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  1. Default 3 week western RT from Michigan route 66, N through CA?, NE on return Need help

    I am new to RTA. I'm a single dad of two tweens, working 50+ hrs, and am time restrained for research, so I am asking for help with the routing and planning, from those of you with a little more experience. I have heard stories from a former co-worker of his travels, where you could take the southern route (route 66 as I remember), through CA. and a northern route back, and see pretty much everything. However, the more I read, the more I see that I need help with "reasonable" planning.
    I am mainly interested in the natural sights, and points of interest, but don't have any real interest sight seeing in any cities. I had a "to see" list, but it's rather long, and would like your opinions on "must see" first, and what is reasonable to squeeze in.
    The top of the list is the Grand Canyon, (2-3 days?) white water rafting (fairly mild), Red Wood Forest, Yellow Stone. and Yosemite. any other sights, points of intrests (old western town), or stays, along the way would be great. Also a special place of intrest for a 12 yr. old girl, and a destination for the 4th of July too.
    We are life long campers, but have not taken an extended road trip of more than a weeks travel. We are packing a scamper camper set up for very quick easy overnighters along the way. We will be departing on June 26 for three weeks, with a goal of seeing as much as we can see of the west!
    Any suggestions, or thread leads for this trip would be helpfull and greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Already Full Up

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Since just getting to the places you've listed is going to take 11 days of driving, and the time to see the Grand Canyon, do some rafting, and spend even a few hours in the other sites you've listed add another 6 days, you've only got a couple of days left in your 3 weeks to spend on "other sights, points of interest (old western town), or stays, along the way would be great (and) a special place of interest for a 12 yr. old girl, and a destination for the 4th of July too." In other words, your trip is doable, but I don't think your children will really enjoy it as much as you think. You are (believe it or not) going to wear them out and they are not going to get the full benefits of your efforts. So my first recommendation would be to cut back a bit. I'd probably lose everything west of the Grand Canyon/Yellowstone, and spend more time in a few areas rather than having to be in an almost constant state of motion to try to get 'everywhere'.

    OK - some specifics... First off, US-66 doesn't exist any more and hasn't for nearly 25 years. It has been completely replaced by Interstates 55/44/40 from Chicago through St. Louis and across the Southwest. There are a few segments of the old road now signed locally as "Historic Route 66" but they are discontinuous little bits and not really worth following unless you are a real nostalgia buff, and I doubt your children have any affinity for a road that ceased to be even before they were born.

    Secondly, as a matter of general value, plan on buying an America the Beautiful Pass at the first National Park or Monument you come to that charges an entrance fee. This Pass is good for a year and grants free entry to all National parks and Monuments for the holder of the card and everyone (within reason) in his/her car. It costs $80 but will easily pay for itself on the kind of trip you are planning. By the same token, the best value in the national parks system (in the opinion of this grandfather) is the Junior Ranger Program. This a program of free age appropriate activities for children specific to each park. Your kids will get a lot out of it both educationally (although you don't have to mention that) and in the way of great free souvenirs.

    Another way to get the most out of your Pass is to use it at some of the many 'lesser known' parks and monuments. People tend to concentrate on the big parks, and those tend to get crowded as a result. Certainly see the Grand Canyon, but in the same area spend some of your 2-3 days visiting other venues in the area including Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments. That's what I mean by exploring an area rather than just running from place to place. Another great area is western South Dakota, home to Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Devils Monument, Wind and Jewel Caves, the Crazy Horse Memorial and the 'old west' town of Deadwood (just don't go during biker days).

    Finally, in place of 'wasting' at least 3 days to add Yosemite and the Redwoods to this already over stimulating trip, consider heading north from the Grand Canyon instead and visiting Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Mesa Verde and Arches National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and Grand Teton National Park on the way to Yellowstone instead. Sound like a fair trade?


  3. Default

    Thankyou so much! This is exactly the advice I'm looking for!! A realistic approach to this trip, for the time we have. Although the Redwoods are something I'd like to see, it may need to wait for another trip.
    Great point about the America the Beautiful pass. I was already planning an this, but didn't know about the junior ranger program. GREAT information to pass on!!
    Finally, the detour you suggested is also helpfull! I was not sure where to draw the line west, and theres quite a span between Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. I was trying to find a route between that would be interesting, and less distance to travel is a real plus.

    So, taking this route will give us more time to enjoy it. As i am a newbee to this site, so is there a thread, map, or route to go to, that already has a trip simular to this, to make this research less time consumming? (50+ hrs and a single parent doesn't leave a lot of time for extensive research!)
    Also, any other recommendations for sights to the Grand Canyon and from Yellowstone? And still looking for something special for a special 12yr. old girl along the way. (a detour just for her)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    any other recommendations for sights to the Grand Canyon and from Yellowstone?
    Buck's recommendations already listed would certainly be plenty [if not to much] to fit into your trip with the time you have. Alternatives [or mix it up] would include Page [Antelope canyon/Lake Powell], Zion, Bryce canyon and Capitol Reef, or head up through Salt lake City.

    And still looking for something special for a special 12yr. old girl along the way. (a detour just for her)
    That's a question you should ask her. I know time is precious, but when you have a little spare time, sit down together and involve the Kid's in the planning. Get them real interested and let them join in the planning and let them decide what's fun for them and it will make for a great family trip !

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by mrd28s View Post
    And still looking for something special for a special 12yr. old girl along the way.
    Having had two of those special 12 yr old girls, and now with a granddaughter that age, I think I understand what you are asking. As Dave said, have you thought to ask her. On the other hand, you may be underestimating the Junior Ranger Program.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Default a few suggestions while you're in New Mexico

    A few places that your children would probably like are the Tinkertown museum, in the mountains east of Albuquerque, Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum just south of Santa Fe, and Acoma Pueblo, about one hour west of Albuquerque.

    Have a great trip!

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