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  1. Default Coast to coast in summer 2009

    Growing up, I took a lot of great road trips with my family, but it's to my lasting regret that I've never driven completely across the U.S. from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I'll be taking a 30 day sabbatical in summer '09, and plan to use the time to remedy that. I live in Brooklyn, NY and our trip will start from there. I'm married and have two small children (they'll be 6 and 3 by the time of the trip). We're considering renting a car and just driving one way, then flying home.

    Another goal of the trip is to cover as many different states as possible. I want my kids to visit all 50 states by the time they're 18, and we're going to try to rack up a lot of them on this trip!

    In a perfect world our trip could include the following:

    Niagara Falls
    Motown museum in Detroit
    Madison, WI (always wanted to go there)
    Minnesota
    Iowa
    Mt. Rushmore
    Yellowstone
    Idaho
    Salt Lake City
    Bryce Canyon
    Grand Canyon
    Las Vegas
    Joshua Tree, CA
    Los Angeles

    I want to devote 23-25 days to this trip, and for the sake of the kids, I'd prefer not to drive more than 6 hours a day (with a few exceptions).

    Is the above itinerary realistic? If not, and I can only do the "northern route" (The Oregon Trail) or the "southern route" (Route 66), anyone out there have a recommendation for a first-time cross country road tripper? And finally, am I insane to try to do this with two small kids?

    Thank you!

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

    Default Possible, but that shouldn't be the primary consideration

    Quote Originally Posted by saturnbar View Post
    I'll be taking a 30 day sabbatical in summer '09, and plan to use the time to remedy that.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! If you are only going to drive six hours a day and you want to cover as much territory as you indicated above, and this is a one-way trip, you need to plan for 12 days of driving. So, a 25-day trip, will give you sufficient flexibility to see much of the country. The thing is, the six year and three year old travelers are likely to find the neighborhood parks and motel swimming pools as enchanting as just about any of the national parks or roadside attraction that appeal to you. Perhaps an approach where you travel less distance and see more country would beneficial.

    No matter what I would make sure that your kids enroll in the NPS Junior Ranger program and here are some other tips for planning extended family road trips.

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default

    hey saturn

    I must say that i would much rather take the southern route and see the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. If you do choose that route, i would recommend seeing zion canyon, Monument Valley and Death Valley. the only problem with this route is that it takes a while for it to get interesting coming from the east coast. You have about 100 miles of Appalachian Mountains (more depending on the route) then 1200 miles of wheat fields and flatness. Not until Albuquerque does it get scenic. This could pose a problem for the little ones. It does sound like you have a few things you want to see in the northing route. I'm still in favor of the southern route though. Good luck, and have fun!

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by saturnbar View Post
    I'm married and have two small children (they'll be 6 and 3 by the time of the trip).
    The route and the timing are realistic, BUT 6 and 3 are not ideal ages for a trip of this length; honestly, with kids this age, I'd plan a shorter trip for now and save the coast-to-coast for a little later. How have your kids fared on previous driving trips? Mine have been wonderful travelers from an early age, but I fear this trip would've been daunting to them. A couple tips we used when our girls were younger:

    They can do one massive-driving day, but don't try to do two in a row. This makes places like Kansas difficult. Expect to stop much more frequently than you would with adults-only.

    When you stop at McDonald's, one parent orders food for parents only while the other takes the kids straight to the playground. When the parents are done eating, THEN order kid-food and let them take it in the car. This maximizes kid-running-play-time, which is very, very necessary.

    Do not allow kids to have caffeine on road trips.

    Do not allow kids to sleep too much in the car; if you do, you will not sleep at night.

    Get books on tape and movies from the library. Let them be in charge of packing their own backpacks.

    When you arrive at your evening's destination, have a fast-kid bag ready. That is, one bag with their PJs, etc. so they can go straight from the car to the hotel room and be comfortable. Then you and your wife can -- at your leisure -- take the other suitcases from the car and make yourselves comfortable.

    Bring along a small pop-up tent for your hotel rooms. This is a great way for kids to have a little privacy, and they think it's great fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnbar View Post
    We're considering renting a car and just driving one way, then flying home.
    Have you checked the cost of one-way rentals? It's signficantly higher, though you may decide it's worth the price.

  5. #5
    jago Guest

    Default your kids are so young..

    ..and wont remember much of the trip.
    if you are trying to create memories for them
    i think you'd get max effect
    maybe 5 years down the road.
    but of course who can predict what tomorrow brings?
    good luck!
    john.

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