed for 1 day (shampoo, clothes, computer, etc.) and leave the rest in the car? I’m thinking of getting some type of carrier for the top of the car. Are they secure?
    Yes, yes and yes! I am an insane packer! When we travel, it's much easier for everyone to have their own bag. I pack each of the children's outfits for the day (pants, shirts, underwear and socks) in it's own ziplock bag. Pj's too. Reach in the bag, grab an outfit. No digging around for socks! Put your dirty's back in the bag and you don't have to worry about the rest of your clothes smelling like dirty socks.

    I bring a big plastic container that I keep the "just in case" stuff in. Jackets, first aid kit, that kind of junk that is nice to have but you don't need ready access to, you can also include some change for doing laundry and some laundry soap and your bucket will double as a laundry hamper. Put it in your car topper and call it done. Yes, the car toppers are great and they are secure, but they will affect your gas mileage.
    Do most gas stations in the west have ice? I do have to carry around some food for my son
    I can't say enough good things about plastic containers! If you are going to be staying with your family and friends, bring along a shoebox size plastic container with a lid. Fill it about 2/3 full of water and throw it in the freezer. The block of ice will stay frozen for DAYS and the plastic tub will keep all the water contained. Milk jugs work well too and you can just refreeze them when you get to your next destination. You shouldn't have a problem finding ice, but if you get desperate for ice (we live with hurricanes around here so we're pros at finding ice!) go to a fast-food restaurant. If you beg and plead and explain your situation, you will get ice.
    My son, despite his disability is really good in the car. I guess my biggest worry is safety and fatigue. Thanks everyone---
    It is NOT EASY to travel by yourself with children. It is alot of fun! Be flexible and you will have a much better time. Be prepared for the travelling to wear thin on both of you, and you have to remember why your doing it. If you get tired, stop. If you have to change your plans, change them! If something is boring and dumb, leave! Enjoy!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-12-2008 at 11:12 AM. Reason: navigation

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Thank You

    Nachomama, Excellent post! and Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It is not often that first time posters here offer advice rather than ask questions and yours is one of the best I've ever seen. I will be putting it on my short list of those that I cite often.

    Again, Thank you.

    AZBuck

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