ME>MN>back to ME
New to the forum, what a great resource!
My family (DH, DS13, DD9 and I) will be heading from ME to Minneapolis next month. The trip out is by necessity more a push through and get there trip. We're planning on 2.5 days. We're contemplating going through Canada (eg north of Lake Erie) just for a change of scenery. Mapquest lists it as just an hour and a half longer. Sound reasonable? (We do have passports.)
On the return trip, will just be DD and I. I'm excited that we don't have to rush back and it can be more of an easy going roadtrip. Goal is to take a week or so- driving 1/2 days and checking out some sights other 1/2. (My biggest concern is I think about 5 hours would be my daily limit.) Taking at I94 to I90 straight across.
Looking for any suggestions on parks, historic sites, or silly/fun places to stop. Considering going into Chicago as DD is a big American Girl fan. Not sure how feasible it is to park outside and take a train in?
Welcome to the RTA forum!
Cutting through Canada, going from Buffalo/Niagara Falls to Detroit (or Sarnia) is certainly an option. The distance should be pretty similar, but when you factor in border crossing times, it will probably take you just a little longer than going south via Cleveland. Another nice thing about this route is that its a good "one tank" trip, where if you fill up just before you cross the border, you should be able to make it all the way across to Michigan without having to get gas in Canada, where it will cost you about $1 more per gallon.
I will note that 2.5 days is very much on the upper end of what we'd recommend for a trip like this - especially considering that you are traveling with kids. Its possible, but if you can give yourself 3 full days, I think you'll all find the trip to be more enjoyable and less stressful.
Coming back, if you do want to visit Chicago, there is a park and ride Ramp right off I-90 at Cumberland Ave (near OHare) that's right on the Blue Line "El". Parking for the day is about $2, although it is designed as a commuter lots, so it starts to get quite expensive if you are staying beyond 12 hours or overnight. That's the option I typically use, if I'm not taking the Metra Commuter trains in. I will also note that there is an American Girl store at the Mall of America in MN.
Another option you might consider for something quite different, would be to go back on a more northern route, Across the UP, and into Northern Ontario, going all the way over to around Montreal before heading back into the US. That's a route I've enjoyed taking a couple times now, and there are lots of very nice parks and natural stops to be enjoyed on a more leasurely trip back.
We do know 2.5 days is a rush. Unfortunately, schedule constraints on either end are limiting us. Ideally, DH will be able to get out of work a little early and we can head out early afternoon. The kids do travel pretty well. I think will be nutty, but doable.
Chicago- that was just what I needed, thanks! We've been to the Mall of America store several times, but Chicago's much more extensive. :)
I'll check out that other Canadian route for the way back. My concern though is crossing the border without my husband/eg daughter's other parent? I know we got a lot of grief taking the ferry to Nova Scotia with my son, and my husband was just in the car behind us.
A notarized permission letter should be all you need.